Changing Media, Changing China

In This Review

Changing Media, Changing China
Oxford University Press, USA, 2010
288 pp. $19.95

The commercialization of media, the professionalization of journalism, and the rise of the Internet are usually seen as forces that challenge party control in China. But this collection of essays shows that they can also strengthen the regime. As media grow more diverse and professional, they provide a more credible channel for government propaganda. As they compete for audience attention by exposing selected scandals that are not placed off-limits by censors, they help the higher-level authorities rein in corrupt local officials. And by giving voice to citizens' concerns, they allow the government to respond before problems become acute. To be sure, these factors also raise the risk that fast-spreading news might provide a focal point for mass mobilization at a moment of crisis. But so far, the Internet police and Propaganda Department censors have managed to keep most citizens ignorant of topics that might inflame serious opposition. The Chinese and foreign contributors to this book provide a nuanced, clear analysis of the fluid relationship among the Communist Party, the media, and the public.

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