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What China Watches

Broadcasting under state scrutiny requires a careful dance, says Ying Zhu

This past week, journalists at a newspaper in southern China openly protested the censorship of a New Year’s editorial that called for political reforms. Though such protests might seem surprising to Westerners who assume Chinese media is one big state mouthpiece, in fact it’s a symptom of one of China’s most interesting and fast-growing tensions: Citizens are demanding more openness from Chinese media and government, while the ruling party fears that ceding too much control will create political chaos.

In China, no media entity is bigger than CCTV (Central China Television), the country’s mammoth state-run national network. CCTV reaches more than a billion viewers, broadcasting documentaries, comedies, drama, and journalism.

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