Dancing beautifully, but with hands cuffed? : A historical review of journalism formation during media commercialization in China

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-98
Journal / PublicationPerspectives
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2006
Externally publishedYes


This paper aims to 1) identify the current landscape of journalism in China and 2) investigate the historical trajectory of this landscape. The current journalism landscape features generational differences and regional variations in terms of journalistic values and behaviors. This landscape is associated with the process of journalism reform and media commercialization over the last three decades. The first stage, in the 1980s, was characterized by its strong political orientation and weak market power. Most key actors are Beijing-based. The reform process focused on commercialization in the 1990s, and apolitical journalism flourished. State control measures went from nationwide ideological campaigns to locally mixed measures in the early 2000s. Key actors were usually based in the South until cross-regional cooperation began in 2002. During the cyclic process of reform and reaction, journalism formation was shaped by the shifting dynamic between media, state and market in each of these different periods.