In China, several political bodies are in charge of Internet content control. At the highest level, there is the Central Propaganda Department, which ensures that media and cultural content follows the official line as mandated by the CCP. Then there is the State Council Information Office (SCIO), which has established “Internet Affairs Bureau” to oversee all Websites that publish news, including the official sites of news organizations as well as independent sites that post news content.
Recently, the ninth session of the 2009 SCIO Internet News Work Training Session just finished in Beijing. All participants are top editors and managers of major news websites in China. The trainers include:
* Li Wufeng, Bureau Chief of the State Council Information Office Internet Affairs Bureau
* Peng Bo, Deputy Chief of the State Council Information Office Internet Affairs Bureau
* Professor Zhu Feng, Peking University School of International Relations
* Song Fufan, Director of the Ideology and Political Education Teaching and Research Section of the Marxist Theory Research Department at the Central Party School of the Communist Party of China
* Zhai Huisheng, Party Secretary of the All China Federation of Working Journalists
* Professor Gao Gang, Secretary of the Party Committee of Renmin University School of Journalism and Communication
* Xia Chenghua, Deputy Chief of the Central Government Stability Preservation Leading Group Office
* Zhou Xisheng, Deputy Chief of Xinhua News Agency, Director-General of Xinhua News Agency
Soon after the training finished, one of the participants released her notes from this session online. CDT has translated the entire collection of notes from this 2009 SCIO Internet News Work training session; in total there are eight articles, which we will publish consecutively in coming days. CDT would like to thank the translator, who wishes to remain anonymous. The first translated installment of notes is here, and this is the second:
Peng Bo, Deputy Chief of the State Council Information Office Internet Affairs Bureau
1, Commercial websites must understand that it is the government that protects the development of domestic websites. If the Chinese internet didn’t have Sina, then Yahoo would have free rein; if there were no Baidu, then Google would have free rein; if there were no QQ, then MSN would have free rein. All of this is because the government is intentionally fostering domestic enterprises.
2, Key news websites and commercial websites should unify their thinking, they should learn to think politically.
Criticize Sina for not thinking politically; when reporting on Obama’s visit to China, they played without authorization a video of Obama speaking in Shanghai.
The most important part of Obama’s visit to China was his speech in Shanghai. The format of this speech was different than the speech format used by past U.S. presidents when visiting China. It was specially designed by the U.S. government to enlarge Obama’s personal influence.
Before Obama visited China, America and China negotiated that websites and television stations would broadcast the event. China accepted their request; however, live television coverage was to be limited to Shanghai area television stations.
These measures were implemented to accord with the Party’s Central Committee‘s desire that people become enthused about China-U.S. relations rather than be enthused about Obama.
Providing a video of Obama’s speech without authorization was done for Sina’s commercial interest and was not done for the nation’s interest. In order to gain a little, a lot was lost.
Criticize Netease for going after sensational stories and not doing a good job of directing public opinion. [Netease’s] international news headlines are always things like “New York Mayor Bloomberg Receives Annual Salary of $1”, “Black American Becomes Mayor”, “American Youth Becomes Mayor”. These headlines are sensationalist and cast aspersions [on the Chinese government]. [Netease] has set the wrong direction for public opinion and has not properly fulfilled its role as a guide [of public opinion].
3, Each web organization gets a perfect score for their reporting of the 60th Anniversary National Day celebrations. Liu Yunshan [head of the Central Propaganda Department] has given his comment as evaluation: “it cannot be done better.” This is a classic example of the Internet positively guiding public opinion. I praise everyone’s work and express thanks to each website.
4, As for my expectations and hopes for everyone: magnify positive news stories; to the extent possible don’t report negative news stories. The Internet media should not be influenced by the Western media which thinks bad news is good news.
4.[sic] I’d like to recommend a few books to everybody, and hope that all Internet news editors can take a look at them.
* Samuel Huntington, Political Order in Changing Societies
* Gustave Le Bon, The Crowd
* Zhao Tingyang, Philosophy of the World Order
5, Conclusion: China’s Internet media is only ten years old. It is understandable that some mistakes will be made; however, I hope that everyone can soon become more seasoned in their work.
[To be continued]