Depending upon whom you read, last night the Chinese bulk coal carrier that was hijacked by Somali pirates back in October was either a) ransomed for US$4 million yesterday, or b) “rescued” in an undisclosed operation. Representing option A, we have Shanghai Daily, which reprinted a foreign wire service story that it headlined “Somali pirates: Ransom is ours.”
And representing Option B, we have China Daily, which ran a Xinhua-penned story headlined: “Hijacked Chinese bulk carrier rescued.” Readers who click on this story will find no mention of the US$4 million ransom mentioned at the top of the Shanghai Daily story, but instead will have to settle for a very vague description of a 3 AM rescue.
In weak defense of China Daily, I suppose one could argue that the wire service story run by Shanghai Daily is dependent upon whether or not pirates can be trusted as sources. On the other hand, the China Daily/Xinhua (state-owned/written) story seems dependent upon whether or not Chinese public opinion/face will be inflamed by a ransom when some – many? – were calling for military action.
Somewhat related, @niubi‘s twitter feed points us in the direction of an interesting piece suggesting that China – or the bulk carrier owner, more likely – paid too high of a ransom.