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The literature on media-state relations has generally emphasized the media’s function as a watchdog of the state. According to this line of reasoning, a strong democracy is characterized by the presence of independent media to check the state. By extension, the absence of independent media generally characterizes non-democracies, thereby implying that media in non-democracies do not hold any value for non-state actors. However, this simple distinction of state-media relations by regime type ignores the fact that media in transitioning states like China have retained their connections to the state even as they exercise greater independence. In fact, Chinese media’s ability to straddle the state-society divide makes them uniquely positioned to contribute to the work of the NGOs, which can employ media connections to establish state linkages as well as obtain other state resources. Although it is important not to overstate the value of media connections when compared with that of state linkages, the cases presented in this chapter nevertheless show that media connections are extremely valuable as means to acquire state linkages and can help NGOs strengthen those linkages.
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The account of this incident in this section is based completely on its recounting in Jia et al. ( 2008, 238–241).
The Chinese name for the Old Summer Palace is “Yuanmingyuan.” The garden was pillaged and plundered in 1860 by British and French troops. The palace has been designated by the Chinese government as a historical monument to China’s “century of humiliation,” which dates from the mid-19th century to the PRC’s founding in 1949.
This media function has been manifested primarily, if not chiefly, in the presence of the “internal reference” ( neibu cankao, or neican for short) system. The internal reference system is essentially a mechanism through which the Chinese media compile and provide classified reports about domestic and international happenings to top political leaders. Despite its shortcomings, it has been an important portal to China’s policymakers and the policymaking process. For criticisms of the mechanism, see Magnier ( 2004) and The Economist ( 2010).
For Cui’s biography, see the China Youth Daily website at http://zqb.cyol.com/node/node_7051.htm (accessed 12 August 2014).
In her career, Xie has been either a senior editor or the senior editor of three national publications: Women’s News, Rural Women, and Women Village Heads, the last publication being the most recent addition to the NGO and was quite short-lived. Xie managed the latter two publications directly. Rural Women had compensated Women’s News for circulating the latter two publications on behalf of the NGO.
Xie was a reporter, a member of the newspaper’s editorial committee, the director of the department of family and social affairs, and was responsible for the newspaper’s “marriage and family” columns.
Administratively, the two NGO publications were publications of Women’s News. Rural Women paid annual fees to the ACWF newspaper to “manage” the publications, including their circulation among sub-national ACWFs and their employees.
The chief function of the China News Agency is to disseminate news stories about China to the foreign and overseas Chinese communities.
The Beijing Youth Daily is a newspaper of the Beijing municipal CYL.
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- Media Connections: Bridging the State-Society Divide
John W. Tai
- Chapter 4