Press Finance and Economic Reform in China
PRESS FINANCE AND ECONOMIC REFORM IN CHINA
Department of Journalism and Communication
Chinese University of Hong Kong
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Department of Journalism and Communication
Chinese University of Hong Kong
Paper submitted for presentation at the annual conference of Association of
Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, International Communication
Division, Baltimore, MA, USA, Aug. 5-8.
Press Finance and Economic Reform in China
PRESS FINANCE AND ECONOMIC REFORM IN CHINA
This study provides a detailed account of the changing structure of press
finance in China and its impact on various aspects of press operation. It
closely scrutinizes the role of marketization in the process of partisan press'
decline and the transformation of newspapers' financial management,
practitioners' income system, ownership structure, production process, and
content. The emerging patterns suggest that the Chinese press is undergoing a
liberalizing experience in some areas, which serve to dilute its mouthpiece
Press Finance and Economic Reform in China
Press Finance and Economic Reform in China
One of the most central problems facing China's political communication
involves what Chin-Chuan Lee calls "imbiguities and contradictions" arising from
the relationship between continued state control and economic reform. The
media under the old Communist commandist system were first and foremost the
transmission belts of the party line, but two decades of economic reform have
served to weaken their still strong mouthpiece role. Marketization of
political management has progressively depoliticized the state, economics and
culture, thus creating considerable room for media liberalization. Formal
censorship has been made more predictable through bureaucratization, and the
media have undergone a process of increasing secularization. China still
maintains an authoritarian, arbitrary, and intrusive state, but it has had to
reckon with innumerable manifest or latent functions unleashed by the market
forces. The media must try to strike a balance with both sides of the
political economy--the state versus the market--in order to manage, if not
resolve, their paradoxical relationship. As a result, China's media have been
characterized as having "commercialization without independence" or enjoying
"bird-caged press freedom." There is a growing literature that takes account
of this momentous change. Huailin Chen and Yu Huang have analyzed China's
"uneven development" of circulation and advertising revenues in the reform era,
which favors mass-appeal newspapers in major coastal cities at the expense of
party newspapers. Lynn White examines the Shanghai press's organization,
staff, content and constituencies in relation to the larger environment of
economic reform, while Jinglu Yu explores the changing central-local
relationship in China's television system. Guoguang Wu and Xiaoying Liao
note that the state's control of political thought is still tight, but there is
an increasing level of functional differentiation within China's multilayered
bureaucracies, with each segment in search of its own organ and thus comprising
"many mouths" that reflect the thought of "one head." Zhongdang Pan and
Judy Polumbaum argue that economic reform has impacted the emerging
"professional culture" of media organizations and working journalists, who
constantly improvise new reporting strategies to surmount official control and
attract market success. Zhou He investigates how the effect of economic
reform has penetrated media organizations to reshape their internal news
routines, power distribution, and content.
This chapter aims to systematically cull diverse economic information from
voluminous Chinese publications to examine both macroscopically and
microscopically how economic reform has influenced press finance, and with what
implications for various aspects of press operation. We are necessarily
constrained by the highly sketchy and incomplete nature of the original sources,
but hope to portray a relatively coherent picture. First, we must explain some
of the criteria and parameters necessary for understanding how the state
controls press finance in China. Then we shall examine how the methods of press
financing have been changed by marketization, and how these changes have
affected the revenues of press organizations and news workers. We shall also
analyze China's current trend toward press conglomeration, and finally discuss
the impact of changes in press finance on press operation and content.
Administrative Rank, Professional Grade, and Press Finance
There are some background parameters that should be understood. In China
commandist political and economic system, rank always constitutes a paramount
determinant of occupational status and reward, although results of economic
reform have somehow diluted this established rule. Media organizations, like
any institutions, are absorbed into the national administrative rank system
which consists of the central level, the provincial or ministerial level, the
district or bureau (ju) level, the county (equivalent of chu) level, as well as
the township (equivalent of gu) level. Each newspaper, at the time of
inauguration, is assigned a rank, usually one level below its sponsoring or
supervising body. Thus, a central-level organ (such as the People Daily)
commands the ministerial rank, whereas the provincial-level or ministerial-level
papers (such as the Henan Daily or the Chinese Petroleum Daily) are accorded the
In addition, China divides the nature of state-owned units into three
types--state administrative units, non-profit business units (shiye), and
profitable enterprises (qiye)-- that stand in different political and economic
relationships to the state in terms of privileges and obligations. Mass media
do not qualify themselves as part of the established administrative units or
government agencies of the state system which receive guaranteed funding. Nor
are the media seen as profitable (qiye) organizations free to pursue their own
interests in the market. They are treated as non-profit units (shiye) whose
legal and financial status is akin to various cultural, educational, sports,
science and health institutions. The media are thus placed in the dilemma of
not being legally entitled to receive state subsidies and yet not being
autonomous to pursue commercial profits. In view of the media's centrality in
China ideological and propaganda system, however, their actual dependence on
state subsidies had long been assumed.
With the progress of economic reform, the state found it imperative to shed
part of its mammoth financial obligations, urging all media to achieve financial
self-reliance and even taking measures to curtail traditional aid to them. As
ideologically vital organizations they continue to be subjected to stringent
state supervision. In order to lessen the state's financial burden, exceptions
have also been made to allow the supposedly non-profit (shiye) media
organizations to operate as if they were profit-making (qiye)
organizations. It is hoped that the media will continue to serve the state
propaganda aims but ultimately with the money they themselves make. Many media
outlets have found it difficult to reach this financial goal.
The state, as the sole owner of the press, reserves the right to decide which
newspaper will follow which mode of financial operation: fully subsidized,
partially subsidized, or unsubsidized. Until recently, most newspapers in the
nation have been fully or partially subsidized by the state. Specifically, most
of the internally circulated newspapers that are published by industries,
enterprises, colleges and universities do not have separate or stable sources of
revenues; their expenses are fully budgeted in the unit's overall plan and any
unspent money is returned to state coffers. The majority of the publicly
available newspapers belong to the second mode of operation: partial state
subsidies. While they derive part of the revenues from circulation and
advertising, the amount is insufficient to defray operating expenses and
salaries, thus requiring the state budget to cover the deficit. Alternatively,
they may pay operating costs and salaries out of state funds and apply
self-generating revenues to balance the difference. Third, there are increasing
numbers of profitable newspapers permitted to be run entirely on their own
revenues without state subsidies, even though their revenue procurement and
payment must still observe state regulations.
