Alex in Guizhou – China 0

Saturday, September 30, 2006

WeAmericans mustnt be too cynical at the mention of Chinese censorship.The amount snipped away from radio, television and websites not onlyfluctuates greatly but is in fact a proxy political barometer.Invisible battles within the Chinese Communist Party are few when I canwatch penetrating political commentary on nightly talk shows, and bothmy Blogspot and Gmail accounts are accessible. They were not in July.And when talk shows are frequently interrupted, something is probablyerupting in Tibet or Xinjiang.

Suchtroubles probably made the central government bristle last week.Watching a Hong Kong news show last night, colored bars intermittentlybetrayed the clumsy hands of Beijing cens-ors during a rather ordinary debate on Taiwan.

But local and provincial television networks also operate independently and earn their revenue from advertising. Guiyangstations have just as much incentive to entertain as Fox 5 does, andtheir material is just as hysterical. The CCTV government networks,however, turn out dross invariably.

Asone of the few foreign Mandarin speakers in town, my convictions arereinforced by the journalists. Ive been interviewed countless times,but the topics are generally as fluffy as anything on the tube: food,the dizzying traffic, the Culture Differences, etc. My grand debutfeatured on Guiyang 5 last Thursday: Whenstreet din didnt drown everything else out, viewers were treated to mystumbling commentary on the differences between Guizhou and American food. Like every other interview Ive endured, the exchange began with How do you feel about this” (Specifically, 你對有甚麽感受”) Equally vague questions followed.

Glitteringplatitudes are acceptable, but I still ought to learn the correctanswers to these questions when intrepid reporters press me on how I feel about turnips or a train wreck in Zhengzhou next week. Otherwise, Guiyangfolk would like to hear that their food is too spicy for Westerners tohandle and that Mandarin is a difficult language to learn. And it neverhurts to join the chorus of advertisers and pundits who preach Japans incontrovertible evil.

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21 Jan 2007

21 Jan 2007
18 Oct 2011 – start of travelblog

posted Saturday January 2007