Haunted by the State: A Study of the Politicisation of Chinese Journalism and its Consequences


He Bixiao

in Media History (2020)

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Abstract: What has made it so difficult for Chinese journalism to gain autonomy ever since it first came into existence more than two hundred years ago up until the present day? The reasons for such difficulty are complicated; however, this study seeks to recontextualize Chinese journalism in terms of current conflicts between the dual mandate of nation-building and urban community-making in modern Chinese history, which is an integral part of the two contradictory dimensions of modernity that have continuously dominated the practice. This study posits the parallel concepts of the ‘state newspaper’ and the ‘urban newspaper’ to examine the long-standing concept of ‘state newspaper’ in China’s journalism industry, and how this concept has become so deeply rooted in people’s minds with such great persistence that up to the present day it is still part of the collective subconscious of journalists to the extent that it affects their daily practice.

About the author: He Bixiao was a HYI Chinese Politics Training Program Visiting Scholar from 2016-17.