Handbook of Cultural and Creative Industries in China
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Handbook of Cultural and Creative Industries in China

Edited by Michael Keane

China is at the crux of reforming, professionalising, and internationalising its cultural and creative industries. These industries are at the forefront of China’s move towards the status of a developed country. In this comprehensive Handbook, international experts including leading Mainland scholars examine the background to China’s cultural and creative industries as well as the challenges ahead. The chapters represent the cutting-edge of scholarship, setting out the future directions of culture, creativity and innovation in China. Combining interdisciplinary approaches with contemporary social and economic theory, the contributors examine developments in art, cultural tourism, urbanism, digital media, e-commerce, fashion and architectural design, publishing, film, television, animation, documentary, music and festivals.
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Chapter 15: The cultural governance of mass media in contemporary China

Florian Schneider


The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has one of the most carefully regulated media environments in the world. The Chinese state and the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) take an unapologetically authoritarian stance when it comes to controlling the production and flow of culture: for China’s political leadership, it is of crucial importance to ‘correctly guide public opinion’. This is true for political issues, such as news reporting on sensitive current affairs or international relations, but also for cultural expressions that might constitute ‘ideological challenges’ to Chinese sovereignty or cultural identity, which the leadership views as matters of ‘national security’ (Ng 2014). Foreign media tend to interpret media controls in the PRC as the workings of a monolithic authoritarian apparatus that is trying to win a ‘cat and mouse’ game (Economist 2013) with the ‘forces of freedom of expression’ (Sudworth 2013). Such assessments can also be found in academic accounts, where Chinese media workers and government officials are at times seen as ‘unapologetic spouters of lies’ (He 2008: 38). There is of course much to criticize about censorship and propaganda in the PRC today. However it would be misleading to view such information control solely as top-down acts by the state. The reality of cultural regulations is far more complex, and it is the purpose of this chapter to capture some of this complexity.

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