China NEWS SOURCES Evaluated
Agence France Presse
Although growing in importance and respectability as a news service,
AFP has very low standards and often reports outright fabrications
supplied by splinter groups and propagandists the world over, the
more outlandish, the better. AFP has bureaus in Beijing and Hong
Kong. Any report from AFP is suspect.
American Television ABC, CBS, NBC (and
all its permutations), PBS, FOX, CNN, etc.
Profit driven television news in the USA reports on China infrequently
and when it does it blindly broadcasts every tired visual cliché
known to the impressionable minds of Americans - goose-stepping
soldiers, the Tiananmen Square tank man, muddy peasants with water
buffalos, etc., images of destruction, fear, and death. The editorial
slant of all American television is anti-Beijing in particular and
anti-China generally. Although there is no complete consensus that
China is the new threat (a la the Soviet Union) when it comes to
China TV can get quite hysterical.
BBC (British Broadcasting Corp)
State-owned BBC does plenty of reporting on China much of it in
a subtle anti-China voice that may be a leftover from the days when
British Hong Kong was a foil to Communist China.
Contrary to news reports, blogging is booming in China (check
out Bokee the successor to blog-China)
and just as many blogs on China are feverishly typed each
While there are many intelligent and original blogs that expose
print and broadcast media for sloppy reporting and spreading lies
and propaganda most blogs are opinion writing at best and sophomoric
rants at worst.
The majority of blogs are the harangues of young mostly male navel-gazers
that write (to each other) in secret acronyms and neologisms to
validate their firmly held opinions about how the world should be
run. More often than not, they hide behind anonymous identities
and privately registered domains.
The list of China themed blogs is long and of relatively little
value, as most belong to a corps of bores whose expertise on China
is that they live or did live there and hate it and/or have a Chinese
wife. The blogs on China that don't provide useless information
are listed separately in the review of China news sources.
China Digital Times
A news aggregator in blog format that is part of the Berkeley China
Initiative at the University of California, Berkeley, the brain
child of resident China expert Orville Schell. The news is from
the usual sources the New York Times, Voice of America, Daily
Telegraph, AP, Reuters, etc., hence biased against the Chinese government.
Moreover, Chief Editor Xiao Qiang was formerly director of New York
City based Human Rights In China group, a high profile successful
fundraiser for programs harshly critical of China and a recurrent
recipient of large grants of USA federal government money via the
National Endowment for Democracy (NED).
China News Digest
A news aggregator that originated as a USENET newsgroup and claims
to be "independent" and impartial and run by a "community"
of "volunteers." In reality the Washington, DC area based
organization is a cover for the NED and its dated anti-Communist
crusade against China's government. The site is aimed primarily
at a Chinese audience in keeping with the NED's intent. More than
half of its budget is spent on "editorial fees."
The Drudge Report
Internet entrepreneur pioneer Matt Drudge's one page collection
of news headline links and news sources is deliberately sensationalist
and strictly conservative. Drudge is quick to throw up any anti-Beijing
link no matter how dubious and is an important first step in the
dissemination of often fake and scurrilous news stories on China
(or just about any other topic).
Despite ancient (dating back to early 19th Century) anti-China
editorial bias and extreme "public school boy" condescension in
its writing overall, the Economist delivers plenty of news about
China in the following order of reliability: economy & business,
popular culture, way of life, and politics. Generally offers one
or more special reports on China per year that are usually excellent.
The Epoch Times
Anti-China propaganda broadsheet that is distributed free throughout
the USA (mostly in the downtowns of major cities) and numerous other
countries by its private publishers. The Epoch Times officers are
known Falun Gong practitioners. It is a tool of Chinese dissident
Li Hongzhi's Falun Dafa cult and the recipient of USA taxpayers'
money via the National Endowment for Democracy and Freedom House.
