Propaganda Masquerading as a Movie Review

June 7, 2010

I found another example of media propaganda in a movie review. In June 1989, the Tiananmen Square incident took place in China and “hundreds” of demonstrators died in what started as peaceful demonstrations “demanding” changes in China.

A few months later, a New York Times review made comparisons between the first emperor and China’s modern government. “The depiction of Qin’s bonfire and of his soldiers pushing his flailing enemies (they weren’t the emperor’s enemies) into a ditch caused the American Museum of Natural History to cancel its planned opening of ”The First Emperor of China” last July, when the news was still full of the Chinese Government’s violent suppression of student protests.… This re-enactment of the faraway Qin’s often despotic and often enlightened rule becomes more believable and complex in view of the parallels with recent events.”

The New York Times made a comparison with an event that took place more than two millennia ago but made no mention of the 2/28 Massacre in Taiwan by a US ally where almost thirty thousand noncombatants were killed by Kuomintang troops. There was also no mention of the almost 70,000 U.S. troops in the Philippians, who slaughtered hundreds of thousands of Filipino freedom fighters and non-combatants between 1898 and World War II.

Filipinos killed by US troops before World War II

The New York Times does not review every movie or documentary produced so it is questionable why they would review this lackluster 38-minute documentary about China’s first emperor. Was there another motive behind this review—to remind Americans of the Tiananmen Square incident? After all, let’s not forget anything bad that Communist China does while forgetting worse historical sins committed by American troops and its allies.

See What is the Truth about Tiananmen Square?


Lloyd Lofthouse is the author of the award winning novels My Splendid Concubine and Our Hart. He also Blogs at The Soulful Veteran and Crazy Normal.

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When the News becomes Propaganda

June 5, 2010

As a teen in China, my wife saw news film showing American solders using spoons to dig eyeballs out of Vietnamese children—blinding them. This is one example of how easy it is to use lies to demonize an enemy.

During the 19th century, to justify the Opium Wars and the brutal suppression of the Boxer Rebellion, the Western media demonized China and the Dowager Empress Tzu Hsi. Then, about a century later in “Dragon Lady”, Sterling Seagrave revealed that radicals and reformers who were in exile at the time spread lies saying the empress was an evil hag, and the Western media gobbled those lies up as if they were sweet chocolate.

In fact, a Western journalist, Dr. George Ernest Morrison was responsible for many of the slanders and half-truths about China that persist to this day.

In the June Smithsonian, one of those half- truths surfaced in 110 Years Ago, Sobby Boxers. The piece said the empress ordered the peasant’s known as the “Righteous and Harmonious Fists”, called Boxers by the Western Media, to kill all foreigners.

What it didn’t say was that the empress also told her military to make sure no foreigners died and water and food was carried to the legations through tunnels while the “Boxers” thought the empress was on their side.

The politics were complex. The Empress had nothing to do with the uprising. It was a popular peasant uprising against Christianity and the foreign powers. If she hadn’t supported the “Boxers”, the peasants might have turned on her.

Also see Media Slugfest Using Taiwan


Lloyd Lofthouse is the author of the award winning novels My Splendid Concubine and Our Hart. He also Blogs at The Soulful Veteran and Crazy Normal.

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Silence to Beauty

May 12, 2010

The art displayed in this post comes from artists, who are graduates of the Shandong Provincial Rehabilitation and Career School, an institute in China that trains young Chinese with disabilities. These artists are deaf.

In 1949, Mao Zedong launched the People’s Republic of China and ruled with an iron fist for almost three decades.

During Mao’s time, there was almost no free artistic expression in China unless the art served the propaganda needs of the state.

Zhang Guoli, Sons

After Deng Xiaoping opened China to a global market economy, the post Mao generation was introduced to Western art and theory.

Huang Jinpo, Earth

It wasn’t until the late 1980s and early 1990s that art from China started to emerge.

This is the dormitory where the artists live.

The photos in this post are presented with permission from “Embracing the Uncarved Wood, Sculptural Reliefs from Shandong, China“, which was made possible by a generous grant from the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation and with assistance from the Office of the Provost of Franklin & Marshall College. ISBN: 978-0-910626-04-0

Discover Chinese Yu Opera with Mao Wei-tao


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. 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.

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Media Demons

April 2, 2010

When I read it, I laughed. To me, it was obvious.

Definition for propaganda: ideas, facts, or allegations spread deliberately to further one’s cause or to damage an opposing cause; also: a public action having such an effect (Merriam Or—manipulation of information to influence public opinion.

In 1948, the CIA established Operation Mockingbird, a program designed to influence the American media to play an important role in the propaganda campaign against the spread of Communism. The CIA recruited journalists, who wrote for The Washington Post, New York Times, Time Magazine, New York Herald Tribune, Newsweek, Miami News, Chattanooga Times, etc.  By 1953, this CIA network had a major influence over 25 newspapers and wire agencies (like the Associated Press and United Press International).

Evidence suggests that Operation Mockingbird (or something like it) exists today. If so, whom would this operation target? After all, Cold War Communism is gone.

The reason I mention Operation Mockingbird in this post is because of something I read in the New York Times today—Journalists’ E-Mails Hacked in China. The first few paragraphs of this piece infer that China’s government is responsible. Later, the piece indirectly mentions there is no way to know who did it. In the last paragraph, we are not sure if Google is partially responsible. As a journalist, why organize the piece this way?

See Google Recycled

Who’s Hacking Whom?

February 2, 2010

China rejects claims of Internet hacking attacks by Gillian Wong, Associated Press Writer.

Why is it that everything that happens in China is the government’s fault?  At least that’s how the Western media and politicians tell it. If the Chinese government is to blame for what every Chinese citizen does, then every senator, congressmen, Supreme Court justice and the president of the United States are responsible for everything happening in America.

China has every right to deny they are responsible. After all, where is the evidence? I always thought people were considered innocent until proven guilty. Shouldn’t governments have the same right. Isn’t that the foundation of American justice? China has a huge population using the Internet. Anyone could be doing this. How would you like to keep track of 1.3 billion people? Heck, the government of the United States can’t even control its people, and I know that China does not control their people as much as Westerners believe.

Here’s an example of what happens when Western Yellow journalism and politicians stir the pot. One Blogger Who Found Them Guilty Evidence that “simple” minds jump to conclusions based on propaganda, which is a two way street.

Lloyd Lofthouse is the author of the award winning My Splendid Concubine and writes The Soulful Veteran and Crazy Normal.