In China, journalists like Wang Keqin face numerous difficulties — physical, commercial and political — as they try to conduct “watchdog journalism,” in Chinese called yulun jiandu, or “supervision by public opinion.” Journalists like Wang often risk more than their careers by pursuing tough stories that touch on the interests of powerful officials and businesspeople.
Years ago, after Wang wrote a damaging report about securities fraud in Gansu province, organized crime leaders put a huge bounty on his head. Local propaganda leaders were not happy either. Wang’s publication, Gansu Economic Daily, was briefly suspended, and Wang was told he would no longer be welcome there.
Fearing for his life and his career, Wang picked up and moved his family to Beijing.
Wang maintains a sense of humor about the warnings and finger-wagging he regularly receives from the Central Propaganda Department, the powerful CCP office that enforces “discipline” in China’s tightly controlled media. He views official displeasure as one of the clearest signs of the power of his work.
“I must often write self-criticisms of my work [for propaganda authorities] because it is politically incorrect,” Wang told students. “This, I think, is a badge of honor. For a journalist, it should be regarded as an honor. But of course propaganda officials see [what you’ve done] as shameful.”
Read more about Wang’s work and violence against journalists via CDT.