Saturday, April 23, 2005

Bowing by the Beeb.

A new trend in BBC coverage seems to have been thrust at me recently: that of the deferential coverage of China. Report after report has told of the Chinese anger against Japan as though a)The population of China has spontaneously arisen in response to Japanese provocation and b)The Chinese government, having nothing to do with the public responses to Japanese actions, has acted to subdue them despite having sensible grievances against the Japanese. This is a good example.

Surely this is just a superpower flexing its muscles, and surely the BBC, with its usual fairmindedness, would act to balance out the scales, as it seeks to against the US hegemon (alleged)?

Oh, I forget, we have to be deferential and polite to the Chinese. Meanwhile British ex-servicemen and families, who suffered at the hands of the Japanese, are, I suppose, merely nursing old grievances- that is, according to my BBC schooling. The results of a search of the BBC site which used the words 'Japan British Prisoners war' can be viewed here. There are no immediate results relevant to the case of British prisoners held under appalling conditions by Japan, and this one, found on the second page, merely talks about a new tourist attraction founded on the slave railway between Thailand and Burma, yet the Chinese anger, 60 years on, it practically unquestioned by the BBC.

The only recent BBC entry which mentioned warcrimes and Japan, referred most directly to warcrimes- but John Simpson was talking about Nagasaki and Hiroshima, which of course helped to hasten the end of the treatment of British POWs in ways unimagined by the Abu Graibised public consciousness. A serious film for the graphic modern mind remains to be made, if anyone can stomach it.

So let's summarise, on this St. George's day:

Grievances from British victims can be sidelined. Grievances from China must be mainstreamed. The only unequivocal warcrimes from the period that we will foreground are the Allied uses of the nuclear option against the vicious Japananese resistance.

That'll be balance, Beeb style.

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