Propaganda and the Media -- Part 5

Let's Tell Some Lies

By Larry Romanoff for The Saker BlogJune 13, 2021

I stated in earlier articles that we are subjected - more often than we might imagine - to news articles that were entirely fictitious, reporting on news events that either never occurred, or where the description bore no resemblance to the actual event.

One of the most common ploys is to fabricate an event - usually an atrocity tale of some nature - and use an unrelated and misleading photo as evidence. CNN is famous for this tactic and, when challenged, invariably offers one of two responses: (a) 'Okay, so we accidentally mis-captioned a photo. Big deal.", or (b) "It doesn't matter. The photo was editorially relevant." These are not accidental; they serve as vital evidence for the fabricated story, and depend immensely on the ignorance of Americans and Westerners generally.

One of many that may be well-known was the flurry of stories of Chinese policemen brutalising the poor Tibetans (again). But a close look at the photo reveals that neither the policemen nor the 'victims' were ethnic Chinese but were Nepalese, clearly in Nepal police uniforms. The videos and still shots were produced by the CIA from their Disney-scripted propaganda narrative meant to increase worldwide disaffection for China. It was entirely a made-in-Hollywood fabricated action scene. No such event had ever occurred.


Cropping, Cutting and Pasting

A quick glance at this photo clearly indicates the options available by simple cropping, whether that photo is staged or genuine.


This photo fills an empty stadium with fans. The US is famous (CNN, the White House) for cutting and pasting a photo of full seats at the UN when a US official gives an ideological speech to a nearly-empty house. The White House does the same in reverse too, pasting in a photo of an empty assembly room when Iran's President gives a speech to a full house. Keep in mind that the Western media "have no obligation to tell the truth".


One of the more famous was the toppling of Saddam Hussein's statue in Tahrir Square, ostensibly celebrating the freeing of Iraqis from tyranny. The cropped photos and video released by the CIA and Pentagon showed a number of Iraqi citizens pulling on ropes tied to the statue, eventually bringing it crashing to the ground. It was a pathetic, but successful, fabrication. The Square had been cleared and a crane brought in, from which the ropes were tied to the statue. Then, a group of Iraqis pulled on the ropes while the crane pushed the statue off its pedestal, at which point several hundred clearly bewildered Iraqis did what they had been paid to do, and cheered loudly as the statue fell. Just another Hollywood production, but one which apparently satisfied the bulk of the American population that their military's destruction of Iraq was a deed of honor.


Another of interest is the photo and video of bin Laden supposedly claiming responsibility for 9-11, a falsehood in its entirety, staged by the CIA using a man who bore only the most superficial resemblance to bin Laden, but sufficient to satisfy most Americans that Iraq should be invaded and its resources confiscated - ignoring the fact that Iraq had never had any relations with bin Laden.


A related photo is that of the 'bin Laden situation room' where the White House staff watched 'by special satellite link' the Alice in Wonderland tale of the killing of bin Laden. The claim was quickly denounced by experts everywhere as 'a ridiculous technical impossibility', and Obama later admitted the photo was staged, but most Americans apparently believed the story anyway. There are many such misrepresented events in the mass media files.

Certainly the most successful of these completely false propaganda victories was the story of the "Tiananmen Square Massacre", perhaps the most famous event that never occurred. If this is news to you, you might want to say, "But I saw the photographs". Yes, well, I saw the same photos and anyone with even a passing familiarity with Beijing would know that none of those photos were taken in Tiananmen Square. They were of an entirely unrelated event, a series of terrorist measures arranged by the CIA and coordinated by the US Embassy in Beijing.

As evidence of this latter claim, the leaders of that intensely violent episode were unable to escape Beijing and took sanctuary in the US Embassy, the Chinese government media for weeks decrying the American protection of these terrorists and demanding their release. It didn't happen; the US found a way to spirit all those men out of China unharmed. The photos you should have seen - also not of Tiananmen Square, were of the violence perpetrated by those terrorists, including the burning to death of a great many young Chinese soldiers - which was when the military was sent in. This story is still almost too surprising to believe even today, but it was entirely - 100% - a lie, but so successful it has been celebrated by the Western media in 'anniversary' remembrances for more than 30 years.

One fact deeply buried was that a Spanish TV crew was in the Square for the entirety of that night, and filmed the peaceful clearing of the Square - film that has been vigorously suppressed for more than 30 years and is only now becoming available on the internet. Much too late to affect memories or convictions. I have covered this in an article which is extensively documented, and with all the details, an article which I believe is generally accepted as the definitive work on this topic, at least in English. You can read it here if you are interested. (1) It's worth noting that even today, websites like Wordpress or Google's Blogger will not permit the real photos of this 1989 event to be displayed, indicating that rather severe censorship of this event is still operative. I am including here three of the photos that may never have been seen, of some of the carnage inflicted by these American terrorists in Beijing, and one of the many soldiers burned to death by the thousands of petrol bombs unleashed. There was indeed an event in Beijing on June 4, 1989, but the details were viciously suppressed while an entirely false story was propagated by the media worldwide, heavily supported by photographs that were in no way what they purported to be. It is worth a moment of thought to consider the power of those behind this event, to have accomplished what they did.

