Saturday, October 31, 2015

China naval chief says minor incident could spark war in South China Sea

China naval chief says minor incident could spark war in South China Sea
China's naval commander told his U.S. counterpart that a minor incident could spark war in the South China Sea if the United States did not stop its "provocative acts" in the disputed waterway, the Chinese navy said on Friday.
Admiral Wu Shengli made the comments to U.S. chief of naval operations Admiral John Richardson during a video teleconference on Thursday, according to a Chinese naval statement.
The two officers held talks after a U.S. warship sailed within 12 nautical miles of one of Beijing's man-made islands in the contested Spratly archipelago on Tuesday.
China has rebuked Washington over the patrol, the most significant U.S. challenge yet to territorial limits China effectively claims around its seven artificial islands in one of the world's busiest sea lanes.
"If the United States continues with these kinds of dangerous, provocative acts, there could well be a seriously pressing situation between frontline forces from both sides on the sea and in the air, or even a minor incident that sparks war," the statement paraphrased Wu as saying.
"(I) hope the U.S. side cherishes the good situation between the Chinese and U.S. navies that has not come easily and avoids these kinds of incidents from happening again," Wu said.
Speaking earlier, a U.S. official said the naval chiefs agreed to maintain dialogue and follow protocols to avoid clashes.
Scheduled port visits by U.S. and Chinese ships and planned visits to China by senior U.S. Navy officers remained on track, the official said.
"None of that is in jeopardy. Nothing has been cancelled," said the official.
Both officers agreed on the need to stick to protocols established under the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES).
"They agreed that it's very important that both sides continue to use the protocols under the CUES agreement when they're operating close to keep the chances for misunderstanding and any kind of provocation from occurring," the U.S. official said.
Indeed, Wu said he believed the Chinese and U.S. navies had plenty of scope for cooperation and should both "play a positive role in maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea".
A U.S. Navy spokesman stressed Washington's position that U.S. freedom of navigation operations were meant to "protect the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea and airspace guaranteed to all nations under international law".
Chinese warships followed the USS Lassen, a guided-missile destroyer, as it moved through the Spratlys on Tuesday. The U.S. Navy is operating in a maritime domain bristling with Chinese ships.
While the U.S. Navy is expected to keep its technological edge in Asia for decades, China's potential trump card is sheer weight of numbers, with dozens of naval and coastguard vessels routinely deployed in the South China Sea, security experts say.
China has overlapping claims with Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei in the South China Sea, through which $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year.
Next week, Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit Vietnam and Singapore, while Chinese Defence Minister Chang Wanquan will attend a meeting of Southeast Asian defence ministers in Malaysia that U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter is also due to attend.
Separately, China suffered a legal setback on Thursday when an arbitration court in the Netherlands ruled it had jurisdiction to hear some territorial claims the Philippines has filed against Beijing over the South China Sea.
The court said additional hearings would be held to decide the merits of the Philippines' arguments. China has not participated in the proceedings and does not recognise the court's authority in the case.
Manila filed the case in 2013 to seek a ruling on its right to exploit the South China Sea waters in its 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) as allowed under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
China, facing international legal scrutiny for the first time over its assertiveness in the South China Sea, would neither participate in nor accept the case at the arbitration court, Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin said on Friday.
Liu told reporters the case would not affect China's sovereign claims in the seas.
The Philippine government welcomed the court decision.
Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, Manila chief's lawyer in the case, said the ruling represented a "significant step forward in the Philippines' quest for a peaceful, impartial resolution of the disputes between the parties and the clarification of their rights under UNCLOS".
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard, Michael Martina and Wini Zhou in Beijing, Andrea Shalal, David Brunnstrom and Yegenah Torbati in Washington, Anthony Deutsch in Amsterdam and Manuel Mogato in Manila; Writing by Dean Yates; Editing by Paul Tait)

