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Rewrite: Southern Weekly’s interview with US president

November 24, 2009 Leave a comment

Southern Weekly did an exclusive interview with US president Barack Obama during his visit in China last week.

The newspaper editor-in-chief and one of its senior journalists conducted the interview and the 6 questions they asked are:

  • Favorite part about visiting China
  • Whether have spare time to play basketball
  • China-America cooperation in Asia-pacific region
  • Timetable to acknowledge China’s market economic status
  • US restrictions on high-tech export to China
  • Policy on not restraining China’s rise

Sensitive issues such as China’s human rights, freedom of speech, internet blockage, etc. were not raised, or at least, not published.

According to Xing Lieshan, one of the newspaper’s senior editors, the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China was angry about the interview and instructed that no other media or websites should republish the interview.

One reason is that the department was not informed before the interview, the other reason is that the department was not happy about certain issues talked about in the interview.

Mr. Xing explained that interviews with visiting leaders were usually conducted by Xinhua News Agency or CCTV (China Central TV), the two most loyal mouthpieces of the Communist Party, but this time, Mr. Obama handpicked Southern Weekly, probably because of its reputation for speaking for the people and exposing government scandals.

He said the Publicity Dept. is an organization of the Party, and it’s inappropriate for the US side to raise interview request with them; instead, the US delivered request to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It was not the newspaper’s fault that the communication between the ministry and the department broke up.

As for those sensitive topics, the newspaper was left with no choice but cutting them out before publishing. Everything happened at such a short notice that they had to leave half of the paper in blank.

However, the newspaper is very clever. They put two lines  in the centre of the blank implying China’s censorship. It says:

No everyone can become a big shot, but all can understand China right here.

PS: This is a revised version of the last post. I tried to apply general writing rules and also online writing rules. Which one do you think is better?

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Yes, we can

November 18, 2009 Leave a comment

US President Barack Obama admitted today for the first time that Guantanamo Bay prison couldn’t be closed in January 2010 as planned.

The reason is that the government still doesn’t know how to deal with the 215 detainees held in the prison.

Mr. Obama said he was “not disappointed” that the deadline had slipped.

Well, he might have thought about that when he signed the executive order to close the prison early this year.

John McCain,  his presidential campaign component, already spotted the problem in 22 January when Mr. Obama signed the order.

Thursday night on CNN’s “Larry King Live,” McCain said he thinks the new president may have been hasty in the decision and should have taken the time to consider everything associated with closing the camp before forcing himself into a timetable.

Specifically, McCain said he thought Obama needed to consider what would happen to the prisoners held at Guantanamo before ordering the facility to be closed.

Mr. Obama was acclaimed for “breaking up” with the old universally criticised Bush government. Signing orders to shut down the notorious prison was one of his first moves to this direction.

His action proved then that it was wrong to say that US president never honored their promises they gave during their presidential election campaigns. He said “change”, and he did bring changes. Good man!

However, how things turned out disappointed many.  Mr. Obama is still too young in the political arena.

Still, he can lead his supporters to chant “yes, we can”–meaning “yes, we can make changes as many times as we want”.