Glad That's Cleared Up! China Soft-Power Watch #29,168

By James Fallows

The proudly nationalist Global Times has reassuring news for those concerned about the denial of a visa for Melissa Chan, the (excellent) China correspondent for Al-Jazeera, who will soon be leaving Beijing and closing the Al-Jazeera bureau behind her:

GTChan.jpg


Phew! That is so good to know.

Among those who will feel much better after this clarification are Evan Osnos of the New Yorker ("China is moving backward..."), Isaac Stone Fish of Foreign Policy ("the troubling pattern of the foreigners Beijing has targeted over the last decade..."), and James McGregor of One Billion Customers, as quoted by Josh Chin in the Wall Street Journal ("Before, China used to try to influence foreign journalists. Now they're trying to control them the same way they control local journalists, through intimidation...")* I'm sure that, like me, you will feel better too after you compare Global Times's account with these others. This is what soft power is all about.
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* Disclosure: Osnos and McGregor are friends whom I saw often while in China, and I've had some professional contact with Fish and Chin and respect their work. I know Melissa Chan only through her reporting. FYI, and because it complicates this case, she is a U.S. citizen. Isaac Stone Fish examines the implications of her national and ethnic identity.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/05/glad-thats-cleared-up-china-soft-power-watch-29-168/256959/