Will Chinese Communist Party (CCP) cede control of China’s mass communications to private sector?

China has opened its door to the outside world since the late 1970s due to its Economic Reform initiated by Deng Xiaoping—the former CCP leader between late 1970s to early 1990s. With the globalization, China has established its socialist market economy in the 1990s. Although the socialist market economy is different with the capitalism market economy, yet they do share a lot in common. At least, the market does play an increasing important role in China’s economy. But media censorship is still one important responsibility that CCP keeps in mind. Just like Siochru & Girard points out that media products are different, because they are not only consumer goods, the media can also influence us, shaping people’s ideology and so on.  Due to the political and cultural importance of media, the media industry is still mainly owned and run by the state.

China has its national TV stations, namely as China Central Television (CCTV). But meanwhile, China has also allowed the provincial broadcasters to deliver one channel nationally across cable networks since 1990s.  But there are so many limitations and constraints for provincial broadcasters to compete with the national station—CCTV.

First, from my point of view, CCP is applying the societal regulation to regulate the media. The CCP is very sensitive to the media content and its way of distribution. We can apply Siochru & Girard’s regulatory measures to test. The followings are my analysis.  a) “providing universal access to cultural events to sustain common identity”. For example, there is a half an hour National News time from 7:00 P.M to 7:30 P.M., so basically no matter how many channels you have on your cable TV, you can only watch the national news, because all other provincial channels are required to synchronize with national TV station—CCTV. b) “legal prohibitation of content and of production by direct censoring of content before transmission/distribution and legal sanctions after transmission..” For example, China’s State Administration of Radio, Film and Television controls the content of all radio, television, satellite and Internet broadcast in China. So they can decide which foreign movies can be imported strictly based on the contents of the movies. Even though there is global governance such as United Nations, but it does not mean every country has to agree with the international standards based on UN. So many Western countries blames about China’s no freedom of press.

Here, I do not want to argue whether capitalism is a good thing or bad thing. But I do agree with market can encourage competition and reduce monopoly, which is very beneficial for customers. Also, I feel China will not cede its control of mass communications to private sectors due to the unique characters of media’s cultural and political role to nation states.

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One Response to Will Chinese Communist Party (CCP) cede control of China’s mass communications to private sector?

  1. Liza says:

    This is a very well stated and fascinating post. So often, we just read about the policies and maybe hear quotes here and there about individual’s experiences with the policies. It was really nice to get a first hand account of the policies and how they are in action. You write about the national news time from 7:00 pm to 7:30 pm and that all provincial channels are required to synchronize with it. I am curious how many people actually watch the national news, or individuals choose not to watch TV at this time because they do not like how they are not given other choices or do not agree with the ideologies presented. I am curious if it ranges by region/province.
    Since the station is known to be one of the “official mouthpieces” of the government, I am curious how many people continue to watch it, or how many people choose not to watch at this time because they do not want propaganda from the government.
    I think its interesting that you note china will not cede its control of mass communication. I also agree with this notion, but I am curious if there are ways it can lesson its control without fully giving it up; and if it would do so on account if Chinese people stopped watching CCTV to show their dislike for this monopoly.

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