I have no objection in principle to the Chinese government buying space in Business Day. Goodness knows, newspapers are strapped enough for cash these days.
After a 12-page supplement celebrating Mao’s revolution, on November 4 there was another paid half-page of the musings of the Chinese ambassador.
But to describe this propaganda as “advertorial” is to mislead your readers. By convention, “advertorial” implies editorial input, which while extolling the virtues of a product or service usually offers a certain amount of objectivity too. It is usually written by an actual journalist.
By no stretch of the imagination do these Chinese efforts to expand the reach and influence of China in vulnerable parts of the world such as Africa meet these standards. In future, please boldly label them what they are: advertisements.
Richard McNeill, Noordhoek
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