According to Alesina and Reich 2013, nation building is a process, which leads to the formation of countries in which the citizens feel a ufficient amount of commonality of interests, goals and preferences so that they do not wish to separate from each other. The triumph of nation building replies on the attempt to maintain loyalty, to stimulate public’s voluntary contribution to the state and to nurture public-state unity. In the case of China, to build a “strong nation” is a tremendous demand as national identity has been fatally damaged by colonization.
Since China has explicitly rejected Western liberal democracy-a world standard for social government- as the ruling system, Chinese Communist party must fortify public’s trust and pride for Communist Parys agenda. In addition to the reasoning of Chinese Communist Party urging nation building task, the Chinese statement of encompassing global Chinese communities is dismissed by Taiwan and Hong Kongs endeavors to delink themselves from China (Lee, C 2000).
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For the sake of nation building, Chinese government aggressively executes media exploitation in purpose of transferring propaganda, shaping public mindset in favor of the authority. However, the “free flow of information” feature of the media in the today convergence era contains various dangers. The Internet has launched a virtual world in which people get access to a large amount Of ncensored information from limitless global sources. This frightens the government in the way people approaching and consuming information about Communist opposition.
The Internet provision of free service of connection can be a reinforcement of online political activism as it is employed as a place for exchanging public opinion about their displeasure of the government. Media has exposed a number of corrupt practices, hidden deals, threatening government’s reputation. Anti-Communist members have abused the online media as a tool of spreading misleading information. Thus, the government has to keep tight restriction on the media.
This paper will analyze aspects, one is how Chinese government manipulates the media to determine public opinion, second is how Chinese government restrains free flow of information of mass media. In order to augment faith, conviction to the state legitimacy as well as to discredit the Western democracy claim, the People’s Republic of China is very enthusiastic in promoting the value Confucianism-the philosophy assuming that individuals exist in the web of social relationship whose maintenance requires conduct characterized by courtesy, proper decorum, compassion and loyalty (Charlton, M, SE 201 0)” On the media.
Since the Party has frequently been charged by international bodies with violations of human rights (Bary, WM 1998), it tries to portrait China as a harmonious place even without democracy-the peaceful place where farmers and factory workers smile and whistle while they work, where scientific and economic achievement abound, and where the Party is a source of comfort and assistance in times of trouble (Young, D 2013). The image of “Community” is strongly accentuated and praised on television.
The Spring Festival Gala (SFG) is an example of a TV program invested with “Chinese Community’ ideological onnotations. It is a TV’ New Years Eve celebratory gala produced by China Central Television. Watching SFG with the whole family is as essential as eating dumpling and setting firecrackers. SFG is the most watched national channel and it is designed to convey messages educating and reminding the citizens to treasure communal harmony and ancestor’s traditions (Gao Yuan, 2012). Mid 1 990 has witnessed government attempt to disprove democracy.
A book titled “China Can Say No” supported by government-driven media became national bestseller. The book gained government appeal as it fed on latent nationalism that saw Chinese people growing weary after years of being lectured by Westerners (Young, D 2013). Via the media, the Party instructs its residents on what is acceptable and what is not, what happens to those who make troubles, what typical characteristics a good citizen need to have, determining people set of value and attitudes.
The authorities make frequent appearance on the newspapers to remind the citizens of their rulers, to prove the government’s hard work (Young, D 2013). Young, D also reveals the fact that the monikers used for top leaders in their obituaries are eflecting the current state of politics. The most important leaders are remembered as “Great Revolutionaries of the Classless Society” and the Past leaders who have fallen out of favor of then get no moniker at all (Young, D 2013). This leader-promoting method is also used by Malaysian members of powerhouse, specifically the Prime Minister, Mahathir.
Using the mass media to encourage positive self-image is one of the most preferred leadership strategies of Mahathir. The Prime Minister encourages the media to feature every of his visiting schools, attending conferences… His daily appearances on he media serve as a reminder to the population of who is in charge, what is the legitimized nationalism form (Uimonen, P 2003). The Communist Party has played multiple roles in the national media: policy media maker, media owner, resource distributor, controller and manager (Zhang, X 201 1).
However, as the Party is conscious of Convergence era’s emergence of more knowledgeable audiences who actively select information (Jenkin, H 2006) and the demand for more innovation, credibility and creativity in journalism, the party conducts hegemony, bargaining and reciprocity relation with the media or willing contribution, inducing obedience and inspiring more intellectual attempts (Zhang, X 2011). Beijing Olympics is another large-scale governments strategy of framing positive image of China.