The Decline of the Party Press
At the first brush, the impact of changes in press finance can be broadly
observed in the rise and fall of newspaper circulation from 1986 to 1996, as
summarized in Table 1. During the decade, the number of dailies, defined as
those publishing at least four times a week, rose faster than their total
circulation; this suggests that there are new winners and losers. While the
number of dailies gained by two and a half times (from 239 to 621), the total
circulation only grew moderately (from 50 million to 56.3 million). One of
the most notable consequences of economic reform in China has been a steady
erosion of the party press and the corresponding rise in popularity of the
Patterned after the old Soviet system, these newspapers are functionally and
organizationally classified into five types to form an interwoven web of
targeted and overlapping readership, with profound implications for their
financial control, social influence, and editorial content. First and
foremost is the party organ. The central committee of the Chinese Communist
Party controls the People Daily, while each of the provincial-level party
committees controls an organ usually named after the province (for example, the
Henan Daily). The party press nearly doubled from 180 to 345 but lost ground in
its total circulation. The decline in its actual circulation figures (from 25.7
million to 22.9 million) is, however, not as dramatic as the drop in its share
of national newspaper circulation (from 51.3% to 40.6%).
The second group of newspapers, called the "target press," are published by
official or semi-official organizations to cater to specialized readers of
various occupational backgrounds or socioeconomic interests. For example, the
Young Communist League publishes the Chinese Youth Daily, the National
Federation of Workers owns the Workers Daily, and the Physical Education and
Sports Commission under the State Council issues its own Chinese Sports Daily.
From 1986 to 1996, the target press grew slightly in number (from 17 to 41) but
declined substantially in circulation (from 12.7 million to 7.9 million). There
was also a sharp decrease in its share of national newspaper circulation (from
25.5% to 14%).
The third group is the enterprise/industry press published either by government
departments (such as the Chinese Petroleum Daily) or by large state enterprises
(such as the Baosan Steel Daily). This press seems to have scored significant
gains both in number (from 10 to 113) and circulation (from .6 million to 84.7
million). It accounted for 15% of national newspaper circulation in 1996,
compared with the negligible 1.2% a decade before. But such statistics are
misleading, for this internally circulated press exerts little social influence
and appears to be published at a loss. In fact, the central government has been
seeking to bring this press under control through forced closure of many
The mass press--comprising the evening press, the municipal press, and the
general-content press with more than 50% of private subscription (vis- -vis
state subscription)--has gained in popularity and advertising revenues. In
1996, even though the number of the mass press was small (110), its circulation
had risen so sharply as to account for 23.4% of the nation's total newspaper
circulation. In the same year, the nation four largest newspaper advertisers
were all mass-appeal newspapers; moreover, 39 mass-appeal newspapers produced a
billing of $3.3 billion, or 42% of the national total. The mass-appeal
papers have distanced themselves financially from the once most prestigious
party papers in a glaring way, to the extent that some of the party papers have
produced their own mass-appeal imitates.
The fifth type is a variety of digests, as represented by the Reference News
that prints selections from the foreign press presumably for internal
circulation among cadres and intellectuals. The circulation of the once
immensely popular Reference News has dropped sharply as China's press has become
more informative in the reform decades.
Severance of State Subsidies
Press subsidies, which have been in effect since 1949, started to take a toll
on the state treasury in the mid-1980s. Until then, the state had provided
almost guaranteed revenues to the press through subscriptions and direct
financial assistance. As part of the centrally planned economy, the government
annually formulated a detailed budget plan regarding how the newspaper should
expend the money it received. The newspaper could use the state money to pay
for wages and fringe benefits (such as housing and medical care), to defray any
deficit in operating costs (including newsprint, ink, and energy), or to acquire
and maintain fixed assets (such as office building and printing facilities). If
the state approved the newspaper's request for hiring additional people, the
associated cost would be incorporated into the budget. Since individual papers
had no authority to appropriate the funds as they saw fit, they did not have any
incentive to cultivate their own revenues.
The state set out, in 1978, to grant selected papers a measure of financial
autonomy by allowing them to operate on a profit-seeking basis. But at that
time this new experiment was too small in scale and China's market still too
weak to structurally alter the basic press dependence on state subsidies. As
the press was hard hit by a series of huge rises in newsprint costs and wages
from 1986 to 1988, the state prohibited the press from raising its price.
Forced to help alleviate the press's financial hardship, the state mandated that
the central government should subsidize the central-level newspapers, and that
the provincial-level newspapers could ask their local governments for
compensation, but that the lower-level newspapers had to solve their own
problems. Many chief editors of the provincial-level newspapers complained
aloud that they had to divide their time to "beg for money" because none of
their supervising agencies seemed willing to take responsibility for press
survival--including its capital, facilities, management and development.
The state was obviously feeling overburdened.
In 1992, the Newspaper and Publication Bureau under the State Council announced
a new policy--generally branded as a policy to "stop breast-feeding"--which
amounted to a declaration of severing press subsidies. The policy called
for all newspapers but a handful of chief organs (such as the People's Daily,
the Economic Daily and the party's leading theoretical magazine, Qiushi) to
achieve financial self-reliance by 1994. Deputy Minister of Propaganda, Xu
Guangcun, even expressed the hope that the People's Daily and Qiushi would
someday stand on their feet financially. Meanwhile, he designated the task
of increasing these two publications' circulation as "the most important
assignment" and also the task of boosting the circulation of the Guangming
Daily, the Economic Daily, and the Liberation Army Daily as an "important
assignment." By the same token, Hebei's provincial authorities decreed that
unless government units subscribe to the People's Daily, Qiushi, and the Hebei
Daily, they would not be labeled as "vanguard party units."
