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An Intelligence Monograph

The Chinese Media: More Autonomous andLimits

by Todd Hazelbarth

Exceptional Intelligence Analyst Program

The view* expressed in the study are those ol the author. They do not necessant* reded the views ol the Central Imefligence Agency or any other government entity.



Scope Note

This monograph on the Chinese media is drawn from the resullsne-year research project, undertaken as part ofCI Exceptional Intelligence Analyst Programhe author made two research trips lo East Asia. His sources include correspondence and interviews with scholars, journalists, businessmen, current and former government officials, and other informed observers in both the United States and the region. He also drew on published materials, including press reports and official Chinese statistics.

This study is unclassified, but several sources who are cited prefer to remain anonymous. Therefore, some of the citations in Ihe study are not specific. Unsourced slatomonts ol fact or opinion came from the types of sources noted in the above paragraph.

The Centor for the Study of Intelligence, which manages Ihe EIAP for Ihe Director of Central Intelligence, is planning to publish further studies by future EIAP participants,ide tange of topics.

Table of Contents


Scope in

The Expanding Chinese

Television and

Newspapers and




What Lies Behind Ihe Growing Autonomy and 3

Greater Prosperity and Literacy

Ideological and Political

improverrems in


Weakening ot Party

Party Resistance to Media

Impact ol Tiananmen

Efforts To Reinforce Party

The Party's

The Challenge of

The Challenge of

Appendix A: The Media and the Three Gorges

Appendix B: The Case of the Worid Economic

Appendix C; The Role ot the "internal"



The Chinese media are becoming more autonomous and more diverse in political content Long under the thumb of the ruling Communist Parly and used almost entiretyropaganda vehicle, China's media in recent years increasingly have been driven by the profit motive, inclined to pursue news of interest to the public, skeptical of party and government authorities, and confident of their own abilities and leverage. In their drive toward achieving greater autonomy and carvingore complex role in Chineseprogression that has ebbed and flowed over theedia have been greatly aided by China's growing prosperity, widening literacy, adherence to market forces, deemphasis of ideology, and acquisition of new technologies.

At the same time, powerful domestic institutions conlinue to constrain the media, maintaining limits on what can appear in print or be broadcast on the airwaves. Indeed, in the author's judgment, complele mediathe publication and broadcastingull rango of political viewpoints-will nothe post-Deng Xiaoping era until and unless China undergoes overarching political change, including removal of the party's authority to supervise the media.

The Chinese Media: More Autonomous and Diverse-Withln Limits

The Expanding Chinese Media

Dunne, tho 'as* Two decades. China's pnnt and broadcast media have expanded enormously. As the economy has developed and literacy tales havese in the number of well-to-do. moio discerning, and bettor oducated citizons hasarketuch greater rangeol information and pointsot view. Those demands are being met by an expanding array ol Chinese media organizations Ever-increasing numbau ot newspapers and magazines arerowing list o'ad and narrow pubicarge jump also hashe numbers ot television ana radio stolions.

ewer thanillion Chinese had access toa television (Today!illion Chines* have access to television.

and Radio

hina had less than one television receivereopie. and fewer than ten mi ton curves* nad accesseiev sion set. Current estimates indicate that there are now aboutV setseople and thatillion Chinese nave access to television. Similarly,5 there were '2 television andadio stations in China; today Ihero areonventionaladio stations.1

Television broadcasting is controlled by Crimes* Central Televisionhe country's only national network CCTV. which employseople,de- lhe dual supervision o' the Propaganda Department, responsible ultimately tor media content, and the Ministry ol Radio. Film, and Television, which overseesice Minister in the latter ministry serves as chairman ot CCTV. The network's principal directors and other officers are by tho State So are the top offoats at local

' OwnM Government starsnwllflBUlong Kono-wseo Oviwm ruada wftolai. Thaw ard olho* tlou'M In IWg oluOy do not anconiixiss data on Mono Kong; IK figures wow ontharad priorng Kong's rahen to cnmese sovereignty


conventional television stations Innearly all ol which are rest nc led towithin their own provnee orrecewe CCTV broadcasts

CCTV produces its own news broadcasts threeay and is the country's most powerful and prolific television program producer. It alsoonopoly on purchases of programming from overseas. All local stations are required to carry. mam news broadcast an internal CCTV survey abdicates thatillion people ccuntrywvjo regularly watch In* program.

Newspapers and Journals

The number of newspapers in China has increaaod fromall Communist0 ana morooday. By one official

The number of newspaper* In China hat risen fromvirtually all Communistoreoday.





souki iwvsesco

estimate, there are now moreagazines and journals in the country. The number ol copies ol Oaiiy and weekly nowspapers and magazines in circulation grew lourtotd betweon Ihond the,illion by


Those ligures, moreover, underreport actual circulation, because many publishers use Iheir own distnbuuon netwonts rather than official dissemination channels and also deliberately understate ligures lo avoidn addition,0 printing houses and hundreds of individual bookstores produce and sell nonoclicia:romance literature and pornography but also political andjournals

Go*nmM tttMtes, Octoc*.

Greater Autonomy Media Reform

The madia in China also are becoming more autonomous and more diverse. Since Mao Zedong's doath6 and the subsequent emergence of Deng Xiaoping {who died ins the country's paramount leader, an overall climate of economic and social reform In China has been reflected in media content

A pnme example has Doen ihe party's flagship newspaper, People's Daily, which had been ng-dty controlled under Mao, used against his enemies, and copied verbatim by every otherhe country during the Cultural Revolution, This leading daily was reformed and enlivened in they thenhief HuJrwei. Hu expanded the paper's size and coverage, encouraged pubtc enbeism mroogh letters to the editor, called lor promulgationress law to sped out journalists' rights, andpnghtJiet writing style.

