Over the past five years under Xi Jinping, China has become far more direct about how the control of the press, internet and public opinion are crucial in order to maintain social and political stability.
Xi has said the media must “be surnamed Party” — that is, follow the Party’s line and policies, and not do the kind of reporting that works against them. He has pressured the traditional media so hard that coverage across the country can often look identical.
But still, outright criticism of China’s press as being too unified is not at all welcome. Which is why the following Weibo post from Zang Jianchun (臧建春微博), a user with more than 10,000 fans on the platform, was deleted today within two hours of being posted.
A Chinese person asks an American: How many journalists do you have? How many news items do they generate on a daily basis?
The American says: We have 10,000 journalists, and they produce 100,000 news stories from different angles. What about you guys in China?
The Chinese person responds: We have 100,000 journalists, and every day they produce a single article, identical even down to the punctuation.