Et tu, WSJ?
China Daily is a China newspaper covering National News.
Established in June 1981, China Daily is the highest circulation English-language newspaper published in the People's Republic of China. Owned by the Chinese government, it was created for foreigners living or traveling in China, but is also read by Chinese citizens literate in English. A broadsheet newspaper of only eight pages, China Daily is an important English-language source for news from the Communist Party, and is perceived as a guide to official government policy. China Daily uses the tagline "China's Global Newspaper."
This newspaper is owned by the Communist Party of China.
Et tu, Brute. [You also, Brutus.] --Julius Caesar, from Suetonius, Lives of the Caesars
So I'm reading the Wall Street Journal on the morning of Thursday, September 28, and right there on page A10--just a hop, skip and jump from the front page--is a full page feature called CHINA WATCH (it's in bold caps like that). In small print off to the right it says China Daily. Which is fine, I guess, if you've subscribed to China Daily and want to read it. But if, like me, you're a Wall Street Journal subscriber and don't want China Daily staring you in the face over your morning oatmeal, it stinks.
I'd like to give ol' Rupert Murdoch a call: "Hey, Rupe, how's it goin'? What's up with the Chinese propaganda on page A10? I don't care how much they're paying you, turn 'em down. Otherwise your people will hear from my people, capito?"
Ok, so maybe I don't have any "people" (although with my big Italian family you never know). Maybe I have a "person." I showed the China Daily ad to Don / Richie C when he arrived home at 7 pm from work. Too hungry to think, he pulled off his striped necktie, unbuttoned the top of his shirt and said "What's for dinner?" After we'd eaten our turkey-avocado sandwiches and sautéed Blue Lake green beans (all U.S.A.-grown food), I handed Don's reading glasses to him along with the China Daily ad. I secretly hoped he'd work himself into such an un-Richie C-like lather that he'd say Let's see if craigslist has goons for hire. Instead he said, "Write a letter to the editor."
Had to admit his approach made sense, although I doubted the WSJ would print a letter denouncing one of its advertisers. But what the heck. It'd be therapeutic. Not to mention safe. No thugs, no Gambinos. Just prose. Here it is:
Wall Street Journal
Letters to the Editor
It's a bit demoralizing, given this country's high unemployment rate, stagnant economic growth, and half-trillion+ dollar trade deficit with China, to discover a one-page paid advertisement in this newspaper brought to us by China Daily (page A10, September 28, 2011). The cheery mainland-China focused headline didn't help: "Moving to the land of opportunity." Remember when that phrase referred the United States of America? Guess the People's Republic of China decided to grab that piece of intellectual property, too.
To be sure, China Daily / PRC paid the big bucks to land a primo spot; money that will circulate into the American economy. That's swell. But we Americans are too China-weary to care. Witness the dozens of blogs now devoted to unearthing and celebrating American-made goods; witness, as well, the giddiness of ABC World News Made in America reporters when they realized--can it be true?--that Wham-o had left China behind and returned to the U.S.A. to manufacture Hula Hoops and Frisbees.
The page-long ad ended with a reminder to "Read China Daily everyday on Kindle." That's Kindle, brought to you by Amazon, made in China, of course.
Is Prozac still manufactured in the U.S.? Perhaps this paper would be kind enough to tape a couple of pills onto each WSJ American subscriber's China Daily ad page, to help cure our China Fatigue Syndrome. Or better yet, just include a Wham-o gift card. A few minutes tossing a frisbee into the autumn sky might just do the trick.
Tina Polito / China Ate My Jeans
In the credit-where-it's-due department, today's WSJ has a piece by John Bussey called "China Venture Is Good for GE but Is It Good for U.S.?" (Google the title to read it, but be forewarned that WSJ requires registration / subscription in order to read its online content.) During a factory tour in South Carolina, Bussey asked General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt this question : "What's to keep GE's new avionics joint venture with China from transferring the best of U.S. technology abroad, empowering a new set of Chinese companies to challenge U.S. aircraft makers?" Wow. Critically important question that all Americans would like answered. Unfortunately, Immelt refused to answer it and shut down further questions. Bussey also writes:
China watchers are anxious about this venture. Avionics--the "brains" guiding navigation, communications and other operations on an airplane--are at the pinnacle of American know-how, where the U.S. is still highly competitive. It's also technology the Chinese military covets.
GE says it has built protections into the venture, but the debate can get heated.
"To suggest that there are going to be firewalls that will stop this technology from going to the Chinese military is approaching laughable," says Rep. Randy Forbes (R., Va.) who sits on the House Armed Services Committee. "The fact that GE would say that is shocking."
You could substitute many industrial companies for GE in this equation, because over the last 30 years most have struck their own difficult bargains with China's many state-owned companies.
Thanks for the fine bit o' journalism, Mr. Bussey. Much appreciated. But it seems your paper's owner has also struck a bargain of sorts with the Chinese government. What's a reader to do?