Gauthier no fighter for speech freedom

Source:Global Times Published: 2016-1-4 0:33:01

Ursula Gauthier, the China correspondent for French magazine L'Obs, left China after a refusal to renew her press credentials. She claimed to French media that she did not write to support terrorism but was simply explaining that the Uyghurs' anger "came from somewhere." Her narration can only deceive the French public who do not have much knowledge of the truth. In fact, she opposed labeling terror attacks in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region as terrorism and called them justifiable. 

As far as we know, many Western correspondents in Beijing considered Gauthier's articles unprofessional and questionable. Her being forced to leave has not attracted real sympathy. France and the EU made a mild response since it didn't make much sense to defend her.

The Chinese government's reasonable move has earned overwhelming support from the public. While some Western media outlets habitually show opposition, overall Western reaction has not been fierce. It's explicit that Gauthier and L'Obs are losers.

China doesn't attempt and is unable to bar Western journalists from making critical reports of events in China. It has got used to their way of working and their points of interest. Since the reform and opening up, these reporters have presented more criticism than plaudits, but this can hardly be destructive to China's progress. A complex interaction has been shaped between their criticism and China's achievements. China has even tolerated some of their unethical and immoral behavior.

But by siding with terrorists in Xinjiang, Gauthier has gone beyond the bottom line as a correspondent and it is necessary for China to emphasize this line with the refusal to renew her visa. If Chinese journalists blamed the French government for the terror attacks in Paris, called them justified or even denied they were terror attacks, how would the French government and public respond? China respects the values and working of foreign journalists, but it doesn't need to fawn on individuals like Gauthier. Neither will L'Obs reward her nor the Western media marketplace reward L'Obs.

Sometimes China needs to get tough on some Western rule-breakers based on its principles. A China that is reasonable and also bold to face frictions will earn more respect.


Posted in: Editorial

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