Notwithstanding the state's intention, only an estimated one-third of the
press in China were financially self-reliant by 1997. Most of the central-level
papers and some of the major provincial-level newspapers were said to be
self-supporting. The whole picture is, however, by no means clear. In
Shanghai, there were 51 financially autonomous newspapers, yet 14 outlets were
still partially subsidized and 19 others fully subsidized. In the impoverished
interior provinces, the newspapers could generate only a tiny trickle of
revenues, and the outside income contributed only 1% to 3% to their total
revenues in 1996. Of Anhui's 39 provincial papers, only seven were
reportedly self-supporting. The 40 publicly circulated newspapers in
Guizhou province--whose circulation (400,000 copies combined) and advertising
revenues ($60 million, or almost one-tenth of Xinmin Evening News's $570
million) were very small--would have been bankrupt if there had not been a flow
of state funds.
As a way of encouraging papers to cultivate their own revenues, the state has
also issued permissions for them to retain a certain proportion of their
profits. The money can be used for improving the employee's medical care,
upgrading newspaper equipment, and rewarding good performance. The state,
however, reserves the final authority to decide on how big a proportion of
profits is to be retained and in what ways the money should be spent. In
contrast to the declining and greatly disadvantaged party press, a handful of
the mass-appeal newspapers, such as the Xinmin Evening Daily in Shanghai and the
Yangcheng Evening Daily in Guangzhou, have amassed huge amounts of resources at
their disposal. In exchange for greater financial autonomy, these newspapers
have opted to pay higher taxes to the state, assessed at a rate (over 30%) that
normally applies to profitable business enterprises.
Impact on Newspaper Workers' Income
In the 1980s a newspaper worker remuneration consisted of regular wages, fringe
benefits, and bonuses. Wages, being most significant, were paid uniformly
according to the worker's professional grade, regardless of the paper
administrative rank. There exist four professional grades within a newspaper
organization: senior reporters/editors (equivalent to full professors), head
reporters/editors (equivalent to associate professors), reporters/editors, and
assistant reporters/editors. In 1985, the standard wages for a senior
reporter/editor ranged from $220 to $350 monthly, and an assistant
reporter/editor was paid between $70 and $105, with a gap of roughly three times
between them (Table 2, Part I).
Even the distribution of various professional grades within a newspaper
organization is centrally planned and strictly controlled through the setting of
quotas, with preference given to newspapers of a higher administrative rank
(Table 2, Part II). The central-level People's Daily is authorized to employ up
to 5% of its editorial personnel as senior reporters/editors and 25% as head
reporters/editors; the corresponding quotas for the provincial-level Liberation
Daily decline to 2% and 18%. The district-level newspaper is permitted to have
no more than 15% as head reporters/editors (but no senior reporters/editors),
whereas the county-level newspaper can only employ junior staffers. In the
1980s, the journalist's professional grade was far more consequential than the
paper's administrative rank in deciding the amount of wages, because a reporter
of the same grade was paid at a fixed scale whether working for the People's
Daily or the lower-ranking Shanghai Youth Daily. The narrow salary range
within the same professional grade was due to the small allowances made for the
individual's working years and the location of his residence where the cost of
living differed. Shanghai and Qinghai led the nation in the cost of living on a
nine-point scale; Sichuan and Henan ranked among the lowest, with Beijing in
Besides the meager basic wages, the Big State took it upon itself to look after
media workers' mundane daily lives through provision of fringe benefits,
especially those of housing and medical care. The cost of fringe benefits was
borne by the local government where the newspaper was located or by the
government department that owned the newspaper. Theoretically, the Shanghai
Municipal Government should have paid for the fringe benefits of the Liberation
Daily staff, and the Shanghai Young Communist League was obliged to look after
the Shanghai Youth Daily employees. Besides housing and medical care, the
government-paid fringe benefits also covered--in the eyes of outsiders--a
shockingly detailed and encompassing menu of programs, including anything from
cost-of-living adjustments and single-child allowances, to newspaper
subscriptions and personal hygiene (for getting a bath and haircut). As
forbidding as this general welfare policy might seem, however, the absolute sum
of money involved was relatively minor. By the 1985 standard, each person
received $2 each month for newspaper subscriptions and another $2 to meet the
needs of personal hygiene.
A set of processes was involved in transferring housing benefits from
higher-level bureaucracies to the newspaper organization. For example, the
Shanghai Municipal Government might first build blocks of apartments and then
distribute them to various systems (xitong) under its supervision, one of these
being the news and propaganda system. Upon receiving its allocated share from
the news and propaganda system, the Liberation Daily further assigned these
apartments to qualified employees based presumably on professional grade and
actual need--if not on favoritism, graft, and other extraneous considerations.
Since the mid-1980s some profitable newspapers have lessened their state
dependence by either building apartments on a piece of government land or
contributing toward the construction cost.
Economic reform has substantially eroded, even reversed, the significance of
administrative rank as a determinant of the newspaper's resources. The amount
of resources that provincial papers could command from state agencies used to be
a target of envy by municipal or district papers, but the cessation of state
subsidies has turned previous advantages into unexpected disadvantages. Plagued
by the diseconomy of their staff size, many provincial newspapers are facing a
formidable task of having to fulfill their long-standing obligation in providing
adequate housing accommodations to a large army of active workers and retired
staff. Municipal or district newspapers are neither as negatively impacted by
the drastic reduction in state budget nor as burdened by historical legacy as
their higher-ranking provincial counterparts. On the contrary, these
lower-ranking outlets have been able to lure talents away from provincial papers
with higher pay and better housing conditions.
Bonuses were introduced in the mid-1980s to constitute the third component of
the media worker's income. Though originally set up to encourage the supposedly
non-profit press outlets to generate their own revenues, bonuses came to be
distributed equally within the press organization without reference to the
journalist's professional grade or work performance. The bonus averaged less
than 10% and was in any case limited to 25% of one's wages. Otherwise, the
state could tax the media outlets for any excess amount so exorbitantly as to
make dispensing it infeasible--except for such highly lucrative outlets as
Entering into the 1990s as the remunerative structure underwent major
transformation, a newspaper ability to produce revenues has gradually come to
replace the journalist's professional grade as a major determinant of individual
income. A junior reporter in a profitable paper often makes more money than a
senior reporter in an unprofitable paper. In 1993, the government implemented a
nation-wide wages reform, allowing the media to retain a certain amount of
profits in direct proportion to their income-producing abilities. As is evident
in Table 2 (Part II), the state-guaranteed basic wages stayed virtually
unchanged from 1985 to 1994. In 1994, a senior reporter made $165 to $670, only
marginally higher than the $70-$350 range in 1985. With inflation averaging
10.5% annually, journalists' real income declined considerably.
