HONG KONG -- A study of the Chinese media, commissioned by a bipartisan American congressional panel -- the U.S. China Security Review Commission -- has found that the controlled Chinese press, in its reporting on the United States, appears to be relatively balanced overall.

The study, based on an analysis of news coverage in six newspapers at selected periods of tension and relative relaxation in bilateral relations, found that "extremely negative tones toward the United States are rare."

The findings deserve to be publicized, since they contradict generally held convictions that the Communist Party manipulates public attitudes toward the U.S. by distorted coverage of the country. While this was true in the past, it appears to be much less so today.