Control and Resistance

By Other Lisa…

The Christian Science Monitor follows up on the Li Datong/China New Youth Daily story, seeing it as illustrative of both the increased control of media by Party authorities, and the “sometimes sophisticated resistance to it by Chinese journalists.”

The larger backdrop (to the Li Datong story) is a nearly two year push by the powerful central propaganda department to more firmly control and limit expression.

News services are under orders not to quote Chinese intellectuals not approved by the party. Newspapers may not report events or issues in other parts of the country unless a regional party paper has first reported the news. Popular Internet discussion groups have been blocked. Cellphone text messages are filtered.

China Youth Daily itself has steadily been reshaped to be more of a party organ than a newspaper. In the past year senior editors at the paper have resigned, free exchanges between internal news departments have been banned, and Chinese political leaders have started being praised in language reminiscent of the brutal Cultural Revolution period. One story this summer described Chinese president Hu Jintao’s words as being, “like a light house beacon, pointing out and illuminating the direction of China’s students.”

While many protesting journalists, including Li, praise President Hu for his genial persona and for understanding how modern media works, they are opposed to what appears to be a move in the central propaganda department to allow deification and worship of Chinese leaders. They point out that Chinese youth find such language old and silly, and that it actually decreases respect for the venerable paper.

“This is not only happening at our paper,” says one China Youth Daily staffer speaking on condition of anonymity, “it is a problem at papers everywhere in China.”

The Chinese government has argued that a strong, unchallenged hand is needed during a time of uncertainty and instability, as China undergoes a rapid economic expansion.

The Discussion: 2 Comments

Hey,Richard, this is the first time for me to make comments on ur nice blog, it is very inspring and wide-eyeing, for me— a Chinese college student to absorb fresh air.

Here i wanna inform u about the booming danger on blog controls in China. There is an article in China Daily which explicit propagandaing for control on blog voices—-

“Sites like Peking Duck (, The Horse’s Mouth ( and the Angry Chinese Blogger ( all identify themselves as anti-Chinese Communist Party sites, though they also pretend to like and to admire the Chinese people. ”

And a result, or maybe a coincidence, all blogs on blog-city was wholly banned on the mainland now.

The Christian Science Monitor’s article on Lidatong’s letter is quite balanced, i am also a news& journalism major student, Mr Li is an idealist journalist worthwhile of sincerely respect from us, both he and Lu Yue gang are admired and respected highly by us Chinese journalists.

They are the avant-couriers that carry on the past liberty and being loyal to the principle of truly newsmen,or muck-raker:)

[Comment edited for content]

August 28, 2005 @ 3:42 am | Comment

Eliot, congratulations to you and best of luck with your career – and I really mean that. Journalism is a noble calling, as badly as the profession gets off-track at times.

I think the leadership’s prescription of tight control and a strong hand during a time of rapid economic change is exactly the wrong way to go. China needs the watchdog of the press, now more than ever.

August 28, 2005 @ 12:04 pm | Comment

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