Taking Stock

It’s time to get Orchis Tower going again, after an involuntary break induced by an overflow of other, teaching-related work. Followed up on my China feeds today. Read and tried to digest a few hundred blog posts. Mostly about the Tibet crisis, mostly depressing, with a lot of noise. Some signal – like most entries on the very good China Beat. I especially liked this posting, which is pre-T, but highly applicable to the issue. Another interesting item was this article on The Guardian’s Comment is Free website. Its author, Pankaj Mishra, also contributed a portrait of the Dalai Lama in a book review at The New Yorker, a little too favorable to my liking, e.g. sparing the reader the tibetan leader’s known involvement with several bloody CIA plots in times of the Cold War.

Many German media really did a poor job (follow the link and scroll down for some examples) during the Tibet crisis. Even experienced China correspondents like Kai Strittmatter (Süddeutsche Zeitung) contributed biased and clichéd reporting. And, especially with the Germans’ infatuation with the Dalai Lama, the willingness to come to uninformed and quick conclusions seems to have been overwhelming.

No fun being a Chinese in Germany these days. Read this sad protocol of a young Chinese’ conversations with his german co-worker in some german office, ripe with arrogance and misunderstanding. (Of course he’s wrong in assuming that it is the Germans who block the Internet connection to his favorite China-based BBS, but this just shows how much mistrust has already been caused.)

There have been exceptions, of course, like an early interview with Georg Blume, a ZEIT and TAZ correspondent who was at Lhasa during the first days of the riots, or this thoughtful article at Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung about the communication breakdown between chinese and western media. But even the Blume interview was tainted by the editorial staff of SPIEGEL ONLINE with a misleading headline.