Xindaobao (新导报) caters to the growing Chinese community in Hungary.
Exporting China’s Development to the World, a weblog with a mouthful of a title run by a group of anthropologists from Macquarie University (Sydney) and Free University (Amsterdam), tells us of how China is expanding its efforts in
controlling influencing Chinese-language media outside of China.
It highlights the World Chinese-Language Media Cooperative Alliance (世界华文媒体合作联盟) headed by Liu Beixian of the China News Agency (the lesser known of China’s two news agencies) whose goal is to “increase the cohesiveness and impact of Chinese-language media”. Recently, the alliance held a “training session” which attracted Chinese-language journalists from the around the world, and surprisingly even Hong Kong.
Overseas Chinese-language media, while fairly independent, have “become increasingly standardized along the lines of the PRC’s political preferences”. Why?
Relations with China are increasingly important for overseas Chinese businesses, which traditionally fund Chinese media. Staff at Chinese-language newspapers increasingly comes from mainland China, because in most countries they are seen as more proficient in the “proper” Chinese language and modern media management techniques. In many countries, an increasing number of readers, too, are recent arrivals from China. Media conglomerates and other businesses in China are also quietly expanding their investment in Chinese media overseas (for example, the Liuzhou heavy machinery company finances a Chinese newspaper in Cambodia). Finally, Chinese embassies have become more active in exercising the kind of informal censorship that exists within China itself. Cultural sections of embassies have long been organising informal meetings or dinners where they explain to editors how to cover a particular issue or what not to cover. Those targeted are editors who are PRC citizens, as is the case with most Chinese media in Eastern Europe, but increasingly also local citizens. I have been told by an editor of a Cambodian Chinese newspaper that no material that is “against the interests” of China can be published. The result is not just a political realignment, but also that local forms of Chinese expression, as indeed local forms of Chinese identity, are increasingly marginalized within the sinophone world in favour of a standard way of speaking and feeling that is imported from China.
Fascinating, to say the least.