Media in China
Media in China
Moscow State University
Faculty of Journalism
MEDIA IN CHINA
Term paper by English language
made by third-year student of 304 group
Basina Maria Victorovna
Introduction. Chinese media and
China's media network: Xinhua and
China Youth Daily
China Youth Online
Subsidiary Newspapers and Magazines
Internet censorship in China
China Central Television
Cable TV and satellites
The role of “internal” media
Sources of information
INRODUCTION. CHINESE MEDIA
Within the People’s Republic of China there is
heavy government involvement in the media, with many of the largest media
organizations (namely CCTV, the People’s Daily, and Xinhua) being agencies of
the Chinese government. There are certain taboos and red lines in the Chinese
media, such as a taboo against questioning the legitimacy of the Communist
Party of China. Yet within those restrictions, there is a vibrance and
diversity of the media and fairly open discussion of social issues and policy
options within the parameters set by the Party.
of the surprising diversity
in the Chinese media is attributable to the fact that most state media outlets
no longer receive large government subsidies and are
expected to largely pay for themselves through commercial advertising. As a
result, they can no longer serve solely as mouthpieces
for the government but must also produce programming that people find attractive and interested so that
money can be generated
through advertising revenue. In addition, while the government does issue directives defining
what can and cannot be published,
it does not prevent, and in fact actively encourages state media outlets to
compete with each other for viewers
and commercial advertising.
control of information can also
be ineffective in other ways. Despite government restrictions,
much information is gathered either at the local
level or from foreign sources and
passed on through personal conversations and text messaging. The
withdrawal of government media subsidies has caused many newspapers (including
some owned by the Communist Party) in tabloids to take bold
editorial stands critical of the government, as the necessity to attract readers
and avoid bankruptcy has been a
more pressing fear than government repression.
addition, the traditional means of media control have proven extremely
ineffective against newer forms of communication, most notably text messaging.
the government can and does use laws
secrets to censor
press reports about social and political conditions,
these laws have not prevented the press from all discussion of Chinese social
issues. Chinese newspapers have been particularly affected by the loss of
government subsidies, and have
been especially active at gaining readership though must engaging in hard
hitting investigative reporting and muckraking. As a
result even papers which are nominally owned by the Communist Party are
sometimes very bold at reporting social issues. However both commercial
pressures and government restrictions have tended to cause newspapers to focus
on lurid scandals often
involving local officials who have relatively little political cover, and Chinese
newspapers tend to lack in depth analysis
of political events as this tends to be more political sensitive.
social issues first reported in the Chinese press include the AIDS epidemic in Henan province, the unsafe state of Chinese
mines. In addition, the SARS coverup was first
revealed by a fax to CCTV which was forwarded to Western news media.
CHINA’S MEDIA NETWORK: XINHUA AND
(the New China News Agency) and People's Daily, the two most important print
media, have status as separate government ministries; their directors sit on
the party's Central Committee. Just below, hierarchically, are the two national
newspapers under the control of the Propaganda Department — the Guangming
Daily and the English-language China Daily. These entities have the
rank of vice ministries, as does the State Council-controlled Economic Daily.
The National Propaganda Department appoints publishers, chief editors, and
other key officials of the above-mentioned newspapers — plus a few others —
while provincial and local party leaders make similar appointments for party
papers in their jurisdictions.
many ways, Xinhua is the fuel propelling China's print media. Perhaps unique in
the world because of its role, size, and reach, Xinhua reports directly to the
party's Propaganda Department; employs more than 10,000 people — as compared to
about 1,300 for the UK's Reuters, for example; has 107 bureaus worldwide both
collecting information on other countries and dispensing information about
China; and maintains 31 bureaus in China — one for each province plus a
military bureau. In as much as most of the newspapers in China cannot afford to
station correspondents abroad — or even in every Chinese province — they rely on
Xinhua feeds to fill their pages. People's Daily, for example, uses Xinhua
material for approximately 25 percent of its stories.
