Mouthpiece 喉舌

The term “mouthpiece” has been used to describe Party media since the founding of the Chinese Communist Party. At Yan’an, the Liberation Daily described itself as “the Party’s mouthpiece, the mouthpiece of this great collective.” “We comrades who work at the newspaper are just one part of the Party organization,” the paper said, “but we must all, as one a body united, act according to the Party’s will. Each word and line, each character and sentence, must take the Party into consideration” (see “The Party and Party Papers”/”The Press Theory of the Liberation Daily”, Selections From Chinese Journalism History, Zhang Zhihua, editor, China People’s University Press, 1999, pg. 257). During a November 28, 1989, seminar on journalism, Jiang Zemin said, “Our country’s newspapers, broadcast and television are all the mouthpieces of the Party, the government and the people. This should be sufficient to explain the character of [Chinese] journalism and its important place in the work of the Party and the nation”. In an address following an inspection tour of China Central Television’s investigative program “News Probe” on October 7, 1998, State Council Premier Zhu Rongji offered the epigraph: “Supervisor of public opinion (舆论监督), mouthpiece of the masses, mirror of government, pioneer of reform.” This marked the first time “mouthpiece” had been used alone in this context, as “mouthpiece of the masses.” Zhu’s usage did not enter the canon of Party terms, however, and the official usage remains as “mouthpiece of the Party and the people.”

David Bandurski

Now director of the CMP, leading the project’s research and partnerships, David joined the team in 2004 after completing his master’s degree at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. He is currently an honorary lecturer at the Journalism and Media Studies Centre. He is the author of Dragons in Diamond Village (Penguin/Melville House), a book of reportage about urbanization and social activism in China, and co-editor of Investigative Journalism in China (HKU Press).