Under the new wages structure, the newspaper has continued to provide a fixed
amount of "basic wages" to guarantee minimum payment. But the bonus has been
regularized as "flexible wages" and distributed on the basis of merit. The
amount of flexible wages is tied to both the newspaper's revenue-generating
ability and the individual worker's performance. Specifically, fully subsidized
papers, such as the internally circulated enterprise/industry and university
press, could apply 60% of the allocated money to pay for fixed wages yet reserve
30% as flexible wages. As previously noted, the majority of newspapers in China
are still partially dependent on the state to cover deficit differences between
operating costs and the revenues they generate. For them, the flexible wages
could be raised to 40%. The financially independent newspapers were, of
course, given even greater autonomy. This policy has prompted papers to create
a wide variety of incentive items as part of their flexible wagesD"story fees,"
"editing fees," "on-duty fees" and "good stories" awards--but the amount of
which usually does not exceed the basic wages. In a financially distressed
newspaper, flexible wages are likely to be small, only 20% to 30% of the basic
In this complex and untidy wages system which evolved in a patchwork fashion,
the newspaper not only pays fixed wages and flexible wages (bonuses of the
1980s) but also creates a new pool of money as cash awards. These newly created
cash awards also depend on the newspaper's revenue-producing ability, in favor
of the advertising-rich and financially autonomous outlets. Even partially
subsidized outlets can negotiate with the state on a case-by-case basis to
dispense cash awards as a mechanism to stimulate their revenue-producing
efforts. The generously endowed Xinmin Evening Daily can confer on its most
deserving worker a cash award which is three to five times as big as the total
amount of basic wages and flexible wages combined, not to speak of the paper's
ability to provide better housing conditions at a cheap rate.
Different ratios between fixed wages, flexible wages, and cash awards have
widened the gaps in income and presumably morale levels among employees within
and across various press units. In financially thriving newspapers, basic
wages are unimportant relative to flexible wages and cash awards, so one's
personal performance has outweighed professional grade as a decisive factor of
income. But in financially difficult outlets, flexible wages and cash awards
are likely to be small, making the journalist professional grade still a primary
consideration of one's main source of income: basic wages. Symbolic of this
paradox that would have been seen as heinous in the 1980s is the fact that a
Xinmin Evening Daily reporter makes about as much money as the People's Daily's
editor-in-chief. This has led Zhu Xinmin, the People's Daily general
secretary, to openly decry that only with a strengthened financial position can
the party organ retain its requisite talents and prevent further erosion of its
traditional status and dignity.
Marketization and the Structure of Press Finance
In 1988, the Newspaper and Publication Bureau authorized newspapers to
undertake media-related businesses such as printing, advertising, and
photographic services. Under intense pressure to generate outside income
amidst gradually relaxed government control, newspapers have one by one ventured
into not only media-related businesses but also other activities--real estate,
hotels, and restaurants--totally unrelated to media operation. This national
craze for striking instant prosperity has, however, produced more losers than
winners across the nation. The Chinese press circle is filled with stories
that tell of how many and which media outlets have suffered financial debacles
due to inexperience, policy errors, mismanagement, or inadequate capital. For
example, half of the Henan Daily's ventures have reportedly failed, and many
other non-coastal papers have similarly suffered. In contrast, the Xinmin
Evening Daily boasts of its multifaceted business operations, including a $450
million modern printing center and a variety of information, trading, and
advertising companies, in addition to a restaurant and a real estate
company. Other profitable papers in the coastal provinces, especially in
the cities of Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Beijing, have been closely
following suit. Many of them have typically imported sophisticated printing
facilities and built expensive office complexes. But on a national scale,
the number and proportion of such profitable papers remain rather small.
The most important sources of self-produced income consist of circulation and
advertising revenues. But in China, newspaper subscriptions are for the most
part approved and paid by government units and thus should be seen as an
essential ingredient of state subsidies. As a unique phenomenon probably not to
be found elsewhere, China's government units at various levels reserve a sum of
special funds exclusively for the purpose of subscribing to a host of primarily
party newspapers in their offices. A common cartoon caricatured China's "office
culture" as having people sit around and read newspapers all day long while
smoking a cigarette and sipping a hot cup of tea on the side. Across China,
for every private subscription, there were 19 state subscriptions. Without the
state backing, many newspapers would not have survived.
Regarded as vital to the state's ideological functions, most central-level and
provincial-level newspapers enjoyed a massive and taken-for-granted dependence
on state subsidies in the 1980s, whether in the form of press subscriptions or
direct financial assistance. Table 3 shows that in 1985, state subscription
accounted for a lion share of revenues (67%, or $78.5 million) for the four
central-level newspapers where the data were available. Specifically, state
subscription's contribution to the revenue structure ranged from 54% for the
intellectual-oriented Guangming Daily, 61% for the Economic Daily, 70% for the
Worker's Daily, to 77% for the Chinese Youth Daily. For them, state
subscription and direct assistance accounted for anywhere between six to almost
nine dollars in ten. Meanwhile, revenues accrued from advertising were only
beginning to play a weightier role, especially for the Economic Daily (23%) and
the Guangming Daily (19%).
Next, Table 4 sums up the revenue profile of 8 major provincial-level
newspapers in 1986 where the data were available and which were supposedly
representative of the general pattern. State subsidies, especially in the form
of newspaper subscriptions, remained dominant, accounting for 37% to 71% of
individual paper's revenues and 53% of the group revenues. Only Shanghai's
Wenhui Bao and Liberation Daily managed to attract 15% private subscribers; 95%
of the subscriptions to the other six papers came from the state. Despite
individual variations, this group market dependence on advertising and outside
businesses seemed higher than the central-level newspapers. Notably, the
Nanfang Daily in Guangzhou derived 40% of its revenues from such outside
businesses as providing advertising, circulation, printing and information
services; it also owns factory plants, real estate properties and eight other
Similarly, Table 5 shows the revenue profile of 18 selected district- or
municipal-level newspapers in 1987 for which the data were available. They are
scattered in diverse parts of the country and thus believed to typify the
general pattern. Members of this group possessed substantially smaller revenues
than those of the central-level or provincial-level counterparts. Private
subscription was minimum. Direct state assistance for this group stood at 11%.
