For all official newspapers, what appears on the front page and even at which position using which fonts, have been instructed by the Central Propaganda Department for decades. This is not news. But it is still rare that five newspapers, including four nationally published ones such as People’s Daily, Guangming Daily, Economic Daily and PLA Daily, ran almost identical front page layouts on the same day, including the headlines and placement of photos and articles. This is one sign that recent media control has been tightened to an unusual degree.
People’s Daily, August 19, 2007.
Economic Daily, August 19, 2007.
Guangming Daily, August 19, 2007.
Beijing Daily, August 19, 2007.
PLA Daily, August 19, 2007.
According to Li Datong, a former editor of China Youth Daily: People’s Daily, Guangming Daily, Economic Daily and a few others are still directly subsidized by budgetary allocations within the government. Following are approximate translations of the headlines from the People’s Daily’s front page:
1, Right top corner: Central Committee leaders Hu Jintao, Wen Jiabao and others issued important instructions and requirements to Shandong company to do everything possible to rescue around 180 miners trapped in the flooded mine.
2, Left (vertical): Chairman Hu Jintao meeting with President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan.
3, Right second to the top: President Hu Jintao returned to Beijing.
4, Right (vertical): Deepening cooperation of neighbors, Promoting development as common interests – Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi talked about Chinese President Hu Jintao’s just-concluded tour, a major diplomatic move by China in the Eurasian region.
5, Lower right corner: Hongyanhe Nuclear Power Plant has officially broken ground, Wu Bangguo, Wen Jiabao emphasize the quality and safety of the project.
Economic Daily: Identical layout, photos, headlines and subheads.
Guangming Daily: identical.
Beijing Daily: 1-4 identical
PLA Daily: 1-4 identical.