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CSN: AP 'still minimizes' Chinese abuses
Could it be? "America's pro-Maoist newswire"
China Support Network
3/22/2003

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March 22, 2003 (CSN) -- The Associated Press (AP) is drawing criticism from the China Support Network (CSN) for its "now habitual" understatement of casualties in China's human rights atrocities. A statement from John Kusumi, CSN Executive Director, follows.

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We have been down this road before. At the time of Tiananmen Square's massacre (a Chinese event of 1989), news observers could watch the casualty count rise -- to around 3,000 -- and then, subsequently, fall. U.S. news media standardized on saying that "hundreds" died in the Tiananmen Square massacre.

In a prior release, I noted that the director of the Chinese Red Cross had initially reported "over 2,600" dead, lending credence to the 3,000 number. That director later reversed himself, but as I asked before, would you believe that man before, or after, authorities had time to make a midnight knock on his door? I, for one, do not believe that the casualty count went down.

I have speculated that there must be an AP style book, and that is where the casualty reporting went down, suggesting pliancy with Beijing's Maoist government.

We have been down this road before, but now there is new evidence of the AP understating casualties for American readers. Yesterday's report on the trial and conviction of Dr. Charles Li, U.S. citizen and Falun Gong follower, included the following which may be standard boilerplate from such as an AP style book--

Falun Gong has attracted millions of followers with a mix of traditional Chinese calisthenics and doctrines drawn from Buddhism, Taoism and the ideas of its founder, Li Hongzhi, a former government clerk.

It was banned in China in 1999 as a threat to public safety and communist rule. Since then, thousands of followers have been detained, and scores are reported to have died in police custody from beatings or mistreatment.

"Scores" dead understates the case, by at least an order of magnitude. The Falun Dafa Information Center (FDI) takes pains to confirm its information, and now reports 610 confirmed dead. We understand that government sources inside China will privately admit that the true death toll is in the thousands. See http://www.faluninfo.net/DisplayAnArticle.asp?ID=6517#death_toll

Observers are aware that Falun Gong (FDI) sends out email reports, roughly every week, with the names of the latest dead. Observers also know how voluminous these reports have become, and that a river of death is constantly released in this news story. The Associated Press is truly minimizing a holocaust of persecution. If it is not America's pro-Maoist newswire, then it is at least America's Maoist-pliant newswire.

Every time that Tiananmen Square's dead are minimized to "hundreds," Chinese dissidents are getting a slap in the face, and American readers are getting a disservice. Americans should be offended by the inaccuracy, seemingly every time that Tiananmen Square is mentioned. And now, every time that the foregoing boilerplate is used to describe the Falun Gong situation, members of Falun Gong are getting a slap in the face, and audiences are likewise given a disservice.

From the AP, insult is added to injury.



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