is a publisher as well as a news agency — it owns more than 20 newspapers and a
dozen magazines, and it prints in Chinese, English, and four other languages.
other government entities, Xinhua is feeling the pinch of reduced State
financial subsidies. Beijing has been cutting funding to the news agency by an
average of seven percent per year over the past three years, and State funds
currently cover only about 40 percent of Xinhua's costs. As a result, the
agency is raising revenues through involvement in public relations,
construction, and information service businesses.
the past, Xinhua was able to attract the top young journalists emerging from
the universities or otherwise newly entering the field, but it can no longer do
so as easily because of the appeal and resources of other newspapers and
periodicals and the greater glamour of television and radio jobs. For example,
midlevel reporters for the Xinmin Evening News often are given an apartment,
whereas at Xinhua and People's Daily this benefit is reserved for the most
many other media organizations, Xinhua struggled to find the "right line"
to use in covering the Tiananmen
Square events of April-June 1989. Although more cautious than
People's Daily in its treatment of sensitive topics during that period — such
as how to commemorate reformist Communist Party leader
Hu Yaobang's April
1989 death, the then ongoing demonstrations in Beijing and elsewhere,
and basic questions of press freedom and individual rights — Xinhua gave some
favorable coverage to demonstrators and intellectuals who were questioning top
party leaders. Even so, many Xinhua reporters were angry with top editors for
not going far enough and for suppressing stories about the Tiananmen Square crackdown. For several days after the
violence on 4 June, almost no one at Xinhua did any work, and journalists
demonstrated inside the Agency's Beijing compound
CHINA YOUTH DAILY
China Youth Daily is one of the most important daily official newspapers and is
the first independently operated central government news media portal in the
China. It is operated by the Communist Youth League since 1951. The chief
editor is Li Xueqian.
Youth Daily was established in 1951, six years before the Chinese Socialist
Youth League decided to change its name to Communist Youth League of China
Youth Daily resolutely supports the Chinese Communist Party (CPC) due to its
subordination to the CYL. As the mission of CYL at the present stage is to
unite and lead the young people in the country, hoping to tranfuse new blood to
the CPC and bringing about young personnel for the country, China Youth Daily
also tries to bring news, ideas and informations through the nationwide
circulations which follow the CYL principles. Thus, China Youth Daily has in
fact given advantages to the CPC to project their voice to a wider public in
China. In another perspective, the content of the paper is to some extent
regulated by the CPC.
China youth Daily is run by the CYL, it is also the first marketized official
paper in China. The profit enables the paper to support its own running and it
also welcomes individuals and companies to advertise in the paper.
structure of China Youth Daily can be divided into two parts. First, it is the
upper part and the main power of the hierarchy which includes the president and
the chief editor. Second, there are the vice president, the vice chief editor
and the secretary. But like all other papers with a CPC background, China Youth
Daily is ultimately directed by the Propaganda Department of the CPC. Although
it does not mean that the Propaganda Department often affects the direction and
the content of the paper, it is authorized and has the right to do so.
from the central hierarchy, there are six other departments which help the
daily running of the paper, they include the office, editorial board,
management department, business developmental department, human resources
department and the party office. Yet, under the editorial board, management
department and business developmental department, many branchs are developed to
handle the daily work.
working for the paper are required to have a good understanding of the CPC and
all the concepts involved such as Dengxaoping's theories, Communism, Socialism,
etc. Most of the employees, including journalists working for the paper are the
members of the Communist Party.
paper has a circulation of around 500,000 a day. As it is an integrated
nationwide newspaper which targets the young generation in China, it covers
political, social, and economic news which particularly concerns both the young
personnel of the country and the CPC.
its goal, China Youth Daily is able to attract a primary readership among
professionals between the age of 21 to 48. And to maintain such readership, the
paper has established an online version of the paper in 2000, the China Youth
approximately 3 years of establishment, CYOL has generated 31 different
channels to increase diversity to different users. Both China Youth Daily and
CYOL are now besides having the hardcore political, social and economic news,
also include news for public examinations, overseas study opportunities, career
planning, fashion, entertainment, etc.