Sea encounters could lead to war, China warns US

Sea encounters 

could lead to war, China warns US

PEACE, MAN  A Philippine Marine soldier flashes the peace sign to a Chinese Coast Guard ship after it tried to block a resupply vessel from restocking the BRP Sierra Madre on Ayungin Shoal on March 29.  INQUIRER FILE PHOTO
PEACE, MAN A Philippine Marine soldier flashes the peace sign to a Chinese Coast Guard ship after it tried to block a resupply vessel from restocking the BRP Sierra Madre on Ayungin Shoal on March 29. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO
BEIJING—China’s Navy chief had warned his US counterpart encounters between their forces could spiral into conflict, state media reported on Friday, two days after a US destroyer sailed close to Beijing’s artificial islands in the South China Sea.
The comments by Adm. Wu Shengli, who commands the Chinese Navy, were made in a video call with US Adm. John Richardson that lasted about an hour, Beijing’s official Xinhua news agency said.
They came after the guided missile destroyer USS Lassen sailed within 21 kilometers (12 nautical miles) of Zamora Reef (international name: Subi Reef), a Philippine-claimed reef in the Spratly archipelago that China has taken over and developed into an artificial island.
Chinese authorities monitored and warned away the vessel, but did not otherwise intervene, although Beijing later summoned the US ambassador and denounced what it called a threat to its sovereignty.
“If the US continues to carry out these kinds of dangerous, provocative acts, there could be a serious situation between frontline forces from both sides on the sea and in the air, or even a minor incident that could spark conflict,” Xinhua paraphrased Wu as saying.
“I hope the US cherishes the hard-won, good situation between the Chinese and US Navies, and avoids similar incidents from happening again,” Wu added.
Beijing insists it has sovereign rights to nearly all of the South China Sea, a strategic waterway through which about a third of all the world’s traded oil passes.
The disputed waters also claimed in part or in whole by Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Brunei have also become the stage for a tussle for regional dominance between Beijing and Washington, the world’s two largest economic and military powers.
Tensions have mounted since China transformed reefs in the area into small islands capable of supporting military facilities, a move the United States says threatens freedom of navigation.
Washington has repeatedly said it does not recognize Chinese claims to territorial waters around the artificial islands.
China suffered a setback on Thursday in its broad territorial claims in the South China Sea when a UN arbitral court in The Hague said it had jurisdiction to hear a case brought by the Philippines over those claims.
A Pentagon spokesperson said the US and Chinese commanders discussed “freedom of navigation operations, the relationship between the two Navies including pending port visits, senior leader engagement and the importance of maintaining an ongoing dialogue” on the call.
A US defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Chinese had expressed no desire to cancel scheduled visits by Chinese ships to a Florida port next week, and that Adm. Harry Harris, the commander of the US Pacific Command, would still visit China.
“We look forward to continue this dialogue,” the official said.
Harris is due in China on Monday for a three-day trip, including meetings with senior Chinese military leaders, the US Pacific Command said, adding that “candidly addressing and managing disagreements” was among the objectives.
A US official told Agence France-Presse on Tuesday that the US Navy would send more warships to sail close to the controversial islets.  AFP

Top Chinese military officer to visit India, Pakistan

Top Chinese military officer to visit 

India, Pakistan

Thu Oct 29, 2015 

China's Central Military Commission Vice Chairman Fan Changlong attends the sixth Xiangshan Forum in Beijing, China, October 17, 2015. REUTERS/Jason Lee
BEIJING (Reuters) - One of China's most senior military officers will visit Pakistan and India next month, China's defense ministry said on Thursday, making trips to neighboring rivals which have very different relations with Beijing.
China and Pakistan describe each other as "all weather friends" and have tight links, and while Chinese and Indian relations have improved considerably since a brief border war in 1962, the two remain locked in a messy territorial dispute and deep suspicions persist.
Fan Changlong, one of the vice chairmen of the Central Military Commission which controls the Chinese armed forces and is headed by President Xi Jinping, will visit in the middle of November, ministry spokesman Yang Yujun told a regular news briefing.
The trip is to boost friendly exchanges and help "jointly maintain regional peace and security", Yang said, without elaborating.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard)