Diversified Content

The medrt's growing autonomy has been tefloclod In their increasingly drversified contort. Since the, despie periodic reversals, Chinese media have trequentty erticized party cadres and have published debatos on such lundamental issues as the rule ol law. freedom ol the press, and universal human rights They also have reportedyriad of previously untouched social and lifestyle subtacts. The only tiviolabie restrictions appeartobe an unwritten ban on chalenges to Iho panys rtght to rule and to the legitimacy and decisionmaking authority ol lop party leaders.

Talk Radio: The Freest and Liveliest Media. Talk radioChinauch freer exchange olthan other media formats.

in effect, talk radio has shitted the paradigm Irom addressing the people to people addressing the authorities. For

example,1nhabierts of Shanghai were served by only one radiopri-nanty aired predictable. procpv-errrnef-Jpropaga-wJaast Racho was estabr-shedcmat that catered to citizens' individual concerns and deemohasized propaganda. Competition between the two Shanghai radio stations has resulted in much livelier coverage bycall-in programs that air discussions ot politics, lifestyle, and previously lorbldden socml subjocts. Because callers usually are not required to identity themselves, such discussions are far more candid than would bo possible onarty officials regularly gve guidance to the hosls and producers of talk-radio programs, but such guidance is usually ignored without penalty because party officials do not want to create rxobierns by movng against these highly popular

Magazine* and Journals. Chinese magazines and journals also have become much less inhibited in their coverage. These publications appear to enjoy more freedom than newspapers,urn have more leeway than radio (other than talk radio) and television. Chinese magazines now print internal police reports on jalimgs of religious Isadora and oiherhe State is unwilling to shut down such publications bccnuM it worries about public reaction, is anxious to avoid drawing more popular attenton to tho magazines, and knows that Its own resources are already stretched thin.'

Chinese fournaksts in Hong Kong on occasion have written poWcaiiy controversia articles for maWnd -nteaectual journals without encountering problems. Such opportunrrcs

FicmnfMrcl* ByUS Chrwsieoalif.MS. mraaOOboet ccrwnOenc*ApM MM

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' HiMrvitw *ilhWularn nonQovamma^tal organnat-sn leattor in Hong Kong.

have abounded because ol the range ot puOica; ons on ihe mainland and because partyhero are too busy with weightier makers lo revew such xximais systematcaiy*

Since the return ot Hong Kong to China'sowever, apprehensions have grown among Hong Kong journalists lhat Belflng win curtail their freedom to write articles nol lo its liking. (See inset on the Hong Kong media on

What Lies Behind the Growing Autonomy and Diversity?

Greater Prosperity and Literacy

China's rapid economic development, as wen as educational advances leading to greater Weracy. nave boon important reasons for tha dramahc expansion ol Ihe Chinese media and the dftrers-tcation of coverage

Per caprta gross domestc product, as measured0 yuan, has increased four-told" Rising disposable incomes have freed many Chinese from worrying aboul the basics ot survival and provided them tho wherewithal to purchase more television sets, newspaper and magazine subscriptions,dishes and computers.

Rising literacy rates have produced lens of millions of additional readers tfi the past decade, creating ever-expanding markets for the pnnt media. According lo UN statistics. China's adult irtoracy rate rose5 percent5 percent

Ideological and Political Trends Other overarching 'actors lhat are heto-ng to make the Chinese media more autooomc-us and diverseeneral decline in the Influence o> political ideologies and systems of

Orow manland Chreu pressow living and writing in Hong Kong.6

ArwieiAV SMMftcs6

Mao Zedong's daalh6 andmergence otfthalate] Deng Xiaoping as the country's paramount leader, an overall climate of economic and social reform In China has been reflected In media content.


Chim: Adult Literacy Kate*

growing Chinese popular skepticism toward authority- increased contact with the West; greater competition in the media market; ebbing government resources; improved professional training for journalists; and new communication technologies.

Weakening ol Ideological Shackles. The

waning influence ot Marxist-Leninist-Mao Zedong thought has weakened the State's ability to use the media to shape public attitudes and has made it harder tor the authorities to penalize the media for publishing material that is not strictly consistent with Marxist theory. Although Marxism remains China's official doctrine, the deemphasls of ideology has strengthened the media's hand in two fundamental ways: it has helped undercut government efforts to indoctrinate the public and micromanage the content of political and social reporting in the media, and it has opened the door lor the media to pursue capitalist marketing practices that respond to

customer wants and bring increasing financial independence from the State.

Other practices that are emerging in China, such as decisionmaking based on verifiable data and stronger quality controls on information, also have helped dilute the unpad ot Ideology.hange driven by the dual need for scientists to have reliable data with which to work and for the business sector to use in making investment and commercial decisions, the Slate Statistical Board since theas gained Increased power to acquire and disseminate data lor media and business use, reducing or eliminating the hitherto common practice in which each sector used "its own" data.'0

Skepticism Toward Authority. Although difficult to quantify, growing skepticism toward

US Cunaar

The Hong Kong Media: Adjusting to Chinese Role

Even before Hong Kong's reversion to China's controlhe then Bnltsh colony's Chinese-language media began adjusting to the new realities. Officials In Beijing had been promising tor months that press freedom in Hong Kong would be retatnod,eople's Dairy article in May warnedong Kong media to exercise self-restraint The article asserted that lhe majority ot Hong Kong residents and most lourna'ists" recognize that moral values and social responsibility require limits on what can be broadcast or printed.

