Over the years I have grown skeptical about the media, naturally.In America, I only hear negative news about China: Pollution, underaged Olympic athletes, tainted foods, and of course communism!
From those of you who know China firsthand, what are some rarely-heard great things about China? What is life like in rural China?
China is a huge country and at any given time there are millions of problems. Western media tend to focus on a tiny portion of the population (typically the elites with affinity to Western culture and speak fluent English). What is missing from the context is the rest of the population. I think journalists working for Western media tend to filter out anything which may shed a positive light on China in fear of being labelled “propaganda”. This fear plays a great role of self-censorship in the Western media on China reporting, and is one of the reasons for people not getting the right picture about China.
I find a large lack of perspective. China certainly has problems, no question. They’re also trying hard to fix most of them. And really, comparing how far China has come since 1985 is nothing short of incredible. I think overall, the American media at least is a little too quick to criticize without taking that step back.
To go along with that, I often find there to be a lack of knowledge of Chinese history (ancient or modern for that matter). It’s hard to understand where China is today and what it’s doing without knowing where it’s been, but that’s the vacuum in which many in the media operate.
If you want to know what’s happening in Xinjiang for some strange reason, look to the western media. If you want to know what it’s like to live in China, the western media has no clue and will generally leave you confused. They can’t decide if China is a superpower or a rotten cesspool within a 24 hour period, much less tell you about what life in China is truly like.
Chinese people are just like you and me. They have ambitions, dreams, families, significant others, they work, they eat, they drink, and so on. There’s some extra stuff floating in the air and the police get a little upset when you disturb the public order. That’s about it.