The Press: China Without Gee Whiz

One reporter's technique: incrementalism

There are no flies in China. Nor is there much theft, bad food or bad manners.

Instead, there are all these photogenic peasants singing patriotic songs as red flags snap in the breeze, etc.

Such is the travelogue romanticism that has dominated much Western reporting from China since the Ping Pong diplomacy days of 1972, when large numbers of visitors were admitted for the first time since the Communist takeover in 1949. Now, however, some revisionism is in vogue. In the past year such ideologically diverse American publications as...

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