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胡泳  

胡泳,北京大学新闻与传播学院副教授,博士。价值中国网(www.chinavalue.net)总编辑。中国传播学会常务理事。著有《网络为王》、《众声喧哗》等,译有《数字化生存》、《未来是湿的》等。

北京大学新闻与传播学院副教授,博士。价值中国网(www.chinavalue.net)总编辑。中国传播学会常务理事。著有《网络为王》、《众声喧哗》等,译有《数字化生存》、《未来是湿的》等。

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2011: hu yong looks back on chinese media (2)  

2011-12-30 17:06:53|  分类: expect |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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http://asiasociety.org/blog/asia/2011-hu-yong-looks-back-year-chinese-media-new-and-old

2011: Hu Yong Looks Back on the Year in Chinese Media (New and Old)

December 28th, 2011 by Susan Jakes


Hu Yong is one of China's leading experts on new media.

 

This post is part of a series of year-end posts on Asia Blog written by Asia Society experts and Associate Fellows looking back on noteworthy events in 2011. You can read the entire series here.

 

Asia Society Arthur Ross Fellow Susan Jakes talked with Center on U.S-China Relations visiting fellow Hu Yong (Twitter) about internet trends, the Chinese media and what he learned on his visits to Zuccotti Park. Hu, a former print and television journalist, is a professor at Peking University’s School of Journalism and Communication and a leading authority on the Chinese Internet.  


You are painting a somewhat positive picture of the way microblogs are functioning as a channel for popular concerns to reach the leadership and affect national policy …

I do think it’s highly positive. But I haven’t mentioned the other side of the story. I think weibo [similar to Twitter] plays a large role in supplying the news. But, at the same time, I’m very doubtful about the extent to which reports of these incidents can truly affect Chinese politics. The leadership’s invoking of minsheng is a response to what it’s hearing about popular concerns via channels like Sina weibo, but it’s not a real response. It’s not a systemic response. Even in the case of the train crash, we know some cadres got punished and the victims received a lot of money by Chinese government standards, but still the State Council promised Chinese netizens it would publish a thorough report on the accident, and it hasn’t. So a lot of problems are just addressed at a superficial level and people are still powerless whenever there are tragedies. So I think it’s only the beginning. The weibo, and the Chinese Internet play a very important role, but not a decisive role. I don’t think they will transform Chinese politics. That’s only a fantasy.

 

What about the traditional media in China? Everywhere else in the world tools like Sina weibo have changed the way journalists work in traditional media. What does that relationship look like in China?

Well first of all, the Chinese media industry is not a monolith. There are still the hardcore media: party newspapers, most of the television stations and radio stations, each province’s provincial newspaper. These are all under the tight control of the propaganda departments. They comprise the traditional channel for the government to try to push information down to the media. But in the past roughly 20 years of the commercialization of the Chinese media there have arisen quite a number of metropolitan newspapers or dushibao. These papers have taken a radical attitude toward the market because they have to compete with other media in terms of advertising revenue, subscriptions, etc. They play to the market. So on a lot of occasions they content does reflect the current transformations of Chinese society. By trying to be close to their readers, these papers reflect much more reality than those of the Party media system.

Then we have new media. The commercial media have a very close relationship with new media, not only because they are trying to migrate content online, they’re trying to use new distribution channels, creating their own apps. But also usually their editors and journalists are highly active in weibo and social media. Some metropolitan newspapers have even made it a policy that journalists and editors must have a weibo account. It’s related to their job performance. They have to be saying something about the newspaper itself or about society in general.

So those journalists active on weibo gather a lot of information from the internet. And people who are not working in the media who have something they want to communicate can easily get direct messages to the journalists. A lot of journalists use their real names and post their news organizations. So there’s a close relationship between the audience and those active journalists.

 

You’ve just spent around four months here in New York. Even given that you’re highly connected to China via the internet, has being away changed anything about how you see the media or society, has it had an effect on your views of things you pay attention to?

It’s been very fruitful to be in the U.S. Right after I arrived in New York, the Occupy Wall Street movement began. So I went to see the protests and I also read a lot of new media reports on this movement. I think I learned useful lessons from this. In my work, I’m thinking about the different forms and different ways of growing social movements in the Chinese context. So while observing Occupy Wall Street, I was also thinking about how it’s relevant to Chinese social movements in the Chinese context.

 

And how is it relevant? Because to many observers it might seem the political environments in the U.S. and China are different enough to make comparisons of social movements in the two countries very difficult.

In China, it’s very hard for social mobilization and social movements to be led or organized by individuals, because the government is very heavy handed. Usually, Chinese social mobilization is temporary, improvised and does not have any support from organizations, like those that exist in the U.S., whose main purpose is to organize advocacy, protests, etc. But Occupy Wall Street is not a traditional U.S. social movement.

I was on hand to observe the so-called general assemblies. Everybody could participate, use the “people’s mike.” They take turns speaking, and it’s chaotic. But this leaderless movement is relevant to the Chinese side. As I mentioned just now, I think in China if you have a movement that is highly concentrated on personal leadership, it would be crushed very quickly.

It’s just been reported that the leader of the uprising in the village of Wukan in Guangdong has been beaten to death, by the police.

So I’m saying that the new kind of social movement, one characteristic is the leaderless organization and the other thing I’m keen on observing how they’re using social media like live streaming, the WePay platform for people to donate, and the Tumblr thing is very emotional and very moving.

 

 

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