The role of state subscription in the revenue structure was significant (22%)
for this group, but even more dominant for the central-level newspapers (67.7%)
and the provincial-level newspapers (50%). Despite internal differences, these
district/municipal newspapers accrued much of their income from outside
businesses (43%) and advertising (24%). Many are still operating in deficit,
but some are competitive with provincial papers.
Profiting from vigorous market reform, the Chinese press has been shifting its
revenue base. In the early 1980s, newspaper advertising was virtually
insignificant as state subscriptions were of utmost importance. Nationally, as
Table 6 shows, the rates of growth in both newspaper circulation and advertising
revenues from 1986 to 1996 surpassed those of the national gross product (GNP)
several times. The annual growth rates--especially from 1992 to 1994--were
equally impressive on both counts. In terms of percentage growth, advertising
(31 times) was even more spectacular than circulation (10 times) over the
decade. In 1986, newspaper advertising revenues totaled $.9 billion, more than
three times larger than total advertising revenues ($.25 billion). The gap has
been narrowed, and by 1996 total advertising billings ($7.77 billion) were
closely behind total circulation revenues ($8.12 billion). It should be noted,
however, that given China's continental size, both its total advertising
revenues and its newspaper advertising revenues are still very small, only
slightly above the levels of Hong Kong but below those of Taiwan, and thus
leaving much room for future growth. Dependence on advertising revenues is
expected to intensify as the state reduces its subsidies, including newspaper
subscriptions. It goes without saying that both advertising and circulation
revenues have never been equitably shared, undoubtedly favoring the mass-appeal
Unfortunately, there are no corresponding data in the 1990s for these three
groups of newspapers to make historical comparisons. Table 7 shows, however,
that the decade from 1986 to 1996 saw circulation figures of selected
central-level and provincial-level newspapers more than quadrupled. During the
same period, their combined advertising revenues grew 19 times, averaging 34%
per year. Further scrutiny reveals that the eight provincial papers have
surpassed the four central papers in terms of the rate, if not the size, of
growth in circulation and advertising. Advertising revenues were only 29% of
circulation revenues in 1986 but surged to be as large as 133% of the latter a
decade later. The size and rate of growth in advertising for the Liberation
Daily (with a ratio of 3.16), the Wenhui Bao (1.65) and the Nanfang Daily (2.13)
have been particularly amazing. This trend is continuing in full swing.
The media worker's earnings increasingly hinge on the newspaper ability to
generate advertising proceeds, which, as previously stated, are directly related
to the amount of "flexible wages" and cash awards that the newspaper can afford
to provide. This revenue-producing ability is further influenced by the
ideological versus business nature of the newspaper and the operating
environment it faces. In the absence of more broad-ranging data, Table 8
presents an illuminating case of the medium-sized Labor Daily in Shanghai. This
paper's advertising revenues rose almost geometrically from $560,000 in 1991 to
$22 million in 1996--representing a 39-fold increase over five years, doubling
every year. Meanwhile, there was a vast increase in the paper's total
assets from $11 million to $50 million. The average worker's monthly income
increased 56% per year, climbing from $313 to $2,980 in five years. It is clear
that fixed wages became less significant as flexible wages and cash awards
became more significant. In 1991, flexible wages and cash awards constituted
only 18% of the worker's monthly income, but five years later the figure rose
sharply to 67%.
To appreciate the impact of regional differences in the level of economic
development, Table 8 compares media workers' annual earnings in 1996 of six
selected newspapers located in Shanghai, Jiangsu Province, and Shaanxi Province.
Shanghai ranked the highest in earnings, followed by Jiangsu as a far distant
second, with Shaanxi at the bottom. In each of these locations, the evening
mass papers invariably far outstripped the party papers--despite the latter's
political significance--in terms of advertising revenues and income levels. To
strengthen its position, the Shaanxi Daily invested $20 million to upgrade its
working environment and even took a $30 million loan to import printing
facilities in 1996, but whether this will be sufficient to create an
competitive advantage remains dubious. Furthermore, Table 9 shows that in
Shanghai, the Xinmin Evening Daily registered a coveted advertising revenue of
$570 million in 1996, more than doubling the Liberation Daily's $225 million.
Likewise, each of the party organs in Jiangsu and Shaanxi reported dismal
advertising revenues that figured less than 5% of the Xinmin Evening Daily.
An average reporter in the Xinmin Evening Daily made $57,000, almost matching
the earning power of the Liberation Daily's chief editor ($60,000) and exceeding
that of a comparable reporter in the Xian Evening Daily ($20,000) and the
Shaanxi Daily ($12,000) by three to five times.
When the People's Daily founded its East China edition in Shanghai in 1994,
according to our informants, the paper attempted to recruit some reporters and
editors from the Xinmin Evening Daily, but to no avail. The editor-in-chief of
the Xinmin Evening Daily consented to the party organ's request, but found none
of his staff willing to leave. Even though the People's Daily carries a badge
of prestige and authority in China's ideological hierarchy, Xinmin Evening
Daily's higher pay and less austere thought control proved more effective in
retaining talents. Meanwhile, financial capacity has enabled the Xinmin
Evening Daily to set higher sights in staff recruitment. Our informants
disclose that only department heads of peer institutions and national
award-winning reporters could hope to enter the Shanghai paper as a regular
reporter or editor. Horizontal movement between different media organizations
has been difficult in China, but the resource-rich outlets are beginning to
enjoy an advantage in recruitment and retention.
Impact on Press Ownership
As Ithiel de sola Pool once aptly pointed out, probably no other regimes were
more conscious of the central importance of propaganda and thus paid more
attention to control of the media than those of China. This remark is
largely still valid. China has transformed its economy from a commandist system
into a partially market-oriented system that encourages setting up private
enterprises and establishing joint ventures with foreign interests. Market
reform has brought about considerable expansion in the diversity and abundance
of media genres and content in politically less sensitive areas. However,
under no circumstances would private interests, domestic or foreign, be allowed
to invest in the state ideological apparatuses of the media. The media are
strictly state-owned in China.
