Published by China Newsweek Corporation Publisher: Liu Beixian Executive Directors: Liu Beixian, Zhou Jianming Editor-in-Chief: Wang Xiaohui Editorial Office Managing Editor: Zheng Zhonghai Advisor: Liu Dizhong Senior Editor: Yang Yi Copy Editors: Jack Smith, Alex Taggart Lead Writer: Yu Xiaodong Editors: Wang Yan, Yuan Ye, Xie Ying, Sun Zhe, Li Jia First Reader: Sean Silbert Address: 5th Floor, 12 Baiwanzhuang South Street, Xicheng District, Beijing, China Post Code: 100037 Tel: 86-10-88395566 Fax: 86-10-88388045 Email: email@example.com www.newschinamag.com Art Department Art Director: Wu Shangwen Art Editor/Designer: Zhang Dawei Marketing Office China Newsweek Corporation President: Wang Xiaohui Chief Executive: Fred Teng Tel: 1-212-481-2510 Fax: 1-212-481-2503 Address: Suite 1101, 15 East 40th Street, New York, NY 10016, USA Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Toronto Office Director: Lai Hailong Address: 51 Halstead Drive, Markham, ON Canada L3R7Z4 Tel: 1-905-604-6150 Fax: 1-905-604-6170 Email: email@example.com Marketing Director: Wang Chenbo Account Manager: Ren Jie Tel: 86-10-88388027 Circulation Manager: Yu Lina Tel: 86-10-88311834 Advertising Director: Gao Weiwei Tel: 1-212-481-2510 Marketing Promoter: Jerry Meng Tel: 1-212-481-2510 New York Office: Wang Yongzhi, Ruan Yulin, Li Yang Washington Office: Wu Qingcai, De Yongjian Los Angeles Office: Mao Jianjun San Francisco Office: Liu Dan Houston Office: Wang Huan London Office: Zhou Zhaojun Tokyo Office: Sun Ran Paris Office: Long Jianwu Bangkok Office: Yu Xianlun Kuala Lumpur Office: Huang Hongbin Moscow Office: Jia Jingfeng Manila Office: Zhang Ming Berlin Office: Huang Shuanghong Sydney Office: Zhu Daqiang Legal Advisor: Allen Wu ISSN 1943-1902
China Weekly is the Chinese Mainland edition of NewsChina magazine CHINA WEEKLY I March 2013
The fight against corruption requires a free media
n the West, the media is often referred to as empt from supervision, as Chinese journalists must “the fourth estate,” serving as a watchdog for carefully consider the sizeable risks they face when the three branches of government. In recent reporting on those in authority. years, the media (including Although China’s consocial media) in China also stitution promises the right appear to be gradually takto freedom of speech and of We must not overstate ing up the same mantle. Rethe press, in reality there are the media’s current level cent scandals that have led effectively no laws or regulaof influence in the fight to much public backlash, tions to protect the media. against corruption in including housing registraThe only one in existence is China. tion fraud cases involving in a government regulation government officials and on the Disclosure of GovState-owned enterprise executives, as well as the ernment Information, a clause of which stipulates various sex scandals involving senior city officials in that those obstructing supervision by the media Chongqing, were all exposed by the media. Many must be held accountable for their actions. This claim that China is entering a period of improved clause has never been invoked. transparency. There have long been calls to enact a press law We must not overstate the media’s current level to safeguard the media’s rights to report, criticize of influence in the fight against corruption in and supervise, as well as its right to information. China. Despite the apparent power the media has However, in the current political climate, many are exercized in recent scandals, all of these first came concerned that such a law may end up constrainto light through social media. Traditional media ing the media, rather than guaranteeing freedom remain constrained, and tend to report on a cor- of speech. rupt politician only when an official investigation Given that China’s new leadership has recently is already underway, particularly when high-level launched a new wave of anti-corruption measures, officials are involved. In exposing scandals, it takes it must also take effective steps to ensure that the great courage, and sometimes great sacrifice, on the media can effectively supervise the government. As part of a journalist or media outlet to genuinely ex- there are few channels through which the public pose government misdeeds. In the latest case, Zhu may voice their opinions, the government must reRuifeng, a freelance journalist who exposed the alize that the media plays an indispensible role in Chongqing sex sandals, was harassed by Chongq- conveying public opinion to the government. ing police in broad daylight at his home in Beijing. On February 6, Xi Jinping, the new leader of This perhaps explains why the media’s supervi- China’s Communist Party, told cadres that the Parsion in China is “cross-regional,” meaning that me- ty must “tolerate sharp criticism” from the outside. dia outlets only report on scandals in regions other It is a good sign that the new leadership is at least than their own, mostly for fear of retribution. The aware of the problem, but it will take more than result is that national-level leaders tend to be ex- words to safeguard the media’s rights.
April 2013 Issue