Far Eastern Economic Review
Once a weekly newsmagazine based out of Hong Kong covering nearly
all topics - almost an Asian Time Magazine - FEER is now a monthly
business focused mag out of Beijing. Like Time it was firmly anti-mainland
China in editorial slant but its business and economic coverage
excellent. FEER is Dow Jones/WSJ publication and requires paid subscription.
A mixed bag - overall excellent quality reliable news reporting
on all matters financial and economic. Editorial policy is split
Martin Wolf is Beijing positive but the rest of the board
is harshly critical of China. Despite this, the FT is probably the
single best source, along with the non-editorial pages of the Wall
Street Journal, for daily news on China. And it's available in a
Forbes features frequent business news stories on China despite
a condescending tone. Forbes publishes an annual list of the richest
people in China as well as a list of world's largest companies that
now includes several Chinese firms.
A sad shadow of its former self, Fortune generally has good news
reporting on business matters in China. Chinese companies now figure
prominently in the Global 500 lists.
Plenty of China news reports and there is a reporter in Beijing
(Jonathan Watts) but the Guardian has a well known anti-China editorial
bias. The Guardian is one of the chief purveyors of news stories
on China often found to be false or exaggerated. Most egregious:
the lie that Osama Bin Laden is in China.
Another British "quality" paper (as opposed to the more commercially
successful tabloids) with a strong anti-China editorial bias and
known to spread China news reports that are at times un-researched
if not unsubstantiated. Clifford Coonan, the Independent's man in
Beijing, is quick to report any rumour about Chinese political activists
The Los Angeles Times
Considering its Pacific Rim location and large population with
Asian roots, LA's main newspaper rarely reports scoops on China
and is anti-China in its editorial policy.
The New York Times
Frequent reports on China but a long history of anti-China editorial
bias. As with the Wall Street Journal the business reporting is
often more reliable and less judgmental.
As it has throughout its history Newsweek follows Time's lead and
its China coverage is no exception. Generally its China coverage
is reliable but that does not stop Newsweek from a good anti-China
rant or inflammatory cover story. Newsweek is owned by the Washington
Reporters Without Borders / Reporters
Paris based RSF was founded by Robert Menard, the self-styled "General
Secretary" of the supposedly independent non-governmental group.
RSF is anything but unbiased however and receives its funding from
a variety of government sources including the US State Department
and Ronald Reagan's National Endowment for Democracy, whose officers
read like a who's who of neoconservatism and include nearly all
of the signers of the "Project for a new American Century." RSF
was banned by the United Nations in 2003 and kept away from its
sessions on "human rights" because of its political activities.
Through its financial contributer, TECRO (Taipei Economic and Cultural
Representative Office), RSF is organizing a boycott of the Beijing
Olympics. RSF is a font of anti-China news stories of dubious credibility.
The ghost of Henry Luce continues to guide Time magazine coverage
of China. Always conservative in viewpoint (Time's "liberal" slant
of the '60s is more akin to today's neoconservative thought), Time
continues to pound away at Red China and prop up the dream of a
Christian China. Most reporting is heavily biased against the Beijing
The Wall Street Journal
Extremely anti-China in its editorial board, the WSJ nevertheless
is a prolific reporter on business news and information on China
and a very valuable source in that regard. The WSJ requires paid
subscription. The WSJ also publishes the Asian Wall Street Journal
and the Far Eastern Economic Review.
The Washington Post
At times excellent coverage of China but anti-China editorial policy
influences reporting. Former Beijing Bureau Chief John Pomfret's
aloof reporting for years made sweeping generalizations about China
based on Zhongnanhai dramas.
The Washington Times
Owned by China hater and Unification Church founder Rev. Sun Myung
Moon, the Washington Times is unabashedly anti-China. Its "Pentagon
Reporter" Bill Gertz is one of the principle anti-China propagandists
in America basing entire reports on "anonymous Pentagon sources"
with rarely any substantiation or research. The Washington Times
and Bill Gertz were instrumental in several anti-China witch hunts
of recent memory - the framing of Wen Ho Lee, for example.
More News Source reviews coming soon!