Sinophobia And China Bashing: Asian Media Role – OpEd


Among Asia’s media prominent in China bashing and promoting Sinophobia are the English language Internet papers from India and Japan.

Whilst slanted and prejudiced coverage of developments in China by Indian media is to be expected because of their long standing border dispute, the negative and adversarial news reporting by Japan’s media stands out. But perhaps this anti-China position is not surprising considering Japan’s wars of aggression against China since the beginning of the 20th century.    

Rudolph Rummel, American political scientist and professor whose career has been devoted on detailing collective violence and war with a view toward helping their resolution or elimination has estimated that “ the Japanese military regime murdered near 3,000,000 to over 10,000,000 people, most probably almost 6,000,000 Chinese, Indonesians, Koreans, Filipinos, and Indochinese, among others, including Western prisoners of war”.. 

Distinguishing it from “genocide”, according to him: “This democide was due to a morally bankrupt political and military strategy, military expediency and custom, and national culture”

Nikkei Asia’s Anti-China News Coverage

Today, the Japanese news agency, Nikkei Asia, is playing a leading role in the region stirring up criticism and enmity towards China, ostensibly directed at President Xi and the Chinese Communist Party, but in fact aimed at China and its people as a whole. 

Nikkei Inc.,to which it belongs, boasts that it is providing unparalleled coverage of Japan’s economy, industries and markets. With its ownership of The Financial Times (FT) in London and 37 bases globally and 1500 journalists, Nikkei claims that it is “ideally positioned to provide Asian news and analysis to a global audience.”

The Nikkei daily is published twice a day, both in paper and digital form. Some 2.7 million copies of the morning edition are published every day … and 1.4 million copies of lighter newspaper come out each afternoon. The online version has 430,000 paying subscribers, and offers English versions of some articles. Other publications The group owns three other major newspapers: Nikkei Veritas (which reports on stock markets), Nikkei Marketing (on business and services) and Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (on industries), as well as the online news source Nikkei Telecom, with 1.5 million subscribers, and a dozen other websites. The network … has 54 bureau in Japan, which provide text and video reporting. It runs its own TV channel (Nikkei CNBC, which largely follows stocks), publishes magazines, books, and has a huge bank of business data, as well as organising conferences and providing specialist reporting on the rest of Asia, notably in Chinese.

So what is the news on China that Nikkei is providing to the Japanese and global audience?

The following titles downloaded from the website front page “China Up Close” gives a clear picture of the paper’s unrelenting anti-Xi and anti-China analysis and coverage

For wolf-warrior envoy in France, it’s mission accomplished

Xi, not Trump, started on path to decoupling

Why Xi Jinping did not meet Taiwan’s ex-president

Xi’s chief of staff Cai Qi is symbol of powerful court

Heavyweight Xi Jinping gives himself a lightweight cabinet

Economic ministers are marginalized as the CCP takes over policymaking

In his parting words, Li Keqiang warns that ‘heaven is watching’

Veiled dig comes as Xi neuters State Council to bolster party

 Xi wants China’s security apparatus under his direct grip

Could the US come to regard China as a state sponsor of terrorism?

Futuristic Chinese military unit most likely behind balloon campaign

PLA’s Strategic Support Force blends space, cyber and electronic warfare

Was object spotted over Japan in 2020 a Chinese spy balloon?

Efforts to save face for Xi show same traits as abrupt cancelation of zero-COVID policy

Jack Ma downfall spells end of China’s golden age

China’s elderly pay ultimate price for COVID missteps

China’s female protesters break nation free from zero-COVID

Quash the ‘white paper’ — Xi’s Chinese dream turns into nightmare

According to the news agency its most read commentary in 2022 was Xi no longer described as ‘people’s leader’ in China”

Recruiting Foreign Anti-China Forces 

The latest anti-China diatribe from Nikkei focuses on ex-Trump adviser, Matthew Pottinger. Not content with reports provided by Japanese journalists, the agency with its deep pockets is also drawing on foreign war hawks to strengthen its media propaganda drive against China.