it is the first marketized official newspaper in China, it welcomes
advertisements from individuals, local and foreign companies. In order to
multiply the number of advertisements, CYOL provide an easy assess to users
especially for the users overseas.
to an official research conducted by China Youth Daily and CYOL, readers of the
newspaper and online users are within the age of 18 to 48. The majority of readers
are of the age of 19-25 (50%)and 26-35 (32%). Around 75% of the readers are
male and around only 25% of them are female. Most readers attain a tertiary
education background and more than 60% of them have an income of 1000RMB or
the paper is circulated nationwide, it gains more popularity in the east(31%),
the central part(18%) and the north(16%) comparatively to the other parts of
online versions of China Youth Daily is established since 2000. The first one
is CYOL, the Chinese version of China Youth Daily Online and Beijing Today, the
English of CYOL. As mentioned before, websites are established for different
reasons and needs, for examples, it is to attract and maintain readership and
to make it more asseccible to foreign users.
CHINA YOUTH ONLINE
Youth Online is China's first independently operated central government news
media website which has started its operation since 15th February, 2000. The
portal is targeted towards the youth community in Mainland China. It offers the
online version of China Youth Daily and distributes content, souvenirs, books
and magazines published by China Youth Daily.
China Youth Daily, CYOL basically channels for education, people, military,
networks, life, and service information.
early 2004, China Youth Daily together with CYOL have a daily circulation of 2
million in China, CYOL has successfully created new readership and profit since
Today is the first English newspaper of Beijing. It is supported by the
Information Office of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China and
the State Press and Publication Administration. It is a 16-page chromatic
weekly off press in four parts: Beijing News, Beijing View, Capital Culture and
Capital Service. It aims to introduce Beijing's modernization construction, new
success, developments, and changes made through reform and opening up in recent
Subsidiary Newspapers and
newspapers and magazines are produced under the leading of the China Youth
Daily. These subsidiary newspapers and magazines are designed to suit the taste
of special users and to provide news for current hot topics.
Elite Reference (#"#"
title="#">Sports Youth Weekly (#"#"
Youth is a daily paper which concerns with IT, providing knowledge and news
about IT (Information Technology).
provides information of IT services, the activities of the IT field and the IT
it also concerns about youth problem and hot social issues.
is established for about 50 years.
distribution is about 1 million, mainly in Beijing.
distribution is Beijing is around 100,000, attached in China Youth Daily, which
mainly go to the government units, education departments and the army.
of them can be found in news stand, and some are freely distributed to few IT
Youth Times (#"#" title="">
Times is a leisure weekly with city youth entertainment.
is a power in the new century" is what the paper believes in.
include visual and international news, creativity, sales, health, travel,
fashion, studying abroad, tastes and home. It is distributed on Thursdays.
Chinese use of the Internet
also is undercutting government efforts to control the flow of information.
More than 90,000,000 people in China now have Internet access, and the figure
is likely to surpass one billion within four years, according to a Chinese
specialist on the subject.
the Internet, residents of China can get uncensored news from the Chinese
News Digest, an on-line service created by Chinese volunteers in the
United States and Australia. This service carries information on such issues as
trials of prominent dissidents,
developments in Taiwan, and divisions
among the party's top leaders. A Western specialist on Internet in China has
noted that about one-fifth of the more than 500,000 personal computers sold
there in 1994 were designated for installation in residences, where it is
especially difficult for the State to limit Internet use.
the beginning of 1996, the State has suspended all new applications from
Internet service providers seeking to commence operations in China; moved to
put all existing Internet services under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of
Posts and Telecommunications, the Ministry of Electronics Industry, and the
State Education Commission; and attempted — without much success — to establish
firewalls, limit the contents of home pages, and block
access to certain Internet sites through routing filters.
