This is the Racist Editorial on Ambassador Locke / Goodbye, Luo Shi Fei!

EEV: Bing Translator  / Original Below

February 27, 2014, at 20:37 source: China News Network

Locke is a United States-born third-generation Chinese-American, his “yellow skin and white heart” banana person property into President Obama’s diplomatic advantage. United States Pacific revealed a new strategy, selecting during his tenure. Because, a person to be letting you down, always left to the people, “I’m doing this for your sake” impression. Dang United States in the Asia-Pacific and constantly stirring up the eddies, creating contradictions when a traveler on the surface of living abroad for a long time, with black hair and yellow skin, vessel for the United States applauded. Really played a good soft-shoe routine.

Official portrait of United States Secretary o...
Official portrait of United States Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Banana, however long, “yellow skin” is always to be rotting, not only “white heart” out, becomes sick of “black”. Luo Shi may think yellow-skinned appearance alone is not enough. Experienced United States political campaigns-show Luo Shi understands use of the media. As a result, a variety of “light truck line tours, backpack, coach Jane” drama took turns to take the stage. At first, indeed made plain good Chinese eyes. But then I think, puts the business class, splendor, and “accidentally” in front of the camera to sit in economy class, eat fast food, and rich people and the occasional farmhouse and photo upload “for show” what’s the difference? Luo Shi for show, I can’t say, at least American media said long Jing Junjun, running for Governor of the State of the State of Washington during his term for territorial corporate bribery has always been “we have”. Continue reading “This is the Racist Editorial on Ambassador Locke / Goodbye, Luo Shi Fei!”

NYU accused of KICKING OUT blind Chinese dissident over lucrative building deal with Communist government

NYU booting blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng amid Shanghai expansion: sources

  • Last Updated:  9:04 AM, June 13, 2013
  • Posted: 3:03 AM, June 13, 2013


NYU isn’t letting a pesky thing like human rights stand in the way of its expansion in China.

The university has booted a blind Chinese political dissident from its campus under pressure from the Communist government as it builds a coveted branch in Shanghai, sources told The Post.

Chen Guangcheng has been at NYU since May 2012, when he made a dramatic escape from his oppressive homeland with the help of Hillary Rodham Clinton.

But school brass has told him to get out by the end of this month, the sources said.

Chen’s presence at the school didn’t sit well with the Chinese bureaucrats who signed off on the permits for NYU’s expansion there, the sources said.

THAT WAS THEN: Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng is all smiles last year as he arrives at NYU after fleeing his Communist homeland.

Angel Chevrestt
THAT WAS THEN: Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng is all smiles last year as he arrives at NYU after fleeing his Communist homeland.

“The big problem is that NYU is very compromised by the fact they are working very closely with the Chinese to establish a university,” according to one New York-based professor familiar with Chen’s situation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

“That’s their liability,” the source said. “Otherwise, they would be much less constrained on issues like freedom of speech.”

The outspoken Chen — whose many supporters include actor Christian Bale, who tried to visit him in China with a TV crew in 2011 — recently inflamed Chinese authorities again when he agreed to visit its archenemy Taiwan in the coming weeks, a source said.

NYU officials claim that Chen was never meant to stay there long-term and that the politics of the new Shanghai campus had nothing to do with his ouster.

“If there were outside pressure, why would we have taken him in the first place when his plight was on every front page in the world?” spokesman John Beckman said in a statement to The Post.

Beckman said NYU got approval for its Shanghai campus last fall, several months after Chen arrived.

Scrambling to find a new home, Chen is currently in discussions to move to Fordham Law School. The talks are still ongoing, a spokesman there confirmed.

A self-taught lawyer who spent years in prison and under house arrest in China, Chen sought refuge at the US Embassy in Beijing in April 2011. He pleaded with then-Secretary of State Clinton to help him, and ultimately landed at NYU, where he studied as a special student in law.

Chen’s move to NYU to avert a diplomatic crisis was brokered by prominent NYU law professor and China expert Jerome Cohen.

But insiders said NYU has felt itself increasingly vulnerable to pressure from China as the Shanghai campus project moves forward.

“Apart from the initial press hoopla, [Chen] really hasn’t had any kind of profile at NYU this year,” said Andrew Ross, an NYU professor of social and cultural studies.

