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Web Site Rips West's Reports on China-Tibet Conflict

After assaults from protesters during the Olympic torch relay, anti-foreign sentiment has grown in China.

The surge in nationalism has been well-documented by China's vibrant Internet community. Many Web sites run by young bloggers reflect anger over perceived anti-Chinese bias in Western media reports about Tibet.

China's leaders are apparently nervous about the snowballing nationalism, on the streets and on the Internet.

In the vanguard of the movement is the website Anti-CNN.com. It's the brainchild of Rao Jin, a skinny 23-year-old Internet entrepreneur with wire rimmed glasses, a Think Pad laptop and Treo cell phone.

Rao's site has hundreds of part-time volunteers worldwide, compiling and translating foreign media reports. Rao and many other Chinese believe errors they find in Western media with regard to China are intentional.

Many of Rao's views echo government policy, but he insists that Anti-CNN.com represents true grassroots opinion. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu recently said it was laughable to think that Beijing was inciting Internet users to criticize Western media.

Chinese critics say Rao and his Web site turn a blind eye to China's censorship of its own media. Rao admits that China has problems. Rao says he opposes Western media bias, not Western media.

"We're not trying to set Chinese and Western people and Western media against each other, or stir up conflict and anger," Rao says. "What's important is to get both sides to think about things coolly and objectively. We want Westerners to correct their state of mind about China and its people."

China has never been in the world's spotlight as it is now, and it appears uncomfortable with the increased scrutiny that brings.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Anthony Kuhn is NPR's correspondent based in Seoul, South Korea, reporting on the Korean Peninsula, Japan, and the great diversity of Asia's countries and cultures. Before moving to Seoul in 2018, he traveled to the region to cover major stories including the North Korean nuclear crisis and the Fukushima earthquake and nuclear disaster.