Once again exhibiting his passion for good journalism, Xi Jinping urged the country’s journalists to do a better job of supporting and following the Communist Party’s lead at a meeting on Monday.
The Chinese president spoke in front of representatives of the All-China Journalists’ Association (ACJA), an organization linking the Party with reporters, as they honored the winners of the country’s top two journalism awards in the lead up to China’s “Journalists’ Day” (which is today!). In his remarks, Xi spelled out exactly what it takes to win one of these prestigious prizes.
“Xi urged the country’s journalists to follow ‘the correct political direction,’ conform to the CPC Central Committee, adhere to the Marxist view of journalism, stick to the standpoint of the Party and the people and uphold socialism with Chinese characteristics,” China’s official Xinhua News Agency reports.
He also thanked Chinese journalists for actively disseminating the Party’s propositions and urged them to do more to “promote the Party’s theories and policies” and maintain “positive energy” to inspire confidence and strength as “the Party and Chinese people of all ethnic groups unite and march forward.”
The newly-proclaimed “core” leader of China has taken a great interest in journalism this year, paying a high-profile visit to state news media headquarters in Beijing in February, in which he declared that that all media must be “surnamed Party” so they can give “correct guidance of public opinion” by “singing the main theme, transmitting positive energy.”
In June, China’s internet regulator cracked down on major online news companies who were singing out of tune with that main theme, deeming that their independent news reports were against Chinese law, mandating that they only report what state news media reports.
Along with better conforming to the Communist Party, in the coming year, Xi also likely hopes that journalists will avoid mistakenly reporting that he has resigned or calling him China’s “last leader,” while also moving up on the World Press Freedom Index ranking — after China came in 5th from the bottom in April with only Syria, Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea to beat for last place.
Last week, Reporters without Borders (RSF) published a list of 35 “press freedom predators” from around the world. Xi was included in the list with his “kill tally” of more than 100 journalists and bloggers jailed. “China is the world’s biggest prison for media personnel,” RSF noted.