Global Times: China’s foreign policy bulldozerBy Asia Sentinel Nov 23, 2011 11:47AM UTC
Newspaper plays bad cop to the Party’s good cop, writes Asia Sentinel’s Jens Kastner
The Global Times, a Beijing-based newspaper published both in English and Chinese, is making unprecedented waves in China’s capital with starkly worded op-eds calling for military action against China’s neighbors.
Although it is published under the auspices of the Chinese Communist Party, its articles go far beyond the harshest party rhetoric. For instance, demands made within the last two months alone include strikes against US weapon systems if Taiwan purchases them as well as against the Vietnamese and Filipinos for defending their littoral interests in the South China Sea and even the South Koreans for having detained Chinese fishing boats.
Although these calls for war have been followed by calming statements by Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu, observers say the ultra-hawkish articles are part of a well-orchestrated campaign aimed at helping Beijing gain concessions in international negotiations.
Despite the fact that Jiang Yu said the publication is allowed to pursue an independent line dictated by Hu Xijin, the editor-in-chief of both Chinese and English versions, an American who worked there from 2009 to earlier this year, said that’s nonsense.
“The Foreign Ministry lies, of course. The editorial board is no more independent than any other state-owned media outlet,” the former employee said. “It was and is subject to frequent last-minute changes dictated by the baffling whims of the Foreign Ministry and the Propaganda Ministry as well as the more conservative voices at People’s Daily.”
He countered the widely-held notion that editor-in-chief Hu himself masterminds the saber-rattling: “Mr. Hu does not write the majority of the editorials as is often stated in other articles about the Global Times. He writes some, but many are translated screeds from the People’s Daily or the Foreign or Propaganda Ministry.”