We were shocked to see the Silhouette publishing, without context, Chinese state propaganda last month. In the original online version of the Jan. 9 article “Chinese students aren’t brainwashed,” the author describes, without evidence, Chinese state media as “quite accurate,” and links to a propaganda article in the Chinese Communist Party-owned China Daily.
After being contacted, the Silhouette amended “quite accurate” to match the print version’s phrasing, “not factually incorrect.” However, this remains misleading. International media outlets, from The Guardian to The Star to the SCMP, have documented how Chinese state media has a history of publishing factually incorrect information to bolster the official position of the Chinese government.
Furthermore, the Silhouette linking readers interested in additional information to state propaganda articles — and failing to contextualize them as such — is a disservice to the very purpose of journalism. While we respect the Silhouette’s press freedom, we strongly urge the editorial board to be wary of the “both sides” fallacy here.
Having a legitimate paper like the Silhouette being subtly co-opted to spread the Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda is extremely problematic. This is especially harmful to marginalized students who are being actively oppressed by the CCP, such as Uyghur students facing genocide back home.
We urge the editorial board to ask themselves: are we publishing the truth? Or are we being a megaphone for viewpoints that advance the political agenda of a genocidal regime?
To the author of “Chinese students aren’t brainwashed”: if you have evidence that the CSSA deratification violated any discrimination policies, please release it to the Equity and Inclusion Office for a proper investigation. Otherwise, unsubstantiated accusations are counterproductive; instead, finding the truth is crucial to settling disputes and fighting disinformation. Likewise, the Silhouette should remember that good journalism happens when journalists fear not the sky nor the sea — not when they circulate propaganda points from the Chinese Communist Party.
Jonathan Hai (Engineering) and William Li (Arts & Science)