The Implications of Western Articles in the Chinese Media

Anton Lee Wishik II writes in the


Now some may argue that it is impossible to ascertain whether certain passages have been left out due to editing, censorship, or irrelevance. To which the response is: maybe to a certain extent but not entirely. By examining which passages are expunged, whether or not the surrounding information was also removed, how other media sources handled the same topic or article, what the official government position on the subject is, past practices in similar situations, how closely an issue relates to China’s interests, how something would spur/hinder sales of the media’s product, and the like, it is possible to arrive at some ‘educated conclusions.’

For example, in the recent translation and republication of Thomas Friedman’s editorial, ‘A Biblical Seven Years’, the specific cost cited as the total expenditure for all Olympic infrastructure in Beijing, $43 billion, was left out of the republication in both the People’s Net and Global Times versions. Thus, it would be safe to conclude that despite the fact that this figure is not impossible to find in the ’s coverage, there may have been those who decided it was best to keep its prominence in check. Conversely, the fact that two of the more sensitive topics that Friedman touched on, poverty in China and the nature of China’s enemies, were each included by one media source but not the other seems to imply that in these cases, the editors/censors have made judgment calls on the severity of the statements.Additionally, the divergent conclusions that People’s Net and Global Times reached on what to include may denote some level of disagreement on how certain principles should be interpreted. It also seems quite clear that the reason behind both media sources choosing to cut much of the second half of the editorial, which was concerned with US issues, had much more to do with the interests of their readership and the lack of a direct connection to China than any sort of censorship or editing principles. The alteration of the title would also seem to fall in this category, as ‘Compared to China, the US is a Third World Country’ draws a lot more eyeballs than ‘A Biblical Seven Years’, especially in China.



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