Fear and Loathing at the China Daily
Mitch Moxley, who arrived in China in 2007 for a job at The China Daily, recounts the frustrations of working for China’s English language, Communist Party mouthpiece newspaper. He has recently published a memoir of his six years in China, entitled Apologies to My Censor: The High and Low Adventures of a Foreigner in China. His stint at the China Daily, however, only lasted one year:
The stories I was assigned were mostly puff pieces that would be tucked into the business section’s back pages, or in a weekend supplement called Business Weekly. One of the first stories I wrote for China Daily, with a Chinese cowriter, was about an Israeli products fair downtown. We sampled olives and hummus and wine. It was a lovely afternoon, but it wasn’t a story. It shouldn’t have even garnered a brief, but we wrote a feature about it anyway, reporting– despite a total lack of substantiating evidence — that Israeli goods were taking the Chinese market by storm.
[…] While writing government-friendly puff pieces took up most of my workweek, Friday was the one day I still worked an editing shift, polishing the China Daily opinion pages. Many of the articles weren’t so much arguments supported by fact, but rants supported by nothing. Many violated everything I had ever learned about journalistic ethics, including China Daily’s own code: “Factual, Honest, Fair, Complete.” It was sometimes hard to stomach editing the opinion pages, but I didn’t have much of a choice. I knew any complaints would fall on deaf ears. [Source]