Misunderstanding China

By JI Haojun
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 01:28:00 04/16/2008

I have to say that we are highly concerned with the editorial of the Philippine Daily Inquirer last April 11. Entitled “Torched,” the editorial accused the Chinese government of carrying out a “brutal crackdown in Tibet” and “rid[ing] on and even stok[ing] nationalism” while expressing concern over “China’s degree of influence over North Korea, Myanmar and Sudan.”

It is a requirement of fair journalism that news be reported in an objective and balanced way. Unfortunately, some Inquirer news reports about China were solely based on sources provided by Western news agencies. The Inquirer never bothers to verify the stories on its own. Such kind of biased reporting is giving rise to much misunderstanding of China in Philippine society. Therefore, I have to make the following clarifications:

First, Tibet has been part of Chinese territory for centuries. It is a pity that many Filipino’s knowledge about Tibet is limited to fiction told by Richard Gere in his movie “Seven Years in Tibet,” which has no historical basis. I hope professional journalists could read more history before making comments on such a complicated and sensitive issue.

In the mid-13th century, Tibet was officially incorporated into the territory of China’s Yuan dynasty. Since then, although China experienced several dynastic changes, Tibet has remained under the jurisdiction of the central government of China. The title of Dalai Lama is an honorific conferred by the emperors. As a matter of fact, “Dalai” is a Mongolian word, which means “ocean.”

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