Archive for the ‘propaganda’ Category

North Korea threatens to reduce South to ruins

October 28, 2008

North Korea’s military threatened on Tuesday to use everything in its arsenal to reduce South Korea to rubble unless Seoul stops civic groups from sending anti-Pyongyang leaflets into the communist state.

The North has lashed out at the South’s president who took office in February for his pledges to get tough with his neighbor and has been enraged by a fresh wave of propaganda leaflets sent by balloons launched in the South in recent months.

“We clarify our stand that should the South Korean puppet authorities continue scattering leaflets and conducting a smear campaign with sheer fabrications, our army will take a resolute practical action as we have already warned,” the official KCNA news agency quoted the military spokesman as saying.

From Jack Kim, Reuters

North Korean soldiers clap their hands at an undisclosed location ... 
North Korean soldiers clap their hands at an undisclosed location in North Korea in a picture released by KCNA on August 16, 2008.(KCNA/Reuters)

At a rare round of military talks on Monday, North Korea complained about the leaflets while South Korean activists sent a new batch of 100,000, despite warnings from Seoul not to do so.

“The puppet authorities had better bear in mind that the advanced pre-emptive strike of our own style will reduce everything opposed to the nation and reunification to debris, not just setting them on fire,” the spokesman said.

South Korean groups have been sending the leaflets into the North for years. Analysts said the recent wave appeared to have touched a nerve because they mentioned a taboo subject in the North — the health of leader Kim Jong-il.

U.S. and South Korean officials have said Kim may have suffered a stroke in August, raising questions about who was running Asia’s only communist dynasty and making decisions concerning its nuclear arms program.

North Korea mostly refrained from threatening the South when it was receiving a steady stream of unconditional aide under liberal presidents who ruled for 10 years before President Lee Myung-bak.

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NKorea defectors drop leaflets condemning leader

October 14, 2008

By KWANG-TAE KIM, Associated Press Writer

YEONGJONG ISLAND, South Korea – The North Korean trembled when he spotted the leaflet that had fluttered down from a balloon dispatched from the South. He snatched it, stuffed it into his pocket and ran to the bathroom to read it.

Park Sang-hak says he read that slip of vinyl — which bragged about the good life North Korean defectors were enjoying in South Korea — more than 15 times in disbelief.
An unidentified North Korean defector prepares to launch a huge ... 
An unidentified North Korean defector prepares to launch a huge helium balloon containing some leaflets, seen at bottom of balloon, condemning North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, during an anti-North Korea campaign in water near Yeongjong Island, South Korea. Friday, Oct. 10, 2008. The group of North Korean defectors sent airborne leaflets to their former communist homeland on Saturday, a move expected to further anger North Korea amid lingering tensions on the divided Peninsula.(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

Fifteen years later, Park is on the other side of the border. He defected to South Korea in 1999 and now helps launch propaganda balloons filled with leaflets denouncing the Stalinist regime.

The 40-foot balloons — fueled by hydrogen and shaped like missiles — are the most direct way to reach people living in one of the world’s most isolated nations. Few North Koreans have access to cell phones or the Internet, and millions have no way of getting in contact with relatives living in South Korea.

For decades, the rival Koreas waged a fierce ideological battle using leaflets, loudspeakers and radio broadcasts across the heavily fortified border. At the height of the propoganda war, South Korea’s military loudspeakers blared propaganda 20 hours a day, according to an official from the psychological unit of the South Korean army. He spoke on condition of anonymity, saying he was not authorized to speak to media.

But then the two Koreas embarked on a path to reconciliation that led to the first landmark summit between their leaders in 2000. They agreed in 2004 to end the propaganda.

Still, activists and defectors continue to send balloons filled with leaflets across the border, despite pleas from Seoul to stop at a time when inter-Korean relations are at their lowest point in years. The activists hope to spark a rebellion to overthrow Kim Jong Il.

Last week, the North threatened to expel South Koreans working at two joint projects north of the border and warned of “new military clashes” if leaflets criticizing Kim — an illegal offense in North Korea — continue.