China's Jasmine Revolution


It's interesting that perhaps sometimes we should believe what we read. Or, if not us, the psychopaths who populate the White House, in this case the solid position of China's government in relation to the people. Polls have repeatedly revealed that around 90% to 95% of the people in China have a high level of trust in and respect for their national government and leaders, China ranking first in the world in this regard while the US is near the bottom. Such polls were taken, for our purposes, in January of 2011, widely reported at the time, with an article in the Economist bemoaning the fact that "a disconcertingly high percentage of China's population appear very happy with their government", or words to that effect.


However, in 2011, our International Cabal of Gangsters (ICG), fronted by the US and disbelieving these statistics, attempted to provoke the Chinese people to a "Jasmine revolution". At that time, the entire Chinese social media landscape was flooded - and I mean flooded - by what were almost certainly CIA sock puppets calling on all Chinese to protest against their “brutal totalitarian government”. The calls were for these gatherings to occur in 13 major cities but with the focus on Beijing where all citizens were urgently entreated to gather in Wangfujing (a major downtown shopping area) to "peacefully protest". Unfortunately for the Americans, the Chinese had no such interest and nobody showed up, other than the usual shoppers. The only participant was then-US Ambassador Jon Huntsman who came to view the (non-existent) results of his handiwork. Huntsman was immediately recognised, confronted and so ridiculed by the crowd that he put his tail between his legs and ran for cover. (2)


The attempt to incite a color revolution in China was an abject failure, but for those who spin the news this didn't qualify as even a minor setback. If CNN can run a fake story and support it by 'accidentally' mis-captioning a few photographs, surely the US Embassy and the CIA, with their unlimited resources, can do better, thus 'capturing the hearts and minds' of good people everywhere. Here are a few of my favorites:


This is an article that ran in the Norwegian newspaper VG and its online edition, displaying Chinese people rioting in the streets, demanding 'freedom' and 'human rights'. Even if you can't read Norwegian, you can understand the headline telling you of the 'revolution in China'. But, if you examine the green placards, and you can read Chinese, you'll recognise the words for "Taiwan", and the political party slogans on the banners, with text indicating this is a pro-DPP political party rally in Taiwan. Nevertheless, it was borrowed by our media moguls and circulated worldwide as proof of the violent political demonstrations in China.


This is from an article in the Ireland Independent, on February 20, 2011, telling us people were shouting, "We want food, we want jobs" - All slogans that highlight 'common complaints' among 'ordinary Chinese'. According to AP, the photo shows "Chinese authorities cracking down on activists amid a call for 'Jasmine Revolution' protests". (AP) Unfortunately, this Reuters photo was taken at an anti-Japanese demonstration in Lanzhou city (Gansu province) on December 24, 2010.


I'm told it was CNN that clipped this photo from an article in Taiwan's Liberty Times to show yet more proof that the Chinese are rioting in the streets, yelling "we want food', we want jobs". However, the photo was of a job fair in Shenzhen more than a year prior, and those who can read Chinese will see that the placards say things like "Seeking workers" and "Hiring people today". But the photo was 'editorially relevant' to the fabricated story, and few Americans or Europeans can read Chinese.


This one is my favorite. For background, you should know that Beijing's climate in winter is not quite as bad as Inuvik, but it's not exactly Tahiti, either.


The article is from a German newspaper that featured a story on China's internal turmoil, containing a purported photo of the police crushing a demonstration in Beijing in front of the McDonald's at Wangfujing at the end of February, 2011. Unfortunately, they cropped the photo so we can't see the good parts of the 'beaten-to-a-pulp' protestors. But if we examine the photo we note some odd features. For one, the policemen are wearing short-sleeved shirts, and if we look in the background we see green grass, pretty flowers, and tropical trees. This, in Beijing, in the middle of winter? Not likely. The photo is actually of some young police recruits receiving training for civil disturbances in a parking lot next to a police station in Nanjing in the summer of 2005. But once again, editorially relevant.


A Lie of Omission is still a Lie


Virtually every article appearing in the Western media about China is either false or so corrupted by the twisting of facts and/or the omission of critical details, as to give uninformed readers a perception that is 180 degrees from the truth. This applies not only to China, but to all nations on the current 'Axis of Evil' list.


In Part 1 of this series I wrote of opinion-based articles which contained a few truths and many lies, articles that provide no detail or omit crucial details. I wrote that these may be difficult for you to identify without some research of your own, and that I would provide some examples. Here are two.


