China chews up Cambodia, now it’s hungrily eyeing Thailand

your say June 07, 2018 01:00

Re: “China-linked media enter Cambodia,” Asean plus Thailand, June 4.

We are informed that China-linked media, having managed to close down the Cambodia Daily, are now moving in to kill off The Phnom Penh Post, which remains the Last Man Standing – and on increasingly wobbly legs – among Cambodia’s independent English-language press.    

This is journalistic imperialism, folks, aka creeping Chinese colonisation. Here China-friendly media gradually gobble up independent English-language publications in neighbouring countries, eventually leaving the China Daily and its satellites as the only voices in town. 

I note evidence of this phenomenon in the pages of our own beloved Nation. First we were treated to a weekly supplement, the China Daily Asia Weekly. “Splendid!” I thought.  “Now we will get the Chinese viewpoint to balance the preponderant views of the Western wire services.”

Then we got periodic pages devoted to the Chinese province of Yunnan. “Wonderful!” I thought. “Now we will get the Yunnanese viewpoint – which, come to think of it, is indistinguishable from the Chinese viewpoint.”

Most recently, political cartoons from the China Daily have begun to infiltrate The Nation’s editorial page. (See the June 3 cartoon.) “Not so good,” I thought.  “Could the China Daily eventually squeeze out the immortal contributions of our beloved Stephff?” As your columnist Suwatchai Songwanich cheerfully notes in his latest “China Business Weekly” column (“Who will be the first to send a man to Mars?”, June 4): “Indeed, Beijing may not rest until the Five-Star Red Flag flies boldly across our solar system.”

Indeed. Why only our tiny solar system? Why not the whole galaxy? Why not the universe? If entire editorials from the China Daily begin appearing in the editorial slot, we will know that The Nation as an independent newspaper has met its doom. Its current motto, “Insightful, In Trend, Independent” will have to be changed to “Insightful, In Trend, Ingested”.

So let readers and management alike beware of the creeping piecemeal ingestion of The Nation by predatory Chinese media. This is a Thai newspaper, people. Let’s keep it that way. A balance of viewpoints is fine, but let’s make sure the balance doesn’t get tipped into the dragon’s maw.

Ye Olde Pedant