Heft 233

Thomas Scharping:

Administration, Control and Censorship in the Chinese Media,

Cologne, October 2007, ISBN 978-3-938933-36-7

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While China’s policies of reform and opening-up have triggered far-reaching economic transformations in the media sector, and the leeway for uncensored reporting has widened, the principles of political supervision remain essentially unchanged. In this paper the author, Professor for Modern Chinese Studies, Chair for Politics, Economy and Society of Modern China, at the University of Cologne, sketches the interplay of numerous government and Party organs responsible for media supervision and censorship in terms of mission, personnel and work assignments. His main emphasis is on the present situation and changes since 1990. He states that the basic bureaucratic set-up for enforcing media compliance with Party policies stays in line with the Leninist arrangements of the 1950s - despite of some organizational reshuffling and recurrent jurisdictional adjustments. The paper also argues that the challenges for effective control posed by the technological revolution in mass communication have been met by new innovations in the monitoring and filtering of sensitive reports. Although principles of rule by law also would have spread to the media, they would lag behind some other spheres of Chinese public life. On the background of reorganizations in the magazine "Freezing Point" of the Youth League effected during 2004 - 2006, the paper highlights the tensions of current media policies, the conflicts between multiple actors and the unresolved contradictions between commercial and political interests.

Table of Contents:

1. Introduction
2. Principles
3. Organizations
4. Mechanisms and Procedures
5. An Instructive Case
6. Conclusions