Don’t Insult our Sanity, Xinhua

September 25, 2006 at 5:49 am (China, society)

I had decided to stay away from discussing Xinhua for two reasons: first, two many people have been rebuking Xinhua so that my voice will be redundant; second, no matter how severely we criticize Xinhua, Xinhua won’t change itself.

But I have to say something today when it turns out Xinhua is not only a rogue, but is a cowardly rogue. After did something filthy, it even has no courage to acknowledge its misbehavior. For a society as a whole, I would rather see a brave rogue than a pusillanimous scoundrel. Besides, an audacious villain is at least more lovely than a timid one.

A few days ago, Xinhua banned foreign financial news agencies, such as Bloomberg and Reuters, from directly serving their customers in China. Xinhua named itself as the only legal intermediary between foreign agencies and Chinese customers.

It’s common that whenever Chinese government wants to do something, it always cites two reasons, one ostensible reason for the public and one genuine reason for itself, and it’s obvious that what Xinhua really covets is the lucrative financial information service business, rather than as it claimed maintaining news order.

Xinhua is a government monopoly, and like all other monopoly, it will enlarge its own profit relentlessly with no consideration of the rest of the market. This inherent characteristic makes it no news that Xinhua will reach its hands to all profits, using non-marketing means. That’s why I am not surprised when it outlawed Bloomberg’s business.

But what happened later really piss us off. Facing the international reprimand, Xinhua updated its ostensive reason as tax evasions. Several points emerged from this allegation. First, as a news provider or even as a news supervisor, Xinhua is not the correct one to judge the tax issue. Second, banning direct business is hardly a justifiable way to punish a tax evasion. If someone evades tax, simply order them make up for the balance, or more severely, simply fine the unruly companies or kick them out of the country. What the hell does a forbiddance of direct business have anything to do with tax evasions?

Getting desperate, Xinhua today published a story vindicating itself. The story made an even more audacious lie and finally justified Xinhua as a gutless rogue. It goes: “Internet users resolutely support Xinhua’s management measures for news and information dissemination by foreign news agencies within China.”

Give me a break. Who are the so-called Internet users resolutely supporting your decision? Is there really someone insane? How come we Internet users never saw any of your “supporters”? Xinhua of course failed to name even a single “supporter” in the story.

Come on Xinhua, be brave, there is nothing wrong that you use some stupid excuses to claim the market share. We all know your are a monopoly and we can kindly tolerate your dictatorship. But don’t insult our sanity by fooling us that “Internet users resolutely support” your measures. Besides, who believes?

(Read Xinhua ignores critics of new media rules from FT)

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