Article Laundering 洗稿

While Internet regulations in China prevent Chinese websites from producing original news and commentary, site editors in China have found creative ways of working around these restrictions to offer original content on breaking stories. One of the most interesting foils is a technique that has become known among Chinese journalists and web editors as “article laundering,” or xigao (洗稿).
Xigao refers to the practice of commissioning an editorial that would be formally be prohibited from direct use on one’s own site, then first providing it to an online news portal affiliated with the party or government — for example the web portal run by a major provincial party news organ — before posting it on one’s own site and listing the official news portal as the source. This roundabout way of posting content allows site editors some degree of safety, as they can show that the article was first posted on an official party or government site.
The practice, however, has reportedly come under some increased scrutiny over the past year.

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).