In the 1990s, as China’s media moved steadily into the marketplace, the Propaganda Bureau issued its “key principle” of “placing the good of society before all else, and working diligently to bring about the unification of social and economic benefits.” The new principle emphasized the following:

1. Under the conditions of the market economy, cultural products [media, film, the arts] are commodities, but commodities of a special nature. Media professionals must seriously and earnestly consider the social implications of their own work.

2. Under the conditions of the market economy, economic benefit must be emphasized in the creation of cultural and non-material products, and trends must be prevented that do not work toward economic development or promote economic benefits; Neither must [media] products lose sight of the social good through the self-interested pursuit of “saleability” in the marketplace.

3. For those news media important to the Party and the nation, the nation shall continue to provide financial and policy support.

(See “The Marxist View of Journalism and the Guiding Principles of Party Journalism,” in News Line, May 2004)