The Chinese Communist Party (CCP), on Oct. 8, published a draft of the “Negative Market Access List,” which highlights the monopolization of information in the hands of the State.
According to Bitter Winter, the list, published every year, is issued jointly by the Ministry of Commerce and the National Development and Reform Commission and then approved by the Central Committee of the CCP.
The list spells out prohibited activities for private companies, foreign investors, and other non-state actors.
While this draft is not final, not many changes are made once the rules are promulgated.
Foreign media echoed the CCP’s propaganda, saying that there are fewer restrictions than last year, 117 against 123. They mentioned the prohibition of investing in cryptocurrency mining but neglected to mention the prohibition against non-state companies participating in the area of information. In other words, the state has a total monopoly on information.
Point number 6 of the list reads:
- Non-public capital shall not participate in news gathering, editing and dissemination activities.
- Non-public capital shall not invest in the establishment and operation of news organizations, including, among others, news agencies, newspaper publishing units, radio and television broadcasting organizations, radio and television stations and Internet news information.
- Non-public capital, shall not operate news organizations, such as pages, frequencies, channels, columns, or public accounts.
- Non-public capital shall not conduct live broadcasting of political, economic, military, diplomatic, social, cultural, scientific and technological, health, education, sports and other activities related to political leadership, public opinion and value orientation.
- Non-public capital may not present news published by foreign entities.
- Non-public capital may not hold forums and summits and award prizes in the field of news and public opinion.
What must be taken into account is that the CCP can monopolize information and brainwash the Chinese people within its territory. Although it cannot use the same method for the rest of the world, it has other options to penetrate little by little.
Under the French Ministry of Defense, the Institute of Strategic Studies of the Military Academy (IRSEM) published an analysis report on “China’s influential actions.”
The report shows that, in terms of cultural penetration, the CCP exports film and television products, on the one hand, to achieve the purpose of propagating and spreading false information. On the other hand, it uses interests to threaten, influence, and censor foreign cultural and artistic works.
The CCP’s propaganda efforts in other countries
According to the IRSEM report, in addition to the usual Chinese-produced TV series and movies, they also export “patriotic” films like “Operation Red Sea” and “Wolf Warrior,” which attempt to create a positive image of CCP soldiers and brainwash foreign audiences.
The CCP’s penetration of the gaming market has increased its influence and ability to control anti-communist discourse that violates the CCP’s stance. Unfortunately, at the same time, it has turned the market into a potent tool for spreading fake news.
On many occasions, they seek to prevent art companies from performing and harass and pressure foreign companies.
In 2017, the Chinese embassy pressured the Royal Danish Theater to prevent the Falun Gong-related Shen Yun Performing Arts company from performing. The IRSEM report said that sometimes CCP pressure is so widespread within China’s circle of business partners that they can sit back watch local companies do their dirty work.
In 2018, the Royal Court Theater in London refused to host a performance reflecting on Tibet. They were not pressured by the CCP but received a plea from the British Cultural Council that they would harm the operation of the Royal Court Theater in China if they performed.
In addition, Beijing often pressures publishers to remove content such as photos posted on websites or social media.
Patrick Wack, author, and photographer of the Xinjiang Photo Collection (Dust, André Frère Éditions, 2021), is well aware of this. Initially, he was asked by the Kodak company to post more than a dozen works on the company’s Instagram account. Once posted, the photo and a caption attached by the author exposed the CCP’s persecution of Xinjiang. The post drew over 40,000 likes but also the anger of Chinese netizens. In response, Kodak deleted Wack’s content from its Instagram page, apologizing for “any misunderstanding or offense the post may have caused.”
“I think Chinese nationalists have harassed them, and the company’s management is scared,” Wack said. The report says that Kodak’s apology message is very similar to many companies that have bowed to the CCP’s censorship.