Monday, May 4, 2009

回应一位爱国海外华人(人权、媒体角色、偏见等)

几天前James Fallows写了一篇博文:PR wizardry on display。博文大意是,中国政府在驳斥“猪流感来自中国”的谣言时表现过于激动,对于这种属于科学范畴,因此可以证有或证无的问题,动辄搬出“别有用心”、“诋毁中国国际形象”之类的情绪化字眼,于PR并无助益。

今天James收到一位海外华人读者的两封来信。这位读者先是指出,中国政府的强烈措词并不是给西方人看的,是给国内民众看的,所以有必要表现得强硬以获得民众支持。这一点James很赞同,他在博文中引用后延伸出去探讨了官方媒体对内外不一致的问题——看上去丝毫不介意读者信中流露出的明显不客气。此文发出后,那位华人读者又发了第二封比较长的信,详细阐述了西方媒体对中国是充满了何等的偏见与敌意,云云。

比较精彩的是这位读者给西方媒体提的几个建议,包括:1、认可中国的独特之处;2、承认GCD政权的合法性(这个有点奇怪);3、对中国这样的发展中国家所拥有的“轻微(minor)”人权问题以及“个例的痛苦(individual suffering)”报着宽容的态度;4、表彰和鼓励中国在开放路上所做出的努力。作者认为,对于西方媒体既“幼稚”又”高高在上”这一点,很多海外华人都会有同感。James再次照登,但没有发表意见。这下我就着急了,害怕不小心被代表,只能自己去信谈谈无法被这位读者代表的、另一小撮海外华人的看法。

刚James回信问可不可以引用,我说欣然之至。不过原信较长,他应该不会用很多,所以下面是全文。(建议阅读那位读者的两封信先)


Dear Mr. Fallows,


I am also an oversea Chinese, but I don't share the sentiment the Chinese reader has shown in his two messages to you. I'd like to share with you my opinion of his take on the role of the media, and China's human rights issue.

I am always suspicious of the whole concept of a united "Western Media" against China as if Fox News, Le Monde, and Süddeutsche Zeitung were controlled by a multi-national Central Propaganda Department. As a Communications major, my understanding of the news media is that they should truthfully report and inform to the best of their knowledge. It is not the job of the Western media (or media of any origin) to "encourage" and babysit a foreign country. Maybe it's time that the Chinese try getting used to the fact that every Western country is "unique" as well, some of them believe in things that we do not believe, and it's OK.

The reader suggest that the Western media "tolerate the minor human rights problems and individual sufferings". I'll bet that this reader's rights have never been violated before. Based on the message of the reader (that he was financially able to support himself to go to the West and has stayed "several years" so far), my guesses are that he's from a comparatively well-heeded family; he lived in a secured environment when he was in China; and he's not even remotely close to anyone who had been beaten to death because of police brutality (or any other kind of human rights violation). It's very ironic to see such comment shortly after push-ups became suicide-inducive in Guizhou, and the game of "Eluding the Cat" became lethal in Yunnan. I wonder how many people have to die for ridiculous reasons before the reader could realize that the real problem is not that human rights issues are "minor" in China, but that they are too remote to have an impact on him.

We're used to talk about what "the Chinese" think based on what we see on the Internet. A recent study by CNNIC shows that China has 300,000,000 netizens. A lot. But China also has a huge population of 1.3 billion. So those who can afford to access the Internet were less than a quarter of the population in the first place. And of those who do have access, the majority of them live in urban area, hence, in general much well-off than the rest of China (and pretty indifferent to the rest of China as well).

Since China has a huge population, tightly controlled domestic media, and usually very successful propaganda schemes, it's very easy to be completely ignorant of the suffering of many fellow citizens and call a big issue "minor" simply because one is not personally affected by it. I see that the U.S has some human rights issues of her own. But no concerned American citizens would think that the "minor" problem of sexually abusing an Iraqi prisoner (not even a "fellow citizen"!) in Guantanamo is "tolerable".

On the India analogy. India has two things that China desperately needs: democracy and transparency. It'll be very strange for the Western media to "misunderstand" China and be "hostile" toward her, if China happens to have either.


By the way, thanks for the great blog.


Regards,

Xiaoxiao Huang

10 comments:

  1. "I see that the U.S has some human rights issues of her own. But no concerned American citizens would think that the "minor" problem of sexually abuse an Iraqi prisoner (not even a "fellow citizen"!) in Guantanamo is "tolerable"."

    "concerned American citizens".

    很明显有人不太懂美国人。

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  2. As one of the "blame America first crowd", you qualify for a "concerned American citizen" who does not tolerate her mistakes, don't you think?

    Please note that I didn't say "every American citizen" (doesn't tolerate America's human rights problem), I said "no concerned American citizen" would. Unless you think there's no such thing as a concerned American citizen.

    Then I will admit that I don't understand your understanding of the Americans.

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  3. 我的先怪美国派仅仅是'concerned american citizens'的一部分。

    很多美国人认为他们是'concerned american citzens'也无耻认同酷刑,说”nothing is too embarassing/bad for them).