China faces mounting int’l pressure over maritime claims

China faces mounting int’l 

pressure over maritime claims

 November 1st, 2015

WASHINGTON—Pressure on China over its claims to most of the strategic South China Sea went up a couple of notches this week. First, the US sent a warship in its most direct challenge yet to Beijing’s artificial island building. Then over Chinese objections, an international tribunal ruled it had jurisdiction in a case brought by the Philippines on maritime claims.
Neither action appeared likely to stop China in its tracks, as it seeks to assert its control over resource-rich waters that it considers vital to its security. Beijing is expected to put a higher priority on what it sees as its strategic interests than its international reputation.
But it could damage China’s efforts to win more respect on the global stage as it emerges as an economic and military power.
The United States, which has had little success to date in its five-year effort to put diplomatic pressure on China over its uncompromising pursuit of claims to more than 80 percent of the South China Sea, is hoping that makes a difference. It welcomed the tribunal decision and said it expected Beijing to abide by the final ruling next year.
Although the tribunal was set up on the basis of a provision of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea that both the Philippines and China have ratified, China has boycotted the proceedings. On Friday its Foreign Ministry declared that the ruling on jurisdiction was “null and void” and would have no binding effect on China.
The Philippine case, which was filed before the tribunal in The Hague in January 2013, contends that China’s massive territorial claims are invalid under the convention. The tribunal on Thursday decided it has jurisdiction in the case.
The tribunal will also examine whether a number of Chinese-occupied reefs and shoals—including an artificial island that was skirted by a US warship this week in a freedom of navigation maneuver that riled Beijing—do generate, or create a claim to, territorial waters and an economic zone. US ally, the Philippines, contends that they do not.
“The fact that the tribunal did not reject jurisdiction on anything in the case brought by the Philippines, and could end up ruling against it on all these counts, introduces uncertainty and anxiety for China,” said Bonnie Glaser, senior adviser for Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank.
Malcolm Cook, senior fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore, said that outside of China, many maritime law experts feel the Philippines has a strong case and are skeptical of the legal basis for China’s expansive claims, which it says are rooted in history. China roughly demarcates this vast area on maps with a nine-dash line.
Despite China’s latest legal setback, both Glaser and Cook didn’t expect it to change course.
“The Chinese navy has a very strong interest in gaining greater sea control over the South China Sea and this interest and its pursuit will likely not be affected by tribunal rulings,” Cook said.
In all, six Asian governments have overlapping claims in the South China Sea, straddling some of the world’s busiest sea-lanes and in areas with rich fishing grounds and potential undersea oil and gas fields. China’s massive construction to transform at least seven shoals and reefs into islands in the disputed Spratly Islands have ratcheted up tensions.
Glaser said China views these waters off its east coast as vital to its security which it needs to control to avert any potential crisis intervention by the United States, which since World War II has been the predominant military force in the Asia-Pacific. The ruling Communist Party also needs to be seen as defending national sovereignty.
Since announcing in 2010 that the US has a national security interest in resolving disputes and maintaining peace and security in the South China Sea, Washington has failed to get Beijing to moderate its behavior. In fact, the opposite has happened. When the US called for China and other claimants to halt land reclamation last year, Beijing appeared to double down, building airstrips and other facilities that could have military uses.
Tuesday’s sail-by of Zamora (Subi) Reef by the USS Lassen—following long demands from Congress for action and months of debate within the Obama administration—was the toughest US step to date to challenge China’s island-building.
The guided missile destroyer sailed within 12 nautical miles (22 kilometers) of the reef to underscore Washington’s position that the geographic alteration would not allow the previously submerged reef to generate territorial waters. Zamora Reef is one of the land features under scrutiny by the tribunal.
Lynn Kuok, a fellow at the Brookings Institution think tank, said that the combination of legal pressure and freedom of navigation operations could yet prod Beijing into conforming more to the UN convention, even if it does not change its official stance on its South China Sea claims.
“As China grows in strength as a maritime power, Beijing might realize that the country’s interests are best protected by upholding rather than undermining the convention,” she said.

Chinese-Canadian voters courted as key demographic in elections

Chinese-Canadian voters 

courted as

 key demographic in elections

October 17, 2015
Canada is just days away from holding elections in a close race that analysts say could see Prime Minister Stephen Harper kicked out of office. Chinese-Canadians may play a part in that.
CCTV America’s Roee Ruttenberg reports:

