The first photos that went around the world last week showing bloody ethnic riots in China were shocking. One memorable photo depicted two Chinese women, dripping with blood, reaching out to comfort each other.
Here in China, people understood the women were Han Chinese, victims of an attack by rioting ethnic Uighurs. State-run television endlessly ran film of the women, dazed and stumbling on the streets of Urumqi.
But by the time that image reached the Evening Standard newspaper in London, it was a different story.
"Blood and Defiance," the caption beneath the photo read on the newspaper's website, "two women comfort each other after being attacked by police."
"Their action reveals not only moral degeneration," proclaimed China Daily, the state-run, English-language newspaper, "but blatant betrayal of journalistic ethics."
In London, the Standard's managing editor, David Willis, said Wednesday the caption was simply "an interpretation" by a copy editor of information supplied by the Associated Press, which had transmitted the photo. Nevertheless, the news agency had said nothing about who attacked the women.
"If that interpretation was wrong," said Willis, "it was a mistake. In any case, we took it off the site when it was put in doubt." Readers had complained, he said.
This week popular Chinese newspapers such as Beijing-based China Youth Daily lashed out at virtually all Western media, saying riot coverage showed Western prejudice, accusing some of "intentionally" changing facts.
However, the Evening Standard was not the only target. The BBC, Al-Jazeera, The New York Times, the Daily Telegraph and even The Wall Street Journal came under siege.
- Now it is my opinion that all media is biased, and therefore used for the editor’s motives and that most public relations include a lot of spin. However having scanned through several sites for information and not just the English Broadsheets, the information came through rather chaotically and seemed fairly unanimous and this coverage seemed a lot more open than last year’s coverage of the Tibet protests.
This all said the Chinese government has also admitted to killing 12 Uighurs in the recent Urumqi protests, which is highly unusual admission from the government. This also questions the position of some criticism of the Western Press.
Similiar to David Blaine's infamous sit in, in London, an Artist at the Venice Biennale has locked himself in a box in protest of China's one child per family policy. The box is 6 1/2 feet long by 3 feet high and 3 feet wide and Xing Xin is staying there for 49 days. It features special contraptions to allow Xing to be fed and to relieve himself.
To take up his time he has decided to count the characters used in all 150 books used in China's nine year compulsory education system. There are cameras inside the box to track Xing's movements and two waterproof televeisions outside this box, so that passers-by can see Xing's movements.
He plans to redo this protest in a glass box next time, when director of the Spazio Berengo creates a new glass museum that is set to open in the autumn, on the site where Xing's iron box currently stands. With Berengo's continued sponsorship, the artist plans to repeat the demonstration in a second box made of glass.
As for how much this protest will affect China's Decision making, I would say, it's not the biggest protest or the most life changing, I've seen and would have to be repeated by by several hundred within China to make any true political waves.