While there are problems everywhere around the world, in many instances, China's problems are the direct result of fraud and corruption. The moral compass is missing. Case in point. CCTV is dedicating large amounts of coverage to the horse meat scandal in Europe. Horse meat is not toxic, it is just not the beef it is labelled as. At the same time, CCTV is giving scant coverage to the latest food scandal which involved Chinese people adding hazardous and poisonous chemicals to duck meat in order to pass it off as more expensive mutton. In Chinese this is called 鱼目混珠 (yú mù hùn zhū) which translates as "to pass fish eyes off as pearls". It is a common theme when doing business in China, which is why no one trust anyone else in China.
Chinese people are understandably interested in both what happens in China and overseas. Seemingly constant Food scandals and environmental pollution is seen as the result of incompetent or worse corrupt regulators responsible for stopping this. China's netizens are always very active online in these themes.
China's government has a history of trying to distract its people from its own problems by focusing attention on something overseas. Usually it is Japan's invasion of China.
Honesty really is the best policy in the digital world as people have access to much greater information, even in China behind the Great Firewall of China. Chinese people are not going to be distracted from their concern about their own food and environmental issues, regardless of what happens in Europe or the U.S. Chinese people care about their lives in China.
Understandably, CCTV's efforts have simply created a backlash against itself and CCTV and China’s already loathed food safety and environmental regulators. In the West, the press/media serves as a check and balance on companies and government. In China, Chinese netizens are filling this void when Party mouthpieces like CCTV continue to live in past when propaganda was unquestioned.
Soft power is hard to do right. China still has a long way to go.
Source:"In China, Horse With a Side of Poisonous Fake Mutton", Bloomberg, February 20, 2013.
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