Skip to comments.The War of Words in China
Posted on 08/03/2014 1:01:18 AM PDT by nickcarraway
I DIDNT ask for a Wikipedia page, but a few months ago, alerted by a friend, I found that someone had created one, ostensibly devoted to my journalistic achievements.
I was flattered. Until I opened the page.
Since 2008, Jacobs has written over 400 articles, the vast majority of which portray China in a negative light, read the entry, which went on to claim that many of those articles contained journalistic distortions.
A sympathetic friend edited the page, removing the assertion that I am devoted to smearing Chinas good name. The very next day, the anonymous creator changed it back. The editing war, as such tussles are called, went on for months until Wikipedia put a stop to it.
These are challenging days for foreigners in China, who in the past year or so have increasingly found themselves caught up in a war of words that paint Westerners as conscripts in the army of hostile foreign forces seeking to thwart Chinas rise. Multinational companies have also been placed in the cross hairs, especially iconic American brands that have been accused of charging too much (Starbucks), serving tainted meat (McDonalds) or behaving like a monopoly (Microsoft).
Although there is no proof that the Chinese government was behind my Wikipedia page, the Communist Party is known to employ vast numbers of freelance propagandists who guide public opinion through social media or in the online comment sections of articles. Earlier this month, the advocacy group Free Tibet uncovered about 100 bogus Twitter accounts that used purloined photos of white people to tweet syrupy stories about contented Tibetans ignoring the reality of those who are self-immolating to protest Beijings hard-line policies.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...