Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

A Chinese Life Is Worth Less Than a Middle Eastern Life

February 21, 2013 2:57 am 1 comment

Protestors in China.

Imagine the international uproar if 100 young Palestinian Arabs burnt themselves to death while demanding Israel return land to the Arabs? Not 100 at once, but one by one, one could envision the topic dominating world headlines. Coverage of funerals, visuals of their families and undoubtedly we’d see pundit after pundit pontificating on the need to “understand their frustrations.”

Meanwhile, in Nepal, 100 Tibetans have burnt themselves to death to protest Chinese rule of Tibet – and it has largely been ignored by the media. No calls for China to give in to Tibet because of the poor oppressed Tibetian people – no U.N. peace force, and little media coverage. In December 2010, a Tunisian fruit-vendor set himself on fire, and media coverage of subsequent Arab riots and the “Arab spring” fueled global headlines for months on end. Despite the fact that China is a world power, the Middle East is more interesting to the media, and for the media seemingly a Chinese life is worth less than a Middle Eastern one.

In the media coverage we do see, one doesn’t see China blamed for the decision of the Tibetans to kill themselves, even since the 2008 Beijing Olympics where there were demonstrations about these issues. The Government of China has monks in “re-education” campaigns that involve arrests, beatings, and worse. The freedom of religion of these monks is under assault – as is democracy in China. Yet, one won’t read about these things in the media, and it’s rare to find stories holding China accountable for these suicides which are being committed.

Contrast that to Middle Eastern media coverage – where there’s a regular villain. While suicide bombers harm many people, media outlets often refers to them as militants rather than terrorists.

When a young Tibetan monk burns himself to death it barely registers.

In China, news releases take time “because Tibetans are too frightened of Chinese state reprisals to speak about protests.” Western media doesn’t write about their fellow reporters’ inability to report honestly. Yet, it’s the Israeli democracy one regularly reads about as oppressing people and barring the media from doing their job. It is a sickening double standard.

An AP wire story about a Palestinian who burnt himself  to death in 2012 said in part: “Since the militant Hamas took over the territory in 2007, the economy has steadily worsened under an Israeli blockade.” “Although Israel eased the blockade in 2010 under international pressure, imports and exports are still restricted, stifling the private sector, meaning there are few jobs in the territory.” The subtext is that Israel is to blame – and this is mentioned ad naseum in stories about Arabs burning themselves.

On the sole occasion in recent history (July 2012) where an Israeli, Moshe Silman burnt himself to death. Press TV chose to run an open letter he wrote which stated in part: “.. I served in the army and in the reserves until I was 46. I won’t be homeless and that is why I am protesting against all the wrongs Israel imposes on people like me,” adding that Israel “robbed me of everything and left me with nothing.” Israel is to blame and is always the bad guy in the eyes of the world media.

As the “moral” media often paints villains and heroes, one may think that those who burn themselves to death (and harm no one but themselves) would be seen in a more sympathetic light than suicide bombers who aim to maim and kill as many as possible as part of their mission. Of course, all logic evaporates when Jews are involved. The Jews must always play the role of the bad guy – throughout history, from the Crusades to the Holocaust, the Jews are to blame.

It’d be funny if it wasn’t so sad.

Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5W Public Relations, a NY PR Firm.

1 Comment

  • The developed world, like the USA, United Kingdom etc, is afraid of China because they fear losing business opportunities in China. China is using its economic might to twist the arms of many nations into not highlighting its brutal rule in Tibet. With the billions developed countries can make in China what is Tibet these world powers? On the other hand, they can report as much as they want about the middle east as there is no economic repercussion. The western powers which talk so much about freedom, justice and democracy are nothing by hypocrites. In the end of the day the dollar is what counts not an insignificant Tibetian who has committed self-immolation to free his country from China’s tyranny.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.

Current day month ye@r *


  • Arts and Culture Beliefs and concepts What’s That Huge White Bridal Dress Floating Over the Tower of David?

