Originally published at Journalism and the World
Despite all the public relations efforts aimed at the rest of the world to show how tolerant the Chinese government is, the current leadership is absolutely dedicated to preventing any views not in line with official policy from reaching the Chinese people.
One of the latest items is a new rule that only allows Chinese-owned media companies to operate behind the Great Firewall.
The latest came as President Xi Jinping visited People’s Daily, Xinhua and CCTV.
The Xinhua report on the visit was very clear:
All news media run by the Party must work to speak for the Party’s will and its propositions and protect the Party’s authority and unity, Xi said.
They should enhance their awareness to align their ideology, political thinking and deeds to those of the CPC Central Committee and help fashion the Party’s theories and policies into conscious action by the general public while providing spiritual enrichment to the people, he said.
Marxist journalistic education must be promoted among journalists, Xi added, to make them “disseminators of the Party’s policies and propositions, recorders of the time, promoters of social advancement and watchers of equality and justice.”
While most Westerners understand that the Chinese government tries to maintain a firm control of society and especially the media, few really grasp how severe the control is. Likewise, too many in the West are seduced by phrases designed to hide the true meaning of the words. (See The Real Meaning of “Hurt Feelings of The Chinese People” for one example.)
It is important to remember that people in the West make decisions based on the selected information allowed to be released by the Chinese government. There are no independent agencies or organizations that are allowed to monitor and confirm the data. There is no Freedom of Information Act. And the media (as made clear just this week) are not allowed to report anything that would make life difficult for the party leadership.
For a fuller discussion of Xi’s visit and the role the party sees for news media outlets, read the report at China Digital Times.