How did China learn how to spin Tibet?
By Andrew Sullivan
“Trust a public relations professional living in Beijing to write by far the best analysis I’ve seen of the Olympic-size mess that China has created for itself through its actions in Tibet. Writing in his blog Image Thief, William Moss provides detail and perspective that significantly outclass How the World Works’ own effort to make sense of recent events.
It’s a must-read for China watchers. The entire piece is great, but one section jumps out. Here, Moss is summarizing the ways in which China has effectively managed perceptions of the riots for a domestic audience.
- Harness as many Tibetan voices as possible in condemnation of the riots (more here)
- Emphasize brutal Tibetan attacks on Han people (and a Western perspective)
- Give Chinese Internet users free rein to vent their rage at ungrateful Tibetans who have bitten the hand that is lifting them into development (see also this AFP story quoting Danwei’s Jeremy Goldkorn and citing Mutant Palm’s work translating Chinese tweets, and John Kennedy’s Chinese Internet roundup at Global Voices)
For a good overview of the Chinese approach to all of this, see Mark Magnier’s interesting article on China’s P.R. efforts around the Tibet riots. It includes this damning quote from Chinese blogger and journalist Michael Anti:
“The [Chinese] government is showing more confidence and learning more about spin,” said Michael Anti, a well-known Chinese blogger on a Nieman fellowship this year at Harvard. “They’ve learned more PR tactics from Western people. They see the way the White House and the Pentagon do it.”
Yet another legacy for the current administration to be proud of: teaching the Chinese Communist Party how to spin.”