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Russia Spends Big To Burnish Image Abroad

March 6, 2008

By Peter Finn
Washington Post Foreign Service
Thursday, March 6, 2008; Page A01

MOSCOW — In early 2004, when Svetlana Mironyuk became director general of the Russian news and information agency RIA Novosti, she discovered that the descendant of the Soviet Union‘s global propaganda machine was dying on its feet.

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin
Влади́мир Влади́мирович Пу́тин
Vladimir Putin

Some of its writers were still using typewriters from communist days. The agency was publishing just one English-language newspaper, Sputnik, which was supposedly sold in Britain, although Mironyuk said she could find no evidence of that. Travel agents and dentists had moved into RIA’s stolid Moscow headquarters building.

“It was a desperate situation,” she said.

No more. The agency’s newly refurbished offices include a high-tech newsroom, complete with flat screens and a circular news desk, where 300 journalists disseminate a multimedia package of news to an international audience every day.

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China’s Effort to Resolve Food, Product Safety is Questionable

November 2, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
October 2, 2007

As November dawned, China said it needed to tackle the year-long food and product safety scandals as it tackled the SARS outbreak more than four years ago. That reponse, for as many as nine months, was a total disaster.

SARS is a deadly viral infection know by its full name as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

Reuters filed this report on November 2, 2007, from China:

“Vice Premier Wu Yi — who is leading China’s effort to stamp out tainted, toxic and dangerous food and exports after a damaging torrent of scares — said lack of information at the village level and poor enforcement of laws were big challenges.”

She was quoted as saying:

“Looking back at the last two months of work, it can be said that progress has not been insignificant, results have been obvious — and this has not come easily.  But there are still many weak links and our task is increasingly hard.”

“Everywhere must engage in propaganda, just like that promoting patriotism, public health and family planning, pushing safety knowledge on farm product quality and safety on a grand scale.”

“Agricultural departments must arrange special budgets, as during the SARS outbreak, to print propaganda posters and illustrated booklets, putting them into the hands of every farmer, and sending them to every rural school,” she added.

Well, we ask China: “Do you think we are asleep, stupid or uncaring?”

China’s reaction to the SARS outbreak was a DISASTER.

The below essay is republished here as a reminder and a cautionary alert:

China’s Ham-Handed SARS Response
Omen in the Future of Disease Control?
By John E. Carey
The Washington Times
First Published
Sunday, May 4, 2003. Page B5

The U.S. Centers For Disease Control and Prevention now says the deadly viral infection Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) is under control and abating in Singapore, Vietnam, and Toronto.

China continues to experience an increase in SARS cases.

The source of the outbreak, or at least the first place it was diagnosed: Guangdong Province, China. Guangdong is the province surrounding Hong Kong. It is the most densely packed province in China and people there tend to live right on top of their farm animals.

In Hong Kong, for example, when you go to buy a chicken, a duck, or a pig for the family dinner, you get a live animal and it comes from a cage filled with 20 or 30 other animals. You can imagine the sanitation in this situation leaves a lot to be desired.

Some doctors are now thinking the first signs of SARS developed in the farm animals and then spread to the people. Ducks are known to routinely produce strange new viral infections that don’t harm the ducks but spread with devastating affect to chickens and pigs.

The virus then mutates and spreads to humans.

China has a population of about 1.3-1.4 billion people. That’s about 22% of the world’s population.

The population of the U.S. is between 300-350 Million.

Some doctors are saying the mortality rate for SARS is 5-6%. If that is true you could have 15-21 million human deaths in America, worst case – if the disease spread out of control and prevention measures failed.

That is why we all have to be aware.

Causing fear and anxiety is not the reason we mention these numbers. The point is: SARS may be the tip of a new communicable disease iceberg in the twenty-first century. As the world becomes more crowded and mobile, our ability to quarantine a disease like SARS early enough to prevent widespread outbreaks is decreasing.

