Why The Government Doesn’t Want School Killings In The News

Taixing kindergarten attack bloodstains.

To be precise, the Chinese government just doesn’t want them on the front page.

If you haven’t been living under a rock, a string of school attacks rocked China recently, involving men crazy or angry enough to rampage through classrooms stabbing dozens of innocent children. The first one happened over a month ago in Fujian, with back-to-back knifings just last week in Guangdong, Jiangsu, and Shandong. The Chinese are not the only ones wondering just what the hell is going on as international media and plenty of foreigners in China have been openly asking as well.

New school safety measures.

Sina notice on Taixing kindergarten attack.

While the Guangdong stabbings last week received front-page reporting, the Jiangsu attack didn’t. Instead, the papers and media featured reporting on new measures being implemented to protect schoolchildren. Then, a notice distributed to editors at Sina, a popular Chinese online news portal, suggested that front-page or home-page coverage of the recent string of school knifings should be temporarily halted “with consideration of the World Expo opening”. If Sina received these instructions, it’s reasonable to conclude that the Chinese media overall was instructed likewise.

Understandably, many people found such instructions from the powers that be to be disconcerting and offensive:

Of course a few students’ death is not worth as much attention as the splendid greatest party of the world that we threw billions $$$ into

Sarcastically remarked on Google Buzz.

There has been another incident in a different province of China today. The news was also shadowed by the opening of World Expo. The govt is so silly, just like an ostrich burying its head in the sand, acting like no one knows about what’s going on.

Analogized by another.

See? Freakin’ government doesn’t care about the kids. They care about losing face publicly. But I don’t even think this is shameful. Why would they need to hide it?

Declared triumphantly by a third.

My reaction: I’m not so sure I’d jump to these conclusions, that the government is shutting down reporting of the recent spate of school knifing rampages, that it is because some kids’ lives aren’t “worth” the public’s attention versus the World Expo, or that the government only cares about “losing face publicly”. I also don’t think this is a case where the Chinese government is pretending something isn’t there just by closing its eyes.

I don’t think the government is really that collectively stupid or heartless. Sure, we know that there are plenty of people who don’t put much value on human life, and we know there are plenty of genuinely retarded or insensitive people. However, I don’t think valuing the World Expo means not valuing the lives of the child victims. That’s a false dichotomy.

China’s policy on information control is multifaceted, with the two most basic general facets being that it is about suppressing some information as well as promoting other information. The motivations behind censorship and propaganda can be similar, but they can also be different. Values are ascribed to any bit of information and funneled through a human judgment of what contributes and detracts from the government’s long-term and short-term goals.

What’s the goal here? Or goals?

How are your tools going to help you?

It isn’t difficult to speculate what goals, both short and long-term the government censors have in mind when they issued this directive. What is difficult is getting past our propensity to assume goals that we view as negative because we have a negative view of the government overall. What is difficult is getting past that and actually seriously considering what other very plausible, understandable goals are at play here because we can identify with the goals the government has and consider all of the concerns the government considers. In other words, rather than assuming the worst because we already assume the worst, are we able to put ourselves in their shoes?

Yes, this theme again.

In simpler words: Have you ever de-emphasized something and emphasized another for any reason?

Seriously, pause for a moment to think this one through before trying to argue why you or anything else is different from the Chinese government, before responding with “but” this or “except” that. I know there are plenty of differences, especially in scale. Governments don’t have the burdens and privileges of acting as individuals do.

Other than apathy or face, what other reasons might the Chinese government have for saying “okay, let’s focus less on these school killings and promote the World Expo”?

Some of you are going to argue, “Well, why can’t both be reported in the news? They’re both news, right? Why must the school killings be swept under the rug?”

China’s government makes no apologies for seeking to guide the public opinion and sentiments of its domestic population. It does so with an arsenal of overt and subtle tools, many of which we collectively frown upon as insidious and exploitative.  It does so, at times, to protect and even tighten its hold on power. It does so, at times, to save face or to glorify itself. Absolutely. We can already identify with these desires and compulsions as we do the same things all the time. But are we able to argue why the opening of the World Expo may be more important for the country than reporting another school attack?

Fireworks at the opening of the Shanghai World Expo.

I’m not being insensitive. I’m being realistic. Shit happens every day. Shit happens every day in China. Horrible shit. Information is powerful and the mass media more so. I don’t like being told what I should care about as much as the next person, but I definitely can understand how people use the dissemination or control of information to push agendas both noble and selfish. I can definitely see, for example, that encouraging the country to anticipate and celebrate the World Expo as a symbol of the country’s progress may be information that yields greater benefits for Chinese society as a whole than information about another instance of an epidemic of school murders. I can see how that doesn’t mean China or its government doesn’t care about kids dying. I can see how it isn’t about face. I can see how it is in pursuit of something it sees as greater. I can see how we can see it as being greater.

Not all of us may not agree with the values of the Chinese government or its propaganda arm, but it behooves us to seriously consider what they are and why they are if we want to understand and then if we want to influence change. No, it isn’t comfortable to think of excuses, reasons, or rationale for your enemy, but is keeping enemies really your goal?



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  1. When I posted originally with my question on Lost Laowai, it was only that one incident in Guangdong, then the other one hit, and then the third.

    I can’t help but wonder if some of the logic behind the media controls is in thinking that these might be copycats and that further media coverage might incite others to the same end.

  2. I know the standard liberal stance of let the info flow, but there are times that one feels that too much liberty causes sensationalism to trump what needs to be understood. Then, who makes such decisions? Then again, is freedom of the press simply an illusion? Are the owners of the presses above skewing stories for the sake of sales or advertisers?

    • Bai Ren

      I agree with you on this. In the west, media is susceptible to the fallicy of popularity. Popular news sells, and neoliberalism determins what news is important as this is dependant on consumption.

      After Columbine and other like shootings in the US and Canada some in the media, like with other stories, questioned the media blitz around the incidents -that it further victimized those involved.

      These stories are important to know about, and while not on the front page I hope we don’t hear about journalists being prevented from indepth investigation into these issues. But in keeping from the front page, there is less sensationalism. The consumer must make a little effort to keep herself informed, and engages in less uncritical consumpiton of images and headlines.

      The Expo is find for people to glance at, waves of killing in schools are not, and should be treated with more seriousness than sensationalism.

