Posted by: Third Tone Devil | 15 April 2010

Radio Netherlands Worldwide says Chinese newspapers in the Netherlands are censored

On the website of RNW (Radio Netherlands Worldwide), Sigrid Deters writes that Chinese media in the Netherlands, except the Chinese website of the RNW itself, are “not free from censorship.” She sees avoiding the coverage of political issues such as the Dalai Lama’s visit or the riots in Xinjiang, or reporting on them one-sidedly, as evidence of censorship, although she does not explain who does the censoring and why. Editors of the Chinese papers and TV stations she interviewed denied censorship and said instead that their outlets reflected the opinions of the “community” or that it was better to stay away from controversy. An interesting exception was (荷乐网), a popular website  that has registered in China in order to avoid being blocked, and therefore, as its founder said, had to comply with Chinese regulations about content filtering.

The shift in overseas Chinese media toward a single discourse of China is a trend I have also noticed, but I am not sure if “censorship” is the right explanation for what  is happening. Of course, the market-state-media nexus does have some impact; I can imagine that Chinese entrepreneurs who seek to maintain good standing with the embassy would not be keen to advertise in “rebellious” newspapers. But I suspect that the state-endorsed discourse of Chineseness does enjoy popular support, Deters quotes the editor-in-chief of the Netherlands-based Chinese Radio and TV as saying, “If you’re too critical you lose the Chinese public – the target group you’re aiming at.”  To what extent is this target group now defined by new migrants from the mainland, such as those students and graduates who are members of the embassy-created Association of Chinese Students and Scholars, according to whose charter the first duty of every member is to “ardently love the Fatherland, protect the Fatherland’s honour and national dignity” 热爱祖国,维护祖国荣誉和民族尊严? To what extent does it continue to be shaped by an older generation of migrants largely active in catering, who may well feel proud about the new, assertive discourse of global Chineseness? How do second-generation Dutch Chinese relate to this discursive hegemony?



  1. […] about the AAA, and about the uses of cultural defense in court. The current article also appeared on his […]

  2. This issue is certainly one that is going to become increasingly prominent.
    The following link connects
    to a Toronto Life article from 2008 which documents censorship in the translation and editing of a Toronto Star a newspaper article that ran in the Sing Tao

    [ When Sing Tao arrived on the streets the next morning, Keung’s article ran on the front page. The byline said “Special from the Toronto Star,” but Keung’s article and the Sing Tao translation were two very different pieces. In Sing Tao’s version, Gu’s and Fung’s comments had been removed, as had a section that described Taiwan’s resistance to the mainland. Some of the quotes had been altered to mirror the Chinese government’s official line on the protests. In one, the word “Tibetans” had been replaced with “Tibetan separatists”; in another, the words “so-called” were placed in front of “human rights abuses.” The translated story began with two new paragraphs accusing the West of one-sided reporting and offering this summary of the situation: “Most immigrants from mainland China stand on the side of the Chinese government and support the suppression of the rampant Tibet independent forces before the Beijing Summer Olympics.” The headline had been changed as well: “West uses Tibet issue to attack China, inspiring patriotism among overseas Chinese.” ]

  3. So what is happening at Sing Tao? Have there been recent ownership changes? I’ve always thought Sing Tao was considered “pro-Taiwan,” and that it was still, relatively, holding out.

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