The ultimate goal of Beijing Olympics is to achieve favorable media coverage, which emphasizes China as a modernized, unified, and internationalized nation in the global community, and to fosters nationalist pride to enhance internal cohesion. The effectiveness of the approach of community s pride is proved by political scientists who find out that when a country enjoys international respect and prestige, it helps the ational leaders convince their domestic audience of their legitimacy (Jianping,N 2008). China’s Internet population grows to 5. 3 hundred million by the end of 2011, which again ranks first in the world. These Internet users spend 18. 7 hours per week online averagely (Jiang Fei & Huang Kuo, 201 1). The figures illustrate digital evolution in China. However, the Internet regime has posed a problem for the Chinese government. Since in the world of Convergence, every important story gets told (Jenkin, H 2006), uncovering the cancer of authority and society, sparking criticism and political activism. While it is of great importance to reinforce profitable digital economy, the government also wants to carry out control over the cyberspace.
The government executing comprehensive supervision over the media includes: legal controls through registration and licensing of news organizations; financial controls over the budget and resources; control over the executives of the press station; suppression and withholding of sensitive information; voluntary submission Of copies Of important stories for preview; post-view by party apparatus, such as the propaganda departments; direct interference by leaders; self- ensorship established though training and organizational culture (Lee, C 2000) with “Six Nos”: no private media ownership, no shareholding of media organization, no discussion of a press law, no discussion of the community nature of the news, no joint ventures with foreign company, no openness for foreign satellite (Chadha K, Kavoori A, 2000). To conducts such amount of control, more than a dozen government bodies review and enforce laws (Council on Foreign Relation, 2014).
The Chinese government’s most controversial tactics of media intervention includes monitoring systems and irewalls, shuttering publications or websites, and jailing dissident jou rnalists, bloggers, and activists. In 2009, Chinese rights activist Liu Xiaobo was sentenced to eleven years in prison for advocating democratic reforms and freedom of speech, which earned him the Nobel Peace Prize. A year later, journalist Tan Zuoren was sentenced to five years in prison for drawing attention to government corruption and poor construction of school buildings that collapsed and killed thousands of children during the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan province. The Chinese government blocked all inquiries into the issue Council on Foreign Relation, 2014).
Online debates about the aforementioned events took place, however, they were quickly deleted by cyberspace policeman who are given permission to watch over Internet-users surfing, chatting and downloading activities (Qiu, JL 2000). The government even operates “The Great Firewall of China” in purpose of intervening citizen’s access to foreign websites (King, G, Pan, J, Roberts, M 2012). Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google are made unavailable. This triggers public outrage. In order to calm the public, government provides citizens with “Chinese- owned” social media: Weibo, Baidu, etc. These national social media resources are easier to control. On the Internet, people share opinions under anonymity.
This problem has been tackled by Chinese governments asking providers of information technology infrastructure, such as Cisco, Nortel and other large IT companies to eliminate the anonymity and accessibility of Chinese users to surf the Internet (Walton 2001 in Kluver, R& Banerjee l, 2005). The government implementing excessive domination over the media harms the freedom of press. However, like Malaysian case of online political activism, there are praise-worthy attempts of Chinese Internet users erforming online nation building. Despite censorship practices and stylistic indecencies, popular forums maintain a level of lively discussion. The Internet, are finding an independent and critical voice, bringing about a “quiet revolution. (Wang, Z 2009) Users, particularly those in China, show a strong desire to become better informed and more critically engaged through the Internet. Nevertheless, the possibility of anonymity in computer-mediated communication sometimes lowers the level of responsibility and accountability (Kluver, R& Banerjee l, 2005). Chinese modern nation building rocess encounters many challenges. In the new era, China stepping forward globalization facing many hazards originated from the impact of Western popular culture and Western attack on Chinese’s abuse of freedom of press. Hollywood Blockbusters implying American Dream, Democracy Miracle and Western Standard, etc. have a significant influence on teenagers mindset and lifestyle.
The more Western cultural product Chinese young audiences consumes, the greater the tendency of youth developing a strong sense of blatant individualism, seditious independence and crude commercial values Fung, A 2008). The youth becoming active, pragmatic and assertive makes them become more stubborn and harder to control. Youths prefer modernity, technology and liberalism rather than obligation, tradition and convention. The state could not continue to feed them with propaganda or hard moral values. Otherwise, youth’s rebellion nature may lead them to cause protest. Youth find no interest in politics. Content forced upon them only invited negative feedback (Fung A 2008).
As the digital dynasty allows free flow of information, students get access to multiple websites criticizing Chinese overnment and raising compliment for democracy. Furthermore, the available of cell phones may facilitate social unrest as they allow people to send out mass messages to mobilize thousands to attend hastily organized rallies. In conclusion, Chinese authority has constructed their disciplinary system on Communism which assumes the media must acts as education, propaganda, doctrinarian, surveillance, assistance in the execution of policy (Lambeth, E 1995). Media control is necessary for the healthiness of China as the country is an ethnically diverse population and preserving the communal armony becomes the priority.