Chinese journalists obliged to take refresher course in Marxist reporting techniques

TOKYO —

Journalists and reporters employed by the media in the People’s Republic of China are said to number about 250,000. The Chinese government recently announced that in order to keep their accreditation they would be expected to undertake 18 or more hours of study and then undergo an examination.

The title of the course is “Reporting with View toward Marxism.”

Weekly Playboy (Nov 4) reports that in 2009, after incidents of unauthorized reporters and others claiming to be journalists became problematic, the Chinese government clamped down and began issuing official identification cards for journalists, who were obliged to undergo a qualification test to obtain one. The cards were valid for five years, upon which they could be automatically renewed upon application.

However, Weekly Playboy reports, when the cards come up for renewal in February 2014, this time the government is raising the barrier.

“In May of this year, a demonstration with 10,000 participants took place in Beijing, protesting the gang rape of a 22-year-old woman from Anhui Province,” explains author-journalist Daisuke Kondo. “The security agency attempted to pass it off as a suicide. Infuriated people from Anhui living in Beijing rioted. The real reason for the troubles was the widening gap between the rich and poor. People from poor provinces like Anhui are particularly dissatisfied with the system under leader Xi Jinping. I think the new guidelines are aimed at muzzling the media from negative reporting.”

But what’s keeping journalists from raising a ruckus over the government’s heavy-handed attempt to muzzle them? Kondo suggests the reason is probably money, as it seems journalism in China can be an “unexpectedly profitable occupation.”

“With the exception of the reporters at Xinhua and CCTV, which are basically government mouthpieces, ordinary news reporters virtually never approach the government,” he says. “The majority write about auto manufacturers and so on, and receive monetary gifts from the companies they report about.”

“So although their regular monthly wages are in the neighborhood of 80,000 Japanese yen, some reporters make enough money on the side to build homes worth 100 million yen,” Kondo adds.

Weekly Playboy was apparently in such a rush to scoop this story it missed out on the best part—- at least as far as Japan is concerned. That must be left to the Sankei Shimbun (Oct 20). It seems that among the information that Chinese journalists will be expected to follow Chinese government guidelines related to reporting about Japan, for which they are henceforth expected to assume a critical stance. Likewise for reportage about the U.S., which is “bent on undermining China.”

Among the sticking points regarding Japan that the scribes are expected to touch on are criticism of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s “right-leaning” administration. Nonetheless, terms like “kaisen” (outbreak of war) are to be eschewed as being overly inflammatory.

And within China, voices calling for freedom of the press or rule of law are also to be criticized. After all, according to the powers that be, those who raise such issues as basic human rights or democracy are actually “bent on attacking the teachings of China’s Communist Party.”

The examinations will be administered by the end of this year. Journalists receiving a failing grade will be obliged to retake the test.

  • 1

    inakaRob

    I told my co-worker about this article: He says that h refuses to believe that the notion of "Marxist reporting techniques" is total hogwash, doesn't exist, and means nothing.

  • -4

    sangetsu03

    Why not? Reporting with "a view toward Marxism" is widely practiced everyehere else.

  • 7

    GalapagosnoGairaishu

    China, according to a recent news report, is said to have 2 million people employed just to monitor Internet blogs, mails, etc. The government seems to think it can prevent its citizens from finding out the truth. It's like watching them play whack-a-mole.

  • 4

    hidingout

    Love to see some comments on this article from all the folks here who keep telling me that PRC isn't "communist".

  • 0

    Farmboy

    So... the source is Weekly Playboy... I wonder what view they have when they are reporting...

  • 1

    GalapagosnoGairaishu

    So... the source is Weekly Playboy...

    Farmboy@I don't think the Japanese government requires Weekly Playboy's writers to attend propaganda sessions, so what's your problem?

  • 0

    lostrune2

    So are they considered journalists then?

  • 5

    USNinJapan2

    GalapogosnoGairaishyu

    China, according to a recent news report, is said to have 2 million people employed just to monitor Internet blogs, mails, etc.

    So do you think our JT regulars that spew CPC propaganda incessantly on PRC related threads are among those 2 million? I'd hate to think that they're doing it on their own time pro bono... ;-)

  • -2

    ControlFreak

    Love to see some comments on this article from all the folks here who keep telling me that PRC isn't "communist".