  3. Jones

    It might increase the copy cat crimes, but then a lack of knowledge on it might decrease vigilant tea-sipping 60 year old guards at the front gates. Random people use to just waltz into the gate to watch the kids/foreigner at my school. We even had a crazy man come in and try to take a child’s backpack. He was definitely a loon. The guard just kind of smiled and joked about him until he headed for the gate carrying the tiny backpack. If people realize there’s a child-knifing trend going on, they might be more apt to pay attention.

    As far as putting ourselves in the governments shoes, they did say that it was “in light of the World Expo”, right? Or did they actually say it was to help prevent possible copy-cat crimes? Hell, the copy-cat crimes would have been a better excuse even if that wasn’t their intention.

  4. Pushing Expo over kindergarten killings is a small-beer transgression in terms of CCP control of information for public dissemination.

    It’s the closed discourse, lies, deception, revisionist narratives, and the nationalistic demonising of ‘enemies’ past and present that warrant a good spanking.

    • pug_ster

      I think you underestimate the power of the media, whether it is Western or Chinese. I think the Chinese government has taken the appropriate response to this situation. If they over-sensationalize this situation, I would not be surprised if kids start to arm themselves or parents coming to schools to arm themselves in case of some nut decides to go after some more schoolkids. Unfortunately, this situations is already happening in Chicago and how the Media handles it makes this situation worse. The Chinese government is taking appropriate actions and I hope that is enough.

  5. King Tubby

    Bloody hate myself, but this is a good op ed piece, especially when I think about media spin about murdered/assaulted OS students studying here in Oz in the past few years. And did the Australian press and govt go into damage control overdrive.

    However, Kai the level pf SIMMERING social discontent is pretty high in the PRC, unlike most western countries except Greece.

    That being said, I always felt safer in Korea and the PRC late at night than where I now presently reside.

    • There is a lot of social discontent in China and a helluva lot of damn good reasons for it. Much of the Chinese government is keenly aware of this. Some are content to keep it at bay until they can insulate themselves from it and some are completely oblivious to it. However, many genuinely want to improve things but face the complicated task of “how”. I see the Chinese government’s treatment of massive events like the Olympics and the World Expo as serving a variety of interests. Part of it is to prove something, but part of it is — I think — also to give the people a sense of pride that helps them continue persevering in the face of so much that remains horribly unfair, remains to be done, remains to be solved.

      I don’t like the idea of the government telling the press what story should be reported and on what page, but just as I can understand the government seeing bad news as a blemish upon its party, I can also understand the government seeing the bad news as something less useful for the country’s psyche than getting everyone beaming over the World Expo. As such, I felt some of the reactions were a little short-sighted. I’m just not so sure there’s a definite right or wrong on this level and at this scale. It’s one of those solidly gray areas where I can’t pretend I can’t empathize with another perspective nor do I feel I could argue one course of action over another in good conscience.

      • King Tubby

        Paragraph one sounds like slicing government officials into three categories: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly.

        We’ve all seen that movie, and Blondie/The Good was still a totally self-interested shit, even when compared to the smirking Tuco and the murderous Major.

        You just can’t go on offering mega costly spectacles platformed on the belief that they build a sense of national pride and perseverence (for a significant number) still living in adverse and/or simply pissed off circumstances.

        And I don’t accept the view that the Party and govt dragged X million people out of poverty in the last 30 years, thru its *singular* business acumen and planning insight.

        It was individual initiative (bottom up emphasis, rather than top down Party gets all the credit) which led to poverty reduction, after the authoritarian and communal constraints of the truly psychotic Maoist period were relaxed.

        “Prior to 1989, the unplanned, spontaneous explosion of private initiative in rural China — fueled by limited land reforms — was encouraged by officials and even supported by government policy. Yasheng Huang called this period the “entrepreneurial decade.” Farmers were encouraged to make their own decisions for how they wanted to use their plot, even if the land itself was still owned by the state, and were allowed to sell their produce at market prices after having met their production quotas. A happy accident of the limited land reforms were the spontaneous rise in rural China of small-scale businesses, known as “Township and Village Enterprises,” which provided meaningful employment for over 100 million Chinese peasants. Significantly, during this decade, mean wages and incomes were rising at the same rate or faster than GDP growth, leading to the emergence of an independent “middle class” in China. Indeed, 80 percent of the poverty alleviation that occurred since 1979 was achieved during this 10-year period”. John Lee. http://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/articles/4868/structural-flaws-will-limit-chinas-rise

        • Totally agree one can’t keep offering mega costly spectacles or else it becomes a Roman Games problem. However, I don’t yet see that being the case for the Chinese government.

          I don’t agree at all with the notion that the Party and government lifted millions out of poverty through its business acumen and planning insight.

          • King Tubby

            Kai.
            Pls read my post carefully. It was late at night for you arguing with FOARP. You might wish to change your response.

            I was pointing out that it was a common rural people undertaking/responding to new free market possibilities to increase family income, and not the direct consequence of party directives, although local party officials did assist this emergence of a middle class, post 1980.

            My chilled out point here is important, if this site is to maintain its to and fro poster integrity.

          • King Tubby,

            It was late at night for you argu­ing with FOARP. You might wish to change your response.

            Could you quote what you’re referring to?

            I was point­ing out that it was a com­mon rural peo­ple undertaking/responding to new free mar­ket pos­si­bil­i­ties to increase fam­ily income, and not the direct con­se­quence of party direc­tives, although local party offi­cials did assist this emer­gence of a mid­dle class, post 1980.

            I don’t see how I’ve said anything at odds with this much less how anything I think is at odds with this.

            Please clarify.

  6. Most countries have a policy of not publicising suicides because research showed that copycats copied; I suspect that this may be the case of the original intent of the government to try to minimise the publicity surrounding the knife attacks.
    My heart goes out to those parents, relatives and friends of the victims.

  7. “I don’t think the government is really that collectively stupid or heartless”

    China Divide comprehensively summarised in one naive sentence

    • Yup, hanging out for all to see.

      • Is that how you guys feel about all the writers besides me here? If not, a little less generalization would probably be warranted.

      • King Tubby

        Shit, FOARP and PP. Look Kai pisses off lots of people, including me every now and then, but hey, this is the blogosphere. Give me a decent discussion to read: some history, some wit, something off the wall (and yes, PP you have lost your mojo), whatever, but, if you can’t stomach the site, move on. OKAY. BTW, I loathe and detest the Party.

    • Bai Ren

      So… you think the opposite is true? that the ccp is THAT intelligent and cruel? Come on China is no Nazi Germany, and nolonger is such a stalinist Russia.

