China: Balancing a Dream

Just as news is breaking that the Chinese government has expelled the first foreign journalist in 14 years, Melissa Chan of Al Jazeera English, Al Jazeera’s Witness program posted a documentary which explores the challenges facing investigative reporters in China by following one reporter for the Jinan Times:

To be a journalist in today’s China you sometimes need to have a few subtle tricks up your sleeve to get your stories to print.

Sun Hua, an award-winning investigative journalist for the Jinan Times, knows just what he can and cannot get away with and how best to persuade his bosses to allow him to continue his work. He is charming, philosophical – and also very determined.

This film follows Sun Hua at work as he investigates a story about possible corruption by a property developer, seeking out residents’ views, negotiating demonstrations and dealing with the police.

All the time, he quietly considers his position as a journalist in a complex country that itself is dealing with change. He dreams of ‘fairness, objectivity, truth’ – but he also knows there are real limits to what he can do. Yet he continues to push, to persuade and to publish.