Politicians running the newspapers 政治家办报

“Politicians running the newspapers” is a phrase first raised by Mao Zedong in 1957, who said: “The writing of articles, and especially lead editorials (社论), must be responsible to the overall interests of the party, united closely with the political situation. This is what is meant by politicians running the newspapers.”
During the annual national meeting of propaganda ministers in early 1994, Ding Guangen (丁关根), head of China’s Central Publicity Department, said: “Our politics must be acute, our heads alert, our flag clear. The political and policy nature of ideological and political work is strong, and a number of problems are of an extremely sensitive nature. We must be careful to consider such problems from a political standpoint. We must be clear about what we promote, what we permit, what we oppose and what we limit.”
On Junuary 2, 1996, Jiang Zemin said on a visit to the Liberation Army Daily: “Mao Zedong once said that in doing media work we must ensure that the papers are run by politicians. This warning rings true even today.”
Terms of a similar vein including, “politicians running the wires” (newswires), and “politicians running the stations” (radio and television). After the war against the Falun Gong religious sect became a political obsession in 1999, party leaders also began talking about “politicians running the Websites.”

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).