China Media Project: What’s Up with the People’s Daily?

At China Media Project, David Bandurski notes that People’s Daily, the Party mouthpiece, has not quite been itself lately:

As I mentioned yesterday, even relative insiders who generally know how to read the signs have scratched their heads. After reading yesterday’s piece on the need to make all voices in China heard, through grievance resolution as well as expression itself, the Chinese user “freemoren” wrote on Twitter: “Doesn’t the People’s Daily seem not to be itself lately? What’s up with Comrade Li Changchun?” The reference to Li, the fifth-ranking member of the politburo standing committee and China’s de facto chief, suggests these editorials point to turmoil within the media policy ranks.

Also writing on Twitter, journalist and CMP fellow Chang Ping (长平) and others chattered about this apparently puzzling turn. They noted that just the previous day, the very same People’s Daily had run an editorial by Zhong Jiwen (中纪闻) — in fact, the official pen name of the news office of the Central Discipline Inspection Commission (中纪委新闻办公室) — calling for greater “political discipline” (政治纪律) and saying “a small number of Party members and cadres have made irresponsible remarks on matters concerning the basic theories, basic line, basic programs and fundamental experiences of the Party.” That piece had the same stern tone everyone has come to expect from the People’s Daily, hence the remark on Twitter: “This newspaper is suffering from a serious split personality!” (这报纸精神分裂相当严重!)

So, what the heck is going on at the People’s Daily?

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