August 7 — In a bold and rare show of domestic concern over China’s human rights record and its international image as the 2008 Olympic Games near, 39 Chinese lawyers, scholars and journalists signed an open letter to China’s top leaders today appealing for more action on human rights. Capitalizing on China’s official theme for the Beijing Olympics, “One World, One Dream,” the letter said the dream “all people share” should be no other than “to possess those human rights specified in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and guaranteed in the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China.” [More from CMP].
August 8 – Journalists at China Central Television’s “News Probe” investigative news program faced pressure from propaganda officials after putting out a call for information from citizens about extravagant spending for local government office buildings. “You are a citizen, and you are a journalist” said a blog post by “News Probe” host Chai Jing. [More from CMP].
August 9 – In a tongue-in-cheek critique recalling the recent debate in China over “fake news” and a now-questioned news report about “cardboard dumplings” from Beijing TV, Hong Kong journalist Leung Man-to (梁文道) suggested in a mainland editorial that party media reconsider use of improbable thank-you-Communist-Party quotes in news coverage of emergency situations. Leung’s editorial referred to state television coverage of the recent rescue of mine workers in Henan Province, in which one miner was quoted as saying after emerging from the blackness: “I thank the Central Party! I thank the State Council! I thank the government of Henan Province! I thank the people of the nation!” [More from CMP].
August 8 – In an incident underscoring the political pitfalls of plagiarism, China Daily, an official English-language newspaper run by the Information Office of China’s State Council, ran an article in its online edition with the following sentence: “Security was tight around Tiananmen Square, where troops crushed pro-democracy demonstrations in 1989 with huge loss of life, as crowds gathered for the celebrations.” The sentence, which apparently escaped the notice of editors, was in fact lifted directly from a Reuters report by Nick Mulvenney released earlier that day. [More from ESWN].