  • There are 1.5 million Canadians with Chinese origins, in country of 35 million people. About a third of Chinese-Canadians live in the Greater Toronto Area where they make-up one of the largest minority groups. Their vote could potentially make – or break – a candidate.
  • Geng Tan moved to Canada from China’s Hunan province nearly 20 years ago. He’s a Liberal Party candidate running for parliament in a Toronto district also known as a “riding”that has one of the highest populations of Chinese-Canadians.
  • Olivia Chow is among the country’s most well-known Chinese-Canadian faces and she’s running with the New Democratic Party in a tight race to represent Toronto’s Spadina-Fort York riding in one of the closest watched campaigns in this election.
  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper is seeking a fourth term. Earlier this month, he told Chinese-Canadian voters in Vancouver that his Conservative Party is their natural home. A Chinese-language version of his party’s website aims at delivering the same message.
  • However some Chinese-Canadian activists note that the Harper government recently introduced tougher language requirements for would-be citizens. For some, the move echoed now-outdated laws that once blocked, or limited, immigration from China.

Tiananmen Square- Censored

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: China's Cyber Attacks on the US

Friday, October 30, 2015

Husky posts $4.1-billion loss in Q3

Husky posts $4.1-billion loss in Q3

    The Husky Energy upgrader facility in Lloydminster, Saskatchewan. A man has been arrested after making a threat on social media to set off a bomb at the upgrader.
Husky Energy Inc. is considering selling assets after cutting 1,400 jobs to weather an oil-price slump.
CALGARY – Husky Energy is planning further job cuts and asset sales as it looks to consolidate projects in Western Canada to help the company weather the ongoing downturn in the oilpatch.
“Basically we are transitioning from a business with a large number of small plays into a business with a focus on fewer but more material plays,” Husky chief operating officer Rob Peabody said during an earnings conference call Friday.
The company has already cut 1,400 jobs across its offices and field operations this year as it focuses on core assets.
Chief executive Asim Ghosh said on the conference call that the job cuts were a “bitter pill” but were necessary as the slid in oil prices has continued longer than expected.
“The downturn has turned out to be more protracted and more severe than even our conservative assumptions,” he said.
“Our planned divestments will allow us to focus a much larger proportion of our capital investments that can earn the best returns.”
Ghosh said the company is looking to divest some of its legacy projects in Western Canada as well as some third-party royalties as it concentrates on projects that can generate a 10 per cent return based on US$40-a-barrel West Texas Intermediate crude and gas priced at C$3 per thousand cubic feet.
The asset sale plans and job cuts come as the company reported a $4.1-billion net loss in the third quarter.
Adjusting to exclude $3.8 billion of impairments and a $167-million writedown, Husky’s loss for the third quarter was $101 million.
A year ago, prior to the collapse of oil and gas prices that began in November, Husky had third-quarter net income of $571 million or 52 cents per share on a diluted basis.
It has also decided to make its January 2016 dividend payment in common shares rather than cash. The dividend rate will continue to be 30 cents per share.
Ghosh said the company’s priorities are maintaining a “bulletproof” balance sheet while preserving its dividend and maintaining growth.
On the possibility of a carbon tax, Ghosh said that he could support an across-the-board carbon tax if the will was there, but that Canada or Alberta as a jurisdiction cannot be disadvantaged.
“It would be politically suicidal for us to do a mea culpa and hang our neck out in a way that disadvantages the industry here,” said Ghosh.
Husky is an integrated oil and gas producer with refinery and retail operations in North America as well as exploration and production in Asia.

Husky Energy has cut 1,400 jobs and mulls selling assets in ‘fundamental shift’ of the global oil market-This will shake China

