In 1958 the late Harold Isaacs, a foreign-correspondent-turned-political-scientist, wrote a book about American views of China and India examining popular attitudes toward the two societies. His research, an imaginative use of surveys and interviews, found that, from the man on the street to foreign policy experts, impressions of both countries lagged far behind their realities. As he considered future relations between the East's rising powers and the West, Isaacs worried about the effects of outdated perceptions, calling them, poetically, "scratches on our minds." A new study on the expanding international reach of China's news media by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the Paris-based NGO that defends freedom of the press, suggests his worry is as relevant today as it was 60 years ago.
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