Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Thursday, February 18, 2016

All news about us is is good news

Even the most predictable news reporting in the USA is less predictable than news in China.

No news is bad news
EACH night at 7pm, many of China’s television channels beam the state broadcaster’s flagship news programme into Chinese homes: a remorseless half-hour diet of where Xi Jinping went today, how well the economy is doing and (for a few minutes at the end) a look at all those people in foreign countries killing each other. Despite China’s transformation over the past 40 years, the evening news has changed very little…

Xinwen Lianbo

News Simulcast, usually known by its Chinese name, Xinwen Lianbo, has chronicled the country’s extraordinary metamorphosis with almost unremitting leadenness since it was first aired in 1978… News is chosen not for its importance or human interest but for its political value in bolstering the Communist Party. It is translated into eight minority languages…

A popular rhyming ditty accurately describes the format: “The leaders are always busy, the people are perfectly healthy, the world outside China is extremely chaotic.”…

For many, the programme provides useful clues to the party’s latest thinking, and a chance to see leaders who rarely appear in public. Propagandists have used the news to try to demystify President Xi, says Chang Jiang of Renmin University in Beijing. The president is shown as a man of the people, drinking tea with villagers or kicking footballs. His voice is often heard, notes Mr Chang—perhaps because, unlike his predecessors, he speaks standard Mandarin and is therefore widely understood. Ratings apparently rise when his elegant wife, Peng Liyuan, appears. But such cosmetic innovations are as far as the party will go in tinkering with a brand they consider successful.

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