TV talenet show exposes China’s race issue. Or, really?
CNN website published a story about a black Chinese girl causing controversies allegedly due to her skin color, and concluded that racism is a serious problem in China. Is this reporting objective?
Lou Jing, 20 years old, was born in Shanghai to a Chinese mother and an African-american father. The only difference she has with other Chinese girls is her black skin.
Four months ago, she participated in a TV talent show in Shanghai called “Go Oriental Angel”, and was eliminated before the finale.
At the stage, she said she was raised in a single-parent family, and now wanted to find her father.
Off the show stage, Lou became the center of heated discussion. She was “attacked” on the Internet. Some Chinese netizens even made racial discriminative remarks such as “she shouldn’t have been born” and “get out of China”.
Did she lie?
This is basically the CNN version of the story. But, was it really her skin color that sparked those hostile remarks as CNN claimed?
Let’s hear the other side of the story.
Lou’s mother was married to a Chinese man. When she left work to pursue further study in a Shanghai college, she had an affair with an African-american who also studied there. The man left before Lou was born.
The Chinese man was protective of both Lou and her mother. He said Lou’s black skin was because her mother ate a lot of Chinese herbal medicines when she was pregnant.
For three years, the Chinese man protected “his” family until he could no longer undertake the never-stopped finger-pointing. He gave up his career and left for Japan.
However, Lou said she had never had a father and was raised by her mother single-handedly.
Those who believed she was lying felt it was unfair for the Chinese man who sacrificed so much for three years to bring her up. They started to pour their anger over the web.
Has CNN been objective?
I’m not here to judge which side of the story is true; I can’t prove anything.
But I’m sure that CNN was absolutely wrong to say that it was Lou’s skin color that was the center of the disputes.
Totally disagree. The central issue of the disputes was honesty.
Besides, those racial discriminative remarks were made by just a few. They were not the main voice on the web.
In fact, I had some doubts about CNN’s reporting of this story.
- The story happened in late August and lasted until mid September. Since then, it has subsided. Why did CNN pick it up after three months later?
- Why didn’t CNN mention the real controversies about Lou Jing? For fear of defamation? Then why didn’t CNN ask Lou or her mother to clarify?
- Was it right to say that a few unreasonable people’s remarks stand for what most Chinese people think? Search “Lou Jing” in Chinese in google, there are only less than 600,000 results. If you can read Chinese, you’ll see nearly 80% talked about her story instead of racial problem.
These is nothing wrong to report a single case to address a general issue, but there must be a solid connection between these two; otherwise, it’s like you call a white cloth “black” when all you see is just a black dot on the cloth.
Jounalist’s code of conduct
When we talk about news reporting, there are four rules that journalists have to abide by:
Richard Sambrook, Director of BBC World Service and Global News Division, had an article “Holding on to objectivity” in which he talked about the differences of these four principles.
Sadly, none of them is loyally implemented in the CNN story.