Ordinarily, he noted, Chen “would have done seminars; he would have done panel discussions.”

Chen has had little communication with NYU President John Sexton, who has been spearheading the school’s expansion into Shanghai and Abu Dhabi, a source said.

Chen couldn’t be reached for comment.

Cohen was in China and also couldn’t be reached.

Disabled Chinese toddler ‘imprisoned for four years’

A four-year-old disabled Chinese boy was put in a prison for over three years because his parents were protesters, his foster father has claimed.

Disabled Chinese boy Chen Ya, now eight, was imprisoned for over three years because his parents were protestors, his foster father has claimed.

Disabled Chinese boy Chen Ya, now eight, was imprisoned for over three years because his parents were protestors, his foster father has claimed.
Malcolm Moore

By , Beijing

6:29PM BST 20 May 2013

Chen Ya, who is now eight, was taken away by officials in Sanzao county in the southern province of Guangdong in 2009, according to Chen Fengqiang, his foster father.

Despite being a toddler with developmental problems, the boy was kept alone in a windowless 40 sq ft cell until April, when he was finally released into Mr Chen’s care.

Today, the boy “cannot walk very far and his head shakes,” said Mr Chen.

“He cannot talk so I do not know what happened to him. But you can imagine what it is like for a four-year-old child to be taken and shut away,” he said.

“There are no bruises on his body, so I do not know whether he was abused, but if you raise your hand, he curls into a ball afraid,” he added.

Mr Chen could not explain why the authorities had chosen to put the boy in solitary confinement. On Monday he travelled to the regional capital, Guangzhou, to engage a new lawyer, Wu Kuiming, to seek redress.

“This is a cruel method that the government uses when it wants to control protesters,” said Mr Wu. “But I do not know what they wanted to achieve by locking up a four-year-old boy,” he added.

Both Mr Chen, 54, and his former partner, the boy’s mother, Wei Lipei, 40, have been thorns in the side of the local government for over a decade.

Since 2002, the couple have vigorously protested the seizure of their land by the local government, who they say paid them scant compensation.

Mr Chen has two other children by a previous partner, a 13-year-old daughter and an 11-year-old son. He said Ms Wei had told him that Chen Ya was not his son, but that he had not taken a paternity test.

As the couple fell deeper into the frustrating cycle of protesting their plight to the various branches of the Chinese government, their children were increasingly left to fend for themselves.

Chen Ya, because of his disability, was often taken along to protests, however, in order to exploit public sympathy.

In 2008, while Mr Chen was protesting in Beijing, Ms Wei then disappeared.

He claimed she was put in detention. At that point the three children were cared for by a nanny from the neighbourhood committee.

The following year, however, Chen Ya was taken away to a detention centre run by a special police squad that usually targets protesters. The centre was originally built in the 1960s as a labour camp.

In the meantime, Mr Chen was also imprisoned separately in 2010 for two years in another city.

Two other protesters confirmed that they had seen the boy in a cell in the centre last year. Another lawyer, Liu Xiaoyuan, said he had accompanied Mr Chen to the centre in December to try to free the boy.

Illegal detention centres are common in China but are routinely denied by the authorities.

“I have never heard of this case but I can assure you nothing like this would happen in this area,” said a policeman at Jingwan district who declined to give his name. He added that a colleague in Sanzao had never heard of the detention facility.

Four officials in Sanzao county denied all knowledge of the case. One suggested contacting the local Propaganda bureau.

The fifth official, Wu Jing, from the Civil Administration bureau, said he had not heard of the boy and to contact the head of the local Harmony Maintenance bureau, whose name he gave as Mr Tang.

“Who gave you my number?” said Mr Tang angrily, upon answering the phone.

“If Mr Wu gave you my number, you should ask him about the case, he knows better than me,” he added, before hanging up and refusing to answer further calls.

In 2007, a reporter for Reuters saw and photographed a three-year-old boy being held in a “black jail” alongside his father in the south west of Beijing. The father of the boy told him that they had been “held there for months”.

Phelim Kine, the deputy director of the Asia division at Human Rights Watch, said there was evidence that the Chinese government had abducted and detained other children in the past, both with and without their parents.

