January 25 — More than a week after top publishing officials in China announced a nationwide ban on eight books, drawing domestic and international criticism, Beijing Daily slipped an excerpt from one of those books, The Other Stories of History, by former People’s Daily journalist Yuan Ying (袁鹰), into a prominent place on its inner pages. The case underscored the complexity of China’s changing media environment, in which newspapers can push the envelope in surprising ways. While more daring coverage is most often seen in commercial newspapers (generally spin-offs of provincial and city-level party newspapers) Beijing Daily is an offical party newspaper controlled by top city leaders in Beijing.
January 25 — Two weeks after announcement by local leaders in Chenzhou, Hunan province, of a new “watchdog journalism prize” drew sharp criticism from newspapers across China, leaders in Chenzhou responded through a news report in the official People’s Daily. Chenzhou’s party secretary and top leader Ge Hongyuan (葛洪元) said that releasing news was a means and promoting the work [of the leadership] the end goal. Ge emphasized that the prize was not just for show. Ge’s wishes were paraphrased by People’s Daily: “[He] hoped that in the process of carrying out watchdog journalism, the information gathered by the media, the stories told, the problems discovered, could be organized and transmitted as quickly as possible to the party and government [in Chenzhou], to be gathered and considered.”