China is a beautiful country with rich culture, history and power. The 20th Century saw the end of dynasties and the rise of China as an international powerhouse, with mass production and technological innovation powering them as a leader in the world’s economy. The People’s Republic of China was established in 1949, where the Communist Party of China (CPC) reigned (china.org.cn). The CPC is extremely popular amougst the people of China, with faith and trust placed in the government. The Chinese Constitution states that, ‘citizens (are allowed) freedom of speech and press, but Chinese media regulations include vague language that allows authorities to crack down on news stories by claiming that they expose state secrets and thus endanger the country’ (Xu, 2014)’ The CPC has taken the dramatic step to censor, monitor and ultimately control the media in China. ‘The CPC exerts near complete control over the country’s 358 television stations and 2,119 newspapers—the primary media available to more than one billion Chinese citizens.’ (Esary, 2006)
The CPC has used ‘technical methods like bandwidth throttling, keyword filtering, as well as the wholesale blocking of access to websites’ (Esary, 2006), blocking over 2600 popular sites like Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and WordPress. There are also strict rules and regulations for journalists within and entering the country. Foreign correspondents must ‘obtain permission before reporting in the country, to prevent journalists from reporting on potentially sensitive topics like corruption’ (Xu, 2014).
This extreme control of the media by the CPC within China, reinforced by national military force, raises the complex question of is it right for one group/individual/company to control mass media?
The CPC believe they are protecting citizens from capitalist/western ideas. In that regard, they are maintaining traditional values, beliefs and ideas exceptionally well. However, the interconnected, social media based society of the 21st century is an inevitable force and they are suppressing the free thinkers, the innovators and ultimately the truth. Censorship of certain events such as the Tiananmen Square massacre and September 11, doesn’t mean they didn’t happen. It only leaves people feeling confused and uninformed. This is a prime example of ‘whoever controls the media, controls the mind (Jim Morrison). People have the right to express their opinion and it is unacceptable to roll over these ideas in military tanks and ignore the thousands of voices behind the people.
As an inspired writer and citizen of this globe, I believe we need independence and diversity within the ownership of the media, in order to gain multiple perspectives, ideas, thoughts and understandings on certain events, people and decisions we make every day.
An Illustrated History of the Communist Party of China, http://www.china.org.cn/english/features/45981.htm, accessed 26/03/14
News of the Communist Party of China, http://english.cpc.people.com.cn, accessed 26/03/14
Beina Xu, Online Writer/Editor for Council on Foreign Relations, ‘Media Censorship in China,’ http://www.cfr.org/china/media-censorship-china/p11515#p2, written 12/02/14, accessed 26/02/14
Ashley Esary, expert on Chinese Media, ‘Freedom at Issue Report,’ http://www.freedomhouse.org/sites/default/files/inline_images/Speak%20No%20Evil-%20Mass%20Media%20Control%20in%20Contemporary%20China.pdf, written February 2006, accessed 26/03/14
China Forbidden News (youtube), China’s New Media Supervision Regulation, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p37mtW1LYC0, 18/04/2013, accessed 26/03/14