China Buys Damage Control Space in Daily After Dalai Lama Visit
The Chinese Embassy in Tallinn paid for a public relations insert, published in one of Estonia's main daily newspapers, that praised Communist Party policies on Tibet.
The September 9 insert in Postimees appeared a few weeks after the Dalai Lama's visit to Estonia, during which the religious leader met with several Cabinet ministers and, albeit informally, with President Ilves, drawing a heated response from Chinese officials.
Full of government propaganda, the embassy's publication caused a stir in the media with headlines such as "Tibet: 60 years after the peaceful liberation." The newspaper issue itself did not take up the topic of Tibet.
Postimees editor-in-chief Merit Kopli told uudised.err.ee that the embassy-funded articles were part of an advertisement and that the editorial staff is in no way connected. "It's an advertising project. Inserts from other embassies - such as those of Canada, Norway and Sweden - have also appeared in the series," she said. "We can argue about this - whether it is somehow in conflict with the editorial staff's ideology - but, in the given situation, the staff has not so far considered it from that angle. We will definitely discuss the issue today."
Kopli said she did not know how much revenue the ad had created for the paper and suggested contacting the advertising department.
One of the back-patting articles said that, thanks to the communist central government's care in the last 50 years, all of the liberated ethnic groups of Tibet have enthusiastically participated in the building of a new society, creating a new life and achieving incredible feats unparalleled in Tibetan history.
The Chinese Embassy said the insert was published to signify 20 years of diplomatic ties between China and Estonia, the latter having recently celebrated its independence from the USSR. Ambassador Huang Zhongpo wrote that although Estonia and China are geographically distant countries, "the cooperation and friendship between our peoples persists steadfast and will grow even stronger with time."