    What’s That Huge White Bridal Dress Floating Over the Tower of David? –  “What’s that huge white bridal dress floating over the Tower of David?” That’s what visitors to Jerusalem’s Old City asked last week. The wedding gown, created by leading Israeli artist Motti Mizrachi, is part of the 2nd Jerusalem Biennale for Contemporary Jewish Art, an event that blew into town as the Sukkot holiday got underway. Mizrachi, who lives and works in Tel Aviv, created the dress that floats majestically over the Tower of David, the main exhibition site […]

    Read more →
  • Features Opinion The Top 10 Places to Visit in Israel

    The Top 10 Places to Visit in Israel

    Israel is a holiday destination on many travelers’ bucket lists. No matter the style of holiday you are after, Israel has the answer. Whether you prefer to relax by the beach, hike up mountains in the desert, visit religious and historical sites, eat your way through the country or just enjoy some retail therapy, your journey through Israel will be one to remember. While there are obviously so many things to see and do, here is a list of 10 of […]

    Read more →
  • Pioneers/Philanthropists US & Canada Jewish American Fashion Mogul Ralph Lauren to Step Down as CEO

    Jewish American Fashion Mogul Ralph Lauren to Step Down as CEO – Jewish American fashion mogul Ralph Lauren announced his plan to step down as chief executive officer of the renowned fashion brand. The head of Gap Inc’s Old Navy brand will take over the position. The 75-year-old Lauren, who founded Ralph Lauren Corp. in 1967, will continue to serve as executive chairman and will continue leading the fashion house’s design team, according to a statement by the company. After the announcement, Ralph Lauren shares rose 3.79 percent while Gap shares […]

    Read more →
  • Featured Sports US & Canada Jewish Boxer Dustin ‘White Tiger’ Fleischer Scores Fourth Knockout Victory

    Jewish Boxer Dustin ‘White Tiger’ Fleischer Scores Fourth Knockout Victory

    Jewish boxer Dustin Fleischer, who said his quest is to become the first world champion descended from a Holocaust survivor, stayed unbeaten with a first-round knockout. Fleischer, nicknamed “The White Tiger,” moved to 4-0 with the defeat of Ira Frank on Saturday night in Beach Haven, New Jersey, near his home, he reported after the fight on his Facebook page. The 26-year-old welterweight has won all his bouts by knockout. Read full story at JTA.

    Read more →
  • Featured Israel Pioneers/Philanthropists Meet Israel’s Santa Claus, the Trustee Tasked With Handing Out Leona Helmsley’s Billions (INTERVIEW)

    Meet Israel’s Santa Claus, the Trustee Tasked With Handing Out Leona Helmsley’s Billions (INTERVIEW)

    Renowned New York attorney Sandor (Sandy) Frankel, one of four trustees of the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, was in Israel earlier this month to look at additional philanthropic options and to observe the progress of those endeavors already funded – to the tune of multi-millions. Frankel, who recently joined the prestigious Park Avenue law firm Otterbourg P.C., met with Israeli politicians and other bigwigs to get a sense from them about which projects in the country […]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Food Spirituality/Tradition ‘Pastry Secrets’ Arrive Just in Time for Rosh Hashanah

    ‘Pastry Secrets’ Arrive Just in Time for Rosh Hashanah – Babka. Strudel. Stollen. Danish pastry. Not to mention Gugelhopf and Charlotte. The names set the mouth to watering and conjure up lovingly concocted pastries that feed the body and comfort the soul. If you didn’t have a grandmother who baked these delicacies, you wish that you had. George Greenstein was never a grandmother, but his life as a baker provided his children and grandchildren with memories infused with the smell of fresh baked bread and rugelach. His daughters, Julia […]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Spirituality/Tradition Fusing Israeli and Holocaust History, Novel Offers a ‘Middle Eastern Western’

    Fusing Israeli and Holocaust History, Novel Offers a ‘Middle Eastern Western’ – There is a game that all of us have played at some time in our lives. We ask ourselves: What would my life be like if I had gone to this school instead of that one, or if I had married this girl instead of that one? In their newly published book The Ambassador, authors Yehuda Avner and Matt Rees play that game with modern Jewish history. Avner — who died earlier this year, and was a speechwriter, secretary and adviser to […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Lifestyle A Toulouse Fashion Student Finds Style and Harmony in the Holy Land

    A Toulouse Fashion Student Finds Style and Harmony in the Holy Land

    A unique group of young fashion bloggers and designers recently visited Israel to learn more about the country’s fashion industry and diverse culture. Hailing from the Philippines, Korea, Kenya, Japan, Brazil, Spain, France, Germany, Russia, and the U.K., the 10 participants toured the country and met with top Israeli fashion designers throughout last week. “It was an amazing experience,” said Meissene Maghni from Toulouse, France — one of the participants of the program. “I’m Muslim and I really wanted to see Israel […]

    Read more →