      Sure Mao was, in a way, the greatest mass murder of the 20th century (and maybe of all history) but alot of deaths directly caused by Mao, were an off shoot of his policy implimentations not taking local and on the ground facts into consideration.

      YES even though the CCP’s current policies claim to take the benifate of society as a whole they are mostly universically applied and are used to harm the many and benifate the already powerful.

      YES China’s government still uses familiarism and believes that while its decisions may harm some they are for the greater benifate of the Nation.

      YES their definition of what is good for the nation is, in actual fact what entrenches their class power.

      But is there deliberate harm wreckless being wrought on a mass scale?

      I would argue no. deliberate harm is directed at those who contest and stand in the way of the father ruler of the 大家. This includes fa la gang, minorites, intellectuals and farmers. Not all minorities, intellectuals and farmers, just those who act against the government.

      YES I agree the CCP is THAT ruthless when it comes to seeing through its policey, but that ruthlessness is the intension of such policy decision making.

      However, if we decide that the intention of their policy decisions, which are ever more influenced by neoliberal decision making, then we should critique the ideology, and all users of it alike.

      It has been said that the USA developed by robbing foreign nations, China is developing by robbing its countryside. If all the people of the world are people of the earth, are we to see a difference?

      If you count me as an appologist because of this, let me state that it is hiddious to make the military a primary sourse of state entertianment, and to use one’s military on one’s own nation which China does. The sign of the militarys presence in China demonstraights rule from the barrel of a gun and not rule of law.

  8. “Li Meijin, a specialist in criminal psychology at the Chinese People’s Public Security University, takes it in an unsavory direction by adding that, as Danwei translates it, “scholars must perform detailed investigations for their research, but to the public and society at large, media reports ought to be ‘watered down”

    Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/evanosnos/2010/04/why-are-chinese-schools-under-attack.html#ixzz0mrdGvRYs

  9. “what is dif­fi­cult is get­ting past our propen­sity to assume goals that we view as neg­a­tive because we have a neg­a­tive view of the gov­ern­ment over­all. “

    Firstly, at least judging from your other writings, your own view of the CCP is not so negative as all that, but much more importantly what is viewed negatively is the exercise of such controls, not necessarily the motive behind their use.

    “China’s gov­ern­ment makes no apolo­gies for seek­ing to guide the pub­lic opin­ion and sen­ti­ments of its domes­tic pop­u­la­tion.”

    Au contraire, these controls are used secretly and without explanation except in the most general (and disingenuous) terms, as you well know.

    “Have you ever de-emphasized some­thing and empha­sized another for any reason?”

    There is a difference between me changing the subject when my girlfriend asks me about moving in with her and forcing the newsmedia of an entire country to effectively say “Jeez, I don’t know, it’s kind of soon . . . wow, look at the paint-job on that baby!!”.

    “I can see how that doesn’t mean China or its gov­ern­ment doesn’t care about kids dying. I can see how it isn’t about face. I can see how it is in pur­suit of some­thing it sees as greater. I can see how we can see it as being greater.”

    I guess that makes them heroes. Sorry, Kai, but no dice. What you are talking about is not ‘great’, but sheer propagandising and mind-control, silencing negative news to give maximum play to news favourable to the regime – a favourite trick of dictatorships since time immemorial.

    “No, it isn’t com­fort­able to think of excuses, rea­sons, or ratio­nale for your enemy, but is keep­ing ene­mies really your goal?”

    Once again the groundless assumption that people who oppose the CCP do so through lack of understanding. It is quite possible to have a thorough understanding of a government and yet still oppose it. In fact, given the way in which every government does its best to put forward a positive front, I would say that your view of any government is likely to become less positive the more you learn about it.

    • FOARP,

      but much more importantly what is viewed negatively is the exercise of such controls, not necessarily the motive behind their use.

      No, it is both, depending on the individual and often, either or depending on what that individual considers convenient. Here’s another thing: which one of us doesn’t exercise such controls? This is where I then ask you to “seriously, pause for a moment…”

      Au contraire, these controls are used secretly and without explanation except in the most general (and disingenuous) terms, as you well know.

      Sorry, I disagree, as you well know. Look, I’d rather you argue why you feel those controls are used secretly and without explanation in exclusion and opposition to my belief that the government “makes no apologies” rather than merely asserting “as you well know”. I’d even welcome you arguing why you think “as [I] well know”. No, FOARP, I don’t know, “well” or otherwise. That’s why I stated something different from what you’re trying to project onto me. Before you respond, be sure you read what I wrote carefully or else I’m suspect I’m going to respond next time by pointing out how you’re not actually responding to what I said.

      There is a difference between me…

      You read my anticipation of this reaction and you still haven’t figured out why. FOARP, why did I anticipate this reaction? What, if you’ve been reading, was the reason I anticipated it and what my pre-emptive response to it?

      I guess that makes them heroes.

      If that’s your guess, fine. But it isn’t mine.

      Sorry, Kai, but no dice.

      Is that me or the straw-man named “Kai” you set up in the previous quote? I didn’t say it makes them heroes. I said their actions and motives are easily understandable and easily identifiable if we can be honest with ourselves, even about ourselves.

      What you are talking about is not ‘great’, but sheer propagandising and mind-control, silencing negative news to give maximum play to news favourable to the regime – a favourite trick of dictatorships since time immemorial.

      First, please define “great” as I used it and as you’re using it.

      Second, only dictatorships? I disagree. I see it as something all of us do. I don’t see the motives nor the actions to be limited to dictatorships at all. I see such a limitation to be artificial, to be made out of convenience to reinforce a disingenuous desire to separate “us” from “them” and then to elevate “us” over “them”. It’s one thing to disagree with the actions chosen at any given time and another to pretend such actions are inseparable from artificial identities one ascribes to others in order to fabricate artificial identities for oneself. I feel a lot of people understand the Chinese government far less than they understand the identity they want for themselves in relation to the Chinese government.

      Once again the groundless assumption that people who oppose the CCP do so through lack of understanding.

      That’s not what I said.

      It is quite possible to have a thorough understanding of a government and yet still oppose it.

      I agree.

      In fact, given the way in which every government does its best to put forward a positive front, I would say that your view of any government is likely to become less positive the more you learn about it.

      I’m pretty sure you couldn’t actually describe my view of government, but you are welcome to try since your comments above suggest you’ve already decided what it must be without ever asking me.

      FOARP, I’m happy to engage in a meaningful, even strongly disagreeable, discussion or debate with you but I’m going to explicitly ask you now to NOT act like you did on chinaSMACK. I have far less patience than Fauna does and I don’t entertain moral blackmail arguments about free speech or intellectual wussiness. You can ask the many trolls (or rather, the many identities of my handful of trolls) that have come before.

