Propaganda Official Calls on Authorities to "Persist in the Principle That the Communist Party Supervises the News"

August 28, 2005

In January 2005, an official from the provincial Communist Party Propaganda Department of Shanxi province spoke to a "news work meeting," noting that in 2004 Shanxi officials confiscated 3,414 illegal political publications and shut down 21 illegal periodical publishers, offices, and news bureaus. He called on attendees to "persist in the principle that the Party supervises the media, and the Party supervises the news."

The official said that every type of news media "must make correct orientation the foundation of their life's work," and that no type of news media could be allowed to "have a different standard, or form a second public opinion forum." He called on attendees to focus their attention on three types of news media:

  • Metropolitan newspapers, which should be subject to increased pre-publication screening and brought within "the news propaganda working system as demanded by the central authorities."
  • Smaller publications, which should be "rectified" in accordance with the "united deployment of the General Administration of Press and Publication."
  • "Newly developing channels and newly developing domains, especially the Internet," which, according to Document Number 32 of the General Office of the Chinese Communist Party, should be the subject of increased supervision, monitoring, and "appraisal work." The official said that agencies must "further build up the Internet management system," and that authorities should focus on making "big and strong focal point Web sites," and enlarging "correct propaganda."

He warned that these types of news media must not be allowed to "raise difficulties, air opposing views, or interfere with themes." He also said a need exists to increase oversight of freelance writers, stringers, and private organizations that provide photographs and articles.

The official emphasized that the news media must handle certain types of reports in specific ways:

  • They should not publicly report on "group" events (apparently a reference to group demonstrations, protests, etc.), and instead should forward reports of these events through internal channels to the Party and the government.
  • In carrying out public opinion supervision, they should select "educationally meaningful model examples," but should not engage in critical "extra-territorial" reporting.
  • When "propagandizing against corruption," they must "affirm the mainstream ranks of Party cadres and the effectiveness of the anti-corruption struggle," and not "negate the fundamental institutions of our country through exceptional cases."

According to the official, the Party and government agencies that manage news units should carry out thorough pre-publication screening and "look after their own battlefield, look after their own troops, and in a timely manner notice the problems that appear in their territory. . . ."