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Cablegate: Shanghai Editors Increase U.S. News Coverage As Result of Iv

VZCZCXRO5195
RR RUEHCN RUEHGH
DE RUEHGH #0286/01 1350750
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 150750Z MAY 07
FM AMCONSUL SHANGHAI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5810
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 1071
RUEHSH/AMCONSUL SHENYANG 0638
RUEHGZ/AMCONSUL GUANGZHOU 0616
RUEHCN/AMCONSUL CHENGDU 0634
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 0740
RUEHIN/AIT TAIPEI 0512
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEHGH/AMCONSUL SHANGHAI 6208

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 SHANGHAI 000286

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP/CM, INR, R, EAP/PD, EAP/P, AND ECA/PE/V/R/F

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV SOCI ECON OEXC OIIP KPAO CH
SUBJECT: SHANGHAI EDITORS INCREASE U.S. NEWS COVERAGE AS RESULT OF IV
EXPERIENCE


(U) Sensitive but Unclassified - please protect accordingly.
Not for dissemination outside USG channels.

1. (SBU) Summary. During an April 18 lunch hosted by the
President of the Shanghai Youth Daily, four senior editors from
the paper who had recently returned from an International
Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) reported that they came back
from their IVLP trip with overwhelmingly positive views of the
United States. As a result of the trip, they had begun to
incorporate more news about the United States in the newspaper.
End Summary.

2. (SBU) Four senior editors from the Shanghai Youth Daily, the
mouthpiece of the Shanghai Communist Youth League (circ.
400,000), recently returned from a March 2007 International
Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) with wholly positive views of
the United States. The participants in the Single-Country IVLP
entitled "The Role of a Free Press in a Democratic Society"
included the Executive Deputy Editor-in-Chief, the Head of the
Comprehensive News Section, the Editor of the Political News
Section, and the Editor of the Domestic and International News
Section, all of whom had recently been promoted into their new
positions and were ideally suited to take maximum advantage of
their first-ever visit to the U.S.

3. (SBU) The four usually staid editors were anxious to regale
the Shanghai Public Affairs Officer (PAO) with tales of their
U.S. visit at a lunch hosted by the President of the Shanghai
Youth Daily shortly after their return on April 18. They were
bubbling over with enthusiasm about their trip around the United
States and fairly bursting with positive impressions of people
they had met and places they had visited. The morning before
the luncheon, the four had conducted a lengthy briefing of their
fellow journalists and editors at the Shanghai Youth Daily, a
requirement imposed by their Editor-in-Chief on anyone who
travels overseas. Not only did the four speak about their
experiences and the contacts they had made, but they showed a
photo montage they created of the places they had visited -
Washington, DC, New York, Tampa, Dallas and San Francisco - and
also passed around hard copies of dozens of newspapers they had
collected from around the U.S. They recounted how they had to
mail the newspapers back to themselves at considerable expense,
but were willing to do so because they felt strongly that hard
copies were "so much more useful as references than the online
versions anyone can read."

4. (SBU) The four editors reported that they had read up on the
U.S. before their journey, including Alexis de Tocqueville's
"Democracy in America" (in Chinese), but they described their IV
trip as a "seeing-is-believing tour of the U.S." They said the
trip "helped turn their abstract views about the U.S.
government, society and culture that they learned from books
into vivid pictures." They said that before they visited the
U.S., they viewed its history as far too short (in comparison
with China's) to be worthy of much attention, but they were
deeply impressed with how America has succeeded in preserving
its history and how average Americans are dedicated to
respecting the past. For example, they were struck by the
number of monuments America has to its past and how widely
visited they are, whereas China, in their words, has done a poor
job of preserving its past and its few monuments are in shabby
condition and rarely visited.

5. (SBU) The editors also reported that they were deeply moved
to have an opportunity to see with their own eyes how "advanced
and civilized" American society was and how deeply ingrained the
respect for the rule of law was in American society. This was
something they had heard about before going to the United
States, but having seen American society in action, they
commented that "this is one area where China can definitely
learn from the U.S." They were excited to have visited several
American newspapers and had a chance to meet with their
professional counterparts, both at large nationally influential
newspapers and at small, local papers. They were also struck by
the power of the American economy - "imagine how much economic
strength is contained in that one narrow Wall Street" - and saw
firsthand the flood of made-in-China products on the American
market. They commented that it was impossible to find souvenirs
for their families that weren't "made in China."

6. (SBU) The trip also appeared to have led to some positive
changes in Shanghai Youth Daily's coverage of U.S. news. Almost
immediately on their return, they set about revising the layout

SHANGHAI 00000286 002 OF 002


of the Shanghai Youth Daily to incorporate more news about the
U.S. on a daily basis, a move their Editor-in-Chief heartily
welcomed and that bodes well for enhanced U.S.-China mutual
understanding.

7. (SBU) Comment: While we have no illusions that one visit to
the U.S. will bring a free press to China overnight, the IV
program clearly has helped to improve the image of the United
States among a key group. After their IV trip, the four clearly
had a better understanding of the United States and an
appreciation of the importance to China of good relations with
the United States.
JARRETT

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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