      • Kai, patience is a virtue and virtue is a grace, and happy is the little blog which shows it on its face. Free speech is not ‘moral blackmail’, but a moral imperative which should be recognised in your argument.

        However, this is your blog, and if you want to ban me, then fine, but you’ll have a hard time explaining why.

        “No, it is both, depend­ing on the indi­vid­ual and often, either or depend­ing on what that indi­vid­ual con­sid­ers con­ve­nient. “

        Hence the term not necessarily – but you did not cover or properly recognise this in your original piece – that the motive for exercising such dictatorial powers is, unless it concerns a matter of the most severe and life-threatening importance (i.e., a matter of national survival), irrelevant. I hardly see how it is ‘wrong’ or somehow a bannable offence to point that out.

        “You read my antic­i­pa­tion of this reac­tion and you still haven’t fig­ured out why.”

        The anticipation which only explicitly recites scale. Rather than, I don’t know, the fact that I am not the only source of information my girlfriend has, that I don’t actually go around forcing other people to distract her for me. There is a difference between an individual act and group activity mandated by an above authority against their will. But has pointing this out become a bannable offence? Let’s see.

        “First, please define “great” as I used it and as you’re using it.”

        “Great” here obviously implies in some sense superior, overriding, more important etc. – now pick one of those definitions and have at it. Or is saying this something that will make this my last post?

        “Sec­ond, only dic­ta­tor­ships? I dis­agree. I see it as some­thing all of us do. I don’t see the motives nor the actions to be lim­ited to dic­ta­tor­ships at all.”

        As you can obviously see from my later point about “any government” trying to put its best face forward, I quite obviously think that other governments share these motives – but the means, ah, but the means! Yes, the British government can decide, for example, that 9/11 was “a good day to bury bad news” – but they cannot force the media not to roundly condemn them for it and report it for all to see. But then could saying this be enough to get me banned?

        “I’m pretty sure you couldn’t actu­ally describe my view of gov­ern­ment, but you are wel­come to try since your com­ments above sug­gest you’ve already decided what it must be with­out ever ask­ing me.”

        I would say that when someone writes a piece defending dictatorial censorship as necessary for the “greater” good, and that all we have to do is understand this and we will no longer be opposed to them, that it is obvious that that person has views on that government which are somewhat more positive than that of other people who place a higher value on freedom. But then this is “moral blackmail” of the kind which will get me banned – not so?

        • FOARP,

          Free speech is not ‘moral black­mail’, but a moral imper­a­tive which should be recog­nised in your argument.

          Respect for private property is a moral imperative in my book. I’m not interested in entertaining or giving platform to people who aren’t interested in having genuine discussions about the actual topic. You have free speech and that includes either going to another blog or starting your own if you degenerate into trolling. If you don’t degenerate, you’re welcome here. Otherwise, I simply disagree that patience with belligerence is a virtue.

          How­ever, this is your blog, and if you want to ban me, then fine, but you’ll have a hard time explain­ing why.

          You’re already trying to moral blackmail me. I already told you I’m not going to have a hard time explaining why because I just don’t care. You can enjoy your free speech where you are guaranteed it. You’re not guaranteed the freedom to troll here.

          but you did not cover or prop­erly recog­nise this in your orig­i­nal piece

          I disagree. I think it is obvious that people take issue with both the reasons behind such actions and the actions themselves. I also think it is hypocritical for people to take issue with the actions themselves claiming they can’t understand them. Since that hypocrisy then makes them uncomfortable, they then try to create artificial exclusions based on identity. I don’t consider that honest.

          I hardly see how it is ‘wrong’ or some­how a bannable offence to point that out.

          I didn’t say it is wrong or bannable for you to point that out, did I? I tacked on a pre-emptive request to my comment because of the history we have, separate from your comment about the topic of this post. There is my response to your comment and then there is my response to your presence here. I responded to your comment and then I asked you to not indulge yourself in trolling SO I don’t have to ban you and you can continue arguing other sides against me.

          There is a dif­fer­ence between an indi­vid­ual act and group activ­ity man­dated by an above author­ity against their will.

          There’s no difference in the human proclivity to do or support either.

          “Great” here obvi­ously implies in some sense supe­rior, over­rid­ing, more impor­tant etc. — now pick one of those def­i­n­i­tions and have at it.

          Is that your definition as you were using it or what you think my definition was as I was using it?

          — but the means, ah, but the means! Yes, the British gov­ern­ment can decide, for exam­ple, that 9/11 was “a good day to bury bad news” — but they can­not force the media not to roundly con­demn them for it and report it for all to see.

          What does my point have to do with the means?

          I would say that when some­one writes a piece defend­ing dic­ta­to­r­ial cen­sor­ship as nec­es­sary for the “greater” good, and that all we have to do is under­stand this and we will no longer be opposed to them, that it is obvi­ous that that per­son has views on that gov­ern­ment which are some­what more pos­i­tive than that of other peo­ple who place a higher value on free­dom.

          I’m not “defending” nor do I think “understanding” leads to no longer being opposed to what is being understood. I don’t think my point here reflects the value I put on freedom. Maybe you should’ve asked instead of actually following through on sharing your presumptions of what I think about government. FOARP, are you interested in understanding what I think or are you more interested in sharing what you think about me?

          Finally, FOARP, it is abundantly evident with your “is this going to get me banned” comments that you have a difficult time separating argument with trolling. You’re not going to get moderated or banned for simply disagreeing and arguing your disagreement. You will get banned for specifically trying to piss off people. If you keep trying to suggest that I think simply disagreeing with me is is enough for me to ban someone, you’re going to get banned. Lots of people disagree with me here. No one gets banned for simply disagreeing. I’m not going to make this any clearer.

          • “No one gets banned for sim­ply dis­agree­ing. I’m not going to make this any clearer.”

            But then you define arguing on moral grounds – a legitimate avenue of argument – as ‘moral blackmail’, and say that it is something that can get people banned. This is what blurs the line between what is bannable and what is not bannable.

            I do not think it is I who is the one who has trouble seeing the difference between legitimate argument and obvious trolling. I also wonder why it is that you choose to issue such threats on this thread rather than on the other threads on which I have previously commented.

            “it is hyp­o­crit­i­cal for peo­ple to take issue with the actions them­selves claim­ing they can’t under­stand them.”

