Censorship in China and the Current Situation of the Chinese
Jiao Guobiao continues discussion on China Censorship
Monday, November 29, 2004
12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
6275 Bunche Hall
Professor Jiao Guobiao is associate professor of Communications at Peking University. He holds a Ph.D. in communications from Renmin daxue (People's University) in Beijing. Before moving into the academic world, he worked as a journalist. He is a well-known media analyst, and has published four volumes of his media commentaries.
In the spring of 2004 Professor Jiao caused a major stir in Chinese political circles when he wrote a stinging, sarcastic condemnation, widely circulated on the Internet, of the CCP Propaganda Department's clumsy, heavy-handed censorship of the mass media. Here is how the New York Times described his scathing critique:
BEIJING, May 2 - During the Cultural Revolution, China's propaganda department often made hyperbolic charges against intellectuals - capitalist roaders, enemies of the people - accused of betraying Mao Zedong.
So when Jiao Guobiao, a journalism professor at Beijing University, was searching for words to describe China's still all-powerful censors and standard-setters more than 30 years later, he borrowed from its lexicon of vitriol.
The department is spiteful like the Nazis, he wrote in a recent essay. It thinks itself infallible like the pope. In the 1950s it covered up the starvation of millions of people. Today, he charged, it lies about SARS.
"Their censorship orders are totally groundless, absolutely arbitrary, at odds with the basic standards of civilization, and as counter to scientific common sense as witches and wizardry" he wrote in the article - which has been widely circulated by Internet in Beijing despite, not
unpredictably, being banned by the Communist Party's propaganda department. . . .
His treatise mocks the 10 "forbiddens" and 3 "musts" style used in propaganda orders and describes "14 diseases" and "4 cures" one of which is abolishing censorship.
Among his criticisms: propaganda officials "protect thugs and corrupt officials" by banning reports on corruption. The reason, Mr. Jiao wrote, is that the propaganda officials "use the media administration power granted them by the Party to enrich themselves" with bribes.
Professor Jiao will speak in Chinese, with English translation.
An edited English translation of Prof. Jiao's "declaration" is available at the AsiaMedia website: http://www.asiamedia.ucla.edu/article.asp?parentid=17004