Don’t publish and be damned (The Economist)

How scared should corporate China be of Hu Shuli? asks The Economist. Dubbed the most dangerous woman in China, Hu Shuli is the managing editor of Caijing a business magazine that “combines investigative reporting with the sort of critical commentary that a decade ago would have landed its journalists in jail”. ¤

This editorial mission regularly pushes at the boundaries of China’s still-limited press freedom. Judging exactly how hard to push has, so far, been one of Ms Hu’s greatest strengths. Having spent a decade at the Worker’s Daily, she knows how the official media work. Several stints in America, including a year at Stanford University, taught her about the power of a free media. In 1991, she wrote the first book in Chinese on the principles of American journalism. This, and powerful friends (she counts Wu Jinglian, China’s top economist, among her mentors), have honed Ms Hu’s instincts when it comes to assessing whether Caijing’s latest scoop will push the authorities too far. It is a skill she will increasingly need as she takes Caijing beyond financial scandals into more dangerous territory?commenting on government policy. The Falun Gong sect and the Tiananmen Square protests are off limits, she says. Mostly she can ?just feel? if a story will be too controversial. Last year, she ran reports about Beijing’s cover-up of the SARS epidemic, for example.

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