The Washington Post did a great piece on how inspectors for the Chinese government said the Chinese propaganda office is not being aggressive enough.
“The effect of guiding culture and art to serve socialism and art is not obvious enough,” Wang Haichen, the leader of the inspection team, was quoted as saying. “Its news propaganda is not targeted enough, or effective enough.
“It needs to strengthen further its leadership of ideological work. It does not do enough in applying the principle of the party controlling the media in weak points like new media, or in coordinating thought and political work at universities.”
The efforts to control the press have stepped up under Xi and have included efforts to shut down reporting on China’s violation of human rights by journalists not in China.
Part of the campaign is to not only make sure all Chinese media outlets kowtow to the whims of the party leadership, but also to make sure foreign media is made to be seen as the enemy by the Chinese people.
National Public Radio correspondent Frank Langfitt is about to leave China after five years of reporting from Shanghai. He did a great piece today (June 13) explaining how the Chinese government has stepped up its campaign against not only Western journalists but against the whole concept of free and independent media. (As of this posting — 6:30 a.m. June 13 — the whole piece is not yet available on the NPR website. It will be available later in the day.)
The growth of the Chinese middle class and the current economic slowdown clearly scares the country leaders in Beijing. For the past 30+ years, the Communist Party has told the Chinese people that only through the party will economic growth occur. Western notions of democracy, free press and market forces are not needed because “the Party will provide.”
The problem the party now has is that its claim to legitimacy is based on the one leg of economic growth. The current economic slowdown is threatening that sole pillar.