Monday, October 15, 2012

Chinese Aid and Cooperation: Media Coverage

A Finnish student's master's thesis on bias in media coverage of Chinese aid and cooperation finds that media coverage (unsurprisingly) from China was overwhelmingly positive, that from the West overwhelmingly negative, and that from Africa, on balance, neutral. The dissertation starts with the observation that Western beliefs about Chinese aid and cooperation have real consequences:
This was demonstrated when Finland announced at the beginning of 2012 that it would revalue its development co-operation starting from March. Development Co-operation Minister Heidi Hautala indicated that human rights were to become the new main focus of Finland’s aid. The reason for this shift was announced to be the increased involvement of China and other rising donors in development aid practices. The newspaper Helsingin Sanomat (HS 2012) reported that China, which according to widely held beliefs tends to neglect human rights, has a growing effect on Africa and therefore, the rest of the world should be more concentrated on balancing against this neglect and improving the human rights facet of aid. This means that the perceptions about Chinese aid, no matter how close to or far away from the truth they are, are actually influencing the decisions other countries are making regarding their foreign assistance policies.
The author is Kitta Hirvensaloor. For more, continue here.

2 comments:

  1. If you read carefully the dissertation that you article is linked to, you will find creative uses of adjective like the following:

    "Overtly positive Chinese narrative"

    "Negatively inclined Western narrative"

    On the surface they look as if they are of equal weight, but they are not.

    "Overtly" carries a much more serious tone than "inclined", and that itself showcases author's own biases against China.

    And then, there is the question of the true motivation behind this research.

    Why was there no research been carried out by the author in analyzing, to paraphrase author's own words, "the contemporary relationship between Africa and the West, and more specifically the foreign assistance the Western countries provide to the growing number of African countries?

    Why was it that the author so interested in analyzing the relationship between Africa and China?

    One can't help but question the real motivation behind this particular analysis.

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  2. Pretty good study. Very informative

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