    Nothing about communism requires biased reporting or censorship.

    I think of China more as an authoritarian oligarchy than a communist state.

  • 1

    GalapagosnoGairaishu

    So do you think our JT regulars that spew CPC propaganda incessantly on PRC related threads are among those 2 million?

    Anything's possible I suppose, but some people simply enjoy being argumentative and don't necessarily subscribe to any particular political dogma.

  • 4

    sangetsu03

    Nothing about communism requires biased reporting or censorship.

    What planet are you from? Communism cannot exist without biased reporting, censorship, and other restrictions against individual expression. "Individuals" cannot exist in a collective, soialist state. The "common good" outweighs individual rights, and any news deemed unfit or threatening to the common good cannot be permitted.

  • -1

    Icecreampoliticsfova

    On that biased reporting argument, name one publication where reporters are free to criticise the companies that take out ads in their publication? Name one publication in the West where reporters are not in bed with a political party?

    Communism can exist without state censorship. The question is how you define communism. If you define communism as workers' control and ownership of the companies they work in you don't need state censorship to make that model of an economy work. It is simply not necessary.

    Censorship only becomes 'necessary', if the government wants to hide anything, like corruption, environmental desasters, or other scandals, exactly what is happening in China and happening on a smaller scale in other countries.

  • 4

    JohnBecker

    The guidelines have nothing to do with Communism or Marxism. They have only to do with the control of the press by a totalitarian government.

  • 3

    OssanAmerica

    ControlFreakOct. 24, 2013 - 07:25PM JST "Love to see some comments on this article from all the folks here who keep telling me that PRC isn't "communist". Nothing about communism requires biased reporting or censorship. I think of China more as an authoritarian oligarchy than a communist state.

    Bingo! China being "communist" isn't the real problem other than economically, where state ownership, assistance and influence gives some Chinese companies an unfair advantage over the rivals in democratic countries. The real problem is political; China is one-party dictatorship that controls the country's media, news sources, literature and internet by authoritarian means. It's a real joke that China whines about "Japanese fascism and right-wing" all the time. THat this dictatorship is on a military and territorial expansion program is the entire world's concern.

  • 2

    SenseNotSoCommon

    Our Press Clubs would never allow it!

  • 0

    CraigHicks

    @hidingout ... "Love to see some comments on this article from all the folks here who keep telling me that PRC isn't "communist".

    China is no longer a fully communist central run economy. A completely centrally run communist economy requires a single party political state, but a single party political state (whatever the parties name may be for historical reasons) does not require the economy be a completely centrally run communist economy.

    The meaning of the term "communist" depends upon context.

  • 3

    frontandcentre

    Anyone reporting on the fact that the families of China's senior government figures are mysteriously super rich despite their modest levels of compensation will obviously require serious re-education as well.

    FnC

  • 2

    hidingout

    They have only to do with the control of the press by a totalitarian government.

    .... which proudly calls itself communist, surrenders all effective social, judicial and economic control to the communist party and worships a dead old communist like mao as if he were a saint.

    Nah ... nothing communist about that at all.

  • 2

    gelendestrasse

    So do you think our JT regulars that spew CPC propaganda incessantly on PRC related threads are among those 2 million?

    I expect that quite a few are. How many self-respecting Chinese would adopt a Disney cartoon character name as an alias?

    Whatever you want to think about the mainland Chinese government it's a single party command and control state. The Chinese government itself adopts the name "communist" even if that leaves Marx spinning in his grave....

  • 0

    Kabukilover

    If they would use Marxist techniques in reporting there would be a revolution in China.

  • 3

    Yogizuna

    Same old same old China, some things "never" change. I still have some naive friends who believe that if we just keep "throwing money" at China and keep buying their products, then their government will change for the better. Good luck waiting for that!

  • -3

    GalapagosnoGairaishu

    if we just keep "throwing money" at China and keep buying their products,

    If it weren't for the money "thrown" at China there would be nothing to buy in Walmart or Target stores and 40% of the US population that currently depends on such products would be walking around in rags.

  • 1

    Yogizuna

    The solution is not to pay people "slave wages" in either China or the U.S., and there were far less people "walking around in rags" in my country before the USA started to support the Chinese dictatorship, at least indirectly, when the major corporations sold American workers down the river.

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