Government officials are worried that, as the number of Chinese homes with
telephone lines grows from the present level of less than four percent, the
State will become totally unable to monitor Internet access at residences.
INTERNET CENSORSHIP IN CHINA
government of the People's Republic of China has set up a system of Internet censorship in mainland China. This
system is not applied in Hong Kong
and Macau; some Hong Kong
websites are in fact blocked or filtered from within mainland China.
part of this system is known outside mainland China as the Great Firewall of
China (in reference both to its role as a network firewall and to the ancient Great
Wall of China). The system blocks content by preventing IP addresses from
being routed through and consists of standard firewall and proxy servers at the Internet gateways. The system
also selectively engages in DNS
poisoning when particularly objectionable sites (such as the BBC)
are requested. The government does not appear to be systematically examining
Internet content, as this appears to be technically impractical.
firewall is largely ineffective at preventing the flow of information and is
rather easily circumvented by determined parties by using proxy servers outside
the firewall. VPN and ssh connections to outside mainland China are
not blocked, so circumventing all of the censorship and monitoring features of
the Great Firewall of China is trivial for those who have these secure
connection methods available to them. For a few weeks in 2002, the Chinese
government attempted to block Google,
but this block was quickly removed, though some features on Google (such as
Google Cache) remain erratic.
into the Chinese Internet censorship
has shown that blocked websites include:
Websites with pornographic content
— News from many foreign sources, especially
websites which include forums
Information about Tibet independence
Information about Falun
Some websites based in Taiwan
Some websites based in Hong Kong,
or with content about Hong Kong
Overseas Chinese websites such as #"#" title=1978>1978, China had less than one television receiver
per 100 people, and fewer than ten million Chinese had access to a television
set. Current estimates indicate that there are now about 25 TV sets per 100
people and that roughly a billion Chinese have access to television. Similarly,
in 1965 there were 12
television and 93 radio
stations in China; today there are approximately 700 conventional
television stations — plus about 3,000 cable channels — and 1,000 radio stations.
China Central Television
Central Television or Chinese Central Television, or CCTV
is the major broadcast television network in Mainland China. Organizationally
it is a subministry of the China's central government within the State
Administrator of Radio, Television, and Film and as such it does not have any
editorial independence from the PRC government.
news reporting follows parameters directed by the Propaganda Department of the
Communist Party of China. Most of its programming, however, is a mix of comedy
and dramatic programming, the majority of which consists of Chinese soap operas.
Like many media outlets in China, CCTV has had its state subsidy reduced
dramatically in the 1990s, and hence finds it necessary to balance its role as
a government agency with the practical fact that it must attract viewers so
that it can sell commercial advertising. In searching for viewers, CCTV has
found itself in competition with local television stations (which are also
state run) which have been creating increasingly large media groups in order to
compete with CCTV.
first broadcast on September 2, 1958 under the name Beijing Television, after
an experimental broadcast on May 1. The name was changed to CCTV on May 1,
has sixteen different channels of programming content and competes with
television stations run by local governments (such as BTV and several regional
channels) and foreign programming which can be readily received via satellite
television. Unlike US channel naming conventions, but similar to the situation
in many countries in Europe, CCTV channels are listed in sequential order with
no discerning descriptions, e.g. CCTV-1, CCTV-2, etc.
China, it is only possible to receive channels CCTV-4 (overseas channel) and
CCTV-9 (overseas channel targeted at an English-speaking audience) via a
Digital Video Broadcast signal. CCTV has just recently switched from analog to
DVB primarily due to better signal quality and the ability to charge for
reception (about 10 USD per year subscription). The aforementioned overseas
channels are relayed off many different satellites around the world.