He said three detainees in illegal detention centres interviewed by HRW said that they had been imprisoned with their children. One 36-year-old from Gansu province who was detained in 2008 said his facility “also detained ‘many children, boys and girls'”.

In another case, a 15-year-old girl was beaten so severely by her guards that “they knocked out one of her teeth”.

Mr Chen and his foster son appear set to continue their protest. On Sunday they were detained by police for 12 hours after mounting a protest at Guangzhou railway station. The protest was seized upon by Chinese internet users to condemn the behaviour of the local government.


Honorary Professor Was an Organ Harvester, Say Critics

By Matthew Robertson | April 30, 2013

Last Updated: May 1, 2013 6:16 am

Chinese Vice Minister of Health Huang Jiefu after a conference in Taipei, Taiwan, in 2010. Huang has recently come under scrutiny for his involvement in and knowledge of illicit organ harvesting in China while vice-minister of health. (Bi-Long Song/The Epoch Times)

In the 1990s a very special form of lethal injection called slow lethal injection was perfected in China by Chinese officials.

Researcher Maria Fiatarone Singh

A prestigious Australian university has come under scrutiny recently for giving an honorary professorship to a former top Chinese health official who has been involved in unethical organ harvesting.

Researchers of organ harvesting in China spoke to the influential Australian news program the “7:30 Report” with information about Huang Jiefu’s involvement in organ harvesting in China; they called on the University of Sydney to rescind the honorary professorship they gave to Huang in 2008 and renewed in October 2011.

Researcher Maria Fiatarone Singh, a member of the faculty of health science at the University of Sydney, regards Huang as one of the former leaders of an unethical system of organ transplantation.

“In the 1990s a very special form of lethal injection called slow lethal injection was perfected in China by Chinese officials,” she said to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, which produces the “7:30 Report.” This was meant to preserve the organs while the person is anaesthetised.

“They don’t die right away,” Singh said, giving the surgeon time to pull out organs before the lethal injection is finalized. “It’s done in a way that actually allows this very, very unsavoury mix of execution and medical care and treatment to be done by the same team of doctors,” Singh said. “It’s horrific, really.”

Huang was the vice minister of health from 2001 to 2013, and was the point person for international groups to hear the official word on the Chinese regime’s organ transplantation policies. He was also a member of the Party Leadership Group in the Ministry of Health, according to the Ministry’s website; and he is a reserve member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, ostensibly an advisory body for the Communist Party.

Huang also watched over a period of extensive harvesting of organs from prisoners of conscience, according to the research of David Matas, a Canadian lawyer who co-authored the seminal “Independent Investigation Into Allegations of Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China,” first published in 2006.

Practitioners of Falun Gong are suspected of being the preponderant source of illicit organs trafficked through the Chinese system from the early 2000s onwards; tens of thousands may have been killed in that fashion, researchers indicate.  

Much of that activity was carried out by the medical-military complex, where military hospitals work with labor camps to source organs and carry out the transplants in secret. Such hospitals are not under the purview of the Ministry of Health—but as head of the transplantation system, Matas holds Huang accountable.

The University of Sydney defended itself with a note from Professor Bruce Robinson, Dean of the Medical School: “Huang Jiefu is recognised internationally for having made significant changes to the regulation of China’s organ transplantation processes in an effort to curb the practice of organ retrieval from executed prisoners.” Robinson listed some of the initiatives that were attributed to Huang, including “publicly stating that executed prisoners are not an appropriate source of organs for transplantation.”

But it’s likely that Huang has himself extracted the vital organs of executed prisoners, says Singh. Singh notes that even up until November of last year Huang was still carrying out liver transplants.

“That would be 100 organs a year,” Singh says. “Using his own figures, 90 to 95 percent of those would have come from executed prisoners.” Huang previously gave estimates that 90 or 95 percent of all organ transplants in China were from executed prisoners.

Before an operation in 2005, he also contacted the Third Military Medical University in Chongqing, which is affiliated with the Chinese military, as well as the Zhongshan School of Medicine located in Guangzhou, to obtain a blood-matched liver. Within about 24 hours, one arrived from Chongqing and he performed the transplant, according to a news report on a Chinese official website, recounting the incident in adulatory terms.

