Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.


ISOJ 2009

  • Login to see the comments

  • Be the first to like this


  1. 1. State Policy and News Websites in China Dong Han & Ying Zhang University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign April 2009
  2. 2. Introduction  News websites in China—what and why? • State-owned news websites vs. commercial news websites. • 78.5% Internet users read news online. • How/if news websites in China contribute to media democratization?
  3. 3. Internet growth  Explosive and unbalanced growth • Users: 620 thousand in 1997 298 million in 2008 • Urban-rural divide: 28.4% users are rural residents, which amount to 2/3 of total population. • Gap between economically developed and less-developed regions. • Users: mostly students and office employees.
  4. 4. State policy  Boosting the economy and controlling news production • Information and communication technology as the key to development. • Media commercialization within the orbit of the Party-state.
  5. 5. Licensing—who can set up a news website?  Two-track system • For state-owned media outlets: easy and simple (and encouraged). • Established big commercial websites: ban on news production. • Non-profit, or small commercial websites: a de facto ban.
  6. 6. News on big commercial websites  No original political news stories • Can only reprint state-owned media outlets’ stories. • Transforming copyright law facilitated massive reprinting. • The quantity of news and the editing of “special topics.”
  7. 7. Concentration of news sources  The big three • Sampling, the news site of • Most headline/political news come from Xinhuanet, People’s Net, and ChinaNews, all key state-owned media outlets. • 66% of non-headline “current and political” news, and 74% of headline news, came from the big three.
  8. 8. Two case studies: People’s Net and  People’s Net • Online presence of the foremost Party mouthpiece, People’s Daily. • Propaganda-oriented: “to insist on correct guidance of public opinion.” • Set up in Chinese Internet’s infancy, and received high-profile support from state leaders. • Drastic development of state-owned news websites in early 2000s, when the Internet bubble burst.
  9. 9.  • Grew out of a sports (soccer) forum in 1996. • Investment from venture capital, merger with a US-based Internet company, adopting the new name (1997-1998). • More transnational investment, listed in NASDAQ (2000). • State policy grew the Internet market, allowed in-flow of capital, and shaped the “production” of news.
  10. 10. Internet and media democratization in China  News websites matter • Internet is not only interactive technology, but also provision of news and information. • Reading news is the most popular online activity in China. • Diversified news sources and in-depth, investigative stories are indispensable for an informed public.
  11. 11.  Does Internet news defy censorship and provide more diversity? • State-owned websites: loaded with propaganda tasks, other websites: banned from news production, non-profit and small commercial sites: simply banned. • No independent source of political news, no organized alternative efforts to provide in-depth stories.
  12. 12.  Technology and democratization • State policy played a key role in the development of news website in China. • Internet does not automatically liberalize or democratize. • Internet growth and democratization endeavors in Internet-related settings need to be situated in social and political contexts.
  13. 13. Thank you. Dong Han Ying Zhang