Beijing’s ‘Aim is to Make People Docile’

From the Toronto Star:

If proximity to power is a sign of strength, then the department is strong indeed: its offices, at 5 West Chang’an Ave., are located near the senior leaders’ compound known as , the Chinese equivalent of the .

“No one in Beijing actually knows that the building is home to the ,” says Li.

“Only some people in the know – there’s no sign marking it. It’s as though they’re acting like an underground party – it’s like a joke. Such an enormous party and yet all of its departments are kept secret.”

At the meetings, usually held Fridays, 20 to 30 editors make the pilgrimage and are told which stories they must emphasize, which must be downplayed and what topics are off-limits.

They are also told which outlets have been found guilty of breaking .

In addition, editors-in-chief regularly receive a stream of specific instructions via email: not only on what to write, but how much, how stories should be laid out and what articles must be removed from .

Those who flout the system can be fired.

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