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

Transnational Capital, the Chinese State, and China’s Communication Industries in a Fractured Society

, pages: 53-74[open access]

China’s accession to the World Trade Organisation has significantly accelerated the country’s integration with global capitalism through its bureaucratically-controlled and market-driven communication industries. The specific terms and conditions of this integration has meant that a newly reconstituted power bloc – consisting of the bureaucratic capitalists of a reformed Party state, transnational corporate capital, and an emerging urban middle class, whose members are the favoured consumers of both domestic and transnational capital – has assumed hegemonic dominance of the communicative processes both in and out of China. At the same time, this process has been highly contentious, and continues to be mediated by both nationalistic and leftist ideological legacies of the Chinese state and emerging forms of social and cultural contestation. This paper examines this integration from a transnational and transcultural political economic perspective. It begins with a critique of the Chinese nationalist and democracy frameworks in analyzing this integration, and then moves on to analyze the structural and ideological dimensions of China’s semi-integrated communication industries and markets and identify new patterns of inclusion and exclusion in the distribution of communicative power. At the centre of this analysis lie tensions between national and class interests; between the imperatives of capital accumulation and the communication needs of an increasingly fractured society; and, between horizontal and vertical communication among different social groups in a globalising context.

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