Sat, Dec 02, 2017 - Page 8 News List

Chinese media are the CCP’s mouthpiece

By Paul Lin 林保華

The US Congress’ bipartisan US-China Economic and Security Review Commission issued a report on Nov. 15 recommending that all Chinese state-run media employees be required to register as “foreign agents.”

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs called the report “totally discriminatory” and “divorced from reality.” However, the facts speak for themselves.

On Feb. 19 last year, Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) toured China’s three main state-run media outlets: the People’s Daily, Xinhua news agency and China Central Television (CCTV). At CCTV, Xi was welcomed by a placard that read: “CCTV belongs to the CCP [Chinese Communist Party] family; we are absolutely loyal and welcome the inspection.”

That same day, Xi chaired a “party working discussion on news and public opinion,” and praised the broadcaster for its “staunch adherence to party principles.” When Chinese property tycoon Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) offered a different opinion on a Chinese microblogging site, the party upbraided him for “transgressing party discipline.” He only escaped because of protection by an old friend, Central Commission for Discipline Inspection Secretary Wang Qishan (王岐山), one of Xi’s key allies.

China News Service (CNS) was established in 1952 by the CCP Central Committee International Department, which is responsible for international intelligence gathering. Former CNS editor-in-chief Liu Beixian (劉北憲) was investigated for “serious discipline breaches” and stripped of his party membership, according to the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), whose Web site says it is a unit of the United Front Work Department (UFWD) of the Central Committee. Apparently, the UFWD is in charge of the CCDI, suggesting that its responsibilities overlap with those of the Ministry of State Security.

Even during the height of media transparency in China, when Hu Yaobang (胡耀邦) was CCP general secretary, he conceded that the media operated as a party mouthpiece, obliged to present the news in overwhelmingly positive terms. For this, he was pushed out of his position. Several media figures have tried to free themselves of the party shackles, but they have not succeeded. This led to the consolidation of state-run and private media outlets in Guangdong, with some media figures even being incarcerated, until the media finally began to toe the line. Foreign investors are still not permitted to buy a stake in Chinese media.

The Chinese communists have been controlling the media ever since the Yanan period of the Chinese Civil War. This was when Hu Qiaomu (胡喬木), Mao Zedong’s (毛澤東) main secretary and acting head of the propaganda department, devised the principle of the primacy of the “party spirit,” saying that every single article and every piece of news needs to be in line with the party perspective.

After the communists established the People’s Republic of China, the news reports and articles written by journalists the party had dispatched throughout the nation quite openly set about indoctrinating the public, while “Internal Reference” reports were circulated to senior party leaders.

Last week I published an article about how the CCP had started openly establishing its party apparatus in the US. This news was subsequently removed from the Chinese Web site on which it was first reported. It seems it had transgressed the working principle of the Chinese communists: Conceal your capabilities, bide your time, amass your strengths and wait for the opportune moment.

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