Browsing through recent Chinese newspapers, I found the Hong Kong media was gripped and spellbound. What was it all about? What event could trigger such an outburst of indignation in that small peninsula? It was the scathing attack by Jiang Zemin on Hong Kong journalists--right before the eyes of millions of people worldwide. Needless to say, his unrestrained display of hysteria in his capacity as the country's president was quite an embarrassment to all Chinese people. On the other hand, this "irrational outburst" also demonstrated his nervousness in the face of predicaments at home and abroad.

Reading the media reports more closely, I learned that the whole event was precipitated by a journalist's request for a comment from Jiang, on a claim recently made in a report by the European Parliament that Beijing, through certain conduits, was trying to influence Hong Kong's legal system. Jiang responded vehemently, "You media people have to watch out. Don't make wild speculations. Do you hear what I said? You shall make a judgement after receiving news; this is something totally beyond doubt..." Later, when a reporter asked him whether it was an "imperial order" from Beijing for Tung Chee-hwa, the current chief executive of Hong Kong, to serve a second term, Jiang suddenly lost his temper. Speaking Mandarin, English and Cantonese incoherently, he accused the Hong Kong media of making a fuss out of the chief executive's possible bid, branded their questions as "too simple and na ve" and said they would be held responsible if their reports "deviated from the truth." In the aftermath of this incident, Hong Kong people complained they could not understand what he was saying, even though he was speaking three languages--at the same time.

This made me recall a recent article by the Xinhua News Agency -- the official "mouthpiece" of Mainland China, which charged that Falun Gong "has become a tool used by the western anti-China forces to overthrow the government, and damage social stability and the best climate for 'opening and reform.'" To support its accusations, the article cited a series of Falun Gong activities launched by Falun Gong practitioners during the United Nations' Millennium Summit and the Sydney Olympics to let the world people know of their fellow Chinese practitioners' plight. Upon this thought, I came to understand Jiang's anger. For him, the purpose of the media is not about just, fair and open reporting, but consistency with his demands and needs. In fairness, Jiang understood the responsibilities of the media very well. Using Jiang's own words, "You shall make a judgement after receiving news. Don't make wild speculations." Moreover, the reporters will be held responsible if their reports "deviated from the truth." However, I am curious why this seemingly sound principle from Jiang could only be applied to the Hong Kong media, not to the media in Mainland China. While the Hong Kong media has been thrashed for playing sensationalism, the official Xinhua agency is free to make any misrepresentations. The most vicious lie it is trying to circulate involves the practitioners of Falun Gong, an advanced cultivation practice in the Buddha School anchored upon the principles of "Truthfulness, Benevolence, Forbearance". They have been accused of being a tool used by the West to overthrow the Chinese government. This is an utter lie, because the overseas Falun Gong activism during the United Nations' Millennial Summit and the Sydney Olympics was not meant to be a protest, or any anti-China activity, much less an indication of its intention to overthrow the Chinese government. Instead, it only intended to tell people worldwide of the truth about Falun Gong, giving them the chance to know that many people in China who are pursuing moral nobleness have been deprived of their freedom of belief. When they hold on to their beliefs, they are facing the risk of losing their most basic personal safety. Until now, nearly 80 Falun Gong practitioners have died as a result of persecution--based on information that can be verified. Acknowledge by neighbors and colleagues as truly good citizens, these innocent people are being mistreated as if they were not even as good as a convict sentenced to death. Shouldn't this truth be revealed to the people of the world? In Masanjia detention center, Shenyang, Liaoning Province, the wicked police there committed the most shocking--and unpardonable--crime by throwing eighteen female Falun Gong practitioners into male cells after being stripped naked. This has constituted the most humiliating affront to all the female citizens in this world. Shouldn't this heinous crime be revealed to the public? Is this action of publicly disclosing evil, an action that bears any remote resemblance to conducting "anti-China" or "anti-Chinese-government" activities?

According to a reporter from Time Magazine, it took 10 to 20 policemen, based on his eyewitness report in Tiananmen Square, to subdue one Falun Gong practitioner. During the past October, hundreds of police, paramilitary and plainclothes officers combed the square for Falun Gong practitioners on a daily basis. Almost all of the police force has been exploited against those "never-hitting-back-when-victimized" practitioners. Doesn't this amount to giving the criminals more opportunities for committing crimes? By design, the police are the guardians of the citizens' interests. Today's guardians, however, not only refuse to protect good people, but beat up good people as if they were criminals--is there anything more damaging to the social stability than this?

Out of his own pursuit of self-interest, Jiang Zemin forbade the Chinese people from enjoying their constitutional right to practice their belief, and denied their right to choose a life style of their own choice. His open defiance of national interests and the law has brought criticism from around the world and contempt from democratic countries. Isn't his behavior the most blatant sabotage of the "greatest climate for opening and reform"? Isn't this an act that really is anti-China and hurts its government and people?

As the saying goes, "Everyone is born with a benevolent nature". Benevolence is the fundamental characteristic of the universe, and also the most innate character of a human being. Unfortunately, those Xinhua reporters have sold out their conscience and willingly made themselves over into Jiang's instrument in his crackdown against the most innocent and benevolent. From this standpoint, they are more pathetic compared with the wronged journalists from Hong Kong. At the very least, the Hong Kong journalists had the right to ask Jiang questions, but those official reporters from China Mainland, as shrewd as they seem to be, have not only lost all their dignity as professional journalists, but also have surrendered their souls to "Jiang the pursuer of evil."

Jiang even had the affront to be proud of his performance during the CBS "60 Minutes" interview with Mr. Wallace. Even before the Hong Kong journalists, he praised Wallace, saying, "he was much superior to you people." However, Jiang must still remember that it was Wallace that called him, to his face, the last Communist dictator in this world. Jiang seemed to be happy about this verdict. At the time of that interview, many Hong Kong journalists envied Wallace for his chance to speak with Jiang in person. Now, it is Wallace's turn to show his admiration for his Hong Kong counterparts. He failed to trap Jiang by fully revealing his hypocrisy and ill-concealed despotic tantrum--a "novice" in Hong Kong, however, effortlessly accomplished this.

For Jiang, his stern image to the Hong Kong journalists might be exactly what he has attempted to project to the free-spirited Hong Kong. For the public, however, the face spoke for his desperation and ignorance. What an outdated and despicable despot--his days are numbered.