How Chinese censorship is reaching overseas

CNN Global Public Square

by Sarah Cook
Senior Research Analyst for East Asia


The efforts of China’s leaders to prevent its citizens from circulating information inconvenient to the ruling Communist Party are well known. But while censorship is a daily reality for media outlets inside mainland China, their counterparts abroad are increasingly finding themselves under pressure as well.

China’s leaders, it seems, have become more ambitious in their attempts to control the news.

Take last year, when reports surfaced that China’s ambassador to the United States met with Bloomberg’s editor-in-chief to try to persuade the outlet not to run a story about the finances of Communist Party leader Xi Jinping’s family. Last May, meanwhile, popular Taiwanese talk show host Cheng Hung-yi resigned after station executives allegedly tried to stop his program from touching on topics sensitive to Beijing. And back in 2011, reportedly at Beijing’s urging, a court in Hanoi sentenced two Vietnamese citizens who practice Falun Gong to prison for transmitting radio broadcasts about human rights abuses and corruption from their farm to listeners in China.

These are far from the only examples of how the Chinese Communist Party’s media controls extend past China’s borders, in a push documented in a report published last week by the Center for International Media Assistance, which examines a range of media outlets based outside China, from major international media to local outlets in Asia, Africa, and Latin America and elsewhere. And the findings are clear: the “China Factor” looms over newsrooms across the globe.

Read the rest of the op-ed.

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