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Chinese Media after China’s Entry into WTO, Vol. 10 - 2003, No. 4

The Post-WTO Restructuring of the Chinese Media Industries and the Consequences of Capitalisation

, pages: 19-36[open access]

This article examines the forces that have led to the recent restructuring of the Chinese media system. It demonstrates that the current developing situation is the result of the interplay of complex forces. On the one hand, there are conflicts between different levels of the political apparatus, while this apparatus as a whole has a thousand links with economic power, but also a quite different dynamic. At the same time, there is a strong desire to construct large Chinese media conglomerates that can resist the likely incursions of transnational media corporations in order to ensure that local economic and political power remains intact. The outcomes of the interplay of these different pressures is far from clear at the moment and it is unlikely that the pace of change will be sufficiently rapid as to allow a quick resolution to the complex problems that have arisen. It is, however, generally the case that, over the last two decades, the power of the market has been increasing relative to the old political imperatives: this process may be termed the “capitalisation” of the Chinese media. These two forces, however, should not be seen as mutually exclusive. Rather, then exist today in a strained but mutually legitimating relationship, and it is likely that the future development of media will result in a deepening of this alliance, to the exclusion of marginal voices and the increased hegemony of both political power and capital power.

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