CHENGDU, China – With restive Tibetan areas swarming with troops and closed to scrutiny from the outside world, China’s government turned up efforts Saturday to put its own version of the unrest before the international public.
Information barely trickled out of the Tibetan capitaland other far-flung Tibetan communities, where foreign media were banned and thousands of troops dispatched to quell the most widespread demonstrations against Chinese rule in nearly five decades.
The Chinese government was attempting to fill the vacuum with its own message. It disseminated footage of Tibetan protesters attacking Chinese and accusations of biased reporting by Western media via TV, the Internet, e-mail and, which is blocked in . The communist government’s leading newspaper called to “resolutely crush” the Tibetan demonstrations.
The media barrage underscored that the government campaign is moving into a new phase of damage control ahead of the much-anticipatedin August.
While China’s rigorous policing of the Internet is far from foolproof, its official Internet is pervasive and there is no easy access to an alternative in the country. The difficulty of confirming what is going on inside Tibet may also be hindering a stronger world reaction.
“They’ve successfully managed the messages available to the average Chinese citizen, and this has fueled broad public support for a heavy-handed approach to controlling unrest,” said David Bandurski, a Hong Kong University expert on Chinese media. “There will be no nuances to Tibet coverage.”
CNN’s bureau inhas been deluged in recent days by a barrage of harassing phone calls and faxes that accuse the organization of unfair coverage. An e-mail to -based reporters purportedly from China’s U.N. mission sent an Internet link to a 15-minute state television program showing Tibetans attacking Chinese in Lhasa.
A slideshow posted on YouTube accused CNN,‘s Der Spiegel and other media of cropping pictures to show Chinese military while screening out Tibetan rioters or putting pictures of Indian and Nepalese police wrestling Tibetan protesters with captions about China’s crackdown.
Though of uncertain origin, the piece at least had official blessing, with excerpts appearing on the official English-language China Daily and on state TV.