Foreign bloggers present new ways for outside world to get a glimpse into China
Published: Jan 24, 2022 09:34 PM
A foreigner livestreams the post-pandemic city of Wuhan. Photo: IC

A foreigner livestreams the post-pandemic city of Wuhan. Photo: IC

In recent days, videos that were taken by foreigners who live in China about their lives and travels to different cities in China have been attracting more subscribers in China and abroad, and while their videos have shown the outside world the authentic China that is vastly different from what the Western media has portrayed, they continue to be smeared by anti-China forces who call them "propagandist paid by the Chinese government." 

Previously, the BBC released a report in July 2021, noting that in recent years, foreign video bloggers denouncing what they say is negative coverage of China on highly controversial subjects are attracting large numbers of subscribers on platforms like YouTube. The report claimed these foreign bloggers are spreading "disinformation." 

Curt McArdle, a blogger from the UK who lives in Suzhou of East China's Jiangsu Province, called this BBC report "nonsense." He said that "it's a pity because growing up in the UK, you are told that the BBC is the most trustworthy source of news. You're encouraged to believe everything they say. Over the past few years, I've learned that this just simply isn't the case. But not everyone realizes that yet."

"My videos are never about politics or controversy. I just take my camera out on to the streets and show people the China that I see every day. I don't tell my viewers what to believe. I just show them China from my perspective and let them come to their own conclusions. Generally, people are amazed at how modern and vibrant China is and how happy and friendly Chinese people are!" said McArdle. 

Other foreign bloggers that have been under similar criticism include Lee and Oli Barrett, a father-son duo on YouTube, and Jason Lightfoot - all of whom have lived in China for a long time and record videos of their daily lives in the country. 

McArdle said that the difference between the foreign bloggers that the BBC targeted, and the BBC itself is that the bloggers are here in China. "They see it, they feel it, they experience it every day. These bloggers back everything they say up with facts and statistics, rather than rumor and hearsay from so called experts who have never even visited China."

Unfortunately, so much anti-China rhetoric has been forced upon people on a regular basis in the West and the UK, and it can become hard to ignore. McArdle said that Westerners who want to know the truth about China need to seek out opinions from people who are actually living here and see if they agree with what the Western media say.

"Currently, the public opinion on China-related issues in the West is quite sick, unhealthy, irrational, and paranoid. Balanced opinions are rare," Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations at China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times.

Such opinions could be truly dangerous to the society. Western governments have been using such unbalanced and layman voices to demonize China and frighten the public, which leads to a hostile and ill-informed consensus, Li noted.

Western media attacks whoever speaks well of China, whether Chinese or foreign, which shows how stubborn these media entities are on issues related to China, Li said.

Under these biased attacks by Western media, these foreign influencers introduce China to the West in an objective way based on their own lives, experiences, and sentiments, which is precious. Meanwhile, it should be noted that the influencers are not necessarily related to or even supported by China, Li said.