Great Sound Makes No Noise — Creeping Freedoms in Chinese Press

By Xiguang Li

A paper by Xiguang Li, spring 1999 fellow, argues that along with a free market economy, China has begun to embrace a new kind of journalism, even if it has not necessarily been a planned part of China’s reform. Although not approaching an American level of press freedom, this new media landscape is functioning as a media of mass communications, unlike party journalism, which is a means of mass propaganda. As a Chinese journalist notes in Li’s paper, the control of the media in China has shifted from a “visible hand” to “an invisible hand.” The gravity of news media is shifting from a government behavior to a market behavior, with a stronger emphasis on serving society, the market and the masses. The main function of news media has evolved from releasing government information to that of gathering and spreading information and providing services to the society.

Download the paper (PDF).