Husky Energy has cut 1,400 jobs

and mulls selling assets in 

‘fundamental shift’ of the global 

oil market

Husky Energy Inc. is considering selling assets after cutting 1,400 jobs to weather an oil-price slump.
BloombergHusky Energy Inc. is considering selling assets after cutting 1,400 jobs to weather an oil-price slump.
Husky Energy Inc. plans to keep cutting jobs after eliminating 1,400 positions, the most disclosed by a Canadian energy company in the oil-price slump.
Job cuts have represented 80 per cent contractors and 20 per cent employees and will continue, Husky said in a statement Friday, reporting its biggest-ever quarterly loss. The Canadian producer and refiner controlled by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-Shing also outlined plans to pay its dividend in stock, consider asset sales and extend a companywide salary freeze started at the end of 2014. The shares fell 5.5 per cent to $19.16 at 9:36 a.m. in Toronto.
Energy companies are eliminating workers, shelving projects and selling assets to withstand a rout in oil prices that has extended 16 months. Husky disclosed the job cuts following reductions by other Canadian producers this week, including Athabasca Oil Corp., Devon Energy Corp. and Meg Energy Corp. Suncor Energy Inc., Canada’s biggest oil producer, said in July that it had cut about 1,300 workers, making Husky’s total the largest disclosed to date.
“It is evident that the global oil dynamic has experienced a fundamental shift, driven by the resilience in supply,” Husky Chief Executive Officer Asim Ghosh said in the release. “We are fortifying the business for today and for the long term.”
The nation’s energy industry has shed at least 36,000 positions in the downturn, according to an estimate earlier this month by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.
Losing Money
Husky, based in Calgary, posted a loss of $4.09 billion in the third quarter, compared with a profit of $571 million in the same period last year, after taking charges and impairments including a writedown in the value of oil and gas assets in Western Canada due to a lower long-term price outlook. U.S. crude is trading below $50 a barrel, down more than half from its peak in June 2014.
The company said it may divest of certain oil and natural gas properties outside its heavy crude and oil-sands businesses in Western Canada and is assessing whether to sell third-party royalty interests representing the equivalent of 2,000 barrels of oil a day.
Husky plans to lower the amount of capital it spends on sustaining operations by 15 to 20 per cent next year, to a range of $2.4 billion to $2.6 billion. The company has cut almost $600 million in supply and procurement costs in 2015.
In another move to preserve cash, Husky will pay its quarterly dividend in shares starting in January. This allows the company to keep paying a dividend while also giving it financial flexibility, according to the statement.
Husky shares are expected to lag behind peers Friday because of mixed quarterly results, the plan to pay the dividend in stock and the potential to sell assets, Greg Pardy, an analyst at RBC Dominion Securities Inc. in Toronto, wrote in a note.

European Union sides with United States on South China Sea incident

European Union sides with United States on South China Sea incident

Fri Oct 30, 2015 

USS Lassen (DDG 82), (R) transits in formation with ROKS Sokcho (PCC 778) during exercise Foal Eagle 2015, in waters east of the Korean Peninsula, in this March 12, 2015, handout photo provided by the U.S. Navy.  REUTERS/U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Martin Wright/Handout via Reuters

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union sided with Washington on Friday over a U.S.-Chinese patrolling incident in the South China Sea, in a move that may affect Brussels' discussions with Beijing at next week's Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) of foreign affairs ministers.
On Tuesday, a U.S. warship sailed within 12 nautical miles of one of Beijing's man-made islands in the contested Spratly archipelago, triggering a sharp reaction from China.
"The U.S. are exercising their freedom of navigation," a senior EU official said at a briefing, chiming with the U.S. line.
A U.S. Navy spokesman had said that the patrol was part of the U.S. freedom of navigation operations meant to "protect the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea and airspace guaranteed to all nations under international law".
The EU is concerned about Beijing's plans to build new islands in contested waters, the EU official said, a statement that may be welcomed by other Asian nations opposing China's claims to almost the entire South China Sea.
Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei contest China's sovereignty over parts of one of the world's busiest sea lanes.
"Whilst not taking a position on claims, the EU is committed to a maritime order based upon the principles of international law, in particular as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the law of the Sea (UNCLOS)," an EU foreign affairs spokesman said in a statement.
The EU has been nursing relations with Beijing, hoping to attract Chinese funds to relaunch the bloc's sluggish economy and has been negotiating a bilateral investment and trade deal.
In defiance of Washington, EU governments have also decided to join the Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
European and Asian foreign affairs ministers gather in Luxembourg next week for ASEM, a regular event that brings together all 28 EU countries and 21 Asian nations, including China, Vietnam and the Philippines.

