Obama’s Chinese reception

Understanding Chinese press control is not always as simple as saying it’s free or not free.  President Obama’s trip to China is a case in point, during which he granted interviews to certain Chinese news organizations –including one the president hoped would be a little freer in covering his remarks.  But his experience with his remarks on censorship being blocked showed that the Chinese pay particular attention to high profile figures when they make remarks that are sensitive to the communist party–as indicated in the Times recent visit coverage.

Moreover, this week showed that the Chinese authorities were determined to oversee the shaping of Mr. Obama’s public image here. They rejected a White House request to nationally broadcast Mr. Obama’s town-hall-style meeting on Monday in Shanghai, and carefully screened and coached questioners. One student said that she and other participants underwent four days of “training” beforehand and that they were ordered not to ask about Tibet. Mr. Obama’s news conference with President Hu Jintao on Tuesday was broadcast nationwide, but no questions were allowed.

Chinese press freedom, to the extent it exists, is least likely to be found in these prominent moments, but rather in the more informal social spaces provided by new media and the millions of “netizens” functioning as citizen journalists.


One Response to “Obama’s Chinese reception”

  1. Fatema Says:

    I think the Chinese are okay in screening the time of info that leaks about them. They are just acting as their own public relations team. Alls governments have some form of “official” press control.

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