Severaluly suggest Bering is tryingelatively ow key way to undercut the Hong Kong news media. The Hong Kong Joumaisis Assooaton has complained to the former coOn/srew chief executive. Ti*ng Chee-hwa. that naniand media representatives there are being afforded gnvilegos that are withheld from localrganizations. For example:

A Chinese Central Television crew wastoisrt by Tungong Kong-based Chinese naval garrison,to Hong Kong journalists, whereas local broadcasters were excluded.

Hong Kong Journalists complained that when Tung meten km Ch-nese Foreign Ministry official in Hong Kong,from the Xinhua news agency were grven details c' the discussois but those from local media organ'zatians were rot.

Many Hong Kong journalists ciearfy are uneasy about what the reversion to Chinese control will mean for their abiuty to do theireteran reporter in Hong Kong stated recently that, although he has witnossed no overt government censorship, his pressroom colleagues have voiced considerableinwhether they will be permitted to write on topics deemed offensive lo Beijing Ho also said that loumalrsts who in the past have frequently ghost-written foi some of the more controversial mainland publications have become more cautious since revers on because they fear becoming targetsrackdown. In short, there appears lo be an unwritten jnoorstanding among many reporters in Hong Kong thatow the order of the day.

As of duly, tew if any reporters had tested the waters by writing on sensitive subjects such as local cnteism of the stationing of mainland Chinese troops in the former cofony. Nonetheless, some Hong Kong journalists in the months ahead may well probe the new limits, writing or televising on some issueay that presents the ex-colony's new rulers with lhe probtom of how to respond- The Chinese authorities know thai if they adhere to their plodgo to tolerate relatively free media in Hong Kong, at ktasi some media on the mainland would press harderelaxaUYi of restrict ons on them.

Journalists were active

participants in9 demonstrations that culminated in the calamitous events at Tiananmen Square.

authority In China appears to be spurring public support for media criticism (often indirect and carefully couched) ol the State and slowly diluting the legitimacy of the party. This rise in skepticism is reported by informed observers lo be occurring all across East Asia. Such observers point to increased publicity given to cases ol official corruption, malfeasance, andwith broader declines in social values such as civility andat least partly responsible for greater media and popular doubts about elected and appointed officials as compared to the past. At the same time, public skepticism of authority can and often does include skepticism toward the media themselves. Journalists, like individuals in other sectors of Chinese society, are far less willing than in the past to submit blindly to authority. Journalists were active participants in9 demonstrations that culminated in the calamitous events at Tiananmen Square. The Tiananmen episode made It all but impossible to reconcile the growing desire of Chinese journalists for control over their own profession with the party's interest in not letting that happen.

Contact with the West Closer and more varied contact with the West appears to be increasingly influencing educated urban opinion in China on concepts suchree press, freedom of speech, and political pluralism. This phenomenon is consistent with trends elsewhere in Easl Asia, where principles such as freedom of expression and legal guarantees of individual tights arerowing role. Perhaps most interestingly, many Chinese journalists trained or educated in the West appear lo have an outlook that is much closer to Western ideals of media freedom than to the attitudes of other Chinese,ap persists between China and the West in professionalism and In grasping the principles of objective journalism

Virtually all foreign reporters in China operate under restrictions that are considerably more severe than in most Asian countries. One result is that Western media influence on Chinese media organizationshole is generally limited. Nonetheloss. the contacts that do occur are having an impact on individual Chinese journalists, according to people interviewed for this study. In particular, one observer noted that younger reporters who have measurable, if cautious, contact with the West generally show minimal trust in official sources ol information, are inclined lo discount propaganda, and are determined to be comprehensive in their reporting.11

Market Competition. Intense 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 ol media products ranging from serious news journalism to purely entertainment stones. Monetary rewards for meeting such demands continue to grow, resulting in greater financial autonomy for the growing numbers of Chinese media firms that win sizable market shares.esult these companies are able to hire and retain more and better journalists, further boosting their capacity lo compete.

Commercialization thus hasajor liberating force for the media in China. The regime Is tat less able than before to wield financial leverage over the media, which have increasingly become self-supporting through advertising revenues and circulation. According lo one estimate, advertising In all media formslold1rint ad revenues jumped ten times0illion yuan tolkxi yuan.

" From corifltponOenceormer Cheese loumatist now living in the United States.6


China: Circulation of Major Dailj Newspapers



CivTHnuniU PutyChincic municipal nea'par*'1

The regime Is far less able than

before to wield


leverage over

the media, which



become self'




revenues and



Dally Xlnmin Evrimt Nrw$

vening News

Economic Doily Daily

Scoters: China Vrwj Almanac; Chira Pmi and rUHIcunon Admlniiuaiion official figure.

revenues also are growing dramatically: they totaled aboutillion5 (see table t) and are expected to rise aboveillion"hinese Central Television earned0 million in advertising revenue, covering atrrtostercent ot its totaln lhe past, Chinese radio and television tended to run well behind the print press in their newsore recently, television has come under market pressure to be as timely, informative, and responsive as the print media.

