In a lengthy post (in Chinese) on Weibo on November 8, the Editor-in-Chief of Global Times, He Xijin commented on China's increasing restrictions on the media. He wrote that while  "Many times I feel that I live a very fulfilling life and have a strong sense of integration in this era", "Yet I’ve experienced changes in the media industry as well, and feel deeply it’s becoming ever more difficult for media. Society has high requirements and hopes for the media, but many fail to grasp its fundamental nature, or the political role it should play in promoting social progress". Stating that "Everything from newspapers to radio to television, to the Internet was, as we all know, invented by the West, so bears Western institutional factors and values", he said China "must make good use of their media attributes on the one hand, and on the other hand, we must ‘sinicise’ them to fit them to the PRC’s political and value system" He called PRC media professionals "a group of explorers, responsible for one of the most difficult areas of exploration in China" and disagreed that they should blindly copy "the NYT, CNN, or BBC" adding that "If all Chinese media had become like Western ones, China would definitely not be what it is today". Asserting that the media should "serve the national interest and protect the fundamental interests of the people", he acknowledged that "media practitioners have for some time been subject to increasing restrictions, most of which have come from functional departments of the state and local governments other than propaganda departments, as well as various influential institutions. Out of consideration for their respective work, they require the media to provide close cooperation with their work, constantly proposing what the media should or should not report. Above all when they encounter negative public opinion, they hope that the media will be silent and help cool the situation". Justifying these requirements he said "such specific requirements are on the increase, forming a mounting force of intervention in media work, squeezing the space for the media to self-explore and support the national line, principles and policies. I personally find this trend is quite debatable. The propaganda front should be accountable to the CPC Central Committee and to the overall national interest". He said, "Too much media indulges in the specific work of serving localities and departments, which will impact their own news attributes, losing credibility and combat effectiveness". Stating that "In fact, as long as the political direction is firm, there is little chance that the media will make serious mistakes", he added "The value orientation of individual media has gone wrong, which is another matter. In most cases, a government department or local government made an improper statement or an improper decision that stabbed the basket. The ‘mistake’ made by the media is often to report the incident, forming so-called ‘hype.’ I think it is the source of the error, not the media, that should be held responsible at this time". He Xijin also said "Our society needs to respect the media and media professionals more, but in reality, such respect is obviously not enough". He said, in conclusion "Our society is a community under the leadership of the Party. The media is headed by the word ‘public’. It is not a private  organisation. Our division of labour is different, but what is guarding is the position of public opinion given to us by the Party. I hope that the entire society, including the government, will continue to give us support, tolerance and encouragement".

Subscribe to Newswire | Site Map | Email Us
Centre for China Analysis and Strategy, A-50, Second Floor, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi-110057
Tel: 011 41017353