While David Matas, the lawyer and researcher, acknowledges that Huang played a public role in highlighting the need for the People’s Republic of China to reform its organ sourcing system, he said in a previous interview with The Epoch Times that it was far from enough.

“With Huang Jiefu, I mean, he says all the right things, but he’s a fellow traveller. This guy is sitting on top of a system of massive transplant abuse,” Matas said. “What I see is the system playing good cop/bad cop. Huang is the good cop. He has this notion of ‘Let’s change things gradually.’ He’s been saying this for many years now, and I don’t see a lot of changes. They do everything to hide the figures.”

Matas added: “I don’t buy the line that they’re doing what they can. They should stop it.”

China wants to buy its way onto your TV screen. Will it work?

Coming to America


Last November, Michelle Makori, a business reporter formerly of Bloomberg News, joined a small group of seasoned Western television journalists for a whirlwind tour of China. The trip, arranged by China Central Television (CCTV), the world’s largest broadcaster, culminated in a visit to the network’s two headquarters: on the quiet, far west side of Beijing, a drab campus that sits in the shadow of a giant space needle, and, in the frenzied Central Business District, the new digs — a twisted pretzel of steel and glass dreamed up by Rem Koolhaas’s architecture firm, an engineering marvel that manages to look both muscular and terribly fragile.

Makori and her soon-to-be colleagues had come to China to learn about CCTV America from their new employers, who had plucked them from other networks to develop another peculiar headquarters: a roughly 100-person bureau in the center of Washington, D.C., producing a slick news channel aimed at delivering China-centric news to a U.S. audience. “China has a place in the world economy, so it’s only befitting that China has a place in the global media platform,” a senior CCTV executive told them, according to Makori. “The reason you people are before us is because we want to be recognized as a legitimate, objective journalistic force,” he continued. “The idea is for this to be not a Chinese mouthpiece, not a Chinese propaganda tool, but a global channel produced with a Chinese flair.'”

Nearly a year later, that vision is coming into focus, and it offers a curious indication of China’s search for soft power. Despite the promise of wider editorial latitude, CCTV America’s coverage of China is largely scrubbed of controversy and upbeat in tone, with a heavy emphasis on business and cultural stories in places where Beijing hopes to gain influence. Reporting on topics sensitive to Beijing, like unrest in Tibetan regions of China or the Tiananmen Square Massacre is off limits. Coverage of scandals involving disgraced Chongqing Party chief Bo Xilai and dissident legal activist Chen Guangcheng — topics that dominated U.S. and European headlines over the summer — were confined to reports that echoed official government statements. (CCTV America broadcast a stern-faced anchor in Beijing reading the statement “China has called on the United States to apologize over the issue of a Chinese citizen entering the U.S. embassy here in Beijing in late April,” after Chen escaped to the U.S. embassy there.)

“Foreign audiences expect to hear stories about China from Chinese media, and CCTV has nothing to say about the two most important stories of the year?” asked Michael Anti, a Chinese blogger and free speech advocate. “Why would an American audience want to listen?”

Since the U.S. bureau began broadcasting in February, CCTV’s fresh cast of reporters and producers have been struggling to answer that question. Based out of a sparkling new office in Washington, the service comprises a block of news on CCTV News, the network’s recently-revamped 24/7 English-language channel, and covers a range of U.S. and international stories with a cast of 60 reporters, producers, and technicians who have experience at established news organizations like CNN, CBS, and the BBC. Long news pieces, Western accents, slick graphics, live stand-ups in foreign locales, and prominent guests (the likes of Thomas Friedman and Tom Brokaw have appeared on a weekendevening talk show called The Heat), emanate a feel of credibility that has long been absent in CCTV’s dull, starchy news coverage. “They were saying ‘we want you to be doing breaking news and investigative pieces’ and this was the first time a lot of the senior people in China had heard this,” Barbara Dury, a former 60 Minutes producer who now runs CCTV’s Sunday newsmagazine programAmericas Now, said of initial discussions with top CCTV officials. “And they were asking, ‘how’s this all going to play out?'”