Competition from outside mainland China has further Impelled domestic media organizations

- fiom8 May

Fromrom the (Mb'^^ed wortestern1

to become more diverse, assertive, and skeptical ot 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)RER. 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 IhtEe information beyond what was provided by government sources.RER had obtainedercent of the Guangdong market; previously. Hong Kong radio stations had heldercent of this market. Local party cadre In southern China reportedly are unhappy about PRER, mainly

Snapshot: Newspapers In Sichuan Province

Commercial competitionriving force in the newspaper industry in Sichuan. China's mosl populous province.well as an unknown number ol magazines andand radiolor the tine, attention, and money of the province's morenalion inhabitants

Managers of the tour major local newspapers sold in theRibao, Chengdu Wanbao, Shubao. and neighboring Guizhou Province's Guizhousay that advertising rather than State subsidies is their newspapers' main source ol revonuoercent ol the total in the case ol Shubao. Both Sichuanthe official ecan of the Sichuan Provincial Parly Committee -and Chengdu Wanbao, voice ot the Chengdu Municipal Parryhave reported losing money on the sale of papers but have more than compensated lo* such losses with adve.-tsing revenues. Acceding to US officials, the Chengdu Wanbeo editor seemed to rega'd his paper asusinessournalistic organization. Sichuan Ribao managers have established or acquired five other newspapers in the province in an effort to laisoas well as to satisfy reader interests and concerns lhai are not addressed by party papers.

Editors at the four leading local newspapers say the content of their papers is much more varied than even as recently as fwe years ago. This diversity reportedly has been achieved primarily by expanding the size of ihe newspapers rather than by sharply curtailing the portions that are devoted to Communist Partyparty content has been cut back somewhat. Chengdu Wanbao's editor in chief has acknowledged tension between covering required party notices, speeches, and People's Daily and Xinhua (the New China News Agency) editorials on the one hand, and human interest stories with much greater reader appeal on the other.

The rule ol thumb on flexibility in responding to party requests appears to be that the farther geographically the paper is from national and provincial authorities. Iho greater its leeway. For example, the provincial newspapers Sichuan Ribao and Guizhou Ribao reportedly have less flexibility in determining what party-generated stories to run than does the municipally operated Chengdu Wanbao. Shubao,ocal paper, appears to have the most flexibility of the four, targeting students, intellectuals, and teachers in the aires of Chengdu and Chongqing and sometimes excluding coverage of party events lhat its provinaaily run competitors cannot ignore.

some of the stations commentators, as well as its talk radio programs, highlight party failures and the misdeeds ot individual party members in the region.1*

'* From*ongmeOa whe^ri research,in, plus an Iniorvisw with mis scholar in Hong Kong,

The lop national Chinese Communist Party papers (People's Daily. Guangming Daily, and Economicmostly leature party speeches, announcements, propaganda, andg circulation and much-sought advertising revenues lo eveningapers that have far more diverse content (seeor example, People's Daily's circulation tell trom

Table 1

China: Top Newspapers In Advertising Revenue

OflkUl Comrnonbl ParlyLZI Chinese munKipnl publication

Million yuan


Evtmng ti'twt





Ertniag Nft







Ertmlag Nivi

nm in ErliUHg .Sf.i




DaUy .



Daily Nff


"Include* revenue from tucoMod pubictfiont. Sources: China Ad-trilsmg8nd citimMciong Kong medio scholar.

illionay0 lohe4 advertising revenges were down as well. Moreover, lis subscriptions consist overwhelmingly ol mandatory ones by parry and government organizations. Simiarty. the Liberation Army Daily has become almost entirely depondont on State subsidies. Its circulation has (alienillion1 to fewert present

By contrast, the circulation of the Xmmm Evening News, operated by the Shanghai Municipalas risenover me same time perxxl The Goangtbou Oaity. owned by the Guangzhou Municipal Government, doubted rtsix yearsnd its ad revenues also were

'* From the wnpvOlnhed researchan interview wanong. Kong media scholar6

Improvements in Personnel

Tho media also have attracted and are retaining more competent people than before. Journollsm Is widely seenore promising career field than In the past, while government work has lost much of its allure as other opportunities open up. Al the same lime, the explosion of business and entrepreneurial opportunities In recent years has complicated efforts by Both the media and the government to attract good people. Journalism and government both tace stiff corrpeimon from the relatively high salariesf us ava labie in the business sector But the nsing popularity and proirtabiMy ol rnetropoWan evening newspapers offer the prospect that h'gner quality, betterobs an journalism will expand in Ihe years ahead.

Improved training, more education, and higher professional standards are bolslering the skils

and confidence of journalists across East. better positioning media organizations to gain positions ol influence In their societies. Although Chinese journalists only recently have begun to participate in these opportunities, there is some evidence that such training is having an effect. Many of the young Chinese journalists being trained at US and other universities and professional programs in the West have been characterized by their trainers asnd devoted to the profession."

Beginning in. it becameost cases for reporters toollege education, andniversity degree, to get good jobs with the top party newspapers. The highly profitable evening papers, sponsored in the main by municipal governments, usually alsoollege education.'*

Now Technologies

" From interviews and correspondencelour US and Dlrd-counlry aducaWrs and professional journalists.ndCocomboi

* From unpublished researchong Kong media scholar.nd an aiterviewarmer mainland Criroso (oumalst in Hong Kong.nterview and lotowus correspondenceormer mainland Chinese (oumaAsl now living in Hong Kong.

Technical advances In the field of communications are undercutting Chinese Government efforts lo control media content and are likely to play an even-greater role in the future. In China and other developing countries, even fainy basic technologieshallenge to autocratic governments Intent on controlling the information their citizens can receive. Foroxample, importing faxwhich are frequently used to spread copies of politically incorrect material from overseas news sources, internal party domestic publications, and more obscure domesticstrictly illegal in China, but corruption in the form of payoffs and favors to officials hinders efforts to control such Imports.19

Cable TV. Residents of the Chinese mainland now receive more thanutside television channels by satellite, including Chinese-language services ol CNN, Star tv, and the United States Information Agency. In the southern province of Guangdong,ercent of the households have television sets, andthoseew parts of the city o( Guangzhou where reception isaccess 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 lhe. Asfable stations in China, linked to perhapsillion homes, were unlicensed."

