[Air-L] Media Ecology -- PRESS ON (WSJournal)
Han-Teng Liao (OII)
han-teng.liao at oii.ox.ac.uk
Wed May 21 14:56:39 PDT 2008
If you have MSN friends from China, you might be able to see some of
them "wearing" a rainbow pin on the title of their MSN profile.
It is said (not confirmed) that MSN at Hong Kong will donate 0.1 RMB
when an MSN user wears a rainbow pin....
Flag pins for Obama, and rainbow pins for Chinese
> Beijing Uses Media to Shape Nation's Mourning
> Entertainment Put
> On Hold Amid Grief;
> Bloggers Fall in Line
> By GEOFFREY A. FOWLER and LORETTA CHAO
> May 20, 2008; Page A8
> BEIJING -- At 2:28 Monday afternoon, a country that seems to be in
> constant motion came to a standstill. For three minutes, traffic
> froze, construction workers halted their drilling and workers stood
> silently outside their offices in white shirts that read "Press On."
> The moment of silence, part of a three-day period of national
> mourning to mark the 34,073 confirmed dead from the roughly 8.0
> magnitude earthquake that shook Sichuan province exactly one week
> before, came on a day of more grim news: The official Xinhua news
> agency reported that a series of mudslides had killed 200 rescue workers.
> The mourning reflects both a tremendous sense of loss and the
> government's desire to ensure that emotions are channeled properly.
> Even as concerned citizens around the country cried in honor of the
> dead pictured on television, some survivors in Sichuan found their
> grief turning into anger.
> During the official mourning period, the government has taken the
> unusual step of effectively shutting down entertainment in China --
> silencing karaoke parlors, forcing entertainment programming off Web
> sites and TV stations, shutting down online games and suspending TV
> and online ads. The last time China undertook such a long national
> period of grieving was when Mao Zedong died in 1976. Historians say it
> is the first time such an event has been held in honor of regular
> citizens, rather than government leaders, according to Xinhua.
> The mourning period helps the grief-stricken nation "have some sense
> of psychological closure," said Dali Yang, the director of the East
> Asian Institute at the National University of Singapore. "It's all the
> more important because there's no national religion and the Chinese
> Communist Party cannot bring in a priest to help the healing process."
> The government is using its control of old and new media to shape the
> conversation. Party-run coverage from broadcaster China Central
> Television, including repeated footage of flags being lowered to
> half-staff, replaced normal programming on many broadcasters. Foreign
> broadcasts of HBO and other entertainment channels were replaced with
> a message that said they had been cut off "in order to express our
> heartfelt condolences for the victims of the disastrous earthquake."
> Chinese newspapers, some of which provided their own aggressive
> coverage last week, relied more on stories from Xinhua. Newspapers
> across the country used only black ink on their front pages.
> And on the Internet, the largest portal and video-sharing sites shut
> down some of their entertainment offerings in accordance with a
> government order. An order sent to some Web sites, as reported by a
> blog known as the Shanghaist, required them to "immediately report and
> give priority to reports on the national mourning days."
> Chinese bloggers, sometimes critical of government efforts to
> regulate speech, largely expressed solidarity with the idea of a
> mourning period; technology commentator Hong Bo, known as Keso, posted
> on his blog an ancient Chinese poem about crying.
> "It's pretty amazing that the government can do this," said Bill
> Bishop, a Beijing-based Internet entrepreneur. "I think it just shows
> some people may have gotten a little complacent about how the media
> work in China; it shows where the power really does still lie."
> The quake relief effort has received 10.8 billion yuan ($1.5 billion)
> in monetary and in-kind donations. The government hasn't yet said how
> much of that came from Chinese nationals. Office buildings, shops and
> restaurants all over the country held their own fund-raising efforts
> Monday. A Sunday-night telethon on China Central Television raised 1.5
> billion yuan.
> The quake has cost companies 67 billion yuan in direct losses so far,
> according to the government.
> A retired soldier who joined mourners in the moment of observance
> along Beijing's Wangfujing area said he had been trying unsuccessfully
> to get a team of volunteers together to go to Sichuan. "I want to say
> to the people of the affected areas, 'Don't be afraid. The party, the
> country and the whole nation's people are all helping you,'" he said,
> as his eyes filled with tears. "I hope they can rebuild their homeland
> as soon as possible. I feel very proud to be Chinese."
> In Beijing's Tiananmen Square, hundreds rallied after the moment,
> carrying Chinese flags and shouting "Go, China," a phrase usually used
> at sporting events.
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DPhil student at the OII <http://people.oii.ox.ac.uk/hanteng/about/>(web)
needs you <http://people.oii.ox.ac.uk/hanteng/>(blog)
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