One of the most intriguing and perplexing developments has been a recent trend
toward press conglomeration in Communist China. As it was difficult to secure
state approval for adding a new publication in the market, many "official"
newspapers began in the mid-1980s to put out editorially soft "companion"
publications or supplements disguised in a variety of names, such as "weekend
editions," as a way to create extra income. Hardline propaganda officials
repeatedly attacked the alleged political and social ill-effects of the fact
that many large-sized papers (da bao), which had been losing readers, tried to
support themselves by publishing small-sized papers (xiao bao, or tabloids)
which appealed to readers with the dubious content of accidents, gossip, and
trivia. In the wake of the Tiananmen crackdown in 1989, the state sternly
ordered that all "companion" publications--except a few of those controlled by
major party organs--be closed down.
The Communist Party had long been fiercely hostile to press conglomeration in
the Western countries, criticizing it as a manifestation of strategically
controlling public opinion on behalf of the oppressive capitalist class.
Therefore it seemed to symbolize a peculiarly radical reversal of its earlier
policy and deep-rooted attitude when the Newspaper and Publication Bureau
approved the Guangzhou Daily in 1996 to develop itself as China's first press
group. To be approved in 1998 are 10 more newspapers, including the Nanfang
Daily, the Yangcheng Evening Daily, and the Shenzhen Daily. It should be noted
that the formation of press conglomeration in China is strictly engineered by
the state, revolving around a group of "core" party organs, which serve as
umbrella organizations to incorporate a multitude of auxiliary newspapers and
magazines designed for various specialized areas of interest.
To illustrate, the People's Daily publishes five newspapers (including its
domestic and overseas editions, the Market, Global Digest, and Caricature and
Humor) and six magazines (News Front, Earth, Chinese Economic Express, Chinese
Product Quality Bulletin, People's Forum, and Current Thought). In addition,
the Liberation Daily owns four newspapers and two magazines; the Nanfang Daily
has six newspapers and one magazine; and the Economic Daily publishes four
newspapers and five magazines. Other potential conglomerates include the
Zhejiang Daily (five newspapers and two magazines), the Yunnan Daily (four
newspapers and one magazine), the Dazhong Daily (four newspapers and two
magazines), the Fujian Daily (five newspapers and one magazine), and the Shaanxi
Daily (five newspapers and three magazines). The names of these auxiliary
publications are largely revealing of social need and market demand. The
subjects they cover range from arts and novels through farming, fashion, birds
and flowers, to English learning, public relations, and even information about
Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Official rhetoric justifies press conglomeration as a measure to transform the
Chinese press from "a large quantity" to "high quality" and from crudeness to a
state of sophistication marked by being capital-intensive. The real
reasons are, of course, much more complex. The state seeks to reincorporate the
core and wealthy outlets into the state system and then shift part of its own
financial responsibility by asking them to subsidize publications that are
considered socially important but financially unprofitable. It is also hoped
that with their rich professional experience and financial strength, these core
outlets will crowd out or take over a chaotic array of "small papers" that have
repeatedly defied state orders. The "core" newspapers, on the other hand, hope
to promote the speed and scope of capital accumulation and, furthermore, to
profit themselves from takeover and merger. The Xinmin Evening Daily infused a
sum of capital into two financially failing publications--a sports paper and a
Chinese chess monthly, which it had taken over from the Shanghai Municipal
Government's Sports Commission--and quickly turned them into profitable
operations. In addition, many ore" papers may follow the example set by the
Guangzhou Daily, which reportedly took advantage of the opportunity in attaching
conditions of conglomeration to bargaining with the state for preferential
treatment in taxes.
So far, the Chinese authorities seem to have found in press conglomeration an
excessively simplistic and romantic solution to many difficult choices that must
be faced sooner or later between the state's maintaining political control and
its unloading financial burdens. It is hoped, perhaps wistfully, that led by
these press conglomerates, China will, by 2010, have 10% of its newspapers
each exceeding $100 million in assets, 80% of which from advertising.
Whether this objective is realistic and whether this policy can be sustained
remain to be seen. Communist state planners seem conveniently forgetful of the
criticisms they used to level at Western capitalists, even though in China the
party will remain as the monopolistic owner of press conglomerates in disguise.
Press conglomeration does exact social prices, which the Chinese authorities do
not seem to have thought through because the policy change was declared by fiat,
devoid of transparency, and probably masking a series of behind-the-scene
bargaining with the emergent financial forces.
For press conglomeration to work, however, China must confront many vexing
legacies of the Leninist system. How will the omnipresent state interfere
in the process and operation of press conglomeration? In the course of
controlling the pace, size, and process of press conglomeration, will the state
have other alternatives than to challenge the traditional Communist mode of
organizing the press around political structure, geography, target audience, and
ideological functions? What will be the relationship between the core and its
subsidiary publications? Should the core take away all or most of the profits
from its affiliates? These issues warrant close scrutiny.
Many provincial party papers, having been victimized by the marketized
operation, have rushed to accommodate the commercial logic by establishing
spinoff evening and mass-appeal papers which wear a less formal ideological
straitjacket. By mid-1997, 20 of China's 31 provincial newspapers had founded
22 commercially more popular offsrpings--10 of them in the 1990s--in hopes of
drawing bigger advertising gains to help finance their "parent"
publications. Even the central-level Guangming Daily founded a more
light-hearted Life Times in 1996. As Table 10 shows, five of the ten spinoff
papers listed have surpassed their "parent" publications in advertising
revenues. The Yangzi Evening Daily garnered a total advertising revenue of
$99.4 million, or four times that of its "parent" Xinhua Daily. The spinoff
papers of the Beijing Daily, the Yunnan Daily, and the Zhejiang Daily also
reaped advertising revenues twice or three times as large as the parent papers.
However, their counterparts that have a shorter history or are published in the
economically unfavorable locations--such as the Liaoning Daily, the Anhui Daily
and the Shaanxi Daily--fared much poorly, with advertising receipts less than
one-third those of their parent publications.