In a turbulent and uphill battle for the world’s hearts and minds, and in an effort to stem what it sees as anti-China coverage in the Western media, Beijing’s global television gambit — part of a multi-billion dollar propaganda push by the Chinese government — is its most ambitious yet. And CCTV America is one of the main beneficiaries of Beijing’s largesse. With heavy emphasis on coverage of under-reported places in Latin America and Africa, the network aims to be what some at CCTV call “China’s CNN.” But it takes its biggest cues from Al Jazeera, the state-funded upstart from Qatar that, despite distribution challenges, has won many supporters in the United States.

“CCTV’s strategy is to find niches where other people have let down the global TV audience in the English sphere,” said Jim Laurie, a two-decade veteran of ABC who has consulted for new broadcast ventures around the world, and who is helping CCTV develop its American service. From the new U.S. headquarters on New York Avenue, less than a mile from the White House, Laurie and a team of producers and editors, as well as three Chinese managers who have relocated from Beijing, oversee 16 bureaus in North and South America, supplementing hundreds of Chinese and African reporters working at offices in Africa, Europe, and Asia. On another floor, some 40 Chinese journalists and technicians prepare reports for the domestic service.

In one corner of the bustling, glassy newsroom, a giant central desk is surrounded by a phalanx of screens carrying CNN, Fox, Bloomberg, Al Jazeera, and CCTV’s other news channels. Seen together, CCTV’s broadcast looked buttoned-up and serious next to CNN’s unceasing parade of graphics and heavy emphasis on pop culture. (And yet CCTV America surprised The Atlantic’s national correspondent Jim Fallows, who spent three years living in China and estimated he’s watched “thousands” of hours of CCTV, as he channel surfed. Compared with CNN, “I’ve generally heard a lot more, and in a lot more detail and less tendentiously and cutesily, from, gasp, CCTV America,” he wrote on his blog in April.)

Currently, the bureau produces seven hours of English-language content per week split across three shows, but plans to grow to over 20 hours by next spring, and to add over a dozen more producers and correspondents. “The mentality is expand, expand, expand” said Dury. Half of the service’s new coverage will emphasize business, Laurie said, “because the Chinese believe that the business of China is business.”

Thanks to government investment and growing revenues from big advertisers in China like Procter and Gamble and Coca-Cola, CCTV’s own business is booming. The network now boasts international channels in five languages and claims a total global audience of about 125 million. In January, the company opened a studio in Nairobi, Kenya, and has plans to increase the size of its overseas staff dramatically by 2016. New production centers in Europe, Asia-Pacific, and the Middle East are scheduled to open by the end of 2015. The eventual idea, Makori explained, is to rely on a continuous flow of reports from outposts around the world, “a global 24-hour news operation — we come to America during its relevant hours, go to Kenya, and China.”

Beyond CCTV, China’s news media reach now extends from mobile phones in Nairobi to newsstands in London to the radio dial in Boston, where WILD-AM, formerly home to the city’s “home for classic soul and R&B,” now hosts the state-owned broadcaster China Radio International. Cut-rate prices on syndicated articles and news footage have made Chinese outlets a popular source for media organizations in developing nations. CCTV has also formed partnerships with Western media organizations, inking syndication deals with Reuters, the Associated Press, and NBC.

Even as China deals with a decline in exports and a softening economy, the global economic tumult has also given Beijing a new opening to lucrative resource-for-development deals in Africa and Latin America, and boosted its confidence in promoting a “China model” of development. The same holds true in the media industry. With budgets shrinking and bureaus shutting among major news outlets, the tumult has left room for new entrants. CCTV America claims to have more television correspondents in Africa and Latin America than either Al Jazeera, CNN, or the BBC, and is one of the only major services to boast of a bureau in Havana (one October story by former BBC correspondent Michael Voss even examinedCuba’s “democratically questionable” upcoming elections). “Global TV news competition has only gotten stiffer over the past 10 years,” says Dave Marash, Al Jazeera English’s first American anchor, and an ABC veteran. “It’s broken the mold of Western dominance of news media, and who gets to define ‘current affairs.'”

The rise of state-funded English-language television outlets from places like France, Iran, and Russia has made the State Department anxious, and led a frustrated Hillary Clinton in March of 2011 to praise Al Jazeera for its “real news around the clock instead of a million commercials,” while lamenting the de-funding of Voice of America. “CCTV already has a tremendous influence on Africa and certain parts of the Middle East, too,” says media scholar Ying Zhu and author of Two Billion Eyes, a book-length investigation of the network published in October 2012. “It’s building its empire in regions where Western media are having trouble.”

