Thursday, October 18, 2012

Spokespersons In The News

It is easy to swallow the constant parade of shaded truths and evasions uttered by the government's main spokesman, Chief Cabinet Secretary Fujimura Osamu, as he fumbles through his daily press briefing. With his "let me look at my notes here" and soft delivery one gets the impression, that not particularly deep down, he does not believe what he is saying.

Contrast this with the martial verbal stomping of Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the People's Republic of China Hong Lei. His jut-jawed aura of certitude, on display most recently in the response to the rubber bullet killing of Chinese fisherman by the South Korean coast guard, where the crew of the fishing boat fought with "knives, saws, spears, shovels and axes" to repulse a boarding of their vessel (Link) was nearly parodic, demanding that Sought Korea take preventive measures against violent law enforcement behavior.

Why can Hong not say, "These men may have been fishing illegally and used deadly force in resisting a boarding of their vessel. The PRC government has no formal comment on the situation, as the investigation of the incident is still in its initial stages," like any normal spokesperson?

Were I a correspondent of a news media organization, assigned to Beijing, I would likely burn that organization's work visa in a moment. Attending a Foreign Ministry briefing, I would not be able to restrain myself from getting up from out of my seat and declaiming, "Please, Mr. Hong, I beg you. Please tell me one more impossible thing."

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