            But who has done this? I do not know anyone who cannot understand the exceedingly banal point that the reason that the current government mandates that coverage of some things be emphasised over that of others is that those in power think the things thus emphasised are more newsworthy than those not emphasised. Understanding this hardly dulls criticism.

            “FOARP, are you inter­ested in under­stand­ing what I think or are you more inter­ested in shar­ing what you think about me?”

            I assume that what you have written is a true and genuine representation of your opinion (if it is not, please say so). Therefore I wish to clarify whether you actually do believe things which to me appear to be prima facie illogical and banal, and therefore I express my own opinion of what I have read. It may be that you can change my views on these things, or that my understanding of what you have written is wrong, and therefore I read your responses and then respond in kind. This is called debate. Welcome to the internet.

            I guess I could add that you seem to assume that anyone, or at least the majority of those who criticise acts such as the one discussed in this article either do not understand the CCP, or do not wish to understand the CCP. Whilst closed minds can indeed be found in all camps of political opinion, unless the particular opinion you are criticising is one that can only result from ignorance (such as holocaust denial, or creationism), it hardly pays to assume that the holders of an opinion are necessarily closed minded.

          • FOARP,

            But then you define argu­ing on moral grounds — a legit­i­mate avenue of argu­ment — as ‘moral black­mail’, and say that it is some­thing that can get peo­ple banned.

            No, I said trolling and then trying to avoid getting banned for doing so by arguing that it should be protected under freedom of speech is “moral blackmail” that I don’t entertain. If you troll, you’ll get banned, and I won’t be swayed by ignorant arguments about it being “free speech”.

            I also won­der why it is that you choose to issue such threats on this thread rather than on the other threads on which I have pre­vi­ously commented.

            Because I don’t issue warnings unless I see cause. You have a specific history of employing disingenuous argumentation specifically to troll specifically me.

            But who has done this?

            Anyone who is guilty of it. I’m arguing against a pattern of thought and behavior. It’s like arguing against racism instead of racists. Come on, you understand this. Why are you playing stupid?

            I do not know anyone who cannot understand the exceedingly banal point that the reason that the current government mandates that coverage of some things be emphasised over that of others is that those in power think the things thus emphasised are more newsworthy than those not emphasised.

            And yet people fail to evidence such understanding, giving themselves over to knee-jerk reactions and simplistic judgments premised upon bias, prejudice, stereotype, and us-versus-them mentality all the time. Why do you think I included sample quotes?

            Understanding this hardly dulls criticism.

            Clarify what you mean by “criticism”. I happen to think understanding this should dull many types of criticism we hear.

            I assume that what you have written is a true and genuine representation of your opinion (if it is not, please say so).

            That’s good, but then why do you misrepresent my position or put words in my mouth? Why do you make assertions about my position that are unsupported by what I have written? See previous replies.

            Therefore I wish to clarify whether you actually do believe things which to me appear to be prima facie illogical and banal,

            I recommend you first re-read whatever appears illogical and banal to you at first sight. If you still can’t understand why it isn’t illogical or banal to me and then you can quote the specific comment in question and explain why you think it is illogical. I frankly don’t care if you think it is banal. I wouldn’t be writing about it if I thought it was banal. I’m not going to defend myself over things you simply consider banal. I will defend myself over things you argue as illogical, so long as I think you might genuinely be open to understanding.

            It may be that you can change my views on these things, or that my understanding of what you have written is wrong, and therefore I read your responses and then respond in kind. This is called debate. Welcome to the internet.

            Yes, I understand that and think I’ve said as much. What I’ve emphasized with you with respect to our history is that I welcome honest debate, not disingenuous debate or trolling. This too is part of the internet I welcome you to.

            I guess I could add that you seem to assume that anyone, or at least the majority of those who criticise acts such as the one discussed in this article either do not understand the CCP, or do not wish to understand the CCP.

            I may seem that way to you but I think it is a product of your selective memory. Many people criticize these acts and yet I don’t accuse them of not understanding or not wanting to understand the CCP. Of the Chinese blogosphere both you and I are familiar with, let’s rattle off some names: Jeremy, Roland, Dan, Fauna, and not to mention our own Stan and Custer. Why is this? Because I don’t criticize people of not understanding or not wanting to understand the CCP for their criticism alone. I criticize them for the amount of understanding or willingness to understand the CCP that is evident in their criticisms. People like those I listed above have evidenced to me nuanced understanding and genuine desire to understand the CCP compared to those you remember me criticizing. All of these people have uttered strong criticisms of the CCP before, but they do so intelligently and with intelligent context.

            You can disagree with me on those people. But on the people I actually accuse of not understanding the CCP or not wanting to, I have a pretty consistent habit of quoting their exact words and explaining my disagreement and impressions of them.

            it hardly pays to assume that the holders of an opinion are necessarily closed minded.

            It doesn’t pay to misrepresent my position or assumptions either. Insofar as you’ve merely assumed that to be my position and have thus inadvertently projected it onto me, I’m telling you again that’s not how I operate. If you insist that it is, you can quote me in context and argue it. But I can already tell you that I’m still going to disagree with your conclusion and characterizations of me, and I think you already know that I frankly don’t care what some people think of me because I know we simply operate from different and irreconcilable sets of values. If you want to convince me of the way you see me, your best bet is to proceed from premises we share without offering false dichotomies. Otherwise, if we can return to the original subject of this post, you can just reiterate that you find this post banal.

          • “Any­one who is guilty of it. I’m argu­ing against a pat­tern of thought and behav­ior. It’s like argu­ing against racism instead of racists. Come on, you under­stand this. Why are you play­ing stupid?”,

            You mean you have developed this very complex line of argument specifically against a point of view which you have never heard expressed? What a man chooses to do with his time is his own business, I guess.

          • FOARP,

            You mean you have developed this very complex line of argument specifically against a point of view which you have never heard expressed?

            No, it means you’re asking for examples of racists before you allow me to be against racism.

            For the record, you clearly missed the above three quotes I used in my post as examples of that point of view.

          • Arguing against (or for, if you feel like making a pariah of yourself) racism is fine and good because racism is known to exist, a concept so well known that arguing against it seems, to use a word I have repeated a lot on this thread, banal.

            In this case however, what you are doing is like arguing against Americans discriminating against Cornish people – reprehensible, perhaps, but where is the evidence that it is a genuine problem?

            In the specific cases of the three people quoted above, well, I cannot see that any of them actually expressed the opinion that they did not know what the government’s motives were. In fact they seemed very clear as to what the government’s motives were, with even the third person quoted only asking ‘why’ in rhetorical fashion. But then again, perhaps this is just me being dim.

