After CNN on Thursday published an op-ed article questioning the characterization of last week’s Tiananmen Square car crash as a “terrorist attack”, the Global Times, our favorite propaganda machine out of China, called CNN out for ‘disrespecting itself with terror sympathy’, saying that the publication ought to “Have some self-respect”.
In the CNN op-ed, titled “Tiananmen crash: Terrorism or Cry of desperation?” author Sean R. Roberts describes a living situation for Uyghurs in Xinjiang in which the Chinese government has “created a virtual police state” by “employing enhanced surveillance of Uyghur citizens, actively repressing Uyghur’s political voices, and greatly curtailing Uyghur religious practices”.
The author says these “anti-terrorism measures” have led to the arrests of “large numbers of Uyghurs on charges of engaging in ‘illegal religious activity'” and “With these events unfolding in the region that Uyghurs view as their historical homeland, one feels compelled to question whether Monday’s alleged attack was a well-prepared terrorist act or a hastily assembled cry of desperation from a people on the extreme margins of the Chinese state’s monstrous development machine.”
Despite CNN’s op-ed opening the gates for some potentially stimulating discourse, the Global Times, once again, left us wandering in a response full of finger-pointing and half-formulated arguments that get lost in a slew of confusing sentences:
Western media likes expressing their sympathy and support for Xinjiang’s violent terrorists through interviewing leading figures linked to the East Turkestan Islamic Movement such as Rebiya Kadeer.
However, CNN is way out of line this time. It bluntly showed its attitude by highlighting the article authored by Sean R. Roberts, an associate professor of George Washington University.
This is referencing the editor’s note of the author’s credentials (he has done fieldwork in China’s Xinjiang region and is currently writing a book on the Uyghurs of Kazakhstan).
The editorial then goes on to say that it is of “vile nature” for the author’s view to be published for all to read in mainstream media.
In fact, praise for Osama bin Laden had been heard over dinner among some of the Chinese public after the 9/11 attacks, with a few commending Bin Laden as “contemporary Robin Hood.” Nonetheless, such remarks didn’t appear in the Chinese media, which strongly criticized the maleficence of Al Qaeda.
Those involved in suicide terror attacks all have their own desperation and animosity, no matter if Al Qaeda members who attacked the West or Palestinian suicide bombers in Israel. However, should there be no brainwashing from extreme religious forces, how can the slaughter of innocent civilians be taken as a “just cause” or “jihad” and zealously carried out by followers?
The article states that Western elites often hold double standards when it comes to terrorism in countries like China and Russia, and publications like CNN are falling out of favor among Chinese readers.
France’s President François Hollande denounced terrorism and expressed condolences to the victims after the Square incident, which helped win France favor among the Chinese public. In contrast, CNN showed a dark-minded US which is inconsistent with its superpower position.
Last, the editorial drops in a reference to the highly-publicized Jimmy Kimmel skit that ruffled some feathers in both America and China when one child jokingly suggested that the US “kill everyone in China” as a solution to their debt crisis.
Not long after a kid suggested “killing everyone in China” on the US television network ABC, CNN defended violent terrorists who perpetrated the Square incident on its website. We have to say to our US counterparts: Have some self-respect.
While Robert’s article is certainly controversial, the Global Times, instead of engaging in the conversation of what constitutes an act of terrorism, essentially boils the introduced complexities down to the black-and-white concept that ‘terrorism is bad’ and “all peace-loving forces for good will should unite together in combating terrorism”.
Of course, the fact that the Global Times is condemning CNN for publishing an opinion article challenging views of
the Communist Party popular opinion in China is no surprise, considering that in September, the paper published an editorial defending the recent ‘anti-rumor monger’ campaign in China, wherein one official suggests that the recent censorship crackdown is helping to ‘protect freedom of speech’.