China is a particularly dangerous nation when envisioning the future of viral infections. It seems as if the Chinese were very slow to react once people started to get sick and die of SARS. It might have taken the Chinese government two months to even admit that there was a problem.

The disease spread to Beijing and Shanghai. Government officials basically fired the mayor of Beijing and his health minister for their apparent cover-up of the extent and importance of the disease.

In Chagugang town, up to 2000 villagers torched a school earmarked as a SARS quarantine center. The villagers didn’t want the SARS infected in their neighborhood.

We also learned that China lacks sufficient medications, medical staff and hospital facilities to properly service their own population.

The World Health Organization estimated that only about 4% of China’s medical professions were prepared for a disease like SARS.

SARS deaths are still on the rise in China even though they have stabilized or fallen in Singapore, Vietnam and elsewhere.

China has not had a methodical, rigid, disciplined approach to solving this problem. China produced lots of furious activity but much of it ineffective and only for show.

Big headlines boasted that all movie theaters, internet café’s, etc. were closed. But if you really wanted to look around and find an internet café open for business you could. As you enter, they wash your hands with disinfectant and give you a face mask. These are questionable prevention techniques at best.

Isolation by quarantine has proven to be the most effective prevention and control method.

My colleague in China e-mailed me from an internet café in Beijing right after every newspaper there claimed that the cafes were closed. Once you get out of Beijing – and the further you get from Beijing – the interest in SARS avoidance and precautions remains low if it exists at all.

Another problem is at play here. People who think they are sick, people who think they could have SARS in China, are reluctant to turn themselves in. They fear the government more than the disease.

My colleague in China started a trip from down near Hong Kong at the beginning of April, and traveled through Beijing and into northern China (Jilin Province). The only place SARS awareness existed was in Beijing. There was virtually no SARS awareness or prevention along this 1,300 mile trek through China except in Beijing. And the Beijing SARS prevention effort was almost entirely for show, aimed at news and cameramen, with little measurable or proven effectiveness.

The Chinese government appreciates media manipulation and SARS caused the “spin machine” to go into overdrive.

So before SARS gets too far or we discover a new deadly disease, here are a few things we need to remember about China in the twenty-first century:

*There is no effective, centrally managed organization like the Centers for Disease Control in China.

*The Chinese government has a track record of covering up bad news like the outbreak of an infectious disease.

*China is a densely populated nation with cultural and sanitation standards and methods more than a century behind that of the western world.

*Many citizens of China fear their oppressive government and have a tendency to keep problems to themselves.

*China tends to “fake” efficiency and effectiveness in a lame attempt to manipulate the media.

Before the outbreak of the next vicious, deadly disease, we need to discuss these problems with China.

China’s President Hu Sends “Good News Only” Order

August 20, 2007

Jonathan Watts in Beijing
Friday August 17, 2007
The Guardian (London)

China has ordered its media to report only positive news and imprisoned a pro-democracy dissident amid a clampdown on dissent ahead of the most important meeting of the Communist party in five years.

Media controls have been tightened, Aids activists detained and NGOs shut down as the president, Hu Jintao, prepares for the 17th party congress, when the next generation of national leaders will be unveiled in a politburo reshuffle.

Chen Shuqing – a founder member of the banned China Democracy party – suffered the toughest punishment meted out so far when he was found guilty yesterday of “inciting people to overthrow the government.”

Read it all at:

Hu Jintao
Hu Jintao

Bad News Tests China’s Propaganda Arm

July 27, 2007

 By Edward Cody
Washington Post Foreign Service
Friday, July 27, 2007; Page A14

BEIJING — According to a report circulating among Beijing intellectuals, Li Changchun, China’s senior propaganda official, went to President Hu Jintao recently suggesting a ban on the July issue of the magazine Yanhuang Chunqiu.

The scholarly monthly had published a long and daring article by a Communist Party professor saying that the party’s monopoly on power was the “root cause” of many of the ills afflicting modern-day China, including corruption and peasant unrest.

Although Hu has generally shown a restrictive attitude toward free speech, he counseled tolerance ….

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