The Curse of Politicization: How It Impedes Institutional Checks in China?
Room 3301 (Lift 17/18), Academic Building, HKUST

By examining news articles covering accidents and disasters from 230 Chinese provincial newspapers during 2010-2020, I explore how politicization of state-owned media may weaken media monitoring in an autocracy. In the reform era, commercial newspapers, not fully subsidized by the government, effectively plays a role of monitoring by covering safe yet eye-catching topics such as adverse events outside of the newspapers’ home provinces. We find that after a media politicization campaign launched in 2016, commercial newspapers experienced a greater reduction in the negative coverage on out-of-province accidents---but not on out-of-province natural disasters---relative to Party mouthpiece newspapers. The reduction is particularly strong for self-funding newspapers, and accidents attracting more attention. Further evidence suggests that the rollout of the politicization campaign is linked to the personal authority of President Xi.

Room 3301 (Lift 17/18), Academic Building, HKUST
Speakers / Performers:
Ms YIN Yabin