China Media Project has translated an interview with Chang Ping, a veteran journalist and former deputy editor of Southern Metropolis Daily, from Taiwan’s Want Daily. Chang Ping has recently been barred from writing for the Southern Daily Group newspapers:
Want: In recent years, we’ve seen quite a number of editorials talking about how controls on the media have tightened in China. Some people have even talked about the rise of a “new nationalism” in China [as something contributing to curbs on the press]. How do you view these trends?
Chang Ping: On the issue of press controls, you can say that things have become more technical in recent years. Media control is now more concrete (更具体) and more focused (更到位) than it once was. A decade ago, during the Jiang Zemin era, the authorities lacked robust technical controls on the Internet side, so print media would often receive orders [from propaganda authorities] saying things like: “Do not re-print such-and-such information from the web, or such-and-such information is rumor.” These days, we don’t often see bans of this kind. Rather, it’s the Internet [sites] receiving bans like, “Do not re-post news from Southern Metropolis Daily.” This is because web controls have now become more systematized (有序了) and effective. If there is something problematic at a website, it can now be deleted directly. There’s no need to send an order down to the newspapers [about Internet content]. Quite the contrary, it’s often the newspapers that are often now the problem. This is an interesting shift.