Impact on Press Operation
Introducing advertising as a market incentive into newspaper management
amounted to a state concession that it was no longer capable of shouldering the
full responsibility for press cost. In 1990, the Newspaper and Publication
Bureau still defined the newspaper as "an essential part of the Communist-led
journalistic enterprises dedicated to the highest principle of social
impact." Seven years later, the State Council's Newspaper Management
Ordinances mentioned that the dual press goals were to "achieve an optimal
integration between social impact and economic impact, with social impact taking
precedence." The different language used in the two documents might appear
to be a simple matter but, in effect, represents the result of intense struggles
between different power factions at the top echelon of the Communist Party.
"Social impact" being a euphemism for the media's mouthpiece role under party
control, adding "Economic impact" as one of the press goals signaled that the
state not only expected the press to toe the political line but also encouraged
it to be revenue self-generating. This policy change has produced an array of
Economic imperatives and market vibrancy have necessitated a fundamental
restructuring of the division of labor--and relative power--between different
units and departments within the press organization. Prior to 1990 as the
newspaper could count on unfailing state subsidies, the editorial department was
unequivocally the dominant force, with the editor-in-chief acting as the "soul"
of the paper in charge of its ideological correctness. Heads of business
departments took little initiative and assumed an auxiliary role as mid-level
managers remote from policy-making centers. Since then, such newspapers as the
Beijing Daily, the Shenzhen Special Zone Daily, and the Yangcheng Evening Daily
have emulated the foreign press system in which editor-in-chief and general
manager are made equal partners under the leadership of the director (shezhang).
The editor has to shift and share part of the power with the business manager in
formulating and implementing newspaper policies.
In the 1990s, the newspaper's size, number of pages published, and frequency of
publication were rigidly fixed by the Communist Party's Department of Propaganda
with little latitude for maneuver. Any decisions to enlarge newspaper size or
to publish more pages more frequently added to the financial burden of the
state, which had to channel special funds to cover the increased newsprint cost.
As a first sign of policy change, the state announced in 1987 that newspapers
themselves would be held responsible for the extra cost if and when they should
decide to publish supplemental pages. Starting in 1990, the newspaper could
apply to the state for a change of status in the size and frequency of
publication. In the 1990s, considerations of cost and benefit became decisive,
as rich newspapers found out that they could enrich themselves further by
offering extra pages to carry more advertisements. It came as little surprise
that the Guangzhou Daily sent a deputy chief editor to lobby through the
bureaucratic maze in Beijing for the specific purpose of securing government
authorization to expand the number of pages it could publish. When
Guangdong's party secretary suggested that the Nanfang Daily could try to
publish extra pages once or twice a week, the paper lost little time in using
his off-hand remark as an official justification for producing more pages
Newspaper competition has intensified. In the past, newspapers existing in the
same geographical location were compared to different departments of the same
government bureaucracy, each minding its own business without bothering to
compete with the other. In as much as the state furnished them with requisite
funds, competition was largely avoided. Now the newspapers must aggressively
vie for the same pool of circulation and advertising revenues; this rivalry is
particularly intense in the cities of Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Wuhan,
Changcun, Harbin, and Chengdu. Market-driven competition between the Guangzhou
Daily and the Yangcheng Daily, each trying to beat the other with comparable
circulation and advertising volumes, has come to a head, resulting in hostile
The press delivery system has also changed. From the 1950s to the 1980s, the
post office monopolized the press delivery business, charging one-quarter of the
newspaper's sale price for the service. The press did not raise much objection
because it did not have to bear the real consequences of business profit or
loss, and giving money to the post office simply meant transferring state funds
between different accounts. This time-honored monopoly became questionable in
the mid-1980s when the post office unilaterally raised the already high fee for
its deteriorating service, and at a time when the newspaper became increasingly
conscious of the market imperative. Initiated by the Luoyang Daily, many
large-city newspapers began to organize their own delivery systems instead of
relying on the postal service. By 1995, while postal delivery still accounted
for 60% of the nation's newspapers, 40% of them have developed their own
delivery system, thus constituting a two-track system.
Impact on Press Content
Despite the state's intention and effort to maintain tight ideological control,
the impact of press finance on broadening press content has been inevitable and
enormous. The Chinese press, acting as the state's ideological trumpet, had
previously bombarded its readers with a monotonous and repetitive staple of
propaganda talks, official documents, and stories of "model" workers. Catering
to more popular tastes of a wider readership, many newspapers undertook bold
experiments in the mid-1980s to publish a variety of special editions on
weekends, capitalizing on policy loopholes to offer a preponderant amount of
soft news, less propagandistic information, and advertisement. The authorities
imposed sporadic crackdowns on what they considered as politically or morally
objectionable contents, but the deterrence effect was only temporary. Market
forces having developed a life of their own too powerful to be totally contained
by political decrees, many newspapers took measures to expand the number of
pages on a regular basis in the late 1980s. The 1990s have witnessed the
appearance of successive mass-appeal newspapers, some even published under the
auspices of the party organs.
In the late 1980s the politically boldest was Shanghai's semi-official World
Economic Herald, which stood at the forefront of advocating various
comprehensive programs of political and economic reforms, only to be closed down
by the authorities during the Tiananmen crackdown in 1989. Tighter press
control briefly returned in its wake. The waves of economic enthusiasm that
have swept across China since 1992 have brought about increasing relaxation of
restrictions in non-political areas, but none of today's newspapers--not even
the Beijing Youth Daily, whose editorial policy has been repeatedly singled out
for blame by the authorities --can match the political courage of the World
Economic Herald. In retrospect, the World Economic Journal both benefited
tremendously from the more tolerant atmosphere of political reform initiated by
Zhao Ziyang and appeared to be used by Zhao's top assistants (many of whom are
now in exile) as a forum to advocate their reformist agendas. Instead of
challenging state ideology directly in the post-1989 decade, newspapers have
learned to invent more innovative and devious approaches in coping with the
demands of political requirements and those of economic interests. Faced with
the dilemma of having to please "two masters" (the party and the people), in
other words, they have had to improvise a variety of seemingly paradoxical
strategies able to stimulate readers' interest yet without stepping out of
official bounds. As a newspaper official describes it to us with candor,
the front page of his paper endorses a planned economy, second to eighth pages
support a mixed economy, and ninth to sixteenth pages advocate a market economy.
