This was first posted at Journalism, Journalists and the World.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi decided that any questions about China’s human rights record is not something he likes being asked. Likewise, he figures no one else should be asked about it either.
An old friend, Frank Ching in Hong Kong reported about a little dust up during a joint press conference Yi had with Canada’s foreign affairs minister, Stephane Dion.
Seems a reporter asked Dion aobut China’s human right’s record. Yi jumped in, preventing Dion from answering the question. Yi then proceeded to give the usual lies about how people in China enjoy all sorts of human rights, he then added no one but the Chinese people have a right to talk about the situation in the Middle Kingdom.
Yi then began berating the Canadian reporter for daring to ask a question about human rights in China.
- “Do you understand China?
- “Have you been to China?
- “Do you know that China is now the world’s second-biggest economy, with US$8,000 per capita?”
Frank hits the nail on the head: “If that is the way China behaves when it is the world’s second-biggest economy, what is one to expect when it becomes No. 1?”
He is also right when he wrote:
The media’s response should be to keep peppering him with questions everywhere he travels about China’s treatment of human rights advocates, the Hong Kong booksellers, the imprisonment of the Canadian missionary Kevin Garratt and the South China Sea.
Since these are the questions Wang doesn’t like to hear, these are the questions that should be asked.
Over and over again until they get a proper airing.
The problem is that only reporters who never hope to get to China are the ones who can ask those questions.
Journalists already in China who push as Frank urges will find out their visas are suddenly “out of order” or will not be renewed when they expire. Journalists outside China who ask these kinds of questions will find they will not be able to get a visa to visit China, even as a tourist. And forget about being on any agreed-to list of journalists to cover any event that involves the Chinese government any where in the world.
Frank looks into the big picture of the Chinese attitude that it has the right to impose its form of press repression around the world. (Think China’s application for the 2022 Olympics.)