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Mud-slinging is not decent journalism

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UK police found 39 bodies in Essex in a truck container that's said to have started its journey in Bulgaria. facebook/@aljazeera

The death of 39 people whose bodies were found in the back of a lorry in Essex, Britain, last week was shocking. No matter which country these people are from, the way they were crammed into a refrigerated container to be smuggled into the UK was horrendous.

We feel sorry for the dead wherever they are from and condemn those who put them into such a risky condition without ever taking into consideration their safety.

What is worrisome in this case is how the facts about where these people are from were verified by both the local police and the media. Not long after the bodies were found, there were reports that they were Chinese nationals. How did the local police know they were Chinese?

Even The Guardian newspaper said that they were Chinese nationals in its editorial on Thursday last week. It was true that 58 Chinese were found dead of suffocation in a container in Dover in the year 2000. The local police may have taken for granted that these 39 people must be also Chinese. The media, without questioning whether they had enough evidence to verify the identities of these dead people, believed what they were told.

What is even more ridiculous and absurd is that a CNN reporter asked the spokeswoman of China’s Foreign Ministry on Friday a provocative question on the basis of the hearsay. His far-fetched association between the death of the 39 “Chinese nationals” and the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of New China was obviously intended to humiliate China: Why did these Chinese take such a risky way to leave China while the country was celebrating its National Day?

With investigations continuing and more suspects being arrested, many of the victims are now believed to have come from Vietnam, which is dirt on the face of those Western media which chose to portray these victims as Chinese.

Little wonder that some media in the West take a post-truth strategy in collecting news and airing their views, putting political mud-slinging before the pursuit of decent honesty.

Some Western reporters in China are too preoccupied with any opportunity to speak ill of this country to think about whether what they are talking about is the truth or not. Their political bias has led them astray from the rules a decent reporter is supposed to abide by.

Don’t try to pick up bad news about China just in order to please those who are hoping China will collapse.

How many times did China watchers predict the collapse of the Middle Kingdom? How many times were their predictions proved to be wrong? Please, look at China through an objective prism. That is the way decent journalism is practised. China Daily

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