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China, State Owned Media to Be Privatized in Large Scale

China, State Owned Media to Be Privatized in Large Scale

Posted August. 01, 2003 21:39,   


China`s press and publishing industries have confronted with unprecedented challenges.

As the market oriented reform is to be applied on the government owned media which have enjoyed monopolizing the domestic market, they will be forced to be closed down, unless competitive enough in the market.

The State Press and Publication Administration has prepared such a press and publication industry reform bill and begun discussions over the bill with the Propaganda Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. The bill is likely to go into effect next year, the People`s Daily Online reported on Thursday

The reform bill has two main points.

First, in case of the state owned press, with the exception of the People`s Daily, the Guangming Daily, Economy Daily and Qiu Shi Review, will be separated from previously belonged organizations and must re-register as a corporation. All the press that have been belonged to the local governments will also have to take the same procedure but with the exception of one bulletin per each local government.

Second, the press that has been separated from the belonged organizations can attract private and foreign investment. The ratio is, however, limited by 40% of the total capital.

“The reform bill will bring revolutionary change on Chinese media,” said Wie Gueming, director of the Public Opinion Research Center at Renmin University. “If the bill goes into effect, over the half of newspapers and publications will be discontinued.”

As China has become a member of the WTO and has agreed to open its press and publication market to foreign companies, the reform plan seems to have consideration of such upcoming realities that its market has to face.

The Chinese government helped local government bodies have its own newspapers to promote national policies between 1949 and 1984. However, as each organization made sister newspapers competitively after reform and opening, it resulted in excessive expansion of newspapers and weakened the finance.

The 4th generation leadership`s determination over the reform was an influential factor behind it. Chinese President Hujin Tao believes the media couldn`t function its role during the SARS crisis, and he warned authorities of government bodies not to exploit the state owned media for their own sake. “Even if newspapers are privatized, the party`s control over the ideology will continue to persist, so it wouldn`t be easy to see western style liberal media in China,” said officials of the press.

Yoo-Sung Hwang yshwang@donga.com