January 31 — Concerning the Internet in China, President Hu Jintao emphasized at a recent “collective study” session of the Politburo that leaders must seek to “develop it well, use it well and manage it well” (建设好、利用好、管理好). The gist of “use it well” can be glimpsed already at major Chinese Web portals, where coverage of Hu’s injunction has itself lingered for more than a week now, occupying precious space on the news page.
In the news report, which first appeared on major Web portals on the evening of January 24, Hu Jintao was quoted as saying “we must, with an energetic attitude and a spirit of innovation, strongly develop and propagate a healthy and uplifting Internet culture, practically building the Internet well, using it well and managing it well”.
The next day, Sina.com promoted the story to its top spot, giving it a bold headline:
As of 4pm today the story was still featured on the front page of the news section at Sina.com:
As the real news — defined by timeliness, relevance and all the rest — zips by on Sina.com’s main news page, the Hu Jintao story sticks around under an official order to keep it up for a full week.
The lingering presence of the Hu story illustrates how Chinese leaders are seeking to use commercial media in new ways to get their messages out to the public. The need to resort to such methods is particularly keen in light of the poor performance of “party” newspapers (the X Dailies), which focus on dry official goings-on, in an increasingly competitive commercial media environment.
[Posted by David Bandurski, January 31,2007, 5:15pm]