When it comes to politics and religions, rather than rushing into my own conclusions and taking sides I tend to be a silent observer. Everyone is entitled to their opinions and should be free to express them and these rights should be respected by others. But forcing someone’s opinions onto others is quite a different story.

But how does someone form an opinion over a matter? Put simply, I think people absorb (hear, see, smell, feel etc) information about something and apply their principles, moralities to it. If you think about it, there are quite a few carriers/barriers from the point where an incident occured or a matter came to existence, to formation of an opinion over that incident/matter…

So how do people learn about something happened? – The biggest player here is the media.

Can media really just report on factual information unbiasedly, without having a positive or negative connotation on the news they report on? Unlikely. Remember media companies’ goal is to get the highest possible viewership and readership. They’d speculate, distort and fabricate news however they like to suit their audiences’ tastes.

Funny enough, people fall for it. It’s interesting that people tend to take these reports at face value without digging a little deeper and doing a little more research on the subject. What’s sad is, people will form their own opinions based on these so called news at face value. It seems that having an opinion is more important than finding out what actually is going on. Okay, that’s fine, everyone is entitled to their own opinions and should be free to express them. Sure, healthy discussions should be encouraged, we should respect others’ opinions and all. But what’s pathetic is starting preaching your opinions to others that disagree, personally attacking others that disagree,  or even worse, becoming violent in the name of defending so called “justice”… All of this is based on the prematurely formed opinions…

Others call it media effect, I call it manipulation, when you put politics and religions into the equation, it soon turns into a nightmare.


3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by AChineseGovernmentGoon on April 16, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    Good post.

    If you look at the way the biggest decisions are made, it appears that ‘truth’ is best seen through the conflict of the two or more most extreme perspectives or viewpoints. This is how ‘truth’ arises in the courts.

    This approach accepts that there is no objectivity, rather the parties involved express their goals beforehand and do their best to create a burden of proof to back up their viewpoint. Ultimately, a jury decides the fate of the accused based on the framework created by the presiding judge who instructs the jury on the applicable law.

    The problem is that a lot of the time, the truth does not sell. The media are an entertainment business. A good story sells much better than fact. (Or at least that’s what people have been trained to look for from the media.)

    The stor of the Lhasa riots went throught the papers in the West for weeks – I definitely went on more news sites than I had ever done before to see what’s going on. In this sense, the media’s approach worked because it generated them more exposure and more money.

    Hehe…. It seems that the best state in which to leave your audience is the state of confusion. This way they gotta keep coming back for more. The state of certainty or ‘truth’ is a distant second.


  2. Posted by Matthew Molloy on May 1, 2008 at 11:03 am

    Hi Sun,

    Matt Molloy here. Interesting comment. Although I agree that stereotypes can play a destrucive role in interacial relations, I find it difficult to take critisism of bias in the western media seriously from a country where the internet is censored and dissidents are jailed merely for critizising the government. Consider Fulung Gong. In the late nineties it enjoyed official support from the Chinese government, until it grew too popular. It has since been deeply vilified on an unsubstantiated basis. It doesn’t help that fulung gong openly criticizes the government, but this is something we do all the time in the west.

    CNN may well be biased (I personally haven’t watched it), but proudly nationalistic chinese, most of whom have no more knowlegdge about Tibet than westerners, cannot claim to be any better. Speaking of ‘becoming violent in the name of defending so called “justice”’, please bear in mind where most of the violence is actually taking place. Tibet. That brings me to the most important point. Controversy over media bias is a red herring. The real issue is the supression of human rights (in particular sovereignty) in Tibet. This is not to say that the rioters are necessarily good. No doubt Han Chinese are rashly discriminated against in Tibet. But the chinese government is an imperialistic power which is internally colonising a people to a similar degree that Europeans did in the new world (although on a smaller scale). Imperialism is the scrouge of history, and brings deeply rooted injustice that takes centuries to resolve.

    The chinese government is not likely to acknowledge the oppression it unleashes against ethnic minorities in Tibet and the west of China. It cannot afford to set a precedent of self-determination. Consider its attitude towards Taiwan, a country which is sucessfully transitioning towards democracy. The responsibility for change lies with people such as yourself. Educated and moderate chinese have the potential to gradually bring about change within China towards more responsible and humane governance. The question is, what are you going to do?


  3. Posted by Another "nationalistic Chinese" on May 3, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    Hi Matthew,

    Just had some random thoughts regarding to your commends.

    I think the internet censorship in China is improving during the years. Just heard that BBC and Wikipedia is unblocked recently. Myself lived in China for about 20 years. During that period, I certainly felt the people around me was more and more relax about talking politics and criticizing the government in their day to day conversation. Sure the freedom of speech is not perfect in China. But I am alway thinking that will it be nicer while criticizing China also mentioning about the progress China has made. You might get better results by encouraging rather than criticizing.

    I think most Chinese even “nationalistic” Chinese should have a better knowledge about Tibet than most of westerners. Believe it or not, we do have topics regarding to Tibet in our history class at school.

    If you read the article about Tibet on Wikipedia, you will find most of the time through the history Tibet is rule by China loosely or tightly. Also “In 1943, U.S. government officially recognized Tibet as a part of China.”. Well that maybe different from what the western media is indicating but that is the history.

    Another thing I am wondering is that how could the Dalai Lama brings democracy to Tibet anyway. If Tibet goes independent, he basically will be the ruler of Tibet, right? There won’t be a opposition lama, will it? So what then? It is a typical case of bring the little guy to the top and then watch him fall, isn’t it?

    Last but not least, just let you know that we educated Chinese do want to keep changing China for the good, but please give us time and encouragement.


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