Sunday, September 22, 2019

The Nation risks being sued by Chinese govt for letter headline   

Feb 24. 2019
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Re: “Chinese govt has murdered its citizens at the rate of thousands per day”, Have your say, February 22.

Last time, I laughed my pants off at Michael Setter’s spy story. This time I felt momentary juvenilised, because in reading Michael’s egregious letter I thought I was living in the 1960s, reading newspaper propaganda against communism.

According to Michael, China’s huge death toll (161,990,000) from state murders (by which agent?) occurred in the last 100 years, which would mean that the Chinese started to compile death statistics in 1919. This also implies that the Chinese statistics bureau was working diligently even during the Japanese invasion from 1937-1945. I wish I could verify this with my grandfather in my dream tonight.

I bet Michael will be upset when I tell him that he has made a mistake: 161,990,000 is not the death toll, it is the distance between the earth and the back side of the moon where the Chinese spacecraft landed five weeks ago on January 13. Michael will be upset not because of the miscalculation, but because China’s success is contrary to what he has steadfastly envisaged. 

I would also like The Nation to exercise more prudence and caution in choosing a headline, as such baseless claims could easily lead to libel.

The older we become the more we should leave the past to be the past, and let history become history. Why can’t we talk about present-day topics which can easily be verified, instead of insulting the readers’ intelligence with something entirely created out of thin air?

Yingwai Suchaovanich


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