NYT pretends to care about social inequality in China and it backfires
Published: Feb 16, 2022 12:06 AM
Illustration: Chen Xia/GT

Illustration: Chen Xia/GT

Women, special treatment, and social inequality are among key elements Western reporters use to grab more attention. Amy Qin, a reporter for The New York Times (NYT) covering China, however has encountered backlash on Twitter after she found fault with Gu Ailing in an article that criticizes social inequality in China - even though she has opened the comment section to only those she follows or has mentioned. 

Perhaps Qin herself knows her article, that takes unfair advantage of Gu, doesn't hold water. The part she likes most - "The systemic challenges and structural shackles that Chinese women face have not changed… The reality is that the vast majority of women have no chance to become Eileen Gu." - refers to a recent incident in Fengxian county, East China's Jiangsu Province where a mentally-ill woman was found chained to a village hut and gave birth to eight children. 

Selectively using extreme examples to reach a preconceived position is a common trick by Western media like the NYT. Some other Chinese women Olympic athletes, including aerial skier champion Xu Mengtao, come from rather ordinary background. But they don't get mentioned in the article. In the NYT's eyes, China is mostly like Fengxian county - a notion that rests more easily with the outlet.

The miserable truth is people like Qin are not as caring as they appear. She cheered for Nathan Chen, who won a gold medal in men's individual figure skating. By her article's logic, shouldn't she voice concern for Asian Americans who are suffering violence and discrimination in the US? 

She retweeted the news that Erin Jakson, an African American woman, medaled in the women's 500-meter speed skating race. But does Qin feel sorry for African Americans' predicament of racism and oppression in the US? 

A Twitter user commented on Qin's article, "This is the usual article on 'women' that fails to capture the nature of how our societies around the world works: not everyone can jump high in the air with skies on his feet."

While another netizen said, "Can you leave the girl alone? Why are you folks always politically motivated when reporting on China? Why can't you focus on honest reporting of stuff in that country?"

Apparently, the Western media outlets, including the NYT, cannot veneer anymore the malice in their biased reporting about China. When they talk about China-related topics, they are willfully blind to the bigger picture.

China indeed has its social problems. But as a latecomer, China has been engaged in efforts to uphold social equality and made remarkable achievements in this regard. In the meantime, as a country used to overwhelming power and advantages in the world, the US has gone through consecutive declines and increasingly escalating social ills. 

Against this backdrop, those American elites have become hysterical against China. They believe China's every achievement in development means to shake their throne in "the city upon a hill," which the US believes itself to be. Pretending to care about ordinary Chinese people while actually demonizing China is the reason outlets like the NYT are increasingly rejected by people in China. 

However, this is by no means an elixir. Instead, it is poison. Everybody with common sense knows what will happen if one drinks poison to quench thirst.