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    Reporters Without Borders said in it’s 2005 special report titled “Xinhua: the world’s biggest propaganda agency”, that “Xinhua remains the voice of the sole party”, “particularly during the SARS epidemic, Xinhua has for last few months been putting out news reports embarrassing to the government, but they are designed to fool the international community, since they are not published in Chinese.”
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Free Speech Is Bad News For China Censors

Posted by Author on August 2, 2007

By Edward Cody, from The Washington Post, via Seattle Times, August 2, 2007-

BEIJING — According to a report circulating among Beijing intellectuals, Li Changchun, China’s senior propaganda official, went to President Hu Jintao recently suggesting a ban on the July issue of the magazine Yanhuang Chunqiu.

The scholarly monthly had published a daring article by a Communist Party professor saying the party’s monopoly on power was the “root cause” of many of the ills afflicting modern-day China, including corruption and peasant unrest.

Although Hu has shown a restrictive attitude toward free speech, he counseled tolerance this time, the report said, advising Li it was better to have such debate in the open rather than let it ferment under the surface. The magazine remained on the stands.

The incident was the latest in a string of setbacks for Li and China’s propaganda bureaucracy.

An explosion of negative news — tainted-food exports, slave labor at brick kilns, political challenges and supposedly cardboard dumplings — has pained party censors and renewed demands for ideological and political discipline among China’s journalists.

“News-publishing professionals must … voluntarily commit themselves to upholding the sacred mission and glorious responsibility bestowed on them by the party and the people,” said an order issued last week by the party’s main propaganda organizations.

The order was issued in response to a Beijing Television broadcast last month reporting that a fast-food restaurant had mixed cardboard with pork in stuffing its steamed dumplings. The report caused a sensation among Beijing residents, who cherish their dumplings.

Authorities quickly branded the broadcast a hoax. The reporter, Zi Beijia, was identified as an inexperienced temp and jailed, and party officials scolded journalists for lax ethics and needlessly stirring up worries.

Chinese authorities have been particularly sensitive recently about how the party is portrayed. In part, the concern has arisen from a desire to radiate a good image for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing. But more important, officials have begun the countdown to a crucial party congress in the fall.

After a recent meeting of top Beijing propaganda officials, the capital’s newspaper editors and TV-news directors were handed a list of newly off-limits subjects, journalists said. The list included food safety, riots, fires, deadly auto accidents and bloody murder cases.

Report from  Seattle Times

One Response to “Free Speech Is Bad News For China Censors”

  1. JIM said

    Some times we don’t appreciate the good old USA !
    It may not be perfect, but it’s still the best!
    Apparently the Chinese don’t understand what it means to “uphold the sacred mission and glorious responsibility bestowed on them by the party and the people”.

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