Whorespondent 妓者

This term was apparently coined by Internet users in the last several years to express general displeasure with poor ethics in the journalism profession in China. The term can be used to refer to unethical journalists from all media, but particularly from official party media.
In August 2010, the term was used again to vent popular anger over the conduct of journalists, but anger centered on Beijing Television (BTV), which was seen to have led official Beijing media in attacking popular crosstalk (相声) star Guo Degang (郭德纲) after his assistant struck out against two BTV reporters trying to report on allegations he had extended his home onto public land.
An online video release in August 2010 of the altercation between BTV and Guo Degang’s assistant clearly showed the BTV reporters entering Guo’s home without permission and filming without consent even after they had agreed not to and had said their camera is off.
The Chinese pronunciation of “whorespondent,” or jizhe, is actually identical to the pronunciation of the word “journalist,” also jizhe, but the character for ji in the latter (记), which means to “record,” is replaced in the former with the character for “prostitute” (妓).
For more reading on journalists and ethics in China, please see CMP fellow Chang Ping’s editorial “Why do we command such disrespect?

Ant Tribe 蚁族

The term yizu (蚁族), or “ant tribe,” refers to unemployed college graduates born after 1980 — in other words, the crop of college graduates over the past two years — who generally live on the margins of China’s cities, in urbanizing villages or districts where they can find cheaper housing and search for economic opportunities. The yizu, as a young, restless and educated new segment of Chinese society, are a growing social concern for the government as a potential source of instability. According to a report from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences released in June 2010, yizu now number more than one million nationwide, and an estimated 100,000 live in Beijing alone.

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.

The Seven How to Sees 七个怎么看

In an April 10, 2010, speech to top propaganda ministers from around China, Central Propaganda Department chief Liu Yunshan (刘云山) spoke of the need for awareness in news and propaganda work of a number of social problems that were becoming increasingly “prominent” in the lives of ordinary Chinese.
Liu summed these social issues up with a new formula called the “Seven How To Sees.” They are:
1. How to see uneven development in our country?
2. How to see employment difficulties?
3. How to see the problem of access to healthcare?
4. How to see fairness in educational opportunities?
5. How to see high housing prices?
6. How to see unfairness in wealth distribution?
7. How to see the problem of corruption?
In the course of news and propaganda work, says Liu, these questions must be brought together under the theory, line and policies of the Communist Party.

Venting Mechanisms 宣泄机制

On April 22, 2010, as Wu Hao (伍皓), the young deputy propaganda chief of China’s southwest Yunnan Province, delivered a talk at Renmin University of China, a young man ran up and tossed hundreds of 50-cent notes onto the stage, saying in judgment for all to hear: “Wu Hao, wu mao” (伍皓,五毛) or “Wu Hao, fifty cents.”
This was the protester’s rather creative way of saying that Wu Hao, who has earned a reputation as something of a progressive thinker in the area of news and propaganda policy, is little more than a party-state manipulator of public opinion and not interested in real openness. “50 cents” is a reference to China’s so-called “50-cent party,” or wumaodang (五毛党), online commentators (known as “Internet commentators”, or wangluo pinglunyuan) mobilized by the government to watch for dissent on the Web and post pro-party comments in order to properly “guide public opinion” on hot news topics.
Wu Hao gained some credit for his “open” handling of the “eluding the cat” case in early 2009, when he organized an “independent” investigation by a team of Internet users into the death of prisoner in a pre-trial detention facility. It has since been suggested that several of the Internet users Wu Hao recruited for his “investigation,” which many dismissed as a publicity stunt, were in fact Internet commentators, or “fifty-centers.”
For background on Wu Hao, see our previous posts at CMP: “How Control 2.0 found its poster boy in Yunnan,” and “More background on Wu Hao, propaganda wonderboy.”

[ABOVE: Screenshot of online coverage of Wu Hao’s speech at Renmin University of China.]
During the Renmin University incident, Wu Hao apparently kept his cool, a sign of a true public relations master.
On April 23, the day after he was showered with bills, Wu Hao remarked in a media interview: “Our society truly needs some venting mechanisms — this is very important.
A number of Chinese media pointed out in response to Wu Hao’s remark that while “venting mechanisms” might be helpful or even necessary, this idea failed to address the core issue — public demand for greater openness of information and greater participation.
“We should recognize,” wrote one columnist at Huashang Bao, “that channeling and venting are just ways of temporarily ‘reducing fevers’ and not ways of dealing with root causes.”

Opening a Skylight 开天窗

This phrase refers to a occasional practice in Chinese print media of leaving empty space on the news page where content has been pulled as a result of censorship. A silent protest, this signals to the reader that content has been removed.

Grabbing the Megaphone 抢喇叭

This is a term used by Chinese journalists in an informal manner to refer to Hu Jintao’s press policy calling for a more active approach to agenda-setting. This policy, which we have termed Control 2.0 at the China Media Project (新闻管制升级版), is Hu Jintao’s modification to the predominant press control policy under his predecessor, Jiang Zemin — namely, “guidance of public opinion,” or yulun daoxiang (舆论导向). While “guidance” is more aligned with traditional press control tactics, such as the use of propaganda directives and the shutting down of information, Hu’s emphasis has been on “public opinion channeling,” or yulun yindao (舆论引导), which combines traditional press controls with the active pushing of official Party agendas through commercial media and Internet media.
While it has been taking shape for a number of years, particularly in the arena of Web controls, Hu’s more active media control strategy was first formally introduced during his visit to People’s Daily and People’s Daily Online in June 2008.

Mainstream Media 主流媒体

In a Western context, the term “mainstream media” is most often understood to refer to established, traditional forms of communication — such as mass-circulation newspapers and magazines, television and radio — in contrast to alternative forms of communication like the Internet and other new media, or publications with a less mainstream reach or agenda. See, for example, this article from Poynter.org on the “mainstream press” versus Wikipedia.
In China, the term “mainstream media” has a very different sense, and usually refers to established, party-run media — the likes of People’s Daily, China Central Television and provincial party media — that have typically served a stricly “mouthpiece” role in disseminating the CCP line. In this sense, the more commercially oriented newspaper and magazines that have emerged in China since the 1990s are not regarded as “mainstream” and so are “non-mainstream,” or fei zhuliu (非主流).
Of course, as all media are ultimately controlled by the party in China, the voices in non-mainstream media (with some notable exceptions) are most often more palatable versions of the the party mainstream, and all media are subject to the dictates of propaganda discipline and “guidance.”

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.”

Media Strengthening 做强做大

The full version of this key term, ba xinwen chuanmei zuo qiang zuo da (把新闻传媒做强做大), would be rendered literally in English with the rather fatuous phrase, “Doing the news media big and strong.” We’ll opt instead for the simpler “media strengthening.”
The “strengthening” slogan, zuo qiang zuo da (做强做大), was first employed in China’s industrial sector in the 1990s, but was dragged into China’s media lexicon in 2000 when politburo member and propaganda department chief Xu Guangchun used in in a speech promoting the development of broadcast media.
It is the CCP’s official view that media strengthening is needed for China to “face competition by international media groups and face the global struggle for public opinion” (面对国际传媒集团的竞争, 面对在世界范围内激烈的舆论斗争).
The slogan points generally to rapid commercialization of state-owned and controlled media to create a vibrant media industry that leaders are nevertheless capable of controlling and utilizing for political ends.
Communications scholars in China have summed up the idea of media strengthening with a couplet invoking the notion of the “strategic position” of Marxist ideology:
Without an economic base,
We cannot hold our strategic place.