    你的'concerned american citizen'是你所想象的“美国好人”。 按照你的定义,如果有人不管“sexually abusing an Iraqi prisoner”,他就是"not a concerned american citizen。” 很聪明。

    他们是'concerned american citizens", 可是他们也认为你所管的事不重要。 你从哪儿说他们不算“concerned." 仅仅是跟你有不同的价值观念。 我会说我认为他们不懂美国的精神,失去价值,道德,但是不敢说他们不是'concerned'. 他们是'cocenred', 只是跟你我管的事不一样。

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  4. 你这么说其实也有道理。我的确不该按照价值取向来判别一个美国人是concerned citizen or not。不过,我不认为我所回应的那位人士是属于那种“无耻认同”剥夺他人人权的人,他也认可human rights在中国是个"problem",但从他将中国的人权问题称之为“minor”,我想他只是没有真正去关注、了解过这个问题的性质和scale,hence, not really a concerned citizen according to my opinion.

    不过除了concerned这个词以外,我一时也想不到更好的别的词。你说你会说“我认为他们不懂美国的精神,失去价值,道德”,可是照你之前的逻辑,我同样可以质疑:你凭什么说那些认同酷刑的人不懂美国的精神,失去价值和道德?仅仅因为他们的价值和道德,他们对美国精神的理解跟你不一样?按照这个方向思考下去,我不觉得有一个可以在逻辑上站的住脚的,能please everybody的形容词可以用在那里。

    所以我觉得,干脆我们还是将重点放在一篇文章的重点上好了。

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  5. 1. "但从他将中国的人权问题称之为“minor”,我想他只是没有真正去关注、了解过这个问题的性质和scale,hence, not really a concerned citizen according to my opinion. "

    这个可以接受,那位人士算不上'concerned citizen'.

    2. 你凭什么说那些认同酷刑的人不懂美国的精神

    一个开头

    a. 聯合國禁止酷刑公約
    b. 美国权利法案,第八条: 不得要求过多的保释金,不得处以过重的罚金,不得施加残酷和非常的惩罚。
    c. Rasul v. Bush, Hamdan v. Rumsfeld
    d. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-begala/yes-inational-reviewi-we_b_191153.html
    e. http://videocafe.crooksandliars.com/scarce/shep-smith-we-do-not-fing-torture
    f. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-begala/yes-inational-reviewi-we_b_191153.html

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  6. Looks like you're right, those Americans who praise torture clearly do not understand the Spirit of their own country, which I think every concerned citizen should. :)

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  7. Dear M.H.
    我出生在'a comparatively well-heeded family',鉴于此我不太具备评论时局的立场,只能就事论事了.

    最近浙江湖州发生的那起女市长跳/坠楼案,碰巧(不巧)的是我是她儿子的相识.很意外的是主流媒体宣称的保安巡逻确有其事,夫妻不合也属实情.既然官方已经有定论了,我就不在这里赘述.只是经此一役,让我对中国网民思维模式和主流媒体的惯用伎俩有了更深的理解.挑动群众斗群众,本就是克敌制胜的大杀器.

    而我一直追求一种兼听则明的状态,时常也会迷惘,何谓"明"? 要在不同阶层,不同立场之间,表达我"unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind"之心,是不是太过空谈不切实际.抛出这个不算问题的问题,也算是学生一种不成器的表现吧.

    By the way, thanks for the excellent blog.
    谢谢你,无论是用心的文字,还是思维方式.

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  8. Orion你好~ 谢谢你的留言。 我跟你一样,也是个学生:)湖州女市长坠楼一案,我只在《联合早报》上看了一篇报道,说是警方已有定论,系因家庭纠纷而自杀。当时只觉惋惜,因为我们的官场几乎是个男性独占的舞台,能够跻身其间的女强人本来就不多,可以想像她们在事业和家庭中想必面临更多负担,也承受更大的压力。听你说是倪市长儿子的相识,才顿时觉得这个悲剧离我又近了一些。I'm sorry for your friend's loss.

    只是此案我关注得不多,你说从中对网民的思维模式和主流媒体的惯用伎俩有更深的理解,不知具体指的什么,可否详述一下?

    我也试图追求一种兼听则明的状态,并且希望以一己之力,为“偏听”提供“另一种可能”。我提出的“可能”就是“明”吗?我不敢这么说。何谓“明”,我觉得,兼听的状态就是—“明”并不会独立存在于“兼听”的状态之外。

    至于同情,那是人所共有的情感,不管是什么立场、阶层的人来表达,怎么会是空谈不切实际呢~

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  9. Orion不好意思,昨晚把profile name改回了本名xiaoxiao,和M.H.是同一个人啦~

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  10. xiaoxiao你好:-)
    不好意思过了这么久才回复。

    前面我说到的网民的思维模式,应该说是非此即彼吧,而且有时是十分残忍的。就以倪副坠楼事件为例,我相信许多人的第一反应是经济问题,或者是弃卒保车之类,我很遗憾地看到有些人不仅不会为死者惋惜而且还会拍手称快。不会有很多人从一个普通母亲,一个重压之下的中年女性的角度去为她和她的家人着想。

    而在后续报道里面顺势提到倪副在海外读书的儿子(抱歉我本不该提他的),这么做只会加深网民对死者的不信任。鉴于国内的各大门户口径惊人一致这个事实,我相信这么报道是有意而为的。到底怎样监管新闻报道更有利于维护统治,我不知道,并且我真希望自己永远不要了解透彻。

    我始终觉得,我们看到的,都是他们希望我们看到的;我们听到的,都是他们希望我们听到的;我们所想的,都是他们希望我们所想的。所以我一直希望自己能突破这种桎梏,改变从小被灌输的思维模式,努力去了解外面的世界,以及自身的定位。(我的逻辑有点混乱了,这个问题我没法很好地说明,再次抱歉了)

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Any comment are welcome, except those that are not.