One item discussed during President Hu’s state visit to the US is the HR situation in China. I first watched the video clip on msnbc.com. And then watched the whole news conference in its entirety on Youtube, which, by the way, is blocked in China by the firewall, a glaring censorship issue the Chinese government has to face.
But what’s curious is what MSNBC chose to leave out in its version of the HR QA video. The edition on MSNBC’s web site gave the impression that Hu tried to dodge the HR question and refused to answer, which appeared to be the opinion of the questioner, a Bloomberg guy. In fact, that was what I thought Hu did after watching it on MSNBC first. Before you know it, there was a meme spreading on the web alleging that Hu did just that.
I then watched the whole thing on Youtube, and came away with the opposite conclusion. In fact, Hu addressed that head-on, saying he was perfectly willing to answer it, explaining he wasn’t trying to avoid questions but wasn’t able to get to it because of translation/technical reasons, acknowledging China has a long way to go on the HR front. After watching the entire news conference, I do believe Hu’s explanation because of the rambling nature of this give and take in a news conference, the fact that 2 translators were working the room, one from each country, and the fact that Hu does not know much of English.
I am not proud of China’s HR record, and indeed I think there are many areas in China’s HR situation that needs reform and improvements. But for MSNBC to deliberately cut that part of Hu’s explanation, let the impression of him dodging question stand, and mislead readers/viewers, that is wrong! Combining this with the toxic mid-term election campaign that features xenophobic TV ads exploiting the irrational fears of the Muslims, Mexicans, Chinese, and Indians, one can tell what a sorry state our public discourse has become. And this is from the allegedly liberal-leaning MSNBC!
Here are the videos. First one is from MSNBC.
Here is the complete video. Bloomberg guy started around the 40 minutes mark.