Report on Global Media trends in China

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The People’s Republic of China is a country with the world’s largest population and is a commonly referred to as China. China has a very rich history which is around 4000 years old with a diverse and unique culture.
A majority of the land of China is mountainous in nature with many mountain ranges. China’s major mountain ranges are the trans-Himalaya range, the Tien-Shan range and the Kunlun chain. China has 3 primary river systems flowing through it which consist of the yellow river, the Pearl River and the river Yangtze.

The current population of china is 1.36 billion with 71% of people within the working age range. The three major religions followed by the people of China are Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. (Central Intelligence Agency, 2014)
China is the world’s largest explorer and follows a modern market system. It comes second in the world regarding service values but persists to have a per capita income which is below average. It is the world’s largest communist state.
Media Systems in China

Media Theories

China as a communist country with a government which has a tight control of every possible aspect of the media, has a governing influence of the Chinese Communist party over it. This influence is observed in the control system levied on the media to be only used for public education, mass mobilization and spreading propaganda. The current scenario of the Chinese media is based on the theory put forward by Mao Zedong, this theory is renowned as the mass line governing theory. This theory is extremely critical in function due to its political connection. The difference in the functioning of the government is that the leaders of the party which aren’t elected by the people but the government. Due to this, they do not serve the people technically but the party. (Lee, 1994)
In such a political environment media remains to be merely a tool for educating and deploying the people towards socialist progress. As a result of such a system, the internal workings of the government are not accessible to the masses. This makes the media not an accessory to people but a means to transmit information to people and also in gathering information. China can also be said to possess the Soviet Totalitarian media system as they completely serve the government like its 3 other counterparts North Korea, Cuba and Vietnam. There have been accounts where the Chinese government has tried blocking foreign content to hide scrutiny of internal issues by external media.
Barriers and Influences to Media Growth

The authoritarian system of the media is a tremendous barrier to the media processes in China. An authoritarian system means that the government has control of the flow of information and this has led to no news about the inner workings of the government. Freedom of the press is either non-existent or very minute. On an international level, China is considered to be a country with medium level of barriers to internet adoption but it has the world’s largest online population. (Lee, 1990)
The level of barrier is decreasing gradually which depicts that barriers can be overcome to achieve development. There is development in China due to higher level of internet penetration bringing global trends and information to the country while at the same China efficiently regulates the internet content again causing a barrier to the development of media. It is mainly the media system that hampers the growth of media as despite various attempts to upgrade the media to display content not promoted by the government, an exact system hasn’t been formed and the situation remains to be the same it was in 1949 in many ways.
Emerging Trends in the Media

There is a wave of diversification and specialization witnessed in the Chinese media and the variety of content that is offered by it. The emerging trends follow the political movements that arise in the country at times. There is an increase in the broadcasting and viewership of fictional and reality TV series in china. Once it used to be controlled with rigidity and now spontaneity can be witnessed. The limits on the explicit nature of content is decreasing which can be termed as a new era of media sensor-ship. There has been a rise in the variety in the content of radio broadcasting channels also. Specialized shows and subdivisions for specific nature of content are witnessed now as well broadcasting from mobile stations. (Li, 1991)
Due to heavy influence and control of political elements in the media, it can also be predicted that the emerging trends will have a sizable impact on political reforms. Also as a profit-making effort governmental departments have started publishing limited content of trial cases and certain legal policies. (Hudson, 2014)
Country Details

Media Systems

Communist Party of China has influenced Chinese Media since 1921 by following the Soviet Totalitarian media theory. As a result of the economic reform in 1978, there have been drastic positive changes in media. But due to a controlled media system, western nations do not possess a clear idea about Chinese politics more than that it is a communist country. Control of mass media has been in China since the Qing Dynasty where authors used to get imprisoned for writing anything offensive under the impression of the imperial court. The Chinese government and CPC have been using Chinese media as a tool for controlling public opinion. (Zhao, 1998) The media system is heavily ideology driven in nature and that’s the reason why there is little information on the inner workings of the Chinese government. Recent reports show that Chinese media has stepped into the reform era and positive changes can be expected. (Lee, Voice of China: The Interplay of Politics and Journalism, 1990)
Media Overview

In the era of reforms, specialization and diversification in the Chinese media, every medium has seen progress and change. In the press media, China was running more than 27,000 magazines and newspapers by the year 1997. Due to diversification, many types of newspapers can be found like People’s daily, several provincial party newspapers and Jiguan Bao (organ papers). By March 2000, China has reached a newspaper circulation with 2,160 newspapers circulating among a population of 26 billion people. (China Economic Review, 2012)
Among the field of audiovisual media, the country’s most far-reaching and significant station CCTV started airing in 1958. The medium of TV didn’t witness a significant amount of penetration due to the political atmosphere. International news started broadcasting in 1980 and presently, CCTV has 12 channels. The Central people’s broadcasting station initiated 34 stations across China. Focusing on the internet, China has the world’s largest internet using population in the world. The rate of penetration of internet has increased in the last two decades. (Li Z. , 2010)
China has also shown an explosive rise in e-commerce and the largest e-commerce giant is in China. Social media has a very different facet in China. While the number of people using the internet are at large and increasing, the sites which are used around the world are banned in china (regarding social media) and their counter-parts are prevalent in China. The Chinese versions of Youtube are Tudou and Youku and the counterpart of twitter is Sina Weibo. Facebook has many counterparts in China like Douban and QZone. (Crampton, 2011)
Emerging Trends

In the world of traditional media in China, the newspaper agency People’s Daily has seen a huge decline while the new Xinhua news agency is witnessing an advent in China with an increasing circulation. The television media has seen a rise in the last two decades despite direct government supervision. TV industry has become a 10 Billion Dollar Industry. Foreign media content is still limited to a 15% and that also which are sanctioned by the government. Even with the recent Hong Kong issue, China is keeping a hands-off attitude. (Sparks, 2010)

The media outlook in China is consistently inward looking and controlled despite its growth but soon due to a globalized environment, China will also witness a higher influence of other nations. Due to the high number of internet users and a growing presence in social media, China is likely to grow at par with other nations and will see newer trends. This outlook may also create an unrest regarding freedom of press and media but positive impact can also be guaranteed. There are always positive effects of gaining a newer insight on issues and elements prevalent outside the country. The rise of media can also make an impact on the imports of the country as the exposure of products available outside China can create a demand in the Chinese market. The advent of media growth will be consistent In nature despite the current controlled environment.
Central Intelligence Agency. (2014). THe World Factbook. Retrieved from
China Economic Review. (2012, July 11). Number Of Newspapers And Magazines In China Down, Total Circulation Up. Retrieved from Http://Www.Chinaeconomicreview.Com/Number-Newspapers-Magazines-China-Down-Total-Circulation
Crampton, T. (2011, 1 1). Social Media in China: The Same, but Different. Retrieved from
Hudson, C. (2014). The China Handbook. Rooutledge.
Lee, C.-C. (1990). Voice of China: The Interplay of Politics and Journalism. New York: The Guilford Press.
Lee, C.-C. (1994). China’s Media, Media’s China. Oxford: Westview Press.
Li, X. (1991). The Chinese Television System and Television News. China Quarterly, 340-355.
Li, Z. (2010). The Rise Of China: Media Perception And Implications For International Politics. Journal Of Contemporary China, 233-254.
Sparks, C. (2010). China’s Media in Comparative Perspective. International Journal Of Communication, 4.
Zhao, Y. (1998). Media, Market and Democracy in China. Urbana: Universty of Illinois Press.


Posted on

March 7, 2018

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