Conversation

04.11.18

China’s Communist Party Takes (Even More) Control of the Media

Stanley Rosen, Chris Fenton & more
China’s Communist Party made moves last month to solidify and formalize its (already substantial) control over the country’s media. China’s main state-run broadcasters are to be consolidated into a massive new “Voice of China” under the management...

China Approves Giant Propaganda Machine to Improve Global Image

Keith Zhai
Bloomberg
China has approved the creation of one of the world’s largest propaganda machines as it looks to improve its global image, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The Brands That Kowtow to China

Richard Bernstein from New York Review of Books
There’s been no joking as the apologies to China have come thick and fast in recent weeks, issued not by teenage singers but by some of the largest and richest multinational corporations in the world—the German luxury car manufacturer Daimler, the...

China Hands out Free TVs to Beam Propaganda into Poorest Regions

Neil Connor
Telegraph
China is distributing 300,000 television sets to some of its poorest regions as Beijing seeks to spread its propaganda into some of the country's most hard to reach households...

China to Select Theaters Nationwide to Show Propaganda Films

AP
CNBC
The state will boost the box office of these propaganda movies with group sales, discounted tickets and other financial backing.

China Loves Trump

Benjamin Carlson
Atlantic
In January of last year, around the time of the presidential inauguration, as jitters about the relationship between Donald Trump and China mounted, I regularly joined the mob of reporters at the Chinese foreign ministry’s daily briefings in Beijing.

China’s Propagandists Wanted a Hero. ‘Frost Boy’ Fit the Bill.

Javier C. HernáNdez
New York Times
His frazzled face, rosy cheeks and icy hair lit up the internet. Now Wang Fuman, the 8-year-old Chinese student known as Frost Boy, is taking on a new role: propaganda star.

China Is Investigating Its Former Internet Censor-In-Chief for Corruption

Time
China’s former top internet regulator and censor is being investigated by the ruling Communist Party’s anti-corruption arm, the agency said Tuesday.

U.S. Congress Urged to Require Chinese Journalists to Register as Agents

David Brunnstrom
Reuters
A report to the U.S. Congress released on Wednesday accused Chinese state media entities of involvement in spying and propaganda and said their staff in the United States should be required to register as foreign agents.

The Spark: 7 Sins of India

Xinhua
7 Sins of India

In China, an Action Hero Beats Box Office Records (and Arrogant Westerners)

New York Times
The success of the two-hour film, Wolf Warrior 2, featuring a red-tinged Rambo named Leng Feng, is being seen in China as a pointer to the national mood after almost five years under Xi Jinping, the president. Mr. Xi has promoted a spirit of hawkish...

China’s Pretty Boys Find a New Gig: Propaganda Films

New York Times
Commissioned by the government to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army, China’s latest propaganda film was meant to be a patriotic tale about the young soldiers who served their country in its earliest...

Patriotic Action Film Set to Break China Blockbuster Record

Tom Hancock
Financial Times
A patriotic Chinese action film whose tagline is “whoever offends China will be hunted down wherever they are” is poised to become the country’s highest grossing film to date.

‘China Has Conquered Kenya’: Inside Beijing’s New Strategy to Win African Hearts and Minds

Jonathan Kaiman
Los Angeles Times
It took the StarTimes satellite TV salesman about 30 minutes to install a pipeline for Chinese propaganda into Francis Gitonga’s squat, cinder-block home here in southern Kenya, near Africa’s Great Rift Valley.

‘Making China Great Again’: Beijing-Run Media Crows as U.S. Stumbles

Sophia Yan
CNBC
A Communist Party mouthpiece is crowing that malfunctioning U.S. leadership is making China “great again” on the eve of highly anticipated bilateral trade talks between the two countries.

Is New Transformers a Sign of China’s Hollywood Fatigue?

Sherry Fei Ju and Charles Clover
Financial Times
Like a high-flying space robot shot out of the sky, the Transformers film franchise has crash-landed in China—singeing a promising Hollywood business model in the process.

At the Movies in China, Some Propaganda With Your Popcorn

Amy Qin
New York Times
Chinese cinemas have been ordered to play one of four government-issued videos before every movie screening.

China Compiles Its Own ‘Wikipedia,’ but Public Can’t Edit It

LOUISE WATT
Seattle Times
It’ll be free. It’ll be uniquely Chinese. It’ll be an online encyclopedia to rival Wikipedia — but without the participation of the public. And don’t expect entries on “Tiananmen Square 1989” or “Falun Gong spiritual group” to come up in your...

