Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Friday, March 04, 2016

Another reason to doubt Chinese reporting

A couple times in recent weeks, President Xi has made statements about how important it is that Chinese media follow the leadership of the Communist Party. Now there are more reasons for the Party to control reporting.

As China’s Economic Picture Turns Uglier, Beijing Applies Airbrush
Chinese leaders are taking increasingly bold steps to stop rising pessimism about turbulent markets and the slowing of the country’s growth. As financial and economic troubles threaten to undermine confidence in the Communist Party, Beijing is tightening the flow of economic information and even criminalizing commentary that officials believe could hurt stocks or the currency.

The effort to control the economic narrative plays into a wide-reaching strategy by President Xi Jinping to solidify support at a time when doubts are swirling about his ability to manage the tumult… Mr. Xi is also putting pressure on the Chinese media to focus on positive news that reflects well on the party…

The party’s attitude has raised further questions among executives and economists over whether Chinese policy makers know how to manage a quasi-market economy…

The restrictions illustrate the Chinese government’s competing priorities, said Leland R. Miller, president of China Beige Book International, which surveys Chinese companies…

“We are going to continue to see crackdowns on people telling a different story than what Beijing wants to hear,” Mr. Miller said. “At the same time, Beijing appears to be conflicted on this issue, because it recognizes that without independent gauges, commercial relations and foreign direct investment will suffer, due to growing skepticism over official data.”…

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