Olympics-China Media Watch: All the (good) news fit to print

All the news is excellent in China today. The Web site of Xinhua News Agency today leads by telling its audience: “Olympic dream brightens the world.” At the provincial levels, the news is equally good, but with a local angle. The Web site of the Southern media group reports that cooperation between south China’s Guangdong province and Hong Kong is bound to improve.  

What’s missing is what’s notable in Xinjiang, where 16 paramilitary police were reported killed yesterday by two unidentified attackers. The daily government-run newspaper in Xinjiang tackles the story by running … nothing.

This is typical of any sensitive period for China’s national leaders. News is always especially good around the times of national government meetings, and even more so during the super-important conferences determining transitions of leadership. These are also the times when dissidents are likely to be placed under house arrest, and bloggers are told to delete critical posts.

The Olympic Games certainly qualify as a whopper of a sensitive event. So it’s no surprise that things are looking rosy.  

Newsweek writer Jonathan Ansfield points out that Chinese bloggers have developed coping mechanisms to deal with the incessant state-mandated sunshine. Puns, he says, have become the bloggers’ tool of choice:

On Thursday, the acclaimed journalist Chen Feng took to blogging a series of Olympic news satire named for yet another derogatory expression for the Games, the gong wai yun (恭外运). Literally, the coinage is an abbreviation for an “event where foreign athletes are respectfully received.” Alternately, it’s a homophone for “extrauterine pregnancy”. 

Chen adds two new posts today, One is the transcript of a fake press conference held by a spokesperson for the gong wai jun, who cheerily answers questions curious reporters (from Xinhua and People’s Daily, misspelled so as to avoid detection) about the government’s new temporary initiative. In honor of the gong wai jun period, the faux spokesperson says, the state will lightly punish officials who break the law.

His second post is about new driving restrictions. Riding his bike and the subway in the heat and dirt of Beijing, he writes, he has turned him into a soup dumpling.