China has emerged as “the nerve center and leading exemplar of 21st-century authoritarianism,” says a leading analyst.
“Unlike its 20th-century predecessors, the Chinese system is designed to permit a wide range of social and personal freedoms, and has a considerable tolerance for market economics, albeit with a substantial degree of state intrusion and a staggering amount of corruption,” writes Arch Puddington, vice president for Research at Freedom House:
Such selective openness is coupled with the ruthless suppression of any and all perceived threats to the Communist Party’s monopoly on political power. To this end, the Chinese leadership has developed a pervasive, sophisticated, and highly adaptive mechanism for information control that is meant deny access to “subversive” views while amplifying the party’s message on current affairs….. Nevertheless, in its technical intricacy, its success at placing censorship responsibility on journalists and the managers of both old and new media delivery systems, and its access to billions of dollars in resources to ensure the proper filtration of news reaching the general public, the Chinese information system represents authoritarian rule at its most modern, nuanced, and efficient.
But democrats should be concerned by the global reach of China’s censors, he adds, which is “increasingly designed to reach outside China’s borders and affect the discourse in democratic and developing countries.”
That’s one reason why the China Media Bulletin highlights the often underreported aspects of the Chinese government’s growing efforts to boost its own image and suppress critical reporting abroad.