When news broke two months ago that seventy-seven Chinese nationals had been deported from Fiji on a China Southern aircraft, the pictures seemed to tell the whole story. The criminals, said to be involved in a massive telecommunications fraud targeting people all over China, were marched onto the plane in Nadi, with black balaclavas over their heads and a police officer on each arm.
Without access to independent sources, wire services carried the Xinhua News version of events in its entirety and even “liberal” newspapers in China simply ran the official line, without adding any detail. The facts, as presented, seemed believable, and coincided with the arrest of hundreds more Chinese and Taiwanese nationals said to be involved in online and telephone fraud in Indonesia and Cambodia. Other Pacific nations quickly registered interest in having Chinese police round up shady Chinese nationals in their countries.