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NYT's Myanmar editorial a textbook example of China-demonizing bias

(Xinhua)    18:20, January 28, 2015

BEIJING, Jan. 28 -- Despite its preaching about journalistic ethics, the New York Times sometimes turns into exactly what it loathes: a media outlet that conjures up a seemingly logical story by mentioning only a small part of the whole picture.

In an editorial titled "The Plunder of Myanmar," the newspaper used specific cases and numbers to create the impression that China is causing severe damage to Myanmar's natural resources and environment.

The Grey Lady's bias against China is nothing new, nor is the tool it used to demonize China this time: overgeneralization, which blatantly breaches such basic journalist principles as fairness and balance.

In its argument for the conclusion that China is behind the so-called "plunder" of Myanmar, the editorial only cited sporadic cases of Chinese and nationals and companies suspected of illegal logging and other activities in Myanmar.

First of all, even if the single cases are true, the perpetrators are just a handful of individuals. It is highly irresponsible to hint that China as a whole is to blame for what Myanmar may have lost in the so-called "plunder."

As a matter of fact, the Chinese government has always been opposed to illegal logging, illegal mining and illegal wildlife trade, and the country has made it crystal clear that it is committed to strengthening cooperation with neighboring countries, including Myanmar, to tackle illegal activities and protect natural resources.

Yet in order to get a glimpse of this part of the picture, even the most attentive readers have to read between the lines of the editorial, which made a passing mention of an investigation Beijing has launched in this regard and dexterously placed it in the context that Myanmar's rosewood trees are on the verge of extinction.

Another noteworthy fact is, as pointed out by the editorial itself, some of the "plundering" acts happened in rebel-controlled areas.

It is common sense that law enforcement in such areas is almost mission impossible for local authorities, let alone for the government of another country.

Regarding its neighbors as a foreign policy priority, China has been striving for years to achieve common development of the region, with various initiatives under such frameworks as the ASEAN and the Greater Mekong Subregion.

And it is undeniable that China's economic success has brought enormous opportunities for the development of neighboring countries, including Myanmar, which has seen tangible changes in its infrastructure network and visible socioeconomic development in recent years.

The authors of the editorial should also be reminded that the Chinese government has always required Chinese nationals and enterprises abroad to abide by local laws and regulations, protect the environment and bring benefits to local people.

They need to remember that it is wise to refrain from jumping to conclusions based only on isolated cases, and it is ethical to present the readers the whole picture instead of allowing one's bias to dictate which part to show.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Kong Defang,Bianji)

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