In an article with the provocative title of “China ‘Great White Shark’ Fed By The West” on 4 May, Pottinger is fed a number of leading questions intended to confirm China under Xi as a threat to the US, Japan and other ‘free countries’. 

This he does with much enthusiasm. 

No advisory is provided of Pottinger’s background as a US hardline anti China idealogue who has worked in helping develop the Trump administration’s policies against China. Instead the article refers to Pottinger’s current position as a “distinguished senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution” so as to give his opinion piece the aura of academic independence and legitimacy.  

An admirer of Pottinger has described Pottinger’s position on China in the following way

Regarding the varied domains in which the United States and China are locked into competition, whether it be over trade or artificial intelligence, Pottinger believes that U.S.-China cooperation must take a backseat to United States military might as a form of deterrence, and to trade conflict as a form of economic leverage.

Although Pottinger is not the brazen hawk that Bolton was and prefers to work behind-the-scenes, he is a core architect of the Cold War-era competition that characterizes contemporary U.S.-China relations.  The nation and the world can ultimately expect a continuation of the current administration’s policies.

If You Make China The Enemy, China Will be Your Enemy

In its China coverage and in disseminating the opinions of anti-Chinese personalities including war mongering officials, Nikkei Asia appears to be not only ignorant of and oblivious to Japan’s historical crimes against China, It also appears unable to practice truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity, impartiality, fairness, and public accountability in its China reporting. 

Instead it is bent on pushing China to regard Japan as an enemy to take down. China has for now turned the other cheek against Japanese media seeking to undermine the development of peaceful relations between the two countries. But for how long can this  but for how long?  

Lim Teck Ghee

Lim Teck Ghee PhD is a Malaysian economic historian, policy analyst and public intellectual whose career has straddled academia, civil society organisations and international development agencies. He has a regular column, Another Take, in The Sun, a Malaysian daily; and is author of Challenging the Status Quo in Malaysia.

2 thoughts on “Sinophobia And China Bashing: Asian Media Role – OpEd

  • May 9, 2023 at 12:27 am

    From the “pen” of brilliant economic historian, Dr. Lim Teck Ghee, another brilliant, timely, elegantly crafted essay that cuts across stale, inflexible, long outdated academic boundaries.
    Dr. Lim mentions Professor Rudy Rummel. Years ago, in the ’60’s, I worked with and for Professor Rummel on his Dimensionality of Nations project (DON) as his graduate research assistant at the University of Hawaii where I ‘cut my teeth’ on issues related to Great Power Rivalry in the Pacific.
    and Japan’s record of violence in WW II It is entirely relevant for Professor Lim’s timely reminder of some grim facts of relatively recent history: “Japanese military regime murdered nearly 3 million to over 10 million, most probably 6 million Chinese, Indonesians, Koreans, Filipinos and Indochinese among others including western prisoners of war as well.” Later, in the 70’s and 80’s when I worked in both Japan and in Australia, I heard time and time again, a recitation of Japans murderous wartime record. And this oft expressed grim warning: “Lest we forget”. My Japanese colleagues, women and men, constantly reminded me of the lingering presence of Japanese ruthless militarism still lurking in the innards of Japanese society–a dangerous presence not visible but “still there.”.Many of my Australian colleagues, some of them veterans who had survived, well remembered the murderous brutality of the Burma Road and its death march and marchers. Dr. Lim’s creative, clarion call of memory, is timely as Japan rises again to the American drumbeat of war against China thinly disguised as ‘containment’–a low intensity semantic effort, clumsy, undignified and carelessly irresponsible. Yes, indeed: Lest we forget.
    Dr. Lim has earned, once again, my ordinary citizens’ badge of honor for his courage and his uncommon commitment to truth telling as truth telling should be told: in the pubic interest and for intergenerational equity–for the record, so that generations to comer will not forget either.

    And your publication, Eurasia Review, is to be highly commended for your commitment to unfettered truth telling vital to peace at a time when peace is threatened in so many ways on so many different fronts,

  • May 9, 2023 at 1:13 pm

    Nikkei Asia is like Al Jazeera.


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