now has 16 channels. They are:
channel in Chinese
CCTV-8 TV drama
channel in English
CCTV-10 Science and
CCTV-12 Society and Law
CCTV-News -- 24-hour
CCTV-Music -- Music
International Broadcast in Spanish and French
Television broadcasting is
controlled by Chinese Central Television (CCTV), the country's only national
network. CCTV, which employs about 2,400 people, falls under the dual
supervision of the Propaganda Department, responsible ultimately for media content, and the Ministry of Radio, Film, and Television, which
oversees operations. A Vice Minister
in the latter ministry serves as chairman of CCTV. The network's principal
directors and other officers are appointed by the State. So are the top
officials at local conventional television stations in China — nearly all of
which are restricted to broadcasting
within their own province
or municipality — that
receive CCTV broadcasts.
produces its own news broadcasts three
times a day and is the country's most powerful and prolific television program
producer. It also has a monopoly
on purchases of programming from overseas. All local stations are required to
carry CCTV's 7 p.m. main news broadcast; an internal CCTV survey indicates that
nearly 500 million people countrywide regularly watch this program.
Talk radio in China
allows a much freer exchange of views than other media formats. In effect, talk
radio has shifted the paradigm
from authorities addressing the people to people addressing the authorities.
For example, until 1991 the 14 million inhabitants of Shanghai were served
by only one radio station — Radio Shanghai — which primarily aired predictable,
In 1992, East Radio was established with a format that catered to citizens'
individual concerns and deemphasized propaganda. Competition between the two
Shanghai radio stations has resulted in much livelier coverage by both —
including call-in programs that air discussions of politics, lifestyle, and
previously forbidden social subjects. Because callers usually are not required
to identify themselves, such discussions are far more candid than would be
possible on television. Party officials regularly give guidance to the hosts
and producers of talk-radio programs, but such guidance is usually ignored without
penalty because party officials do not want to create problems by moving
against these highly popular programs.
CABLE TV AND SATELLITES
of the Chinese
mainland now receive more than 20 outside television channels by satellite, including
Chinese-language services of CNN, Star TV, and the United States Information
Agency. In the southern province of Guangdong, 97 percent
of the households have television sets, and all — except those in a few parts
of the city of Guangzhou where reception is poor — have access to Hong Kong television
through cable networks. Some local stations even intercept the signals and
insert their own commercials. Beijing
is unable to effectively monitor, let alone control, the illicit cable
operators who have sprung up since the early 1990s. As of 1995, about 1,000 of
the 3,000 cable stations in China, linked to perhaps 50 million homes, were
Satellite dishes in
mainland China that pull in programs from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and other places are
regulated, but government entities such as the Ministry of Machinery Industry
and the military services produce such dishes outside allowable quotas and
guidelines and then sell them illicitly to eager customers. Efforts by the
Ministry of Radio, Film, and Television to halt this practice have been
ineffective, mostly because of the large profits involved — up to 50 percent
per dish. Indeed, the government has backtracked in its efforts to stop these
practices — moving from an outright ban on satellite dishes (1993), to
requiring that they be licensed (1994), to specifying allowable programs and
viewing hours (1995).
THE ROLE OF “INTERNAL” MEDIA
Chinese media's internal publication system, in which certain journals are published
exclusively for government and party officials, provides information and
analysis not generally available to the public. The State values these internal
reports because they contain much of China's most sensitive, controversial, and
high-quality investigative journalism.
and many other Chinese media organizations produce reports for the
"internal" journals. Informed observers note that journalists
generally like to write for the internal publications — typically, only the
most senior or most capable print and broadcast reporters are given such
opportunities — because they can write less polemical and more comprehensive
stories without having to omit unwelcome details as is commonly done in the
print media directed to the general public. A Chinese historian has noted, as
an example of such self-censorship,
that only a minority of China's population are aware 30 million people starved
to death in the early 1960s, because the Party has never allowed the subject to
be openly explored in the media.