In 2011, two years after President Hu Jintao announced a $7 billion plan for China to “go out” into the world, a shake-up at CCTVlanded Hu Zhanfan at the top of the media empire’s hierarchy. The former editor of Beijing-based intellectual newspaper Guangming Daily, CCTV head Hu had cautioned journalists against placing the truth above Party loyalty, reminding them that news must always reflect “our party and country’s political stance.”

Even as reforms meant to loosen state control over the media industry began in 2009, CCTV was not among the companies chosen for reorganization. Right now, weeks away from a once-in-a-decade leadership transition on Nov. 15, thinking outside of the box is not encouraged, said political scientist Joseph Nye. “There are some people in the system who clearly get it. But right now is not the time to stick their heads above the fox hole.”

While a near-monopoly on advertising in China earns CCTV over $2 billion in revenues each year, CCTV is still funded by the government, which still exercises editorial control, just as has since its launch, as Beijing Television, in 1958. “They’ve got the mechanics down to a ‘T,'” says David Shambaugh, director of George Washington University’s China Policy Program. “But the substance is another story. You have Western faces with unstilted English reading off teleprompters. The key question is, what’s on the teleprompter?”

* * *

For an hour each weekday at 9pm Eastern time, a program called Biz Asia America –anchored by Makori and Philip Yin, both veterans of Bloomberg News — features top national and international stories. Aside from business and political news in Asia and the Americas, the service includes reports from correspondents in cities across Europe and the Middle East, delivering dispatches on stories like Spain’s growing reliance on Chinese trade, Syrian refugees seeking shelter in Turkey, and volunteer medical centers in Greece.

The day begins with a morning pitch meeting, where the evening’s prospective stories are discussed. Nothing is off limits, but editorial decisions ultimately fall with Chinese news managers, led by Director General Ma Jing, who have relocated from Beijing. (Ma Jing and all Chinese staff contacted declined to be interviewed for this story.) “There’s vigorous debate about what stories will be covered on that day,” said Laurie. “It’s a process you see in every newsroom, wherever you are. But when there’s a lack of decision, then the managing editor who’s Chinese will step in.”

The roughly 10,000 people that work at CCTV around the world produce over 20 channels, from sports to entertainment to news, all intended to serve the network’s ultimate mandate: promote the values of the Communist Party. Still, Laurie believes that CCTV’s newest foreign broadcasts have arrived at a critical juncture for China, amidst an embryonic debate about further loosening foreign media from the restrictions that dictate domestic broadcasts. “The people that I have learned to know since 2007,” he said, “have been bright, sometimes courageous, young journalists who, just like journalists in Europe and America, want to do good journalism, want to push the envelope, want to be responsible people.”

“Our operation has to be guided in the end by the limits that Beijing would allow,” said Laurie, who speaks in the tidy sentences of a seasoned television correspondent. “There’s no getting around that.” Still, Laurie likes to urge skeptics to stay tuned. The idea with CCTV America, he said, was “to do broadcasts that would be able to push the envelope in ways that weren’t possible before on China’s domestic television.”

Laurie’s relationship with CCTV is in many ways as complex and puzzling as the media conglomerate itself. While he began working with the company in 2007, his first encounter with CCTV was in the late 1970s, on a black-and-white television across the border in Hong Kong. As a young reporter for ABC News when China was still in the thrall of Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution, Laurie and his colleagues would gather over bottles of beer and study CCTV’s 7:00 p.m. domestic news broadcast for clues to the current ranking of Communist officials. “We’d take a stopwatch and measure how many seconds each leader had [on screen],” he said, referring to a longstanding practice on CCTV of allotting screen time to officials according to their standing in the Party. The more airtime officials receive the more in favor they’re seen to be. The young journalists would then trek out to the border between Hong Kong and Chinaand look longingly across. “I remember thinking,” said Laurie, “‘shit, why can’t I be in there?'”

A few years after winning a Peabody Award for his reporting for NBC in Vietnam in 1975, Laurie landed in Beijing as one of the city’s first Western correspondents in decades. In 1989, when students began gathering in Tiananmen Square, ABC sent Laurie, who was then chief of its Moscow bureau, back to Beijing to cover the protests.

