People's Daily Details Closures of Hundreds of Newspaper Bureaus

September 30, 2004

In August the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP) issued an announcement stating that, as part of a campaign launched in January, over 700 "reporter stations" had been shut down. Under Chinese law (see below), a "reporter station" is roughly equivalent to a bureau, where a newspaper may station reporters in order to conduct interviews and gather news. The GAPP determines which newspapers can set up reporter stations. On September 28 the People's Daily website carried an article outlining some of the details of the crackdown. According to the article, since Jaunuary authorities have closed down and rescinded the registrations of 642 stations, deferred the registration of 176 others, and have investigated and prosecuted 73 illegally-established stations. Specific examples cited in the article include:

  • Jiangxi authorities investigated and prosecuted 10 stations that had been established without government authorization.
  • Henan authorities closed down 32 illegally established stations, and published the names of 60 stations that had been approved.
  • Chongqing authorities postponed the registrations of 18 stations, and shut down seven others with "serious problems."

The story also cited several jurisdictions that shut down reporter stations for engaging in unauthorized activities, committing blackmail, and employing Party and government officials. China's government identified the latter issue as a problem because Party and government personnel at publications that could not support themselves commercially had been requiring various agencies and organizations to subscribe to them, placing a financial burden on already cash-strapped groups. In response to this practice the Chinese government launched a campaign in 2003 to "separate administration and operations," with only the former remaining in the hands of the Party and the government.