International Papers

President Jiang, Meet Mr. Rivers, er, Mr. Rivera

Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post published a set of editorials attacking 1) the substantive importance of the recent China-U.S. summit; 2) the backsliding Chinese press/government; and 3) Geraldo Rivera. One SCMP editorial called the Chinese “ridiculous” for banishing debate coverage from Saturday evening newscasts and the Sunday papers. The editorial also labeled the summit “empty of substance.”

Another SCMP editorial blasted the U.S. media’s “ugly mugging” of National Security Adviser Sandy Berger during a press conference on the Chinese decision to arrest dissidents during Clinton’s trip. The SCMP had this to say about the U.S. press pack:

The biggest fish in the media pool is a former talk-show host, Geraldo Rivera, who has been hired by NBC for US$5 million (HK$39 million) to spice up their news reporting. Mr. Rivera had previously won fame for investigating the ins and outs of liposuction live on television.Serious print journalists figured that without recourse to degrading acts of self-humiliation on the part of participants on his show, he would be struggling to earn his pay cheque. Yet by the end of the briefing one began to have doubts.

Most other Asian papers give the summit respectful coverage, stressing Clinton’s sharp language, his visit to a church, and the fact that the debate was broadcast live in China. The Korea Times interviewed one of Clinton’s fellow churchgoers: “Now that he’s prayed with us, the Chinese government will greatly relax its policies toward us Christians and our churches,” hopes Liu Suxing.

Korean newspapers are buzzing over the capture of a miniature North Korean submarine in South Korean waters, an event that has ratcheted up tensions between the two enemies. The submarine became entangled in a fishing net while returning to North Korea. While South Korean commandos towed the craft to shore the North Koreans committed suicide–actually, three leaders shot the six crew members (with automatic rifles), then themselves. The Korea Herald reports the sub contained TNT canisters riddled with bullet holes, apparently from an unsuccessful attempt to destroy the submarine. The Korea Times adds the sub also contained bottles of South Korean soda pop, which led authorities to suppose the agents had landed on South Korean soil, even though the latest word is that the bottles may have come from North Korea. Pyongyang has demanded the return of the sub and crew members.

The Moscow Times reports that a radiation safety firm has been engaged to test 45 Moscow athletic facilities reserved for next month’s Youth Olympics. The firm will also test 1,000 miles of Moscow’s roads for unsafe radiation levels. The article does not specify what prompted the tests.

Japan’s Mainichi Shimbun reports that college students “will hold a mountaintop concert … next month in hopes of healing with their music the local environment, which has been scarred by dioxin emissions.” Does this mean a benefit concert? No, the students will summit a local mountain to play Disney showtunes and melodies mimicking wind song, bird song, and insect song in hopes of taming the savage dioxin.