Xinhua Gets Billboard at Time Square: Let the Reeducation Begin!
YOU THOUGHT YOU knew a thing or two about China, right? That, for example, it was a communist dictatorship that censors news and spreads propaganda? A violent regime that tortures and executes its own, peaceful citizens in political campaigns? A regional aggressor that is building a formiddable military? Well, Xinhua, the official newsagency of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), is here to tell you that you got that all mixed up. And they will be telling you that, every day until you learn, with a prominent billboard in Times Square very soon.
The Chinese regime's Xinhua news agency is leasing one of the most prominent advertising spaces at the iconic landmark. A new LED sign, 60 feet high by 40 feet, will replace the decade-old HSBC bank sign on the building at the northern anchor of the district by next Monday.
(Photo: The HSBC sign on 2 Times Square will soon be replaced by a Xinhua billboard. new-york-pictures.com)
Xinhua, a state-owned "news" organization, has been called the "World's Largest Propaganda Machine" by Reporters Without Borders.
The New York Times reported:
Reports by Xinhua on topics like Taiwan and Tibet, which are of considerable political concern to its government bosses, are not necessarily known for being objective.
But "not necessarily known for being objective" is a vast understatement. Xinhua is the leader of news agencies in China—in censorship, propaganda, and overall "thought management."
When Jiang decided to launch a persecution against the spiritual practice Falun Gong in mainland China in 1999, Xinhua was his main tool for the mass propaganda campaign that followed. Between 70 and 100 million Chinese people who followed the practice at that time were denigrated in bilious and hateful terms. The propaganda was a crucial part in the dehumanization of practitioners, and paved the way for violent persecution.
Xinhua had played a role in previous political campaigns, too, of course, many of them also violent. Apart from agitating for hatred, however, Xinhua is also a broerk for the more mundane lies of everyday Chinese life. What would a dictatorship be without lies, after all?
When the 2003 SARS outbreak coincided with the transition of power from former communist leader Jiang Zemin to Hu Jintao, Xinhua chose to keep quiet for much of early stages of the 2003 SARS epidemic, resulting in delays in efforts to control the epidemic.
When Western media such as CNN and BBC reported on Chinese police opening fire on Tibetans in 2008, Xinhua said that they had misrepresented the events by cropping the news photos "improperly." One such cropping lesson (see photo on the right), as demonstrated by the Chinese embassy, cropped out a knife-wielding protester (top-right corner) when Chinese officials realized that he was a Chinese policeman dressed in Tibetan clothes.
When Xinhua was designated the official source for reporting on the recent "Arab Spring" uprisings, Xinhua showed how Egyptians were anxious to end the "riot" and get back to normal life and published a series of photos showing how violent the civilians were in overthrowing their dictator.
And now, Xinhua is officially moving to the West.
Xinhua set up an office at Times Square in May at 1540 Broadway, introduced a 24-hour English-language broadcast service last year that seeks to reach 50 million viewers around the world, and soon it will have a Times Square advertising spot alongside those of American insurance company Prudential, Coca-Cola, Samsung, and Hyundai.
A media researcher from Hong Kong Universtiy, David Bandurski, said:
China sees the creation of a positive international image as the last major hurdle on the road to superpower status.
And the communist leaders will do this in two steps, as specified by Information, a Danish newspaper that obtained secret documents from Party Central:
A positive outlook on China will be disseminated through a comprehensive campaign to fight what Beijing sees as a Western smear campaign against China. At the same time, it must be prevented that critical voices and critical news reports find their way to foreign media columns.
As communist voices shift westward, Americans, are you ready to be mass educated—Xinhua-style?