China’s Representation in British Media/Politics

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.

Tian Tian - whose name means Sweetie, enjoying a well earned rest.

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.

China’s Image Abroad: Tourism

China’s tourism industry is booming. With 55.98 million visitors in 2010, it is ranked as the world’s third leading travel destination, currently trailing behind only France, and the USA. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, it will have overtaken them both by 2016-2018, this is a rapid rise in popularity considering that up until the mid 70’s China was closed to foreign tourism. It’s not hard to understand the attraction, China as a country is magnificent, mysterious and beautiful, it’s culture is the complete opposite to ours making it exotic and exciting.

When you look through travel brochures or travel agent’s websites you will most likely be greeted with an image of a panda, or a picturesque landscape, or ancient sculptures, nothing modern certainly. This massively contrasts with how China now wishes to be seen by the world. China’s desire to become more westernized has seen it disregard large parts of its heritage, it wants to be taken seriously as a major player in the world. Proof of this effort is visible in Beijing where less than five per cent of its buildings will remain by the end of its modernization revolution. This shiny and intimidating version is the polar opposite to the oriental and delicate version of the landscape portrayed to tourists. There is no doubt that Beijing is vastly impressive and worth visiting, but would most people travel to the country if they only got to see this westernized China, and not authentic China? Probably not.

The most famous example of an oriental Chinese landmark is of course the magnificent Great Wall of China. Mistakenly believed to be a single wall that circumferences China, it is actually a discontinuous network of individual wall segments built by various different dynasties over a period of 2000 years to protect China’s northern border. Another commonly believed myth is that the wall is the only man made object visible from space. This tale possibly originated from Richard Halliburton’s book “Second Book of Marvels”, which was published in 1938 before humans had ever seen the earth from space. When you consider these two revelations plus that the wall has been largely restored in both the 50’s and the 80’s, suddenly the Great Wall doesn’t seem quite so mind blowing. It is often the case that the sections not in the public eye are in a serious state of disrepair and sometimes eradicated due to ageing and the locals pinching the bricks. Adding to the facts the description of it being the “largest cemetery of earth” as 1 million people died during its construction, this wonder of the world doesn’t seem so quite so wonderful anymore. This is obviously not the way the wall is portrayed to potential tourists, that’s not to say that the way it is presented is false though, there is not doubt that the building of the wall was a truly remarkable feat and is an important piece of Chinese history. Nobody can criticize China, or travel businesses, for fudging the negatives and making a bigger deal out of the positives, every country does, it would be bad logic not to.

Even if China is evolving as a nation its history and traditions will always exist. People will still travel to see its vibrant and beautiful architecture, its breathtaking landscapes and to experience its rich and thrilling history. China is sold as being a nation that still retains it’s traditions, rituals and strong identity, and this is because it does truly still retain all these elements, unlike many other nations who have left these behind in their cultural revolutions. I believe this is why China can be so popular, that despite that much of the country is unrecognizable from how it looked just two decades ago, it’s people still retain the essence of China and oriental China lingers on in them, in the rural areas at least, because it is still alive in their memories. Even if some areas like Beijing have left the old behind and moved onto the new, this diversity in the country makes it even more fascinating to explore and discover.

How To Cook Chinese Dumplings

I found the following recipe on this website and I halfed the measurements for this recipe seeing as I wasn’t cooking for many people.

Ingredients:

Dumpling Dough

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup boiling water

Filling:

  • 8 ounces celery cabbage (Napa cabbage)
  • 3 tsp salt, divided
  • 1 pound lean ground pork
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped green onions, with tops
  • 1 TB white wine
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • Dash white pepper

Dipping Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • Other:
  • 2 – 4 tablespoons vegetable oil

Preparation:

Cut the cabbage across into thin strips. Mix with 2 teaspoons salt and set aside for 5 minutes. Squeeze out the excess moisture.In a large bowl, mix the celery cabbage, pork, green onions, wine, cornstarch, the remaining 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, and the white pepper.
In a bowl, mix the flour and 1 cup boiling water until a soft dough forms. Knead the dough on a lightly flour surface about 5 minutes, or until smooth.Divide the dough in half. Shape each half into a roll 12 inches long and cut each roll into 1/2-inch slices.
Roll 1 slice of dough into a 3-inch circle and place 1 tablespoon pork mixture in the center of the circle. Lift up the edges of the circle and pinch 5 pleats up to create a pouch to encase the mixture. Pinch the top together. Repeat with the remaining slices of dough and filling.
Heat a wok or nonstick skillet until very hot. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, tilting the wok to coat the sides. If using a nonstick skillet, add 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil. Place 12 dumplings in a single layer in the wok and fry 2 minutes, or until the bottoms are golden brown.
Add 1/2 cup water. Cover and cook 6 to 7 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. Repeat with the remaining dumplings.To make a dipping sauce, in a small bowl, mix the soy sauce with 1 teaspoon sesame oil. Serve with the dumplings.
TAAA DDAAAAA!!!