Satellite Dishes. 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 lhe Ministry of Radio, Film, and Television to halt this practice have been Ineffective, mostly because of the large profitstoercent perndeed, the government has backtracked in its efforts to stop thesefrom an outright ban on satelliteo requiring that they beo specifying allowable programs and viewing

Internet. Widening Chinese use ol the Internet also is undercutting government efforts lo control the flow of information. Moreeople in China now nave Internet access, and the figure is likely to surpass one malion within four years, accordinghinese specialist on the subject.

nd the military services produce (satellite) dishes outside allowable quotas and guidelines and then sell them illicitly to eager customers.

Widening Chinese use of lhe Internet also is undercutting government efforts to control lhe flow of information.

Through lheesidents ol China canccnsored news Irom the Chinese News Digest, an on-line service created by Chinese volunteers in the United Slates andhis service carries information on such issues as trials ot prominent dissidents,in Taiwan, and divisions among the party's topestern specialist on Internet in China has noted that aboutt the moreersonal computers sold there4 were designated tor installation in residences, where it is especially difficult for the State to limit Internet use."

Since the beginninghe State hasall new applications from Internetproviders seeking to commence operations in China; moved to put alt existing Internetunder the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, the Ministry ot Electronics Industry, and the State Education Commission; andmuchestablish firewalls, limit theof home pages, and block access toInternet sites through routingovernment 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.

Weakening of Party Controls

Over the lasi decade, the ways in which lhe Chnese Communist Party does itsespecially the introduction of reforms aimed at decentralizingspurred greater media autonomy in several ways:

Tho growth ofand someThis trend has decentralized and dampened party oversight. In general, the farther reporters and media organizations are from Beijing

and important provincial capitals, lhe greater their leeway.*1

shift toward administrative and legal regulation of the media and away from more fluid and personal oversight. Party efforts to rely on regulations rather than whim to try to control theevidenced by the dozens of directives set forth when the State Press and Publications Administration was creatednd by new regulations0 andwere intended to tighten party control, makingatter of law rather than personal relationships. In fact, however, these regulations cameime when official resources were being stretched more thinly and individual officials were becoming lesslessenforce regulations.

of media acceptability. Since the, the types of media coverage deemed acceptable by the regime have risen sharply. Growing uncertainties about what is allowable and what is out of bounds generally have worked in the media's favor.

Chinese provincial broadcasters increasingly are Irving to identify subjects on which the party will allow them more autonomy. Recentthussuch broadcasters include seeking authority to carry international news, to contract out television and radio programming lo nongovernment organizations, and lo explore possibilities for quasi-private media ownership.2*

As State resources have become stretched more thinly, lhe media have found it tar easier than before to print and broadcast material that tails within vaguely defined gray areas. Officials are loo few, too busy, and often too Incompetent to be able to micromanage the media as in the past. Prior to. It was

CorrespondenceS scholar.

rom interviewestern scholar now living m


" Diplomatic leportng fromnd an interviewNnese media scholar In Hong Kong.6

common tor party and government officials to participate in the actual drafting of newspaper editorials. Now, for the rnost part, these officials merely discuss editorial policies with newspaper managers."

In the past, prime-time news in state-owned Chinese Central Television (CCTV) was routinely examined, prior to airing, by the Ministry ol Radio, Film, and Television.owever, the Ministry has ceased to prescreen CCTV news programs; now the programs are examined after they havehe diversity and quantity of material, moreover, have compelled officials to prioritize their reviews of broadcasts;. news broadcasts, for instance, receive far more attention Irom the authorities than does the midnightn another manifestation of weakening government controls, recently launched news programs such as CCTVs Focal Report and Beijing Television's Express News include moderate criticisms of the party and government and explore some controversial public topics in an effort to make programs relevantmore popular

Evidently recognizing the limils on their ability to maintain tight control over an industry that has been expanding rapidly, parly leaders during the last decade have publicly acknowledged the need to establish priorities. In particular, they have spoken of the high priority attached to maintaining control over the 'tigparty papers and central and provincial TV and radio stations.

Many Chinese officials appear anxious to avoid confronting the media because they are

afraid they will be accused of transgressions in newspapers. In magazines, or on television or radio. As media autonomy has expanded, print and broadcast mgans have tried to flex theirlbeit cautiously, in their coverage of Slate activities. Such coverage often focuses on specific government officials suspected ol illegal actions, including use ol their authority for personal gain.

Although the media's leverage stems mostly from officials' worries that rival insiders will use such publicity against them, It also appears to reflect growing respect within Chinese officialdom for the emerging influence of publicase in poini Is the Beijing Youth Daily. This paper has been punished tor criticizing government aclions and policies, but the authorities have stopped shod of shutting it down, almost certainty out of reluctance to antagonize the paper's expanding readership.

Party Resistance to Media Autonomy

Although the trend in China clearly Is toward greater media autonomy and diversity and away from government control and intimidation, crosscurrents of resistance persist. Powerful domestic institutions still constrain efforts by the media to become more autonomous and politically diverse.

