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Chinese Diplomats Pressure Canada’s CBC, Television Program Pulled

November 8th, 2007

Forget about this business with the Dalai Lama and what his appearance in China was supposed to say about Canadian resolve - the Chinese embassy in Canada has just succeeded in getting the Canadian Broadcast Company to stop the CBC from airing a program on Falun Gong.

Personally, I couldn’t care less about Falun Gong - for so many reasons. But what is interesting is watching Chinese diplomats succeed at manipulating the media in foreign countries. The way it went down, the embassy explained to the CBC, naturally, that they were merely worried about factual errors. The director of the program, Beyond the Red Wall, was notified only at the last moment that the program wouldn’t air, and that they would all be discussing edits. The director’s response:

“It’s rather surprising, because the film has been in production for about three years and was delivered to the CBC in March, so the authorities and the executives at the CBC signed off on the film quite some time ago.”

Another media company, Yahoo, has had its own recent experience with the Chinese government. The online portal aided the Chinese government by turning over information on dissident, Shi Tao. The company has apologized to U.S. Congress over the matter. Yahoo shares took an apparent beating as a result of the backpedaling. Western media companies need to give serious thought to their corporate policies regarding China.

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