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July 30, 2007

China 'DumplingGate' — Episode 3: bad buns bring bookofjoe ban

That's the bottom line, methinks, explaining why it is that 1) China has disappeared from my visitors location chart, whereas up to a couple weeks ago it was consistently around 1%, and 2) I've received several emails from China-based joeheads during that time telling me they can't access bookofjoe all of a sudden, and did I know if it was being blocked?

Yes, I think so, is the short answer.

And all because I fell for the initial news reports (videos above and below) about those cardboard-stuffed buns.

And even though I came back with a second post wondering out loud if any of it was true, I guess that wasn't enough to turn the tide and take down that firewall.

Then came the following item, from last Tuesday's (July 24, 2007) Wall Street Journal via the China Media Project website.

    China's 'Dumpling Gate' Puts Media in Hot Water

    A scandal over a news report has left some Chinese wondering which is less trustworthy: the country's food supply or the state-controlled media, a newspaper in China says.

    Earlier this month, an undercover television-news report showed dumpling vendors in Beijing stuffing their wares with cardboard. Ten days later, authorities in Beijing declared the story a fraud. The Southern Metropolis Daily, a Guangzhou newspaper, says this left people unsure who duped them — the dumpling vendors, a reporter or a government that has recently become sensitive to reports of tainted food.

    The Southern Metropolis Daily is controlled by the government, though it has developed a reputation for forcefulness. In an editorial, the paper calls on the government to allow the media more space when covering itself, according to a translation by the independent, Hong Kong-based China Media Project. The Guangzhou paper cites as a good example for dealing with fake reports the coverage the New York Times gave to reporter Jayson Blair's fabrications in 2003.


If there's one person I know who might be able to add some light to all this heat, it's China-based James Fallows.

I'm gonna send this post to him and see what he says.

I've been banned in China before and then unbanned and this is probably not the last time.

But no matter what happens in the short term, we all know how this story's gonna end.

So do China's rulers: the only thing that remains uncertain is when.

July 30, 2007 at 12:01 PM | Permalink


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