Impact of Tiananmen Crackdown

Journalists were actively involved in the Tiananmen Square demons! ral ions In the spnngfditors and staff ersat People's Daily joined the demons! rations. Reporters also took part in marches and gatherings across the country from early May until early June, when the crackdown began. Journalists were among the principal targets ol the suppression: hundreds ol them were arrested or fired, and thousands, including moretaffers at People's Daily, were forced repeatedly to write lengthy self-criticisms and to participate in much-loathed small group meetings. According to

often focuses on specific government officials accused of illegal aclions. including use of their authority for personal gain.

Theontinues to make clear that criticism of certain fundamentalas thoseaiwan end Tibet and on Hong Kong'soff limits.

ono account, mora thanournalists wore still in Chinese prisons as ol0

Beyond those arrested lor their Involvement In protests, the party also decider] to punish-mainly by demotion orpercent ol aO staff members in major Beijing media officesarning tolthough mo Tiananmen crackdown damaged morale among C- nese journalists,s recently have begun lo reboundesult of increasing paly tolerance ol (and inattention toward) diversity in thes well asournalists' salaries and benefits."

Efforts To Ralnforct Party Controls

Beijing still tries lo compel ihe media to report favorably on government activities and to limit negative coverage of offclal policies and actions. Neither the Chinesepromulgated inihe Communis) Party-directed judiciary provides the media with meaningful legal protection from the State. Although Articlel the Constitution guarantees Chinese citizens the rights ot tree speech, press, andeality citizens do not have such nghts Theeijing continue to grvo precedence to the principles enunciated in the ConsUulion'supholding Marxism-Lernism-Mao Zedong thought and the party'sole."

The lack of an independent judiciary further hamstrings eflorts by the media to mount court challenges against restrictions on media activities. The party appoints judges, and Ihe position of (ho courts is merely equalof the bureaucracy.

The governmentariety of approaches lo retain some control over the media:

if requires lhat newspapers be registered and attachedovernment ministry, institute, research facility, labor group, or Other Slate-sanctioned organization. Entrepreneurs cannot establish newspapers or magazines under their own names, although they reportedly have had some success in setting up research institutes and then creating publications attached to those bodies.3"

It still occasionally jails or fines journalists for unfavorable reporting.

Itimposesolherpunishmentswhenitdeems lhat criticism has gone too far. For example, il shut down the magazine Future and Development3 for publishing two articles calling for greater democracy in China, and it forced the firing of the Beijing Youth Daily's editor for aggressively covering misdeeds and acts of poor judgment by party

It continues to make dear that criticism of certain fundamentalas those on Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan and Tibet and on Hong Kong's future in the wake of7 return to Chineseoff limits.

Il has set up numerous official journalists'largest is the All-China Journalist Federation, with morethat no single organization can develop major autonomous power.*

The government alsoongstanding hierarchical relationship among Chinese print and broadcast entities in seeking to maintain some control over the media. It appoints lhe leaders ol the most powerful media institutions, and then uses these organizations to try to dominate the rest of the media countrywide.

The Party's Dilemma

As they continue their efforts to retain control over the media, the Chinese authoritiesonundrum: They would like the State-run media to be financially self-sufficient ratherrain on government resources, but they recognize that such self-sufficiency can lead to greater autonomy. Worries about the trend toward greater media freedom apparently spurred President and General Secretary Jiang Zemin toigh-profile visit in6 lo People's Daily, where he called for continued ideological vigilance and loyalty lo party dictums.arty plenumesolution calling on journalists to maintain party discipline and political loyalty.


The evidence presented aboveixed picture. On the one hand, the media are growing in size, diversity, and autonomy. At lhe same time, lhe regime is trying to find ways to cope with these trends. As this struggle continues, the Chinese media over the next few years can be measured by two yardsticks: credibility and autonomy.

The Challenge of Credibility

Over the longations media can influence popular attitudes only to the extent that the media are belWved and trusted. AHhough survey data are limited, lhe degree of public trust in and respect for tho media in China appears to have remained low despite all the changes that have occurred. Chinese public attitudes toward the media historically have been negative because ot the media's

traditional close identification with the State. Openly touted by regime leadersool of the party since the early days of Communist rule, the media still are not generally trusted or believed by lhe public, according to limited data:

uery on mediaa time when relative openness of political expression permitted suchthatrominent Beijing citizens, more thanercent believed the Chinese media did not adequately address citizens' concerns.ercent felt that reporting on political subjects was skewed, andercent ihought the media emphasized propaganda over (actual reporting.

separate People's University survey of

hinese journalisls8 found that only one percent thought the Chinese public believed what was reported in the print and broadcast media."

As China's media strive to become more responsive to the public, popular trust of the media should rise. This may already have begun to happen with regard to television. More thanercent of respondents3 survey in Guangdong Province opined that Chinese television views were "more credible'* or "much more credaJle" than ten years earlier.*"

The Challenge of Autonomy

While enjoying some success in escaping the State's once-iron grip, the Chinese media appear to have become more susceptible to the influence of business. The practice ol businesses or wealthy individuals paying Chinese reporters for favorable coverage has become endemic in recentnother ex-Chinese journalist notes lhal substantial sums are given to party papers by Chinese

enjoying some success In escaping the Stale's once-Iron grip, the Chinese media appear to have become more susceptible to the Influence of business.

China's Media Network: The Top Rungs

(:he New China News Agency) and People's Daffy, the two most important print me*a. have status as separate government ministnes; their directors sit on the party's Central Committee. Just below,are the two national newspapers under the conlroi of the Propaganda Department-the Guangrnfng Daily and the English Ian-guago China Daffy These MM have the rank ol vice ministnes. as cces theontrolled Economic Daffy. ThoPropaganda Dopartmenl appoints publishers, chief editors, and olher keyof theewprovincial and local party leaders make similar appointments for party papers in their jurisdictions.'

