Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Thursday, August 27, 2015

What to say, what to say?

In spite of the general poverty in China, the country has one of the highest savings rates in the world. Forbes magazine says that savings in China make up over half of its GDP.

The Party and the government want to get those savings actively involved in the investment that underpins China's growth. So Party and government media have encouraged buying stocks.

Now, we have the collapse (er… corection). What do the official media say now? In the USA nearly every news report repeats the official line that no one should panic and make changes. (Unless you borrowed 0.5% money to speculate. Then you're in trouble.) Here's the Chinese version as reported by The New York Times.

China’s Party-Run Media Is Silent on Market Mayhem
After China’s stock markets crumpled, prompting a global sell-off, People’s Daily, the premier newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, had other things on its mind.

There was no mention of the market mayhem on the newspaper’s front page on Tuesday, when it featured a report about economic development in Tibet. Indeed, there was not a single reference to the stock markets throughout the entire 24 pages of the paper, which [dwelt] instead on the forthcoming 70th anniversary of Japan’s defeat in World War II.

The silence continued on Wednesday, when the paper again did not report on the stock market upheavals, although it did have articles about Chinese central bank decisions and Prime Minister Li Keqiang’s restatement of confidence in the broader economy, despite the effects of what he called global “market volatility.”…

“My hunch would be that they’re really not about to stomach another wave of more open reporting by the Chinese media,” said David Bandurski, the website editor for the China Media Project, based at the University of Hong Kong, who has written extensively on China’s controls on news.

“This is an explosive economic story for China,” he said…

On Monday, the 7 p.m. news broadcast on China Central Television, the country’s main television network, also skipped mention of the plummet in stock prices.

China Digital Times, which collates leaked, confidential propaganda and censorship directives to Chinese journalists, reported that in June they were told to keep coverage of the stock markets strictly in line with official rules intended to deter pessimism or panic…

Other newspapers and websites in China reported on the market turmoil, though often presenting China as an unlikely bystander in a wider global downturn…

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