China’s corrupt media

China’s corrupt media

The recent investigation into alleged news extortion at, a financial news website under the auspices of China’s 21st Century Business Herald newspaper, is just the latest smudge on the grubby surface of China’s media industry. We can add it to a long list of desecrations, including the shameless media mudfest over the televised confession of socialite Guo Meimei (郭美美) and sensational coverage of prison escapee Gao Yulun (高玉伦).
The case stands as further proof positive that China’s media has entered an era of corruption. In the coming years, I’m afraid, we will continue to see cases and stories like these.
“Age of Corruption” was the cover of the April 2013 edition of China Weekly, the magazine where until recently I was editor-in-chief. Our coverage in that issue sketched an outline of the present age in which we have found ourselves. In our political, economic and cultural life, we are in an age of corruption. And there is no better phrase to capture the ethos of our present-day media industry.
age of corruption cover China Weekly
[ The April 2014 edition of China Weekly magazine, in fact a monthly, bears the headline, “Age of Corruption.”]
Here are some other labels that fit our media: vulgar (粗俗), shallow (浅陋), manic (狂躁), cynical (犬儒), arrogant (蛮横), despicable (卑鄙), shameless (无耻).
It would be wrong to point to some past Eden of professional purity. There was no such place. But there was at least a time — counting from around the mid-1990s — when commercial media in China sought a higher professional character as they pursued greater independence in the marketplace. There was a professional esprit de corps that somehow brightened the darker aspects of media practice.
These days, the environment grows more and more unforgiving for those journalists and media that still strive for self-discipline, determined not to make the fall from grace.
On the one hand, cynical opportunism has become the dominant spirit of our industry. Success is measured by lucre and power, and their attraction to the exclusion of all else is irresistible to most. Meanwhile, institutional factors — both political and economic — work against those who persist in their ideals, raising the real costs of good professional journalism.
This perfect storm of moral and institutional corruption has scattered and dissipated those voices within the industry that once served to check the kinds of abuse we see so readily today.
You can still hear the vocabulary of professionalism at media gatherings. But a lot of the issues we held near and dear before — like balanced reporting or protecting your sources — have been usurped by talk of revenue streams, changing business models and “venture capital investment” (创业融资).
The surest way to elicit general groans is to start the conversation about professionalism. Just say the word “innovation,” however, and you’ll put a glow in every eye. What do we mean when we talk about “innovation”? Well, naturally we meanbusiness. What else could we possibly mean?
There is still at least a superficial respect for the idea of pursuing the truth and serving the public interest, but these have been relegated to the margins. In China, we have an ancient literati tradition that emphasizes solicitude for the homeland. We also have the liberal tradition fostered by the newspaper professionals of the Republican Era. And we have, finally, the liberal and professional current that emerged at the outset of the commercial media era in the 1990s and never fully bloomed. But all of these legacies have been rapidly undone in recent years by political and economic pressures and by our darker human instincts.
Short-sighted opportunism — the dominant value in our society today — already reigns supreme in a media industry that once, not so long ago, stubbornly resisted such corrupting influences. The logical and real consequence of this is that the professional capacity of the media industry has not only failed to advance along with social change, but in fact has suffered continuous erosion.
[ Zhu Xuedong.]
In the past, you could find journalists striving for professional space even against immense institutional pressures, a process that often required yielding to the second-best choice (like Southern Weekly‘s old battle-cry, that while there might be truths that could not be told, they would not tell outright lies). Now, even this instinct is lost among media leaders and editorial staff.
With experienced professionals few and far between, expedience is now the name of the game. Online rumors are accepted as “news” without any effort to confirm, fact-check or actually conduct interviews. This is so frightfully common you can even find it at well-regarded media that consider themselves serious professional players.
Our content has become homogenous and superficial. I doubt you could find any time when reporting and writing in our media was so degenerate. These days, news stories slip carelessly into snap political judgements. Even profanity is used without care.
We all know the tendency our online media have to fish for readers with the sensationalizing of headlines. We now use the term “headline party,” or biaotidang (标题党), to refer to those who practice this special form of opportunism. But even our so-called serious media can be found hyping female sexuality on the front page or in prominent headlines. There’s almost nothing we won’t do, however undignified, to attract the all-important eyeball (吸引眼球).
When an official news release came out on the “confession” of Guo Meimei, we threw professional conduct and ethics aside entirely, becoming nothing more than an attack mob. Everyone used the information in the release and not a thing more. We didn’t even bother to attempt the most perfunctory of interviews.
Have we really abandoned the high road for the low road?
There are still media in China struggling to hold on to their professional standards. There are still journalists doing their best to take the high road, pursuing truth for the betterment of our society. But we cannot deny that the travelers on that road are an ever rarer sight. Nor can we deny that the other path grows more crowded by the day.