Xinjiang: The story Beijing doesn’t want reported

On The Listening Post this week: A two-part special on media in China: Under-reporting of the state’s treatment of Uighur Muslims, and the tale of the Southern Media Group.

Xinjiang: The story Beijing doesn’t want reported

The alleged mass incarceration of Uighur and other Turkic Muslim minorities – more than a million of them – in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region is a story the Chinese government does not want out there.

For foreign journalists, reporting on it could mean a one-way ticket out of the country. Chinese journalists reporting on it have it worse: they could face threats, violence and in some cases prison sentences.

The Chinese media echo their government’s security narrative on this; that the measures are necessary given separatist movements in the area prone to violence.

And the terminology can be telling. What the international media call “internment camps” and “forced indoctrination”, the Chinese media describe as “political education centres” and “counter extremism training schools”.


Megha Rajagopalan – correspondent, Buzzfeed News
Alim Seytoff – director of Uyghur Service, Radio Free Asia
Emily Feng – China correspondent, Financial Times
Einar Tangen – economic adviser to the Chinese government

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The story of China’s Southern Media Group

About six years ago, in 2012, The Listening Post reported on what was an under-covered aspect of Chinese journalism: the rise of investigative news outlets.

One of the organisations we looked at then was the Southern Media Group, which had a track record of investing in deeply reported, muck-raking journalism that held Communist Party officials to account and even resulted in some political and legal reforms.

That’s not the case now.

After a few serious run-ins with the authorities, Southern Media and its journalists came under a kind of pressure that has severely handicapped its investigative reporting.

This is just one case in a landscape that has seen significant shifts. Greater state monitoring and control of media, as well as increased competition and falling advertising revenues have all had an impact.

The Listening Post‘s Meenakshi Ravi reports.


Maria Repnikova – assistant professor, Georgia State University
Chang Ping – former news director, Southern Weekly
Fang Kecheng – former political reporter, Southern Weekly
Steve Tsang – director, SOAS China Institute

Source: Al Jazeera

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