          • FOARP,

            Are you serious? You don’t feel there is widespread prejudice and bias against the Chinese government that colors the knee-jerk reactions, superficial opinions, and ignorant criticisms of it and its actions?

            You are free to insist in your mind that such problem does not exist but clearly it exists in my worldview. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be writing about it, would I?

            If you insist it doesn’t exist, there’s little I can do to change your mind. It isn’t as if we’re not familiar with the concept of denial. You can come back at me and says it only exists in my head but I’m not likely to be swayed by that, am I? Others will judge for themselves whether it exists or not. In my subjective reality, I feel my conception of this problem’s existence to be quite validated. Not by all, of course, like yourself, but by enough for me to not think myself crazy.

            In the specific cases of the three people quoted above, well, I cannot see that any of them actually expressed the opinion that they did not know what the government’s motives were.

            I didn’t criticize them for not knowing what the government’s possible motives are, I criticized them for their proclivity to jump to certain motives that I feel are borne out of preconceptions of the government as opposed to any serious consideration. I outlined what I disagreed with their comments in my post above.

            In fact they seemed very clear as to what the government’s motives were, with even the third person quoted only asking ‘why’ in rhetorical fashion. But then again, perhaps this is just me being dim.

            See above. I don’t think you’ve understood what my post is about yet. What made you think I was criticizing them for not having assumptions of what the government’s motives are?

          • “I didn’t crit­i­cize them for not know­ing what the government’s pos­si­ble motives are”

            “I also think it is hyp­o­crit­i­cal for peo­ple to take issue with the actions them­selves claim­ing they can’t under­stand them.”

            So who were you referring to here, if not the people quoted?

            “You don’t feel there is wide­spread prej­u­dice and bias against the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment that col­ors the knee-jerk reac­tions, super­fi­cial opin­ions, and igno­rant crit­i­cisms of it and its actions?”

            Once again, I think all camps of political opinion contain close-minded and uninformed people. I do not imagine that those who, for example, collect outside the Chinese Embassy in Portland Place in London with Free Tibet banners and Fa Lun Gong leaflets consist entirely of people fluent in Chinese who have studied every single document of relevance on the Chinese government.

            On the other hand, I am well aware that there are those for whom race is very important, who identify with the Chinese government due to their Chinese heritage and the sense – right or wrong – that the prejudice which they perceive in their own society against themselves due to their race is also being applied to the CCP. These are misguided individuals, the willing tools of dictatorship, and their opinion have little to do with China but much to do with their own identity and the society from which they come. Someone like Charles Liu would be a prime example.

          • FOARP,

            So who were you referring to here, if not the people quoted?

            Uh, the people who take issues with the actions themselves claiming they can’t understand them?

            On the other hand, I am well aware that there are those for whom race is very important, who identify with the Chinese government due to their Chinese heritage and the sense – right or wrong – that the prejudice which they perceive in their own society against themselves due to their race is also being applied to the CCP.

            Whoa, it sounds to me you’re suggesting that people who can identify with the Chinese government must do so because of their race?

            I won’t pussyfoot about it: Do you think those whom you see as “defending” the Chinese government do so because they’re Chinese?

            Let’s also see if Jones jumps in here and takes you to task for suggesting Chinese is a race.

            Why are you so quick to jump to or suggest this conclusion?

            These are misguided individuals, the willing tools of dictatorship, and their opinion have little to do with China but much to do with their own identity and the society from which they come.

            Sure, I agree that defending something on racial association alone is misguided. I don’t think that makes them willing tools of dictatorship since dictatorships aren’t always involved in such behavior. The key problem in such behavior is not “race”, FOARP, it’s the willingness to associate or disassociate on some artificial difference or similarity. I already made my comments about such, about identity, and about people’s proclivities to operate on identity over substance above. You disagree and take issue with people who behave according to shared identity. I disagree and take issue with people try to disassociate through they use of artificial identity.

            FOARP, I think you only see one side of the coin. My post relates to the other side.

          • “the peo­ple who take issues with the actions them­selves claim­ing they can’t under­stand them?”

            For example? Before when I asked you about this you seemed to direct me to the quotes in the original article for examples of this, but now you are saying that it is not them – so who is it? If this were a general line of argument your position might be more understandable, but it is a very specific line of argument.

            “it sounds to me you’re sug­gest­ing that peo­ple who can iden­tify with the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment must do so because of their race?”

            That is, of course, not what I said. But I did say that some people do, and I gave a specific and well-known example of an extreme case.

            “I won’t pussy­foot about it: Do you think those whom you see as “defend­ing” the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment do so because they’re Chinese?”

            More importantly, do you? You can see from the above that I obviously think that at least some of those who automatically defend the Chinese government do. And let me ask also – do you believe that at least some of those who oppose the Chinese government do so because they are racists?

          • FOARP,

            You’re right, I need to correct myself here. The three quotes in my post are examples NOT of the point of view you wanted examples for but rather examples of my post’s central criticism: people who jump to conclusions based upon their existing prejudices. My mistake.

            Let’s go back to my comment:

            “I also think it is hypo­crit­i­cal for peo­ple to take issue with the actions them­selves claim­ing they can’t under­stand them.”

            You argue :

            You mean you have devel­oped this very com­plex line of argu­ment specif­i­cally against a point of view which you have never heard expressed?

            Our disagreement here is two-fold. One, I don’t think or see how my comment above is a “very complex line of argument” and two, I don’t see it as being “specifically against a point of view which [I] have never heard expressed”.

            They key point of my comment above is about hypocrisy, about people who seek to disassociate from behaviors with the notion of “this is what they do/think, we’d/I’d never do/think something like this” as if they couldn’t possibly understand the reasoning behind the thoughts or actions they’re taking issue with. I happen to think most people can fully understand, and because they can, they should drop the hypocritical self-righteous faux discombobulation act. I’m not sure why this is a “very complex” line of argument. It’s just a more specific manifestation of self-righteousness, and of us-vs-them mentality.

            You want examples of where I have encountered such points of views. Okay, let’s go to our favorite chinaSMACK and check out the hordes of comments on most of the topics involving racism, public violence, rubbernecking, etc. You read chinaSMACK’s comment section as much as I do, man.

            That is, of course, not what I said. But I did say that some people do, and I gave a specific and well-known example of an extreme case.

