The truth will help heal

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 13 August, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 13 August, 2011, 12:00am


The Diaoyu Islands dispute is a reminder that Sino-Japanese relations have long been strained. My grandparents, though they were very young at the time, always talk about how the Japanese treated the Chinese during the second world war.

Even now, after watching a documentary about the Nanking Massacre, some people cheer at the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki without thinking about the many Japanese who also died in the bombings.

After attending the Sino-Japanese Youth Conference, I learned that the media plays a large role in creating and exaggerating these prejudices by portraying Sino-Japanese controversies in a biased light. History books, newspapers and individuals all twist facts to portray their country in the best light. I feel that textbooks and newspapers should be more objective and educate citizens in the unbiased truth.

Japan is becoming more transparent about the Nanking incident. I hope more changes like this will happen so Sino-Japanese relations can continue to improve.

Cathy Chen, King George V School

From the editor

Thank you for your thought-provoking letter, Cathy. Truth, in its purest sense, is often elusive. Facts about wars might come to light only years after painstaking research by writers, and the facts they focus on depend on which side they are on. So, newspapers find it tough to stay current.

Add to that the secretive nature of war and its strategy, and you can see it's nearly impossible for newspapers to gain any reliable facts.

It is only relatively recently that newspapers have tried to distance themselves from patriotism. Even so, if the prospect of war loomed, newspapers would find it very hard to remain objective.

The internet has changed the way we view information. People want instant news, but individuals are free to post what they like and are more than likely subjective. So we're not really any better off now.

Even in history books, people are biased. New truths emerge all the time, but it takes years for them to be incorporated. As the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20.

Susan, editor