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ARD is the leading German newschannel. Petra Aldenrath, ARD correspondent in Beijing, is a well-known anti-chinese propaganda|
activist. I will analyse a recent example (http://www.tagesschau.de/ausland/maskottchen100.html) of the propagandistic tricks that are employed to create prejudges against China.
The manipulation already begins on the first page where the article is announced in the following form:
(1) "Mini-Lohn für Erfinder des Verkaufsschlagers - zehn Cent für fünf Olympiamaskottchen"
"Mini-salary for the creator of a big seller - ten cent for the five olympic mascots"
Of cause Petra Aldenrath is targetting to give from the start the impression to the German news customer that Han Meilin, the creator of the five olympic mascots, has seriously been cheated by the Chinese government or even been forced by the government to sell his creation only for a salary of 10 cents which corresponds to one yuan.
(2) "In China sind die fünf Olympiamaskottchen ein Verkaufsschlager. Kinder finden sie niedlich - die Erwachsenen nicht unbedingt."
"in China the five olympic mascots are a bestseller. Children find them cute - unlike most grownups."
Into an initially positive comment "cute for children" she packs a viperish side remark, namely that grownups (who can judge better) dont agree with that. After some thought one would give it at most the rank of a mere personal comment, but it is presented as news - truth with the authority of journalism of the free western press. Who would question whether she made a serious poll among adults to substantiate this conclusion?
Let's have a look at sentence number three:
(3) "Geschaffen hat sie der Karikaturist Han, der einst durch das Regime gefoltert wurde und für seine Entwürfe fast nichts bekam. Petra Aldenrath hat ihn getroffen."
"They were created by the caricaturist Han, who once was tortured by the regime and who nearly did not get anything for his conceptual design. Petra Aldenrath met him"
China is introduced here from the outset with the usual stereotype of brutal, torturing regime. By using the word "Regime" with its very negative connotation in German language it is already suggested where the German reader has to put China in the political landscape, namely among the worst dictatorships. Thus the harmless report on the funny chinese olympic mascots has already after three lines swiftly been transformed into an unquestionable political accusation aiming at an amplification and preservation of prejudges that are already present in the mind of common Germans about China. Who would´nt call this a decent masterpiece of propaganda?
To make the message perfect, Germans then learn from Petra Aldenrath that the Chinese regime is even so mean to deny a decent salary to Han Meilin: According to her, he did get nearly nothing. That has to be the unquestionable truth - Aldenrath met him.
In her article she writes:
"Bei den Erwachsenen allerdings sind sie umstritten. Von ihnen werden sie manchmal auch bösartig die "Fünf Schrecklichen" genannt."
"However, among the adults they are disputed. Some mischieviously call them also the terrible five"
Compared with the sharpened introduction this sounds somewhat relaxed, but the negative impression is still accentuated
The design process by Han Mailin is commented as follows:
"Damals wusste er noch nicht, ... dass nicht er, sondern die chinesische Regierung und das Internationale Olympische Komitee darüber bestimmten, wie die Olympiamaskottchen aussehen."
"At that time he still did not know, ... that not he but the chinese government and the international olympic committee would decree on how the olympic mascots would look like."
Again this targets at giving the impression as if the chinese government would dictatorially decree and control even the finest details in the country not even leaving the design of the olympic mascots to the designer. They really have no other problems to solve? The crossreference with the olympic committee just serves to underline this impression.
Petra Aldenrath continues:
"Sie hätten auch nicht malen dürfen, was sie wollten"
"They (i.e. the designers) were not even permittet to paint what they wanted."
Nice! It fuels further up the German stereotype that even freedom of art is not granted in China. Chinese artist, that is the perfidous message here, are not even allowed by their government to paint as they like !??? Although this is obvious nonsense, the message will for sure taken for truth by some simple minded German audience. And as a well-trained journalist, Petra Aldenrath knows exactly what kind of damage she will stirr up for the reputation of China by choosing this questionable formulation.
From the interview with Han Mailing she chooses the following sentence to get again the main message across:
"Aber, ich musste machen, was sie sagen. Sie sind hohe Beamte. Sie haben mir Anweisungen gegeben und ich hatte keine Wahl."
"But I had to do as they told. They are high officials. They gave me order and I had no choice"
With other words, she presents the design work of the five olympic mascots as the work of a brutal oppression of government officials. Together with the impression with the impression that Han Meiling had been tortured in former times, now to what conclusion the average German should come about the way how China has organized the olympic games ?
What I have analysed here is not typical for western media. But it is an example that is typical for a few media and some journalist that clearly have propagandistic anti-chinese intentions.