            I’ll take you word for it, but why did you bring it up? What were you responding to where you felt it was relevant to suggest that people defend the Chinese government because of their race?

            More importantly, do you? You can see from the above that I obviously think that at least some of those who automatically defend the Chinese government do.

            Do I what? Do I think some people defend China because they’re Chinese? Of course. But I don’t see how that’s relevant to your criticism or rejection of my observation and criticisms of knee-jerk reactions and presumptions based upon artificial and irrelevant differences in “identity”. See above and previous.

            And let me ask also – do you believe that at least some of those who oppose the Chinese government do so because they are racists?

            Of course. Don’t you?

  10. Tim

    Relying on knee-jerk reactions regarding the government’s move to deemphasize a tragedy in light of another global coming-out party does do little service to understanding the motivations and hence being able to influence change. However I do take issue with the idea that that we can anthropomorphize governments in such a way that we can understand them as we would ourselves. It has not escaped me that you have asked us to pause to think about why I am different than the Chinese government or that you bring in scale as a factor to this; however, I would argue that an institution and its ‘motivations’ are not just the sum of its individuals and so how and why it behaves is not equivalent to an individual’s behavior. I can empathize with another human or even a group of humans, doing so with a monolithic structure such as the CCP or the government of the PRC is akin to asking someone to envision the number one billion – far beyond the practical scope of one’s mind. But this gets back to my original argument, any large-scale institution begins taking on a purpose and meaning onto itself that, yes, is driven by a collection of human psyches but is not necessarily defined by them.

    Just to further exasperate the issue, I do not understand China’s government and I don’t believe that any one person truly does in any real or meaningful sense of the word. So how do I empathize with it? We lull ourselves into a sense of understanding through various speculations – cynical or otherwise – deluding ourselves into thinking that we understand Zhongnanhai and its machinations. But the utter lack of real information coming from the inner workings of the government has rather successfully excluded outsiders (and insiders for that matter!) from truly understanding what is going on. Public reporting obligations are almost non-existent. Sure, we read a lot in the press and blogosphere speculating on motivations that always seem to center upon the Party’s desire to maintain it’s mandate, but this is not attributable to any one source and certainly not one that is official (actually it just appears in most news articles as a foregone conclusion).

    The government makes no apologies for seeking to guide public opinion because more often than not it does not admit to doing so. It doesn’t have to. Historically it has been considered the purview of the government in China to shape the culture and opinion of its people.

    The greater structure of how the Chinese government works appears to not really changed much over the centuries – reading the news about the government today reminds me in many ways of reading my first Chinese history book.

    I am not arguing let’s just throw up our hands and give up; I agree that understanding government motivations, if that is the right word for it, is important but rather attempting to do so as if empathy can be used to bridge this divide is a blind alley. Moreover, empathy as a tool for cultural discovery is not always accurate either – for more on this take a look at Bohannan’s “Shakespeare in the Bush.”

    • Tim,

      I would argue that an insti­tu­tion and its ‘moti­va­tions’ are not just the sum of its indi­vid­u­als and so how and why it behaves is not equiv­a­lent to an individual’s behav­ior.

      Oh, I agree it isn’t the sum of its individuals or equivalent to an individual’s behavior. I think I said as much. But nonetheless, an organization, government, or institution is still a human construct and thus entirely understandable. The only limitation is self-awareness, an awareness of human capacity.

      I can empathize with another human or even a group of humans, doing so with a mono­lithic struc­ture such as the CCP or the gov­ern­ment of the PRC is akin to ask­ing some­one to envi­sion the num­ber one bil­lion – far beyond the prac­ti­cal scope of one’s mind.

      This I disagree with. It’s not that I don’t understand or empathize with your suggestion here, it’s just that I don’t agree, that’s all. I also think characterizing the CCP or the PRC as a “monolithic structure” is a telling cliche and the line drawn as to what scale is “practical” or not is rather arbitrary. How does one decide what complexity or scale is beyond or not beyond “practical scope”?

      And again, one of my points was precisely that scale is irrelevant here. It’s about second-guessing our knee-jerk presumptions of possible motivations and rationale behind any given action.

      But this gets back to my orig­i­nal argu­ment, any large-scale insti­tu­tion begins tak­ing on a pur­pose and mean­ing onto itself that, yes, is dri­ven by a col­lec­tion of human psy­ches but is not nec­es­sar­ily defined by them.

      Sure, but I don’t see how this is at odds with my central argument either.

      So how do I empathize with it?

      Not “it”. The idea is to empathize with the possible motives and rationale, to get beyond identity and the biases that come with identity and focus on the possible causes behind actions.

      We lull our­selves into a sense of under­stand­ing through var­i­ous spec­u­la­tions – cyn­i­cal or oth­er­wise – delud­ing our­selves into think­ing that we under­stand Zhong­nan­hai and its machi­na­tions.

      I don’t think “understanding” is something we should fear “lulling” ourselves into. We should fear lulling ourselves into blind acceptance or things, but not understanding. I think both of us understand the semantic distinction I’m making here. If you were afraid I’m suggesting “accepting” with my use of “understanding”, then I hope to clear that up here.

      But the utter lack of real infor­ma­tion com­ing from the inner work­ings of the gov­ern­ment has rather suc­cess­fully excluded out­siders (and insid­ers for that mat­ter!) from truly under­stand­ing what is going on.

      I totally agree that greater transparency could and would give people greater understanding of what’s going on inside the Chinese government. I’m not against that. What I’m against are their own subjective biases and prejudices that stumble them from greater understanding irrespective of transparency. We CAN’T control the government or another person’s transparency. We CAN control our presumptions.

      Sure, we read a lot in the press and blo­gos­phere spec­u­lat­ing on moti­va­tions that always seem to cen­ter upon the Party’s desire to main­tain it’s man­date, but this is not attrib­ut­able to any one source and cer­tainly not one that is offi­cial (actu­ally it just appears in most news arti­cles as a fore­gone conclusion).

      I’m not sure I agree with this. Wasn’t maintaining the Party’s rule written into the Chinese Constitution and a variety of other “official” raison d’etre documents? I think the “desire to maintain its mandate” understanding is relatively well-established and well-promoted by the Chinese government.

      The gov­ern­ment makes no apolo­gies for seek­ing to guide pub­lic opin­ion because more often than not it does not admit to doing so.

      I disagree. I think there’s plenty of evidence of the government admitting to doing so. Yes, there’s plenty of instances where it pretends it hasn’t, but I find it really odd that anyone thinks the government has never openly espoused the importance it attaches to guiding public opinion or controlling information. You can take issue with them lying at times, but I don’t think there’s an argument to be made that the Chinese government has “never admitted to doing so”.

