News / Asia

Chinese Media Puts Shine on Hu's US Visit

Chinese newspaper coverage of President Hu Jintao's state visit to the White House, Beijing, 20 Jan 2011.
Chinese newspaper coverage of President Hu Jintao's state visit to the White House, Beijing, 20 Jan 2011.

News of Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to the White House is splashed across major newspapers in China. But with media notoriously censored, VOA wondered what exactly the Chinese press is saying about the visit. To find out, VOA's Kate Woodsome talked with Jeremy Goldkorn, the Beijing-based editor of, a website that keeps track of Chinese media, advertising, and urban life.

Listen to the full interview:

What are the headlines in China about the Hu Jintao visit?

"It’s very much boiler plate. Chinese newspaper and newspaper organizations are generally instructed to just use the approved copy from Xinhua News Agency, which is the state news agency, so there’s not a big range of types of coverage. Quite a lot of it has focused on the so-called image advertisements that the government has been running on CNN and on the screens at Times Square in New York, talking about the campaign to improve China’s image in America. Like, the front page of the Beijing News had a massive picture of Time Square showing screens displaying this advertisement. But very much boiler plate; the kinds of things that Hu Jintao said in his speeches were repeated unquestioningly in the media."

I was interested to see that Xinhua did mention human rights and the fact that Hu Jintao talked about human rights.

"They did. I don’t know how much of that was actually in the Chinese coverage, but there was certainly a mention of it. But that’s not really a new thing. He didn’t say anything substantially different from what other Chinese officials have said in the past."

Would you say that what appears in the English-language news is different from what appears in the Chinese-language news?

"Yes, always. If you compare, for example, the Chinese home page of Xinhua with the English homepage of Xinhua, you’ll find every day a completely different collection of stories."

What have the bloggers been talking about online?

"It hasn’t been a topic of really heated discussion. When it comes to America, there’s always a certain percentage of the Chinese Internet population that is inclined to be nationalist and to be very suspicious of America. And you certainly saw people commenting on, particularly after the stealth jet photos were spread around the Internet, you had a lot of people saying, ‘Oh good, now he’s [Hu Jintao is] going to America. Yes, we’re strong. It’s good. China should be strong. We shouldn’t take any nonsense from America.’ This kind of sentiment is fairly common.

But you also see another group of people who look at the coverage in the U.S. of the discussion of the decline of the United States and China’s rise, China becoming a super power. There’s a significant group of people on the Internet who are very doubtful of that and who don’t see China becoming an equal to the United States any time soon."

Next Media Animation, the Taiwan animators who take a satirical approach to news reporting, did an animated version of this trip. What did they have to say?

"Their animation portrayed Hu as being very aggressive and going to America to basically tell Obama what’s what, deal with his banker. That was their approach to it. But it should be noted that their videos are circulated on YouTube, which is blocked in China. So it’s not something that was circulated widely within China itself."

It was pretty funny. They had Hu Jintao taking measurements in the White House as if he was going to move in.

"That’s right. It’s sort of a continuation of a previous animation they did in which there was a rap battle between Hu Jintao and Obama discussing many of the bigger Sino-American problems. It’s part of kind of a tradition they’re developing."

Even though this is a satirical approach to the news events, is this a popular opinion of the dynamic between China and the U.S.?

"There’s no question that a lot of people in China feel that China has now become sufficiently strong that it no longer should be in a position of having to listen to lectures given by the rest of the world. That it’s time for China to reclaim its rightful place as a major power and everything that entails. That certainly is a very common sentiment in China. But one also encounters many, many people who are not quite as impressed by China’s rise as the kind of commentary you see in the United States. A lot of Chinese people are very doubtful about how powerful China really is, and how great a nation it can become.

So, you do see very clearly two different ways of looking at it. On the one hand, you see people are very happy that China has become a real player on the world stage and would like China to be more powerful and more aggressive. And you have another group of people who have real doubts about how real this is."

You May Like

Video Russia’s Syrian Escalation Tests Obama’s Crisis Response

Critics once again question whether president has been slow to act on Syrian conflict, thus creating opening for powers like Russia More

Ancient African DNA Shows Mass Migration Back Into Africa

First genetic analysis of ancient human remains in Africa suggests massive migration from north around time of Egyptian empire More

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs