Influence of the Chinese Communist Party Over State-Controlled Media and Internet Media

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“It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it” (Luntz, cited in Scheufele and Tewksbury, 2007: 9).


Agenda setting describes the ability of those in positions of power, such as the mass media and influential political leaders, to transfer salience to certain issues that they deem important, while pushing other issues that they deem less important to a lower priority and out of the public view. There is an abundance of literature on the agenda setting process, but it is mainly focused on agenda setting in the West. Therefore, this paper will look at agenda setting in China, which has a Communist government in power that likes to use the influence and control it has and likes to apply harsh censorship on the media and its content. “The Chinese mass media have served effectively in agenda setting to conduct positive propaganda for Party ideologies and policies (Li, Qin, & Kluver, 2003)” (Luo, 2012:1). It will look at whether the Chinese government is successful or not in using its control over the media to promote the issues it believes in. The purpose of this paper will be to see the extent to which the Chinese government has control over the media. This will be done by using articles and blog posts from both government affiliated and independent sources that will help in providing unbiased results. The lack of literature looking at agenda setting outside the West makes this an interesting case to study as it can provide additional information about and the opportunity to explore agenda setting in a Chinese context. Agenda setting is an important topic in political communications and China is becoming a strong and powerful world player, therefore it is crucial to look at agenda setting in a Chinese context.


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...6). [Accessed 18th November 2013].

Zhang, X., (2011), The Transformation of Political Communication in China - From Propoganda to Hegemony (World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd).

Zhao, Y., (1998), Media, Market, and Democracy in China - Between the party line and the bottom line (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press).

Zhou, Y., & Moy, P., (2007) ‘Parsing Framing Processes: The Interplay Between Online Public Opinion and Media Coverage’ Journal of Communications 57: 79-98.


“...we reiterate that the media must report the story in strict accordance with Xinhua News Agency wire copy; downplay the story; do not speculate on it; do not exaggerate it; do not put the story on the front page or website homepage; do not produce any other reports or commentary; do not use images...(October 30, 2013)” (Henochowicz, China Digital Times, 2013).
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