It’s called deductive reasoning or forensics, a science used in China almost 1,000 years ago to solve crimes. The first written record of forensic science can be traced back to ancient China in a book written in 1248 titled “Xi Yuan Ji Lu” (translated as Collected Cases of Injustice Rectified) by Song Ci. This book describes the investigation of a person murdered with a sickle (a cutting tool). All suspects were told to bring their sickles to a central location, where it was noticed that flies were attracted to one particular sickle, presumably by the smell of blood; this led to a confession by the owner of that sickle. Source: ConnectedCalifornia.org
Anyway, some time back, I was shopping at Costco and saw a piece in The Economist about China’s secret media. I bought a copy and read it when I got home. One of the major reasons that the Qing Dynasty collapsed in 1911 was because the Manchu leaders were out of touch with what was going on. The royal princes lived behind high walls in a fantasy world of opulent gardens. The young Emperor and the Empress Dowager lived inside the Forbidden City or The Summer Palace—surrounded by eunuchs and ministers who filtered the news.
In Chinese whispers, The Economist reveals the different layers of news in today’s China. The first layer is the cleansed version for the people; then there is the unfiltered news for the country’s leaders. Each layer appears to have less censorship. What this piece reveals is that China’s top leaders want to know what’s going on before anyone else does.
One example would be the SARS outbreak in 2003. According to The Economist, by the time China’s leaders learned about SARS, there had already been 300 cases and 5 deaths. Two days after learning about SARS, China’s leaders told the World Health Organization. Since Xinhua’s reporters and editors do such a great job filtering the news for mass consumption, it seems that China’s top leaders sometimes have to become sleuths using deductive reasoning to discover the missing facts.
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.
His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.
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