      It doesn’t have to. His­tor­i­cally it has been con­sid­ered the purview of the gov­ern­ment in China to shape the cul­ture and opin­ion of its people.

      Right, it doesn’t have to “admit” and I’m saying it makes no apologies, as in, it also isn’t hiding that they do that. I agree that they sometimes lie and play stupid, but I think the overwhelming amount of evidence clearly shows that the government openly engages in propaganda and censorship.

      The greater struc­ture of how the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment works appears to not really changed much over the cen­turies – read­ing the news about the gov­ern­ment today reminds me in many ways of read­ing my first Chi­nese his­tory book.

      Heh. I dunno, man. I can see this being true for the “greater structure” of how most governments work. If you want, you can specify but I don’t think this is really relevant to your central issue with my post and more just about your frustration with the Chinese government.

      attempt­ing to do so as if empa­thy can be used to bridge this divide is a blind alley. More­over, empa­thy as a tool for cul­tural dis­cov­ery is not always accu­rate either

      I disagree but mostly because I don’t really think this is a cultural issue as much as a human issue that all humans can identify and empathize with. But that’s just me.

      Enjoyed your comment, thanks for commenting.

      • Tim

        Kai,

        To put it in another way, you cannot empathize with an institution. It does not have feelings or motives per se; it is the people who are a part of the institutions that provide the motivation; but this motivation does not necessarily equate exactly to the government’s purpose. We anthropomorphize governments and other institutions as a sort of discourse short hand, but run the risk of associating feelings, thoughts and, well, motivations to a human construct that is void feelings or morals or a mind for that matter. Instead, I would suggest logical and critical thinking as a better way than empathy to understand the workings of an institution – actually for understanding most things.

        Chinese government does not frustrate me. I find it fascinating; in particular the historic parallels, which are uncanny.

        I would disagree that culture does not play a major component in empathy. The human condition is not enough to grasp the values and traditions that are the underpinnings of every society. Without a deep understanding of a people, then you are just as likely to misinterpret an individual’s motivations as you are to get it right – Hamlet is not a tragic hero to the Tiv of West Africa but he is to most Westerners.

        Regardless, I do agree with your overall sentiment: move past the conventional wisdom, take off the blinders and look a bit deeper. The motif of this blog, it appears, and one that is worth mentioning several more times.

        • Tim,

          To put it in another way, you cannot empathize with an institution.

          I just disagree. We both agree that it is comprised of people. You argue that the people provide motivation but it does not necessarily equate to the government’s purpose. I happen to think the government’s “purpose” is the sum total of these human inputs just like an individual’s “purpose” is the sum total of the individual’s goals, concerns, fears, considerations, etc.

          Instead, I would suggest logical and critical thinking as a better way than empathy to understand the workings of an institution – actually for understanding most things.

          That’s not at odds with my position whatsoever. I believe logical and critical thinking is required for understanding things, but so is empathy, the ability to put yourself in another’s shoes, the ability to see things from ANOTHER perspective. It is not either or. It is, for me, both.

          I would dis­agree that cul­ture does not play a major com­po­nent in empa­thy.

          I didn’t say culture does not play a major component in empathy. You said attempting to understand government motivations through empathy is a blind alley and then suggested that it is because empathy is not an accurate tool for cultural discovery.

          As such, I said I disagree because I don’t think the government’s motivations here are really premised in “culture” so this is not about using empathy for cultural discovery. I think the desire to control information is more a human tendency than a cultural tendency, and one all humans shouldn’t have too much difficulty empathizing with.

          Regardless, I do agree with your overall sentiment: move past the conventional wisdom, take off the blinders and look a bit deeper.

          Cheers.

  11. Zuo Ai

    why don’t we let…I dunno…publication buyrates determine what should and shouldn’t be published? What if the “noble” ideal that “yields greater ben­e­fits for Chi­nese soci­ety as a whole” really just takes people’s minds off the issues which are causing the school killings? Then it just seems dumb.

    I’m all for putting myself in someone else’s shoes, and I have definitely emphasized some things while de-emphasizing others in the past. In some cases I felt justified, in others, well lets just say I look back at those and go “dang, that was dumb”

    Dang, I think this is a dumb idea.

  12. lolz

    Well, this is kinda like the georgian guy who died right before the vancouver Olympics. You heard about his bobsledding accident on the first day then you never hear about him again. I am sure there are some people out there who feel the same way: Is his life not worth anything? Shouldn’t they fix the sport, or maybe the tracks?

    I don’t think the Chinese government even needed to order the media to stop reporting on the school tragedy.

  13. Jon

    Yes, there was a Georgian guy who died right before the Vancouver Olympics. His name was Nodar Kumaritashvili. I can’t comment on international news, but if you read the Vancouver Sun//Globe and Mail and other local media, you will find that Nodar’s death was hardly swept under the rug. From Wikipedia: ”
    The other seven members of the Georgian Olympic team wore black armbands during the opening ceremony, tied a black ribbon to the Georgian flag, and left a space vacant in the procession as a mark of respect. They were greeted with a standing ovation from the assembled crowd, and immediately left BC Place Stadium after the procession.

    A one-minute moment of silence was held during the opening ceremonies to honour his memory, when both the Canadian and Olympic flags were lowered to half-staff. Upon learning of Kumaritashvili’s death, the Canadian House of Commons ordered flags throughout the province of British Columbia, including at all Olympic venues, flown at half-staff until midnight, February 13, 2010.”

    I’m glad that someone brought this up, both as an opportunity to remember Nodar, and also as a point of contrast…

    • lolz

      When the guy died there were TONS of international coverage, there were even some controversy surrounding the media publishing the video of the accident. However once the Olympics kicked off this guy’s death became a sidenote, because there was a lot better stuff to cover to bring in the ratings. Hence if you google for this name you will find tons of news articles written on Feb 12 (the day he died) and the 13th, but not many after that. I cannot speak much for the local media since I am not canadian, but my point is that in general people not like bad news in the times of celebration to kill the mood.

      BTW, having to pull the wikipedia to demonstrate the popularity of a news item doesn’t help.

  14. Captain Lyle

    I agree 100% with Ryan.

    The logic behind the media con­trols is in think­ing that these might be copy­cats and that fur­ther media cov­er­age might incite oth­ers to the same end.

    Remaining MUM, is one of the few ways of preventing Copy Cats

Continuing the Discussion