How Hurricane Sandy Helped the Chinese Government

by Jillian Kay Melchior

A note to the 80,000 New Yorkers still without power: Take heart, because China has not forgotten about you.

The China Media Project reports:

Chinese media have been blanketed this week with coverage of Hurricane Sandy, the storm that battered the mid-Atlantic region of the United States on October 29 and 30. Since October 30, 1,290 articles on Hurricane Sandy have appeared in mainland media. That includes 709 newspaper stories, 171 wire stories and 410 web stories.

The motives for China’s extensive coverage aren’t entirely altruistic. There’s another, concurrent story Beijing didn’t want its citizens reading about.

Last week, thousands of protestors gathered in Ningbo (less than 150 miles south of Shanghai). They opposed the expansion of a state-run petrochemical plant because they feared, with good reason, health hazards.

Chinese officials appear to have caved to the protestors, promising to halt expansion. Then again, in other similar instances, the government has made initial concessions — and then done just the opposite once eye-catching protests dwindled.

The real story is that average Chinese citizens are vocally opposing the decisions of their government. Of course, China’s state-controlled, heavily censored media won’t give that news item the coverage it deserves. So instead, it covered Hurricane Sandy.

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