Media baron Rupert Murdoch apologized to Jiang Zemin and Li Peng in a 1997 letter, years after claiming that communications technologies were a threat to totalitarian regimes, according to a forthcoming book by a former News Corp vice-president responsible for China. According to the Financial Times:
Mr Murdoch infuriated Chinese leaders when in 1993 he said in a speech in London that satellite television and technologies such as the fax machine had “proved an unambiguous threat to totalitarian regimes…
After Mr Li banned ordinary Chinese from using satellite dishes and in effect barred News Corp from the media market, Mr Murdoch spent years trying to regain Beijing’s goodwill. Mr Dover says that in 1997, Mr Murdoch wrote to Mr Li and Mr Jiang saying he was “alarmed” to hear his comments on technology’s liberating effect had been interpreted as referring to China.
“This was never the case. I apologise for any misunderstanding this may have caused. I remain firmly committed to China and the development of the Chinese economy,” Mr Dover quotes Mr Murdoch as writing.