With a mix of incredulity and amusement, I read a few reports on the press conference China’s Ambassador to Canada, Lu Shumin, held earlier today. The CTV story has the most meat, but I was quite surprised at the CBC report. In the story, the writer quotes the Ambassador:
People in the West [see] the Dalai Lama as some sort of angel, some sort figure of peace, but look at Tibet before [the Chinese invasion in] 1949, before 1959, and you’ll find out what the Dalai Lama was, what he still is.
The lefty CBC must’ve been close to melting down with trying to decide between being nice and including a jab or two when reporting on the Ambassador’s accusing the Dalai Lama of being behind the Tibetan unrest. I agree with the slant of what appears in the second set of brackets, but I’m surprised to see it, none the less.
Remember my writing about how ridiculously awkward the Chinese media comes across in the West? China’s Ambassador to Canada is no better.
I couldn’t help myself. I wrote him an e-mail message:
From: Rick Pali <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: March 26, 2008 11:37:41 PM GMT-04:00
Subject: The ‘Lhasa Unrest’ news conference
I read a number of news reports about the press conference you held earlier today.
My first thought is that you desperately need to gain some media savvy. You stand up in front of the camera and accuse a beloved figure of having lied for decades? Even if your charge were true, the way you’re going about will make sure you fail. I’ve heard plenty of talk of proof from you, your government, and the Chinese media (which is the government again), but I’ve seen no proof. None.
Further, on Monday you claimed the Dalai Lama was a slave owner. Perhaps the carefully controlled news in China would make these claims easily believable, but things are different outside your borders. What I read of your clumsy press conference was amusing and not at all convincing.
You’ve got your work cut out for you if you want to prevent further damage to China’s international reputation. Best of luck. You’ll need it with the Chinese government acting the way it does.
In the spirit of China’s openness, the Chinese Embassy to Canada’s web site doesn’t provide an e-mail address. If course it’s not hard to dig up, but it seems appropriate from a government that wants only to be heard and obeyed. Listening is only used as a means to target their laughably ineffective damage-control.