China: Bullying to Prosperity


I will begin with John Bussey who is the American Associate Editor of The Wall Street Journal, and was also a commentator at Fox News. In an article in the Wall Street Journal titled, "China: Bullying to Prosperity" (3), Bussey won a Nobel Prize for dishonest and unethical reporting. (The WSJ seems to have deleted this article, but it has been archived on other websites and still available). This was his article in part:


“Watching China bully Wal-Mart Stores this week – and watching Wal-Mart prostrate itself under the beating – is an embarrassing reminder of a simple fact: China, the world’s fastest growing major market, has the upper hand with U.S. business. Its array of protectionist barriers, weak rule of law, and siren-like market make events like this all but inevitable. In the company’s stores in the city of Chongqing, nonorganic pork was labeled “organic.” This was the mistake. The pork was otherwise fine. Seizing on this error at a time when inflation is a hot-button issue in China, officials accused Wal-Mart of cheating the public by charging premium prices for regular meat. They fined the company, shut down all 13 Wal-Marts in the city and jailed a number of Wal-Mart employees. The actions played well in the national media. There’s little if any recourse in authoritarian China when something like this happens to a U.S. company. There aren’t regular courts. Like many other U.S. firms that have run afoul of nationalist sentiments in China, Wal-Mart could only beg forgiveness. It has nearly 350 stores in China with revenue of $7.5 billion. So Wal-Mart dropped to its knees.” He finished with an astonishing claim where he cleverly quoted a (non-existent) “American executive in Beijing who watches these matters” who supposedly said Wal-Mart had done far more than Chinese companies “to secure the safety of the [country’s] food supply.”.


We should all feel sorry for Wal-Mart, with only $7.5 billion in revenue in China, though we do have a question about how China, with a weak rule of law, can simultaneously enforce those weak laws to make international giants fall to their knees.


Bussey's story is not exactly how it was. Wal-Mart is a famous criminal corporation in China, the authorities having had years of trouble with Wal-Mart repeatedly seeming to violate most laws on the books. Those same stores had for years been selling ordinary pork labeled as organic, each time being caught and fined a trivial amount, 8 times in the prior 7 months alone. It was so bad that when the inspectors were leaving the store with the confiscated illegal products, Wal-Mart’s staff were already busy labeling yet more ordinary pork as organic. It was just a game where the retail price was several times higher and the profits so huge that the nuisance of inspectors was trivial. What changed the game was that this last time the inspectors made a wrong turn as they were leaving the store, and found themselves in a refrigerated locker with 75,000 kilograms of ordinary pork labeled as organic. That was when they decided enough was enough, arrested all the senior executives and shuttered the stores. But according to the WSJ’s Bussey, a low-level clerk made an innocent “mistake” and mislabeled a few packages of meat, the Chinese authorities 'playing to the public'. And of course because China has no courts Wal-Mart could do no better than beg forgiveness and fall to its knees.


It is worth noting the lies attached to one small truth: In China, there is no recourse, China has no regular courts, China’s protectionist barriers, weak rule of law, Wal-Mart wasn’t punished for massive fraud, but for ‘running afoul of nationalist sentiment’. And Wal-Mart was innocently ‘securing the safety of China’s food supply’.


China Imprisons yet another Human Rights Lawyer


In a similar instance, the Western media stridently reported ad nauseum, that a Chinese human-rights lawyer had (once again) been imprisoned by “The Communist Party”, ostensibly for daring to be a human-rights lawyer in China. But once again, that’s not exactly how it was.


It was true this lawyer had on one occasion acted for someone with a complaint about the system, the story being weaved in the Western press that he was unjustly tossed into prison for daring to assist a challenge against the "authoritarian Chinese dictatorship”. I followed this one closely and in only one article of nearly 100 that I read on this particular case in the Western press, was there even a suggestion of an extenuating circumstance. In only one article, the very last sentence made vague passing mention of a tax problem.


That "tax problem" was a bit more than nothing. In China, there are various classifications of purchase receipts, only one of which is usable for corporate expense tax deductions. In many Western countries, even a cash register receipt is usable in this regard, but in China we must have an official receipt containing a government stamp. Since these receipts are equivalent to a tax credit of 25%, they are valuable and are sometimes traded. If I have official tax receipts my company cannot use, I can sell them to you at 10% of face value and you can save 15% on your corporate income taxes.


In this case, this ‘human-rights lawyer’ and four of his friends, all lawyers, had been for years running a business of printing counterfeit tax receipts and selling them to unsuspecting businesses, in total more than $300 million worth. All five were arrested and thrown into prison but, according to the media, this lead lawyer (only) was imprisoned not by the courts, but by "the Communist Party", and not for a massive counterfeiting fraud but for defending the poor and helpless. I was told that US reporters rummaged through the client records of the lead lawyer in this case until they discovered a minor civil matter that would permit them to categorise this man as a human-rights lawyer, and it was around this that they built their story.


