Communist Party Republishes Propaganda Piece Rationalizing Increased Regulation of the Media

September 13, 2005

On March 23, the CECC noted that Chinese authorities had launched a propaganda campaign that portrayed Western media, in particular U.S. media, as corrupt and government-controlled. The campaign was intended to encourage support for the promulgation of the "Interim Rules for the Administration of Those Employed as News Reporters and Editors," which were issued on March 22 to "strengthen the building of the news profession's ethics."

On April 6, the print edition of the People's Daily republished one of the pieces referred to in the CECC's March 23 report: "The Quality of Western Freedom of Expression," which originally appeared in the March 14 edition of Red Flag Manuscript. The People's Daily article is substantially similar to the version that appeared in Red Flag Manuscript, except the title was changed to "The Quality of Western Freedom of Expression and the Mission of Chinese Journalism," and references to "comrades" were changed to "people."

There was, however, one paragraph that appeared in the People's Daily version that was omitted from the Red Flag Manuscript version. See below for a translation of the new paragraph.

The following paragraph appeared in the People's Daily version of "The Quality of Western Freedom of Expression and the Mission of Chinese Journalism," but was omitted from the Red Flag Manuscript version:

With respect to China's current stage, developing the economy is the primary duty, and the primary prerequisite for developing the economy is social stability. This requires that in the process of exercising freedom of the press, reporters must strengthen their sense of mission, and grasp the direction and weight of news reports. If reporters only take social sensationalism as the objective of their struggle, and are unable to free themselves from trap of narrow-mindedness, this will do harm to the development of socialist journalism, and eventually this will be viewed by the masses with loathing. It should be the duty of journalists to use the weapon of freedom of the press given them in the Constitution, not to create social chaos, but rather to promote social equity, uphold social justice, and promote social development and the progress of mankind. China's freedom of the press must benefit the development of the economy, social stability, and the raising of people's living standards, and journalists must persist in correct guidance of public of opinion, carry forward themes, and enable the news media to establish great journalism with Chinese socialist characteristics that give free rein to guarantees beneficial ideology and public opinion support. This, too, is a manifestation of freedom of the press.