In many ways, Xinhua Is the fuel propelling China's pnnt media Perhapshe world because ot its role. sae. and reach. Xinhua 'eports rkreetty to ;he party*Department, employs moreompared toor theenters, for example;ureaus woridw oe both cofiecting iroVmabon on other countries andinfonTiation about China; and maintainsureaus in China-one for each provinceilitary bureau. Inasmuch as moat of the newspapers in China cannot afford to station correspondentseven In every Chineserely ona lecdsen pagesor example, uses Xinhua materialercent of itsublisher as wellewsowns more thanewspapersozen magazines,rints inEnglish, and lour other languages.

Liko other government entities, Xmhua is feeling tho pinch of reduced State financial subsidies Beijing has been cutting funding

Hong Kono,6

0 From me purxisned wo* ofUSo the news agency by an average of soven percent per year over the pasl three years, arw Stato funds currently cover only aboutercent of Xinhua'sesuR. the agency is rasing revenues throughin public relations, construction, and Information service businesses.

In tne past. Xinhua was able to attract the lop young journalists emerging from the un vers> ties o' otherwise newly entering the field, but it can no longer do so as easily because of the appeal and resources of otherand periodicals and the greater glamour ol television and radio jobs. For example, midOvel reporters lor the Xinmin Evening News often are given an apartment, whereas at Xinhua andaffyOvs bono fit rs reserved for the rrosi senior journalists *

a Hong Kong-oaBed media sender.

estern journa*Sl. May

Like many other media organizations,struggled to find the 'right line'se in covering the Tiananmen Square events oflthough more cautious than Peoples Daffym fls treatment of senv live topics during thatas how to commemorate reformistarty leader Hu Yaobang'a9 death, lhe then ongoing demanst*aions in Beijing and elsewhere, and basic questions of prats freedom and inoWidualgave some favorable coverage lo demonstrators and intellectuals who were questioning lop party leaders. Even bo, many Xinhuawere angry with top editors for not going lar enough and for suppressing stones about tie Tiananmen Squareor sev erai days after the voienceune, almost no one at Xinhuany work, anddemonstrated inside the Agency's Beijing compound.

Businessmen and other well-heeled individualsong Kong or Taiwan who believe Iheyelping the government maintain stability Such payoffs reportedly Involve nol only cash but also gifts ol various kinds; airangomenls lor helping children of senior editors and reporters gel into good schools; and coverage of journalists' meals, hotels, and transportation.*

media autonomy IromuM range of po*bcaiu highh/ unlikely ton China in the near future, if ever. Such autcnomyeauire the removal of the Comrnuast Partys authohty lo supervise the media Moreover, constitutionalrealpress freedom and individual political expressionhoroughgoing overhaul of the government-controlled judiciary would be requiredenuinely independent media sector tohina.

Without autonomy, the Chinese media probably will contlnuo to lack wide credibility, hamponng their effectivenessorce for political transformation. Nevertheless, the evidonce above suggests that ihe evolutionaryhe media now taking place will continue as China's economy and social structure change The mecla will continue to pose problems tor government policies and could agam. as they didontribute lo popular agitation tor pot-teal change. In short, the dynamc tenson between ;ne media and the Statety lo ccrtinue in China wen into the future.

* Annd *ub**quent conoKponStnta*mainland Chneie joj-na is-ig in HongAine-Octobar iW

Appendix A

The Media and the Three Gorges Dam

hina's rulers have barred adverse domestic media reporting on the Three Gorges Dam, touted as the world's largest hydroelectric power projectajor element in China's flood-ooniroi efforts. The story of thishas not been entirelyboth the strengths and the growing weaknesses of the State in muzzling the media.

The Three Gorges project on the Yanglze River was initially conceptualized in. It was approved for construction in an unprecedented split vote by the Nationalne-third ol the delegates voted no or abstained. This project is expected lo takeears to complete. Estimates ol the cost have rangedillion0 billion.

The government says Three Gorges eventually will have an electricity-generating capacity ol morebout twice that of the Grand Couleehe United States. Over the years, critics have focused on the environmental damage lhe project is likely to cause, on the anticipated displacement of anillion people Irom along the construction site, and on numerous unanswered questions about wastewater treatment, silting, and financing,

5eople's Daily carried only six articles on this massive project All these stories were centered around the official results of feasibilityy contrast, lhe nonolficial media ran at leastrticles, most of which opposed the project or were neutral about it.ournal ol ono ot China's nine authorized non-Communist parties, was the most outspoken media organ on the dam project.

Daiournalist with the Communist Party-operated Guangmlng Daily, sought to run an article in that paper thai would be critical of Three Gorges, but was told there was an unwritten directive against using anything other than Xinhua material on the project. Using borrowed funds, sheook, Yangtze' Yangtze! composed ofrticlesinterviewsand specialists who took part in the feasibility studies but who disagreed with lhe State's decision to build the dam. When the book was published inoreozen newspapers, including People's Daily, Guangming Daily, and the World Economic Herald, reported the event despite directives from above not to do so. The Tiananmen Square crackdown brought an end to further publication of critical views on this subject. and Dai Oing was arrested and imprisoned.

Betweenhen the leadership apparently decided to go ahead with Three Gorges, andhen the National People's Congress gave its less-than-unanimous approval, lhe governmentoncerted effort to push the project forward. Somerticles lauding Three Gorges ran in People's Daily, most of them signed by party leaders and specialists. Only one nonolficialillager living along the Yangtze, had any articles on the subject in People's Daily during this lime. In the tew instances in which criticism of the project appeared in the major media, it was unsigned.