In the late morning hours of June 5, 1989, after witnessing soldiers shoot at dozens of civilians as they fled for safety in and around Tiananmen Square, Laurie and a camerawoman turned down a side street. In the crowd they spotted a tall man in a sport coat named Xiao Bin, frantically ranting about what he had witnessed and overheard from others. “The bastards killed thousands!” said the man, a factory worker from the northern city of Dalian, when they interviewed him. “Tanks ran over people. Crushing them.” While no official death tally exists, estimates of the dead, including soldiers, now range from the hundreds to the thousands. Laurie told his camerawoman he thought Xiao was exaggerating. “She said, ‘yes, but it’s awfully good television.’ I said ‘you’re right,'” Laurie recounted.

As Chinese officials rushed to cover up the events of the previous night, Laurie and his colleague managed to send their footage to Hong Kong for transmission by satellite to ABC’s studios in New York. But somehow, someone in Beijing was watching.

“The Chinese — and its unclear to me this day how they actually did it — intercepted the outgoing signal,” said Laurie. The unencrypted signal from Hong Kong had been hijacked. Around the time that ABC’s audiences in New York listened to Xiao Bin’s testimony, so did 200 million Chinese viewers of CCTV, with a subtitle underneath: “This man is wanted,” it read. “‘He is a rumor-monger and counter revolutionary. Please turn him in to your nearest Security Bureau office.'”

A few days later, Xiao was turned in, and in a public hearing also broadcast on CCTV, accused of “hooliganism” and forced to apologize for spreading “rumors.” He was sentenced to 10 years in a labor camp.

Laurie was horrified. “The Xiao Bin story is probably the most traumatic journalistic event in my life,” he said. “Very rarely in a career as a journalist do you, in effect, send someone to prison. The story is very complicated, and with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, you can always say ‘that could have been prevented if you had done A, B, and C.’ But in the context of the day after the Tiananmen massacre, it was almost unavoidable, in a way.”

Laurie returned to Moscow to witness the end of the Soviet Union, and in 1994 reported on South Africa’s democratic transition under Nelson Mandela, earning more plaudits along the way. But the memory of Xiao Bin lingered. In 1997, he returned to Beijing, and learned that Xiao had been released after five years. “He was living quietly, but I can’t say happily, back in his hometown of Dalian.” Through a friend, Laurie sent a few hundred dollars. “Once you go through the Chinese prison system, your life is pretty messed up.”

Laurie, who taught journalism at Hong Kong University from 2005 to 2011, acknowledges the irony of his consulting for the network that once turned his reporting against an innocent man. But, now 65, he points out, mustering a chuckle, that the current group of CCTV America’s Chinese editors “were all four years old in 1989.” And given his experience, he sees his role as nudging the network in a more open direction, an approach he said some elements at CCTV have tried to embrace. “There are limitations, and they’re constantly trying to find ways they can work around those limitations. They absorb some ideas [from me], adopt some and not adopt others.”

* * *

Despite the challenges, a tough economy with dwindling prospects for television journalists can make the attraction of a job at a place like CCTV hard to resist. Western staff at CCTV like Laurie and Makori have been lured by the promise of highly competitive salaries, bigger responsibilities, and ample resources for travel and production. And it’s a chance to be on the ground floor of China’s first big foray into Western media.

“China is the emerging/emerged superpower, so it was a no-brainer for me,” Makori explained after a taping of her show in April at the NASDAQ site in Times Square. A few blocks away, the square’s tallest billboard was cycling through a bucolic slideshow of Chinese landscapes — an advertisement for Xinhua, the state-owned wire service that’s another beneficiary of Beijing’s media push.

