State Council Information Office says Western media coverage of China has taken a turn for the better

It should perhaps concern Western journalists that they are doing a slightly better job promoting China to the world, according to the principle information office of the Chinese government. Wang Guoqing (王国庆), deputy chief of China’s State Council Information Office, announced to participants in the 2006 meeting of the China International Public Relations Association (CIPRA) on June 22 that “negative” foreign news reports on China were slightly down last year, continuing an overall trend. According to his office’s internal analysis of 243 articles from such “mainstream” Western media as the Washington Post, 26 percent were “impartial”, 40 percent “balanced” and 34 percent “prejudiced”.

Coverage by China News Service of Wang’s speech, “Building a Harmonious World and Our Image to the Outside”, explained:

For the most part the impression given in this coverage about China was that its economy was growing fast with great potential, and was actively participating in international trade; in political terms, China is playing an important role in international affairs, but falls short in the areas of democracy and human rights; in social terms, China has a deep and rich traditional culture, but falls short in terms of public health and the environment. Characterizations of the government and government organizations were largely neutral or negative, and the image of enterprises was downplayed.

In the 1990s, said Wang, “negative” reports accounted for 70 percent of total news coverage in similar surveys:

As to the results of this newspaper analysis, one of the most gratifying things to find is that in the 1990s there was much negative coverage demonizing [China], as high as 60-70 percent, so in recent years mainstream Western media coverage of China has undergone some changes. But the changes still fall short of what one would wish, and demonization of China continues to characterize much mainstream Western coverage.

[Posted by David Bandurski, June 24, 1:15pm]

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