David Bandurski

David is co-director of the China Media Project, and editor of the project’s website. He is the author of Dragons in Diamond Village (Penguin), a book of reportage about urbanisation and social activism in China, and co-editor of Investigative Journalism in China (HKU Press). His writings have appeared in the New York Times, the Far Eastern Economic Review, the Wall Street Journal, Index on Censorship, the South China Morning Post and others. He received a Human Rights Press Award in 2007 for an explanatory feature about China’s Internet censorship guidelines. David is a producer of Chinese independent films through his Hong Kong production company, Lantern Films. He has a Master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Mr. Bandurski is an honorary lecturer at the Journalism & Media Studies Centre at the University of Hong Kong.

Shoot ‘Em Up, And Study Up

Speaking to propaganda officials and state media representatives back in February 2016, President Xi Jinping said that media must be “surnamed Party” — that is, they must “love the Party, serve the Party and protect the Party.” In the same address, he also made clear that the Chinese Communist Party would exercise control not just over news content, the traditional focus of controls, but also over advertising and entertainment. All of these, said Xi, must be surnamed Party. Released recently by Netease, the online videogame Wildness Action, a shoot-’em-up adventure in which you take part in training for peacekeeping...

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Panda Paints Koala

In recent months, concerns have grown in Australia over potential Chinese Communist Party interference in the country’s domestic politics, and in other areas such as education. Most recently, Charles Hamilton, a professor at Australia’s Charles Sturt University, revealed that his book about Chinese interference had been dropped by its publisher, Sydney-based Allen & Unwin, because it feared “potential threats to the book and the company from possible action by Beijing.” The above cartoon, by Melbourne-based artist Badiucao (巴丢草), quite jarringly captures the sense of Chinese interference by playing with the two countries’ cuddliest identity stand-ins — the panda and the...

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Strong Words from Wang Qishan

China’s feared graft-buster, Wang Qishan (王岐山), vacated his post as head of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection at last month’s 19th National Congress, despite speculation he might be kept on beyond the unofficial retirement age of 68 to continue leading President Xi Jinping’s aggressive anti-corruption drive. But Wang isn’t out of the picture just yet. No quite. A prominent article bylined by Wang appearing today on page two of the Chinese Communist Party’s official People’s Daily newspaper — and outlining in very robust language the “core” and unassailable status of Xi Jinping, the iron principle of Party rule...

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China Requires Security Review for Web Products

Speaking at the World Economic Forum’s 2014 Summer Davos in Tianjin three years ago, Lu Wei (鲁炜), the director of what was then China’s State Internet Information Office (SIIO) — and soon to become the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) — said proper controls must be built into the technical infrastructure of the internet in order to ensure global security. Lu, who was in fact talking about what China sees as necessary controls on information and public opinion, likened the process to considering basic passenger safety in the design of automobiles. “The internet is like a car,” said Lu. “If it has no...

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Pointing to the Future, Parroting the Past

As media across China today reported the close of the 19th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the political event at which President Xi Jinping spoke of the glorious future of a “modern socialist nation,” the country’s Party-run newspapers seemed to careen into the past. With a visual prominence redolent of the pre-reform era, when Mao Zedong had unchallenged dominance on the front pages, today’s papers featured a large, airbrushed portrait of President Xi. Here, for example, is the front page of the People’s Daily, the official propaganda organ of the CCP, where the visual representation of Xi’s...

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Xi’s Banner Marches Out Into the World

When you are the leader of a political party that has unchallenged rule over a powerful authoritarian state, it’s your prerogative, for better or worse, to decide what is and isn’t history. On day three of the 19th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, we can read just about everywhere in China’s official state media about how President Xi Jinping’s report and its boldly articulated ideas have brought us to a pivotal moment in history. Just listen to this writer, Xiao Yu (晓夕), in a commentary run prominently at People’s Daily Online. Xiao seems on the verge of sublimating —...

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