Chinese Government's internal media publication system follows a strict
hierarchical pattern designed to facilitate party control. A publication called
Reference Information (Cankao Ziliao) — which includes translated articles from
abroad as well as news and commentary by senior Xinhua reporters — is delivered
by Xinhua personnel, rather than by the national mail system, to officials at
the working level and above. A three-to-ten-page report called Internal
Reference (Neibu Cankao) is distributed to officials at the ministerial level
and higher. The most highly classified Xinhua internal reports, known as
"redhead reference" (Hong Tou Cankao) reports, are issued occasionally
to the top dozen or so party and government officials.
are signs the internal publication system is breaking down as more information
becomes widely available in China. A Hong Kong-based
political journal circulated on the Chinese mainland has questioned the need
for such a system in light of China's modern telecommunications and expanding
contacts with the outside world. Internal publications are becoming less
exclusive; some are now being sold illegally on the street and are increasingly
available to anyone with money.
of the internal publications have changed substantially in an effort to avoid
becoming obsolete. For example,
the publication News Front — started in 1957 as a weekly tool for the Communist Party to
instruct journalists on what to write — no longer was limited to that function
when it reappeared after the Cultural
Revolution. It continued to change gradually and is now a monthly
publication that serves as a professional rather than political guide for
competition for the
media market is among the
most important factors behind the emergence of more diverse and autonomous
media in China. As indicated earlier in this study, efforts by the Chinese
media to respond to an increasingly demanding print and broadcast market have
created an expanding spectrum of media products ranging from serious news
journalism to purely entertainment stories. Monetary rewards for meeting such
demands continue to grow, resulting in greater financial autonomy for
Commercialization thus has been a major liberating force for the media in
China. The regime is far less
able than before to wield financial leverage over the media, which have
increasingly become self-supporting through advertising revenues
and circulation. According to one estimate, advertising in all media forms
increased 35-fold between 1981 and 1992. Print ad revenues jumped ten times
between 1990 and 1995 — from 1.5 billion yuan to 15 billion yuan.
revenues also are growing dramatically: they totaled about $2 billion in 1995
and are expected to rise above $6 billion by 2005. In 1995, China Central Television earned nearly $150 million in
advertising revenue, covering almost 90 percent of its total costs. In the
past, Chinese radio and television tended to run well behind the print press in
their news coverage. More recently, television has come under market pressure
to be as timely, informative, and responsive as the print media.
from outside mainland China has further impelled domestic media organizations
to become more diverse, assertive, and skeptical of official authority. For
example, in order to compete against higher quality Hong Kong radio
stations that could be heard in Guangdong
Province, Guangdong radio managers created Pearl River Economic Radio (PRER) in
1986. PRER, copying Hong Kong radio's approach, began to emphasize daily life,
entertainment, "celebrity" deejays, and caller phone-in
segments, while eliminating ideological, preachy formats that included little
information beyond what was provided by government sources. By 1987, PRER had
obtained 55 percent of the Guangdong market; previously, Hong Kong radio
stations had held 90 percent of this market. Local party cadre in southern
China reportedly are unhappy about PRER, mainly because some of the station's
commentators, as well as its talk radio programs, highlight party failures and
the misdeeds of individual party members in the region.
top national Chinese Communist Party papers (People's Daily, Guangming
Daily, and Economic Daily) — which mostly feature party speeches,
announcements, propaganda, and policy viewpoints — are steadily losing
circulation and much-sought advertising revenues to evening municipal papers
that have far more diverse content. For example, People's Daily's circulation
fell from 3.1 million copies a day in 1990 to 2.2 million in 1995; the paper's
1994 advertising revenues were down as well. Moreover, its subscriptions
consist overwhelmingly of mandatory ones by party and government organizations.
Similarly, the Liberation Army Daily has become almost entirely dependent on
State subsidies. Its circulation has fallen from 1.7 million in 1981 to fewer
than 500,000 at present.
contrast, the circulation of the Xinmin Evening News, operated by the Shanghai
Municipal Government, has risen from 1.3 million to 1.7 million over the same
time period. The Guangzhou Daily, owned by the Guangzhou Municipal Government,
doubled its circulation in six years to 600,000 in 1994, and its ad revenues
also were up.
SOURCES OF INFORMATION