Big Brother in China

By YingTing Tseng (YXT5059)

How do we make sense of China?  In this blog post, the main idea of press freedom in China will be based on a scholar report, Media Censorship in China, written by Isabella Bennett; and the context will follow the original question-and-answer format for providing a better flow.  And a personal reflection will be included at the end as a final conclusion.

What is the official media policy in China?

A senior fellow of Council on Foreign Relations, Elizabeth C. Economy says the government as it “goes back and forth, testing the line, knowing they need press freedom–and the information it provides–but worried about opening the door to the type of freedoms that could lead to the regime’s downfall.”  And one of the most updated regulations states, “Internet sovereignty, requiring all Internet users in China, including foreign organizations and individuals, to abide by Chinese laws and regulations”.

How free is the Chinese media?

Self-Censorship in China: “Chinese media disseminators usually employ their own monitors to ensure political acceptability of their content.”  Websites such as Wikipedia, Bloomberg, and the New York Times are blocked due to different levels of political concerns.

What are the primary censoring agencies in China?

1. Communist Party’s Central Propaganda Department (CPD) 2. General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP) 3. State Admistration of Radio, Film, and Television (SARFT).  Tan Zuoren, a journalist who reported the poor construction of school building which caused the death of children during the 2008 SiChuan province earthquake, instead of winning a Pulizer award (if he was an American), Tan was sentenced to 5 years in prison.

How do journalists get around media control measures?

Using similar-sounding innocuous characters to circumvent censorship tools

 A Chinese journalist’s inside view of censorship |

To conclude, although Chinese people nowadays still live under the restriction of censorship system, I believe this will not last long.  It is because unless the Chinese government blocks the whole Internet in the country, the freedom will eventually overcome the governmental control.  However, it will take a while for the changes to be effected.  And both you and me, we can be the change.

Reference:  Bennett, Isabella. “Media Censorship in China.” Jan 2013. Council on Foreign Relations. Mar 2013.


3 thoughts on “Big Brother in China

  1. YingTing,

    I found this video clip to be very interesting because it was from the perspective of as well-seasoned journalist. Lu Len Fong told an interesting and inspirational story. I think all journalists in China should pay attention to his message; although the Chinese government controls and censors the media system, blogging and internet communication will drive China forward. I couldn’t believe that at his first job he was making $64 USD a month! It must have been hard for him to report without “stepping on the government’s toes” with his story content. It is amazing to me how new technology has become such a challenge for China’s censors.

    When I watched this video, I couldn’t help but think of the Arab Spring and how social media pushed this movement along. I still think China has a long way to go until they lift their internet sovereignty regulations. Typically, when I read these blog posts, I relate these situations to the status of free press in the United States. It is hard to listen to these stories and not pass judgement based on journalism policies in America, because that is all I know. It is amazing to me how much information Chinese citizens miss out on because of the government censorship. It would be very easy for me to suggest that the government lift these censorships and let their citizens learn and grow through the technology of the media, but it is much more complicated than that. Thank you for sharing this interesting story!


  2. I thought that this was a really interesting post. As I have said in a lot of my comments on things like this, it is difficult for me to understand the concept of not being able to freely speak. The fact that journalists have to lie about their identities to avoid possible repercussions. I really like your thoughts on how things could potentially start to change in the near future, how they almost HAVE to. As an American who is used to free speech and minimal to no censorship, I feel as though our country and China are polar opposites. Although many people in China would have the access to technology, they are not allowed to really use it.

    I think that you are right in that China will have to start letting technology be more prevalent if they hope to move forward as a country, and it will be very interesting to see how things change in the near future. I don’t think everything will ever be a “free-for-all” so to say, but I do think China will feel the need to keep up with other tech savvy countries. Thanks for the post!

  3. I think this post is incredibly interesting. I like the discussion at the end about the state of Chinese censorship and how it will not last very long. I firmly believe that everyone, everywhere, no matter what, should be able to have freedom of speech and expression. The way China and some other countries suppress it is incredibly wrong, in my book. I think that this potential change shows a bright future for China. As they push for more and more freedom and eventually overcome the governmental control, that will only makes life there even better. I think especially needs to happen for cases such as the one mentioned involving Tan Zuoren. He broke a huge story and ended up in prison instead of receiving awards. I think everyone should be able to clearly see how wrong this is. His story pointed out so many wrongs that lead to the death of many children, so obviously he should not be in jail. He should be praised and thanked and I think that as China pushes for more and more freedom of speech, Chinese journalists will soon receive the praise that they truly deserve. Overall, I think that the future of China’s media and media system is incredibly promising. As time goes by, they will push more and more for the freedom that they all rightfully deserve.

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