November 27 — Following up on a November 19 report in The Beijing News saying local officials had masked efforts to thwart investigative journalism with ostensible campaigns against “fake reporters”, China Mining News ran an opinion column in support. “While we cannot accept ‘fake reporters’ carrying out extortion in the name of journalism,” said the column, “we can accept even less the use of ‘campaigns against fake reporters’ as a means to prevent the exercise of watchdog journalism.”
November 28 — Pan Jiazheng, a senior engineer involved in the construction of the Three Gorges project criticized international media for what he called “distorted and exaggerated reporting” of the dam project. According to China Daily, Pan said: “Chinese people welcome sincere criticism and supervision, even if it is harsh. But please don’t demonize us.” Pan said, according to the paper, that ” reports by some sections of the international press had headlines characterizing the dam as a time bomb and depicting the water in the reservoirs as soy sauce.” [SEE item below on response in Southern Metropolis Daily].
November 29 — Veteran journalist Zhai Minglei, editor of the NGO journal Minjian, posted an urgent message on his blogpaper, Yi Bao (壹报) saying police had raided his home, confiscating his last remaining copies of Minjian and taking away Zhai’s hard drive [coverage by John Kennedy at Global Voices here].
December 1 — Responding to statements from official Pan Jiazheng (潘家铮), who criticized foreign media for “demonizing” the Three Gorges hydropower project, media critic Xiong Peiyun (熊培云) said in an editorial in Southern Metropolis Daily that it was unfair to say criticism had a demonizing effect when there were still real and serious questions remaining about the project. Picking up on Pan’s comment that media were spoiling the project of “raising friendship and dialogue”, Xiong said it was the task of journalists to seek the truth, not to improve state relations. Pan reportedly said of foreign reporters: “They say nothing of China’s achievements, but they make mischief of China’s problems, or we should say its ‘darker side’, everywhere gathering things to blow up or twist, using irony and sarcasm and making things out of nothing.”

David Bandurski

CMP Director

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