Changing China

Giant on the move

You see what you want to see…

August 12, 2008


Facts may be facts.

But putting meaning to those facts can be very tricky.

The fact is, China’s People’s Armed Police parked an armoured personnel carrier outside the main press centre of the Beijing Olympics on Tuesday.

The fact is, photographers and videocameramen swarmed the vehicle taking images that will travel the world. These pictures were all taken by Reuters Reinhard Krause.

The fact is, everyone who sees those images will see something different.rtr20xqs_comp.jpg

I’m pretty sure China meant to send the message: “These Olympics and this Olympic Village are as safe as they can possibly be.” That’s been an important theme for officials keen to counteract the news of a series of attacks in restive Xinjiang and the murder of an American in Beijing.

I’m pretty sure many outside China will see in the pictures the heavy hand of an oppressive government.

Which is right? Are both? Are neither?


What do you see?


You are puting meaning to the facts, not other people. Do you think it’s not necessary to offer people safety?


Personally, I don’t believe politics, but I believe in innocence. You don’t have to distort the facts to mislead people to hospitality because we had too much of it. I know you are eager to see China fall into a living hell like Iraq to serve your vicious purpose- so called democracy, actually nasty greed. Your brothers invaded Iraq killing innocent people there and getting killed every day while you are here pointing your finger at somebody else. It’s ridiculous. Going through the history book, people will find robbers are always robbers no matter under what name, their blood-sucking nature stays the same.


Look at these soilders in the pictures you took, did you see them shoot and rape people in other countries? Did you?


Jason Ma, i regret but i only can agree with you. the so-called ‘world police’ is taking even the tiniest chance to try their ugly propaganda tricks. look at georgia, where they’ve bought another corrupt politician and wage their next proxy terrorist war.

Posted by Stephan | Report as abusive

As an ordinary Chinese, what I saw from the pictures simply the good will trying to provide security to the journalists coming from all over the world.
Nothing more than that.
But if you don\’t like to be well protected, we shall suggest our government to retrieve such vehicles.
Then, if anything happens, you guys will have another story far beyond fact.
Better stay to what you see with your own eyes.
That\’s the key to keep fact as it is.

Posted by Christine DG | Report as abusive

“Which is right? Are both? Are neither?”

Why don’t you ask the Chinese authorities and get an answer from them and report it?

Isn’t that what reporters do?

Posted by Confused | Report as abusive

It is the first time in my life I have seen a tank guarding a sports event. Quite an alarming image, that’s all…

Posted by Even more confused | Report as abusive

The american got killed by a man that was unstable, I am sure china is very safe.

Posted by Tammy | Report as abusive

to ‘confused’. sorry, but reporters don’t report facts anymore. they report what they think their audience wants to hear or what their superiors wants them to report. there are no ‘facts’ in this world anymore, just opinions. the ‘fact’ that this picture was choosen amongst the millions of other facts tells you the truth: it’s a naked provocation. selection of so-called facts can be (and today mostly is!)a lie……

Posted by Stephan | Report as abusive

and to ‘even more confused’: did you ever see a ‘tank’ before? i found this one painted quite friendly. do you remember the massacre 1972 at the olympic games in munich?

Posted by Stephan | Report as abusive

I quite agree with Stephan. It is the same story everywhere. Every news channel / site reports their ‘opinions’. It is individuals who report them and as individuals are not always balanced, it is not always that we get the so called ‘true picture’. As a result, what is reported feeds into the preconceived notions and ideas of the rest of us. I see an attempt to make the Games safe. In today’s insane world, not taking precautions is foolhardy in the extreme.

Posted by Hunter Green | Report as abusive

Trouble is disembodied facts can be connected in many ways, like a random pattern of dots. It’s the obligation of a journalist to try to impose some order on these disorderly collections. In the absence of some reason to assume a benign premise a journalist must assume the benign.

That doesn’t mean the premise shouldn’t be tested, but any old theory won’t do, unless you are a wacky conspiracy buff for whom selective fact-choosing is positively required.

Take your question, and these pictures, and here are three facts: the Chinese government is denying unfettered internet access to Olympics journalists. The journalists complained loudly. There is now a tank in front of the press center.

Coincidence? You be the judge … or, should you be?


Of course the safety of the Games is most important but China has to be careful not to portray themselves (unless they are deliberately wanting to) as overbearing, heavy handed dictators. The authoritive, wooden like, goose stepping soldiers handling the flag at the opening ceremonies, the massive display of manpower all in unision to pull off the ceremonies, the control of the internet, the independent Chinese handling of doping, all of these things say to the western world that China is a non tolerant, brutal dictatorship. “One World, One Dream” even seems to be saying… “One China, One Communist World”.

Posted by Neal | Report as abusive

Neal is obviously someone who falls into what the media wants. Neal has probably never left the country or has been to China. I was not born in China but I have been there, there is poverty in some places the wealthy in others, some places blow the mind.

But to say they are a brutal dictatorship is completely inaccurate. Sometimes the truth falls in the middle. Obviously China has some bad stuff that leads them to this view but they miss the good that the Govt. does.

But to say the Govt. controls the people is completely inaccurate. People do as they want, but there are a few restrictions. That is like saying the SEC, IRS, and other regulatory boards are US’s dictatorship. and the US is a bunch of controling hypocrates.

Posted by Jason | Report as abusive

And there’re tanks and “killers” where is not safe,so many people want to see the sport brainless.

Posted by ben2345 | Report as abusive

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