State Media: World Leaders Praise China

President Bush dedicated the new $434 million U.S. Embassy in Beijing today and said it is a symbol of the deepening ties between the two countries, but there was little news about this in the Chinese media.

Bush has become a virtual persona non grata in China over the past 24 hours following a strong speech he made criticizing the host country's human rights practices.

In the months leading up to the Beijing Olympics, many world leaders struggled with whether or not to attend. Given China's increasing influence in business matters across oceans, those who said no to the invitation knew they risked possible repercussions. But many heads of state found it hard to ignore China's involvement in Darfur, the violence in Tibet, its roundup of dissidents and other human rights issues.

To the ire of China, a handful of leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the head of the European Parliament, decided not to attend.

The great majority, however, are now in Beijing and will be attending the Opening Ceremony that begins tonight. In total, leaders from over 50 countries will be attending the Olympics.

Initially, it seemed that the biggest coup for China was that Bush would attend. Leader of China's biggest economic partner and sometime political rival, he had initially refused to commit either way. When he agreed to attend, he became the first U.S. head to attend an Olympics on foreign soil. But Bush rankled his hosts with yesterday's speech.

Publicly, the Chinese government has barely acknowledged the incident happened and seems to have a news blackout regarding Bush and the speech.

Instead, the state media has trotted out other world leaders who have positive things to say about China.

Listen to this audio report, in English or in Mandarin, to learn what the Chinese media is taking about today and how that compares to what the foreign press is saying.

--Ariana Eunjung Cha

Here are some sample quotes from Xinhua:

French President Nicolas Sarkozy:
"To prepare for the Olympic Games, China has given its best. If organizing the Games were a sport, I am sure you would agree with me that China deserves a gold medal."
"To this China which improves every day, I address a warm message of friendship; a historic, unfailing and immovable friendship, which links the French people to the Chinese people," he said.

Princess Haya of Jordan, the wife of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai:
[The Princess] thinks the coming Beijing Olympics will be a success because of the excellent organization, fantastic facilities, and the warmness of Chinese people. She says sports have far greater influence upon people than the power of politics and languages. Olympic Games are vehicles for the world peace and mutual understanding of different nations.

Israeli President Shimon Peres:
A poem written by the president glorifying "the same dream of glory, of harmony, of peace."
"Birds of all feathers come and sing together,
A hymn of hope in an Olympic nest.
Forget your borders, ignore your cages and fly free.
Reject your different nightmares and have one dream.
The same dream, of glory, of harmony, of peace.
An equal dream for poor and rich, black and white. An equal right to compete and champion.
Run and throw, shoot and swim and pin, row and hit.
You can be the best on our globe.
Win, don't kill; lose, don't hate; Hope, don't regret.
Go home with an olive branch in your lips: together in harmony.
Breathing fresh air and singing for the newly born in the cradles and the nests."

August 8, 2008; 11:57 AM ET  | Category:  Postmark Beijing
Previous: Tiananmen Closed on Opening Day | Next: American Tourist Killed in Beijing (Updated)

Comments

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Good job on yet another China bashing article, Ariana! You are a sorry excuse of a journalist.

Posted by: LZ | August 8, 2008 1:26 PM

even if us's media is open so freely, there still were or are (will be) race discrimination , war violence to Iraq (or someelse), involvement in many places with your navy armada and so on. A country who has so many such severe problems still arbitrarily bash another country on the same topics.Isn't that funny? "Put a slap in the yourself face" in china proverb.

Posted by: Jackey | August 8, 2008 3:26 PM

At least Angela Merkel showed some backbone. The only thing we have in common with China is that neither of us listen to The Bush.

Posted by: Michael1945 | August 8, 2008 4:58 PM

Why would the chinese media waste their time on a guest who doesn't know how to behave like a guest. He should not have gone to China if he has problems with the chinese government. So a fool deserves to be treated like a fool.

Posted by: Maersk | August 8, 2008 5:14 PM

The same author, I believe, wrote on of the lead stories about the opening ceremonies in Beijing, saying the "dazzling" ceremonies would temporarily distract the "controversy" about the games. Many persons in the western media in China will make sure people are only temporarily distracted. From the coverage so far, in "The Washington Post" and probably many other "news" outlets, their agenda seems to be to humiliate, hector and embarrass the Chinese as much as possible.

One columnist at "The Washington Post" said no democracy would spend so much money on Olympic opening ceremonies, contending it was an extravagant waste of money. Yet what about a quasi-democracy, such as this country, squandering far more each week on the occupation of a foreign country, Iraq?

Most American, I do not know about those in foreign countries, reporters seem to prefer writing about conflict, struggle and contention, even if the subject matter becomes trivia, they lack a historical perspective and their "coverage" verges on propaganda or entertainment over substantive, fair news coverage. This certainly was evident during the media coverage of the primaries and caucuses. Many reporters seemed very disappointed there will apparently not be a serious convention struggle between the supporters of Hillary and Barack.

The major "news" networks in general offer limited, superficial coverage of events. They disdain modern political conventions as being virtual propaganda for the respective parties and lament the lack of "real stories," which means to them, conflict to cover. Their commentary during the conventions and opening ceremonies of the Olympics usually distracts from the actual events. Yet, of course, the commentators believe their opinions are more important than allowing viewers to have an unedited version of what is happening. I am not surprised fewer Americans read major newspapers or watch television "news."

Posted by: Independent | August 8, 2008 9:54 PM

China spend large amount of money to bring happyness and harmony to the world , maybe the USA can only use much more amonut of money bringing disaster to the Iraq people and the whole world, and at the same time advocate the issue about human rights!

Posted by: Cecilia | August 8, 2008 10:04 PM

I feel strange that why journalists in the USA and other western countries are always having fun of advocating the negetive part of things and emphasize that it is a kind of free speech!

Posted by: Cecilia | August 8, 2008 10:10 PM

as some people mentioned before: you think you really know China??? Indeed, if you never come to China, you will never find the truth by "some reports"...

Posted by: wmeng | August 8, 2008 11:40 PM

Negative comments on China by western press are the result of plain ignorance and/or jealousy. Western Press seem to have great problem accepting the fact that the most populated Nation in the East has risen to be better than them in many ways, especially economically.

The use of free speech and free press never failed to be used as a reason for their negative remarks. What Rubbish ! !

The West must accept what is fact and happening.

'The WEST will fall and the EAST will rise' has been prophesied and that's even going to be harder to accept ! ! !

Posted by: Don Li | August 9, 2008 3:38 AM

We believe that there are unfair treatment upon others in the world,everywhere we could see everyday,especialy in Iraq,whose people wants to share one dream with the whole world,that is people live peacefully,in harmony,and in dignity.How many countries have taken these to their people?Has USA done it?

Posted by: Michael | August 9, 2008 3:03 PM

Still don't understand why many Chinese are almost hateful to criticism, or anything tha they deem negative to the Great Image of the Chinese.

Well, the bottm line is, if you are that Good, you jus can't be bashed.

Try to be more open, more like a cultured person.

Posted by: Think | August 10, 2008 11:03 AM

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