China’s long running affair with the British media has been very mixed, full of stories of grand events and vibrant culture. However, it suffers a very negative perception, and one that is in a way hypocritical.
The reason this perception is so, is that China is just doing what the other super powers (Britain, USA and Russia) have previously done. China is expanding at a huge rate, and its ever-growing economy is leaving Britain and others feeling very intimidated. This constant negativity regarding their growth, consumption and with it, environmental damage is ruining the brand of China. Her rapid development has left politicians and leaders worldwide, very anxious, and when watching news reports on events such as the G20 summits, they hound China into the corner and accuse her of harming the world. We have gone through the same process and this makes it very hypocritical to attempt to hinder China’s progress. The country is on the rise, and it is time the media accepted this.
China’s Human rights record is a monumental issue currently, and the British press are slaughtering China. Although the vast majority outside of China agree, as does our group, that there is much work to be done to solve this issue and truly allow China to progress, stories of British and American troops denying Iraqi and Afghan prisoners their human rights again cry hypocrisy, or as they say, the pot calling the kettle black. China is darkened by its troubles with freedom of speech and rights, but as a developing country, it still has time to correct this, and it should not be used as a standing point to degrade China. Only time will tell if it can correct its wrongs and finally be presented in the media in its cultural glory.
However, the media, especially televised news, can shine light on China, and a stand out example of this is Chinese New Year. The media go into frenzy, showing the festivals in their glory, and highlighting the morals of being with family, and the messages of hope that these New Year celebrations rest on. The cultural in China is vast and vibrant, and is a great tool to emphasise to the world what it can offer. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/gallery/2012/jan/22/chinese-new-year-celebrations-pictures#/?picture=384838244&index=9)
The Beijing Olympic Games of 2008, although surrounded in criticism regarding their human rights issues, and its pressing environmental issues, allowed China to sell itself to the whole world – and it succeeded. An opening ceremony, which broadcast too over 5.5 million UK viewers, showed the colours, and dances and music, tradition and culture that it lived and breathed in. Costing £3000 a second, China made a huge statement to world, and the media’s endless coverage still has a lasting impact on the selling of China.
The recent appearance of two Pandas, Tian Tian and Ying Guang, at Edinburgh zoo has also created mass media attention. This has also created a huge tourist boost, and can only do well in China’s attempts to sell itself to the world. Is has also improved the relations between Britain and China, and has been taken favourably by the majority of the media, with the story making front page of newspapers for a considerable period.
Mr Liu Xiaoming, ambassador of China to the UK, said: “This historical agreement is a gift to the people of the UK from China. It will represent an important symbol of our friendship and will bring our two people closer together”
On the other hand, many have unfairly criticised this as a move to turn attention away from China’s human rights record.
In summary, China is a country that does have its problems, and these are frequently depicted to the British public by the media. However, although they must be considered we all must bear in mind that China is still and up and coming super power, and still has time to develop and correct its issues. The media has the power to sell China to us, and when it broadcasts huge events like the Olympic games, or the arrival of the pandas, it allows us to see the good side of China, one full of culture and tradition beyond imagination. China is already changing its ways, and, as long as it continues, it will continue to sell itself to the world.