More Hard Words on China’s “War for Public Opinion”
Noting a softer pitch to Hu Jintao’s newest media policy buzzword — “public opinion channeling,” or yulun yindao (舆论引导) — some have supposed that a relaxation of media restrictions in China is in the offing. That misguided notion has perhaps been re-enforced by another aspect of Hu’s policy re-orientation, namely more active reporting of breaking news stories by central CCP media like People’s Daily Online and Xinhua News Agency.
Hu’s policy is motivated not by an impulse to loosen the party’s grip on the media, but rather by an interest in more effective control. How do we know this?
Partly, of course, from the intensification of traditional media controls designed to enforce propaganda discipline — the issuing of orders and bans, the killing of news stories, the blocking of Websites and keywords.
But we can also look at the political valence of the party’s own language used to articulate and disseminate Hu Jintao’s new media policy.