Xi Jinping Is Only Halfway through His Rule yet China’s Already Trumpeting His Legacy

Zheping Huang
Quartz
Xi is set to start his second five-year term with the party congress meeting this fall. In the past few months, China’s propaganda machines have been busy churning out videos crafting his personal image.

China’s Political Propaganda Gets a Digital Makeover

BBC
There are more such tactics being adopted this year.

Conversation

02.23.17

Can China Expand its Beachhead in Hollywood?

Stanley Rosen, Ying Zhu & more
With The Great Wall, a classic army vs. monsters tale, director Zhang Yimou has brought America the most expensive Chinese film ever created. The movie may be backed by a Hollywood studio and it may star no less an American icon than Matt Damon, and...

The ‘Patriotic Education’ of Chinese Students at Australian Universities

Alexander Joske and Philip Wen
Sydney Morning Herald
As larger numbers of Chinese students study abroad, greater efforts are being made to ensure they do not return with new-found opposition to the Communist Party

China’s Media Challenges Western Narratives of Africa

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
The Chinese media presence across Africa has expanded dramatically over the past ten years, as Beijing has built a vast distribution network for its newspaper, radio, and TV content. China’s flagship TV network, China Central Television (CCTV),...

Propaganda and Censorship Remain China’s Favored Tools of Control

Cary Huang
South China Morning Post
Recent court rulings rapping people questioning the party-state’s tales about war heroes reflect leaders’ insecurity over their rule

China Plans to Teach Developing Countries and the UN About Protecting Human Rights

Echo Huang Yinyin
Quartz
Like many of Beijing’s edicts, it is being criticized as a blatant piece of propaganda

How to Counter China’s Global Propaganda Offensive

Mareike Ohlberg and Bertram Lang
New York Times
It has been a difficult year for many Western democracies — and China is rubbing it in.

China Takes A Gamble in Scapegoating the West

Jamil Anderlini
Financial Times
This type of propaganda gives license to ordinary people to indulge their most primitive prejudices.

Media

08.08.16

How Chinese Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Their Military Again

Every evening, as regular and obstreperous as a rooster, the People’s Liberation Army (P.L.A.) soldiers sing from the barracks outside my Beijing home, a chorus of teenage troops reminding the neighborhood when it’s dinner time:“Unity is strength,...

Times Square Is Now In the Middle of a Fight Over the South China Sea

Beimeng Fu
Buzzfeed
China has taken its fight with the Philippines over who owns territory in the South China Sea to a whole new arena: Times Square. The state-run Xinhua announced Tuesday that a 3 minute long publicity video premiered on the Square’s “China...

Party Propaganda Rap Aims to ‘Tell Foreigners Truth’ About China

BBC
It says China has “terrible problems” but is peace-loving and affluent.

Brexit Is Providing Great Fodder for China's Communist Propaganda Machine

Josh Horwitz
Quartz
Brexit is concrete evidence that democratic decision-making can lead to catastrophic results.

'Truth Ain't Lie Dude': Official Chinese Account Goes on Twitter Spree

James Griffiths
CNN
They quickly attracted considerable mockery such as "go home State Council Information Office, you're drunk."...

China State Media Promote Rap Song Praising Karl Marx

Associated Press
Entitled "Marx is a post-90"—China's version of a millennial—the song extols the communist godfather's supposed coolness...

China's Internet Propaganda Is More Subtle and Sophisticated Than It Ever Has Been

Nikhil Sonnad
Quartz
Internet mercenaries are paid by the government to spread propaganda messages online.

Media

05.20.16

The Chinese Trolls Who Pump Out 488 Million Fake Social Media Posts

David Wertime
They are the most hated group in Chinese cyberspace. They are, to hear their ideological opponents tell it, “fiercely ignorant,” keen to “insert themselves in everything,” and preen as if they were “spokesmen for the country.” Westerners bemoan...

Controversy Sparked Online by ‘Red Songs’ at Concert in Beijing

Nectar Gan
South China Morning Post
Music from the turbulent period of the Cultural Revolution was featured prominently at event at the Great Hall of the People.

'Big Daddy Xi' No More? Chinese President's Nickname Nixed

Tom Phillips
Guardian
Propaganda officials warn state media off using moniker after push to portray leader as man of the people appears to backfire.

China Warns of Foreign Spies with 'Dangerous Love' Campaign

Associated Press
China is marking National Security Education Day with a poster warning young female government workers about dating handsome foreigners.

China Newspaper Calls ‘Zootopia’ American Propaganda

Scott Cendrowski
Fortune
People's Liberation Army newspaper put forth Zootopia’s swapping of the roles of predator and prey as proof of its agitprop...