Canada's two Michaels: Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor


Then we have the curious story of two Canadians, one a "former diplomat", the other a "businessman", both of whom were arrested and imprisoned in China for espionage. (4) (5) (6) According to Canada's National Post, both had been "enjoying success in very different fields when apprehended". Further, "At the time of his arrest, Kovrig worked full-time for the International Crisis Group in North East Asia. Working from Hong Kong, he was tasked with defusing tensions between China and nearby states, and with giving a fresh, independent appraisal of China’s growing role in the world . . ." Already I have questions. 


Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the two men have been “arbitrarily” detained by the Chinese, likely in retaliation for Canada's arrest of Meng Wanzhou of Huawei - who is still being held without charge after two years. The international pressure has been almost deafening:

* More than 220 statesmen, politicians, ex-diplomats, academics and directors of research centers from 19 countries published a call in Canada’s Globe & Mail for China’s President Xi to free Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.

* Fifteen leaders of U.S. foreign policy think tanks, independent advocacy organisations and academic research institutions have issued a joint statement on 10 March calling for Kovrig's immediate release.

* Another open letter by 60 Australian scholars and analysts asked the Australian Government without further delay to support Canada’s call for the immediate release of these two detainees.

* The directors of six Berlin-based policy institutions said in a joint statement . . ."


Nobody makes that much noise without having a powerful vested interest in protecting their 'assets'.


Given the espionage sensitivity of the case, little detail has been made public, but a bit of research and some logic can substitute for the lack of hard facts. First, notice the framing; Kovrig was never a 'diplomat', but was instead a low-level consular trouble-maker operating between China and Hong Kong, attracting the attention of the authorities for "activities not in keeping with the stated job function". Second, Kovrig took a sudden voluntary leave of absence to move to the International Crisis Group in Hong Kong, most likely for more freedom of movement and certainly with the complicity of the Canadian government. This Group bills itself as a Brussels-based non-governmental organization that "works to build a more peaceful world" and to prevent international crises, but in fact looks to cause them, a kind of color-revolution company financed by Western governments and people like George Soros while masquerading as a world peace organisation.


Next, why would a low-level Canadian consular staff member with absolutely no relevant qualifications at that level, be tasked - by the Americans - with "de-escalating tensions between Washington and Pyongyang"? Especially while Washington is simultaneously escalating those same tensions. He was also tasked with "defusing tensions between China and nearby states", according to the organization’s website. That sounds more like a job for Superman instead of a high-school graduate. Who would possibly believe that, while being paid by the US and our European Deep State, this man's function would be to defuse tensions between China and its neighbors when it is abundantly clear their only intent is to create as much tension as humanly possible.


Spavor is depicted as "a businessman with deep ties to North Korea", focused on opening up international ties with the insular country, and looking to promote greater "peace, friendship, and understanding" with North Korea. Surely there are no people anywhere in the world who might believe such a story - other than Canadians.


As I mentioned, very few facts emerged on this case, other than that the hearings and trials were heavily restricted with no foreign consular or legal representatives permitted. This is typical in all cases that actually involve sensitive espionage; no government invites the enemy into a courtroom where all the details of the circumstance are revealed. However, one small detail did leak out, the fact that part of Spavor's "research" involved wrapping mobile phones in plastic and rubber and burying them at the base of a particular tree on the bank of the little river that forms the border between China and North Korea. That kind of research activity might raise questions in any country. These two men were definitely working on the same team, supplying each other with undisclosed information, and almost certainly working on some plot to cause another explosion between the two Koreas that would finally permit the US to mass its troops and weapons directly on China's border. And clearly with the complicity of the Canadian government who are not so chaste as Canadians and the world imagine.


I have nearly 1,000 such stories in my files, enough to fill a thick book, and all reprehensibly dishonest in their presentation. When Westerners have only a diet of daily articles like this presented to them by their most trusted media, how is it possible for anyone to accurately understand anything about China?



Mr. Romanoff’s writing has been translated into 32 languages and his articles posted on more than 150 foreign-language news and politics websites in more than 30 countries, as well as more than 100 English language platforms. Larry Romanoff is a retired management consultant and businessman. He has held senior executive positions in international consulting firms, and owned an international import-export business. He has been a visiting professor at Shanghai’s Fudan University, presenting case studies in international affairs to senior EMBA classes. Mr. Romanoff lives in Shanghai and is currently writing a series of ten books generally related to China and the West. He is one of the contributing authors to Cynthia McKinney’s new anthology ‘When China Sneezes’. (Chapt. 2 — Dealing with Demons). His full archive can be seen at and 

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The original source of this article is The Saker Blog

Copyright © Larry RomanoffMoon of ShanghaiBlue Moon of Shanghai, 2021