People’s Daily

People’s Daily
[Renmin ribao]
The People’s Daily is the official organ newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) Central Committee. Along with the Xinhua News Agency, CCTV (Chinese Central Television) and China People’s Radio, the newspaper is one of the principal mouthpieces of the CCP. Founded on 15 June 1948 as the organ of the North China Bureau of the CCP, after liberation it soon became the most influential newspaper in China. Its overseas edition has long been one of the key indicators of CCP policy for political scientists throughout the world.
In the Mao period, the paper was often used as the vehicle for launching new mass mobilization campaigns through its editorials. Newspapers throughout the country were required to republish these pieces, which were often the focus of political study meetings throughout the country. The paper became the best indication of contemporary Party thinking and future policy directions.
In the post-Mao period, the symbolic significance and mouthpiece function of the paper remain unchanged. However, in a commercialized and highly competitive market for newspapers, the character of its readership has narrowed. The paper is no longer required reading for almost the entire population, most of whom would prefer to read other titles. It is impossible to buy on the streets of some of China’s major cities and relies principally on work unit subscriptions for its estimated 4 million circulation. Its editorials and articles are nonetheless still often carried by other Party organ newspapers and are distributed through Xinhua. A key editorial on 26 April 1989 written by Party officials described the student demonstrations at the time as ‘counter-revolutionary turmoil’ presaging sterner attitudes to come. Nonetheless, journalists from the newspaper were active participants in the demonstrations supporting the students.

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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