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“One of the Greatest and Most Exciting Events in Human History.”

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Saturday, Mar 28, 2009
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The Chinese government — and apologist journalism — achieved new lows today, with a Beijing spokesperson quoted in this monstrosity of an article by AP’s Anita Chang as saying that the occupation of Tibet was: “one of the greatest and most exciting events in human history” and lauding it as “an important milestone in the world’s anti-slavery movement.”

My response to this insult is below:

To the Editor:

The laws of good journalism dictate that reporters should present a balanced view of any story, drawing on accepted fact as well as on opinions and arguments from both sides of an issue.

The question I have after reading Anita Chang’s article on the Chinese Government’s newly created “Serf Emancipation Day” is what a responsible journalist should do when one side’s arguments aren’t even worth reporting.

The Chinese government’s utter disregard for the truth does not warrant the screenspace Ms. Chang affords it. No, repeat no, historian or international affairs analyst of any worth or measure would even entertain the equation of the occupation of Tibet with “an important milestone in the world’s anti-slavery movement,” or refer to it as one of the “greatest and most exciting events in human history.”

Reporters who cover the outrageous statements of Holocaust denial that emanate from Iran’s Ahmedinijad often do so with eyebrow raised and tongue planted firmly in cheek, as if to say: “He may be saying this, but we all know the Holocaust actually happened.”

What is troubling about Ms. Chang’s article is that she spends the majority of it presenting the Chinese government’s argument, without ever once dipping into the accepted historical record, which clearly states that Tibet was invaded and occupied and that during the years that followed many, many Tibetans were victims of forced labor and many more were tortured, imprisoned, and died.

The more that journalists cover the Tibet issue from the viewpoint of the Chinese government — whom Human Rights Watch has called the biggest propaganda machine in the world — without bothering to present accepted history, the further they are drifting from the laws of good journalism and the closer they get to being mouthpieces for a great and growing ugliness.

Josh Schrei
Former Chair, Students for A Free Tibet
Producer, Tibetan Freedom Concerts

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