Roundup: U.S. media misquote China-related reports, causing concerns
BEIJING, Feb 24, 2013 (Xinhua via COMTEX) --
Well-Known U.S. newspapers
including the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post have
raised the eyebrows of many Chinese recently in their two
questionable reports on sensitive China-related topics.
Under a provocative headline, "Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo
Abe: Chinese need for conflict is 'deeply ingrained'", The Post
published an interview Thursday citing Abe as saying that China
has a "deeply ingrained" need to spar with Japan and other Asian
neighbors over territory, because it uses the disputes to maintain
strong domestic support.
The pugnacious posture from Tokyo sparked strong reactions from
Beijing, with a foreign ministry spokesman saying it is rare for a
country's leader to brazenly distort facts, attack the country's
neighbor and instigate confrontation among countries in the
Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga quickly denied
the comment on Friday, telling reporters that it has clarified to
China that the U.S. paper incorrectly quoted Abe's words and led
In a similar case, the Wall Street Journal misquoted a Chinese
story in a recent report on China's growing luxury shopping trips
The writer of "China gets angry at overseas luxury shopping
trips," which published on Tuesday on its website, quoted a
Xinhua story released a week earlier, saying it criticized Chinese
consumers of spending wantonly abroad, avoiding tariffs that would
benefit the nation.
The reporter had unfortunately misunderstood the basic stand of
the article, which was urging the "relevant departments" of the
Chinese government to contemplate possible policy changes -- such
as to cut the high luxury import taxes -- to gain these customers
back, boost the domestic retail industry and add jobs.
"If you have the money to spend, why not spend it at home " The
newspaper took the question thrown at government officials to mean
an obvious finger-pointing at consumers.
The paper's devious interpretation, also translated into
Chinese and posted on China's popular Weibo, has triggered
flooding criticism on the Chinese report. The negative public
response to the Wall Street Journal quotes threatens to damage the
reputation of the Xinhua reporters as well as the news agency they
Neither the reporter nor the paper has yet responded to the
email and online complaints by a Xinhua reporter. The two Sina
microblogs introducing the distorted story has each been forwarded
more than 1,000 times, two most popular messages of the week on
the official Weibo feed from the Wall Street Journal Chinese
"I often read the Wall Street Journal because it's an
influential and well-respected Western newspaper," one Weibo user
wrote in Chinese. "But the obvious misquotation and
misinterpretation here have called into question the credibility
of the newspaper and let me wonder whether it's habitually bending
the truth to sell its stories."
Observers said such journalistic missteps are not uncommon in
Western media, although it's quite impossible to determine whether
they are intentional or accidental.
In the case of the Abe comments, the Washington Post
misquotation has certainly inflamed the already touchy relations
between China and Japan, something Washington does not want to
see, a weibo user said.
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