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Has News Media Really Opened Up Due to the Earthquake?

The Earthquake in Sichuan has shifted the focus of the world’s media away from Tibet and the Olympics. The outside world may have been misled by a false impression that the Chinese government has opened up its news media, according to the author of this article published in Taiwan News. The authorities had learnt from the past, starting in 1991 during flooding in the central part of China, that opening up the media to report in the event of a natural disaster helps to improve the official image and attract foreign donations especially from overseas Chinese. The authorities have never lost control of the media as demonstrated in the current situation where official media reports have been centered on praising the Party and government leaders.

Source, Tainwan News, 6/2/2008

Party Journal: Reform of Power Structure is the Key to Political Reform

On May 21, 2008, Study Times, the Journal of the Party School of Communist Party published an article entitled “Objectives of Political System Reform.” The article holds that there are four aspects to such reform: “One, the building of legal system. Two, the reform of power structure and checks and balances. Three, the reform of personnel system. Four, the reform of administration system. The reform of power structure and checks and balances is the key to the political system reform. The main task is to establish checks and balances and to maintain highly transparent exercise of the power to prevent corruption and abuse of power."

Source: Study Times, May 21, 2008

Xinhua Criticizes Actress Sharon Stone of Her Comments on the Earthquake

On May 27, Xinhua posted a front page article attacking actress Sharon Stone for her comments on the earthquake. The article called Sharon Stone “inhuman”, “ignorant” and “inconsiderate of other people’s feelings, which has made the people questioning Hollywood’s moral standards”. It said: “Sharon made those remarks because she is a friend of the Dalai Lama and felt she needs to stand up for him. While the world attention has recently shifted from Dalai to the earthquake, Sharon Stone was there to help (the Dalai Lama) to regain the focus back so as to keep him on the world star status”.

During an interview with a Hong Kong television station at the Cannes Film Festival last Thursday, Sharon said she was wondering whether the devastating earthquake might have been ‘karma’ for the regime’s treatment of Tibet and the Dalai Lama.

Source: Xinhua, May 28, 2008

Chinese Ministry of Propaganda and National News Office Order Tightening of Earthquake Reporting

Boxun reported on May 23 that China’s Ministry of Propaganda and National News Office jointly issued an order on May 22 informing all websites and news reporting organizations that independent reports from the earthquake area are prohibited. All reports should be unified, with an emphasis on the positive examples. It is said that people in the earthquake affected areas are miserable. Although donations have exceeded over 10 billion yuan, there are not even enough tents. The authorities are afraid that if the public knows too much information about the status of quake survivors, it will cause discontent of the government.

Source: Boxun, May 23, 2008

China Earthquake Bureau Organized Training Course of Confidentiality about Earthquake Information

Boxun reported on May 22 that the Department for Monitoring and Forecasting Earthquakes of teh China Earthquake Bureau held a training course on confidentiality about information surrounding earthquakes on April 23-26 in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province. Forty people who server as directors from departments of earthquake analysis and forecasting in various locations attended the training. The course emphasized that “confidentiality about earthquake information has political and social significance. The impact [of such information] is huge. Due to current complicated and serious earthquake situations, [we] must make sure to manage well the confidentiality of earthquake information.” Liu Guiping, head of Department of Monitor and Forecasting of the China Earthquake Bureau spoke and gave instructions at the training.

Source: Boxun, May 22, 2008

Party Members Urged to Lead by Example in Earthquake Relief

Members of the Communist Party of China (CPC) are called to take the lead in earthquake relieving efforts to demonstrate the party’s superiority by leading the people to win the battle against the disaster, according to a new announcement released today (May 20) by the Central Party Organization Department. All basic level party organs damaged by the earthquake must be quickly restored and temporary party organs should be established in all displacement centers. All party leaders need to be at the frontline of the relief work so their images and voices can be heard at all times. Their performance will be the basis for future appointments and promotion. Individuals with heroic and consistent performances should be actively recruited into the party. The party cadres are encouraged to donate for the disaster relief through "special party membership dues". All propaganda departments should heavily promote the exemplary deeds demonstrated by all level of the party organs, leaders and members during the earthquake relief.

Souce: Xinhua, May 20, 2008

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