In both the dominant pro-dam media and the antl-dam nonofficial media, quotes from the late leaders Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai have been used to justify positions. Pro- and anti-dam media organs agreed that the party leadership had the right to decide the matter, while disagreeing over the wisdom ol the decision itself. Dai Qing's book was an

Conesponaenceornier Crunese journalist nowanada.6

except on. questioning trie leg* imacy olecision by me party.esult, her book was banned""

A Chinese teseaicher who has closely followed lhe Three Gorges issue noles lhat, in Iho past tcu' years, criticism ot the project in the Chinese media has been hmrted andoreover, such negative reporting has been published in relatively obscure

owerful provincial partyas locused on mismanagement ot financial or technical aspects of the project by local officials, and has mostly been couched in elliptical languago -lor example, through references to the problems of earlier Chinese dams and to uncertamtes about the effects of major construe!on on the ecosystems of rwgiborng countries

fntorvwwong Keno-basodedla

' CotiasponOencohinese senator llvino. in Japan, May-July. December 1DM

Appendix B

The Case of the World

Economic Herald

and disunity within the Communist Party's central leadership between the death ot General Secretary Hu Yaobang In9 and the military's vlolont suppression ot demonstrators in Juno opened the door lor the Chinese media lo test the limits ot political acceptability dunng that two month period. One measure ot the disarray was that regular weekly meetings In Beijing between Propaganda Department officials and top newspaper editors to discuss party guidelines, press corteni. and coverage ol news everts wen? not nek) at al from the last week in Apt unW after martial law was declared or.o publication wasxploiting the opening presented by Ihese circumstarces than Ihe Shanghai based Work) Economic Herald.

The Herald, launched0 by longtime party cadre and journalist Qmconfidant of Hu Yaobang and reformist ex-Prime Minister Zhaogradually moved fromtrictly economic journal to one thai delved into more controversial topics o' polrtcal reform. Some of the articles were highly controversial: theseefense ol Western over Marxist eeorvjme lechruqjes. excerpts from speeches by prominent dissident physicist Fang lizhr; and attacks on Chinese bureaucrats through symbolic use ol foreign news, such as President Jimmy Carter's evil service reforms in the United Slates and changes in the Hungarian bureaucracy. The Herald, although affiliated with the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences and printed under the auspices offficial newspaper Liberation Daily, wasuasi-private(hat is, itatollito operation under the

Shanghai Academy's Association of Worm Economics rather than an official organ. The paper was one of tho first Important publications in China lo become commerciallyaway State subsidies, supporting itself with revenues from advertising, andirculation lhat had reachedt the time of its closing by the regime in

Fteflecting Gin's close relationship with Hu Yaobang, the HeraWwas one of three publications thai presented wreaths at an unofficial memorial service for ihe reformist late party chief ai Tiananmen Square inaising the eyebrows of top parly leaders who wanted to play down Hu's passing. When Oin docided to print the proceedings of an unauthorized seminar In early May on Hu's life andagreeing to deletions ordered by Shanghai Propaganda Departmentsent advanco copies to Beijing lor early distribution, ihe Shanghai Communist Party Committee suspended him from the Party andeam to "Inspect" the Heralday. The newspaper's issue the next dayenunciation by Iho staff of Qin's suspension and an assertion that only the Association of World Economics could fire him. In response. Ihe Shanghai Party Committee closed thepapor. During this period, journalists demonstrated in Tiananmen Square inndividualsay alone--to show support for Ihe Herald and for the principle ol press freedom. Following Qin's dismissal, moreriters and joumalislsetition drcutated by China Youth News protesting his ouster.

the publisned workS

Appendix C

The Role of the 'Internal" Media

Chinese media's internal publication system, in which certain journals are published exclusively lor government and party officials, provides information and analysis not generally available to the public. The State values these internal reports because they contain much ol China's most sensitive, controversial, and high-quality investigative journalism.

Xmhua and many other Chinese media organizations produce reports for the Internal" journals. Informed observers note thai journalists generally like to write for the internalonly the most senior or most capable print and broadcast reporters are given suchthey can write less polemical and more comprehensive stones without having to omit unwelcome details as is commonly done in the print media directed to the generalhinese historian has noted, as an example of such self-censorship, thatinority of China's population are awareillion people starved lo death in the. because the Party has never allowed the subject to be openly explored in the media.

The Chinese Government's internal media publication systemtrict hierarchical pattern designed to facilitate partyublication called Reference Information (Cankaoincludes translated articles irom abroad as wel as news and commentary by senior Xinhuadelivered by Xinhua personnel, rather than by the national mail system, to officials at lhe working level andhree-to-ten-page

report called Internal Reference (Netou Cankao) is distributed to officials at the ministerial level and higher. The most highly classified Xinhua internal reports, known as "redhead reference" (Hong Ton Cankao) reports, are issued occasionally to the top dozen or so party and government officials.

There are signs the internal publication system is breaking down as more information becomes widely available inong Kong-based political journal circulated on the Chinese mainland has questioned the need forystem in light of China's modem telecommunications and expanding contacts with the outsidenternal publications are becoming less exclusive: some are now being sold illegally on lhe street and are increasingly available to anyone with money.*

Some of the internal publications have changed substantially in an effort to avoid becoming obsolete. For example, the publication7eekly tool for the Communist Party to instruct journalists on what tolonger was limited to that function when *rt reappeared after the Cultural Revolution. Ii continued to change gradually and is nowa monthly publication that servesrofessional rather than political guide for journalists.*

Original document.

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