A Chinese Journalist Reflects on Reporting the China-Africa Story

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
How foreign journalists report on the China-Africa story is often determined by the national origin of their news organization. While there are no doubt exceptions, the U.S. news media frequently frame China as the neo-colonial aggressor and Africa...

China's Churning out Hip-Hop Propaganda Videos to Win over Young People

Siyi Chen
Quartz
It’s still questionable, however, how much of their political message actually gets through.

Chinese Propaganda Machine Places Hopes in Cartoon Rappers

Associated Press
What's the world's largest propaganda organ to do when it can't get young Chinese to pay attention to the latest Communist Party slogans?...

Conversation

03.04.16

Xi Jinping: A Cult of Personality?

Jonathan Landreth, Taisu Zhang & more
By some accounts, Chinese Presdient Xi Jinping is the most powerful leader the country has  had since Mao Zedong. One arrow in his quiver that echoes Mao’s armory is Xi’s embrace of popular song, listened to these days not on the radio or...

From Xi to Shining Xi: China's Propaganda Machine Goes into Overdrive

James Griffiths
CNN
Cringeworthy poems, viral videos and animated raps—some of the tools President Xi uses in guiding media coverage.

Media

02.19.16

New Video Celebrates Chinese Missiles With Old-School Communist Pomp

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
Trumpets sound and trombones blare as a warhead launches. Intercontinental ballistic missiles mounted on trucks parade down the center of a boulevard crowded with bystanders. “We are the glorious Rocket Force,” a mixed choir sings in a Soviet-...

China Says Its Students, Even Those Abroad, Need More ‘Patriotic Education’

Chris Buckley
New York Times
The directive calls for “patriotic education” to suffuse each stage and aspect of schooling.

Conversation

01.20.16

Beijing’s Televised Confessions

Jeremy Goldkorn, David Bandurski & more
Recent days have seen two more in a long string of televised “confessions” on China Central Television, that of Swedish human rights activist Peter Dahlin and Hong Kong bookseller Gui Minhai. Did these gentlemen break any Chinese laws? What do these...

Media

12.09.15

How to Say ‘Islamic State’ in Mandarin

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
On December 6, the Islamic State released a slick recording of a Mandarin Chinese-language song glorifying jihad, in what seems to be a direct attempt to recruit Chinese Muslims to the terrorist group’s cause. “Awaken, Muslim brothers! Now is the...

China Turns to Online Courses, and Mao, for Soft-Power Mission

JAVIER C. HERNÁNDEZ
New York Times
“It was like watching propaganda.”

China Burnishes Xi Jinping’s Legend With TV Drama of His Years in Rural Hamlet

Tom Phillips
Guardian
Chinese bloggers label 45-part drama called Liangjiahe as latest homage to omnipotent ‘Big Daddy Xi’.

In China’s State News Media, What Is Said May Not Be What’s Printed

JAVIER C. HERNÁNDEZ
New York Times
An Australian journalist was misquoted as saying the people of Tibet had a “wonderful life.”

A Land China Loves and Hates

Murong Xuecun
New York Times
The Chinese hostility to America is first and foremost the result of government propaganda.

Q&A—Willy Wo-Lap Lam on ‘Chinese Politics in the Era of Xi Jinping’

New York Times
Xi’s reversal of guiding principles guiding Chinese politics post-Mao signals “the closing of the Chinese mind.”

Liu Xiaobo Locked Up in China, Locked Out of Translation of Paul Auster Novel

Chris Buckley
New York Times
Liu Xiaobo’s arrest was cut from the Chinese translation of Auster's novel without his knowledge...

‘Crotch Bomb’ in Anti-Japan War Drama Blasted by Chinese Netizens as 'Lewd, Bizarre'

Kathy Gao
South China Morning Post
When a prisoner pulls his hand from underneath the heroine's dress, he is holding a bomb, which he then detonates...

The Worrying Rise of Anti-China Discourse in the US

Chen Dingding
Diplomat
Forget U.S. patrols in the South China Sea. This is the real threat to U.S.-China relations.

10 Most Censored Countries

Committee to Protect Journalists
For more than 10 years, China has been among the top 3 jailers of journalists in the world, a distinction that it is unlikely to lose soon.

New App Collects Xi’s Wisdom

Xinhua
The free app makes available Xi’s books including “The Governance of China.”

Culture

03.23.15

Wordplay

Nicholas Griffin
Way back when, let’s say in 2012, the city of Miami and the country of China rarely mixed in sentences. Since then, connections between the Far East and the northernmost part of Latin America have become more and more frequent. Three years ago, a...