People's Daily Online conducted an interview with U.S. novelist and filmmaker Andre Vitchek, who recently wrote “The West Perfecting Its Techniques to Hurt China”, in which he criticized the role the Western press plays in bashing China. Below is the interview:
PD Online: How long does it take to gather the necessary materials for the article? Why did you write this article? What is the article trying to tell the readers?
Vitchek: Writing such article is an ongoing process. And it is logically deducted from my experience; from working and living on all continents – North and South America, Oceania, Asia, Africa and Europe. The purpose of the article was to warn, to alert readers about the forces of Western propaganda, to show how it works and what are its goals.
PD Online: What kind of response have you received after the article was published? Are you worried about might be called “sinophile”?
Vitchek:They can call me whatever they want. I am not afraid to be called ‘sinophile’. I spend most of my life in Asia and that’s where I feel most comfortable.
The article did evoke wide range of comments, but most of them positive. Although I have to admit that I was called names, too. The same after my open letter to Fidel Castro appeared on line.
PD Online: You said in the article that "anti-China has become the access to research loans or ways to climb up in the press field.” On what bases did you say that?
Vitchek:I would rather not name the names. But look at the days of the Cold War; many people were suddenly specializing in the Soviet Union, studying Russian, etc. In retrospect we see that they were not in it for pure love for Russian literature or music – they were in it for certain reasons that we now all understand. Western academia and the media were not truly independent for decades. There is always political game behind. For example, look at the West and Indonesia: no matter what happens, after 1965 pro-western coup and genocide, Indonesia received mostly positive reviews from the press and academics in the West, because the regime there opened up fully to the western political and business interests. More the resources were plundered, more impoverished were Indonesian people; more the country has been glorified and called ‘democratic’ and ‘tolerant’.
The press and academia in the West are very disciplined. When it comes to our ‘allies’ – Thailand and Philippines and Indonesia, there is very little noise and criticism of appalling human rights violations there. When it comes to China or Venezuela, Cuba or Bolivia, the criticism is part of the daily diet in the newspapers, magazines, television, and universities. Reporters are expected to produce articles directly critical of China, or attacking Chinese foreign policy in the region and all over the world.
To put it simply: in Africa, journalists are periodically ‘trained’ by the UK or US media, schools, institutions. They fly journalists abroad (tremendous perk), or they give them grants and other type of funding. It is certain type of corruption, of course. In Africa reporter often makes lesser than 100 dollars a month. Who could refuse nice trip to London or New York, all expenses paid, in exchange for writing few damning anti-Chinese reports. It happens every day – in Kenya and Zambia, in Uganda and even in South Africa, which is China’s ally!
The same applies in Southeast Asia. In Malaysia for instance, you can’t say anything against Dalai Lama, even if you are talking to so-called ‘progressive intellectuals’, and especially if you talk to the NGO’s or to young artists and intellectuals. It would mean the end of funding. You see, most of Southeast Asian NGO’s are like massage chair – you put money in and it moves for 10 minutes. Money run out and it stops. And the money comes mainly from the West. Artists are pampered by funding and by grants, as long as they do not deal with social issues, don’t attack the Western policy in the region, and do not support China. And what could be greater sin than to trash Dalai Lama, darling of the West! Of course, many intellectuals and media people here are not paid directly to attack China. There is certain understanding between the donors and recipients. Donors know that recipients understand what is expected from them, what they should and should not do or write. It is very difficult to explain. I just finished writing a novella/short novel – called ‘Aurora’ – dealing with this very issue. Hope it will be translated to Chinese one day – it deals with this topic in detail.