“It’s like getting on the ground floor of Facebook or Google. You already know that China’s going to be a huge player,” she said. “It’s exciting, it’s innovative. China’s obviously pegged to be one of the global leaders, if not the global leader. So for me as a journalist to develop expertise in China, that’s not a bad career move.”
Makori told me that even though Chinese editors in Washington and Beijing vetted all stories, censorship was not an explicit policy, and said she was surprised that her reporting on more sensitive issues, like trade disputes, hadn’t been a problem.
“Honestly, a part of me thought that these would be taboo topics, but on the contrary, we highlight them,” said Makori, in her light South African accent. “We really try to have a balanced view of both sides, but we make sure to also show the Chinese side of the story.” Asked if there were omissions, she said that editorial freedom was greater at CCTV than at a previous employer, SABC, South Africa’s state broadcaster. “I can tell you that CCTV, in my experience, has not been controlling at all from an editorial point of view, from a content point of view — certainly not more so than any other news channel that I’ve worked at.”
Nina Donaghy, who left her job as a reporter at theBBC to work as the network’s Washington correspondent, insisted that her coverage was not done “in coordination” with Beijing. “Otherwise I wouldn’t be here, frankly. With my kind of background, I wouldn’t.”

Censorship isn’t the network’s only challenge. Distribution remains a hurdle. While CCTV already has greater reach in the United States than Al Jazeera, finding the channel on your television can be difficult, and the network hasn’t generated much buzz among viewers or critics. Like some other foreign broadcasters in the United States, there are no public ratings for CCTV America. Its clunky, often poorly translated website occasionally descends into accidental comedy (“Egypt’s Mubarak in comma, but ‘not clinically dead'” [sic]), and its live stream is often broken. It was only after Barbara Dury’s lobbying, she said, that CCTV agreed in June to launch its first channel on YouTube — a service, she noted with a chuckle, that’s banned in China.

Laurie is hoping to solve CCTV’s distribution problem in the United States by getting the channel into hotel rooms, a tactic that helped CNN gained traction among business travelers during the 1990s.For now, the hopes of CCTV America’s journalists are pinned on emulating the success of that upstart from Qatar. “I remember when Al Jazeera started, people called it ‘the terror network,”’ said Walter. “But now, years later, they’re producing really quality stuff that’s being recognized. That’s what I hope for CCTV. I think it will just get better.”

Still, CCTV’s Western employees are taking their new jobs in stride. Donaghy complained that the CCTV label can be an annoying liability. “You get some comments. Running from, ‘I’m sure you’re paid a fortune!’ to ‘Do you speak Chinese?'” When The Heat host Mike Walter, a former anchor at the CBS affiliate in Washington, interviewed for his CCTV job, the station’s chief Ma began by reading him a newspaper report skeptical of the new network. “The argument was, it’s basically going to be a puppet for the Chinese government, basically a propaganda instrument, and she said, ‘what do you think of that?'” recounted Walter. “I said, ‘obviously it was a concern of mine. I don’t want me working for CCTV to change the circuitry in my brain.'”

“Personally, I think their mission is to learn as much as they can,” said Donaghy. “And to open up, and to look to the United States to see how to run an international cable network. They’re very open. It’s very early days yet.”

Being on the ground floor also means the chance to do good reporting on topics that can’t offend government sensibilities — and, perhaps, on topics that might. “The wall is always shifting,” said Walter, whose TV anchor affability seems to belie an eagerness to probe some boundaries. “It’s always good to bump up against a wall and see how strong it is, and whether there’s some softness. I think we are going to chart new territories.”

With broader distribution, the network may have a chance to woo audiences in Latin America and Africa, where television reporting has dwindled in recent years. To make inroads in the United States, CCTV will continue to focus on business stories, coupled with a greater emphasis on cultural documentaries about Chinese history, culture, and nature — programming that projects a “cute” image of the country, says Ying, the media scholar. As for its news content, “CCTV won’t change until the government changes.”

Marash, Al Jazeera English’s first American anchor, cautioned against writing off the network just yet. If it can manage to loose itself of Beijing’s grip, gain wider distribution, and sway audiences with marquee interviews and exclusive coverage of the Chinese economy, for instance, it might find a foothold on Wall Street, if not on Capitol Hill. “And it’s almost certainly going to get better.”

But Walter said that pushing the envelope, even a little bit, was a challenge for the network’s newest journalists, and for the Chinese producers who serve as a middleman with Beijing. “You got all these Western journalists who want to push this further, and then you work with the other side which says, ‘wait, don’t push too much.’ They have to find a happy balance and operate within these confines. That’s not easy.”
“American journalists have the attitude that it’s better to ask forgiveness rather than permission,” added Walter. “In China, it’s better to ask permission than forgiveness. We’ve run headlong into that. The approach is very different. It’s something that will be a struggle here.”