This schizophrenic personality seems most useful in serving the party needs and
satisfying the public likes at the same time. Newspaper organizations and their
top leaders have little reason or incentive to openly challenge the established
order because they stand to gain most if they try to maximize market interests
within the approved political confines. In a way, the state is exchanging
economic benefits for their political loyalty.
In sum, changes in press finance have engendered mixed and incomplete patterns
of reform in newspaper operation and content. The omnipotent state still holds
unchallenged power to control press ownership, to appoint major leaders to
newspaper organizations, and to set the overall ideological policy. The press
generally prefers soft news to hard propaganda. Politically sensitive subjects
remain off limits to press coverage, even though a larger amount of apolitical
and depoliticized content is allowed. However, it is important to note that the
press finance reform has forced newspaper organizations--sometimes against their
won will--to take a greater share of financial autonomy and the responsibility
that comes with it. Newspapers have entered into an intensively competitive
market, with the mass-appeal papers surpassing the popularity of the party press
which has been eroding for a long time. As money replaces ideology as a main
obsession, corruption and graft have become rampant in journalistic circles
despite official threats to punish offenders. Papers with economic might are
privileged to expand the number of pages they publish, to set their own
circulation and advertising rates, and to provide their staff with more
attractive salary packages. The emergent press conglomeration is an uncertain
and potentially risky answer to the enduring tension between the state's
political control and its desire to lessen its own financial responsibility.
Within newspaper organizations, the status of management departments has been
elevated to rival that of the traditionally dominant editorial department.
Overall, the Chinese press has been undergoing a process of liberalization in
non-politically sensitive areas, so rapid and vast as to indirectly weaken the
press's mouthpiece role, but the process of press democratization appears to be
Press Finance and Economic Reform in China
TABLE 1. Number and Circulation of Newspapers by Type, 1986-1996
 Lee, Chin-Chuan, "Ambiguities and Contradictions: Issues in China's
Changing Political Communication," in Chin-Chuan Lee (ed.), China's Media,
Media's China (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1994), pp. 3-22.
 Lee, Chin-Chuan, "Mass Media: Of China, About China," in Chin-Chuan Lee
(ed.), Voices of China: The Interplay of Politics and Journalism (New York:
Guilford Press, 1990), pp. 3-29.
 Polumbaum, Judy, "Striving for Predictability: The Bureaucratization of
Media Management in China," in Lee, China's Media, Media's China, pp. 113-128.
 Dittmer, Lowell, "The Politics of Publicity in Reform China," in Lee,
China's Media, Media's China. pp. 89-112.
 Chan, Joseph Man, "Commercialization Without Independence: Media
Development in China," in Joseph Cheng and Maurice Brosseau (eds.), China
Review, 1993. (Hong Kong: Chinese University Press, 1994), pp. 23.1-3.20; Chen,
Huailin and Chan, Joseph Man, "Bird-caged Press Freedom in China," in Joseph
Cheng (ed.), China After Deng. (Hong Kong: City University Press, in press), pp.
 Chen, Huailin and Huang, Yu, "Reversal of Fortune: Uneven Development in
China's Press Commercialization," in Chin-Chuan Lee (ed.), Money, Power, and
Media: Communication Patterns in Cultural China. (Evanston, IL: Northwestern
University Press, 1998). (in press)
 White, Lynn III, "All the News: Structure and Politics in Shanghai's Reform
Media," in Lee, Voices of China, pp. 88-110; Yu, Jinglu, "The Structure and
Function of Chinese Television, 1979-1989," in Lee, Voices of China, pp. 69-87.
 Wu, Guoguang and Liao, Xiaoying, "One Head, Many Mouths: Diversifying Press
Structures in the Reform China," in Lee, Money, Power, and Media.
 Pan, Zhongdang, "Improvising for Social Change," in Lee, Money, Power, and
Media; Polumbaum, Judy, "The Tribulations of China's Journalists After a Decade
of Reform," in Lee, Voices of China, pp. 33-68.
 He, Zhou, "Chinese Communist Party Press in a Tug of War: A
Political-Economic Analysis of the Shenzhen Special Zone Daily," in Lee, Money,
Power, and Media.
 Huang, Xinqiang, "Characteristics of the Trial Guideline Governing
Non-profit Organizations' Accounting," Hong Kong Economic Journal, February
11-12, 1998, (in Chinese).
 Currencies expressed in this chapter are all in Renminbi (RMB).
 Liu, Alan P. L., Communication and National Integration in Communist
China. (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1975).
 Newspaper and Publication Bureau, State Council, Updated Documents
Regarding Work on Newspaper and Publication. (Beijing: Chinese Society Press,
1997) p. D-3, (in Chinese).
 Damen Information Company, Monitoring Report of the Chinese Newspaper
Advertising, 1996. Guangzhou, 1997, (in Chinese).
 Tu, Zhongjun, Newspaper Management. (Beijing: Xinhua Press, 1994), pp.
30-31, (in Chinese).
 Department of Propaganda, "Summary of National Conference Attended by
Chief Editors of Provincial Papers" (Oct. 22, 1986), in Newspaper and
Publication Bureau, State Council, (ed.) Updated Documents Regarding Work on
Newspaper and Publication. (Beijing: Chinese Book Press, 1988) pp. 52-61, (in
 Liang, Heng, "On Newspapers Entering into the Market," Journalist Monthly,
No. 12, 1992, pp. 10-13, (in Chinese).
 Xu, Guangcun, "Correctly Recognize and Handle Problems of Newspaper
Management," Chinese Newspapers and Magazines Monthly, No. 6, 1997, pp. 4-8,
 See News and Publication Press, September 2, 1997. Also mentioned for
special attention were the Fortnight magazine, the Outlook magazine, the
Reference News, the Technology Daily, the Legal Daily, the Chinese Youth Daily,
the Worker's Daily, the Farmer's Daily, and the Chinese Women Daily.
 News and Publication Press, September 23, 1997.
 Song, Jianwu, "On the Theory and Practice of the Operation in Our
Country's Press Economic Marketization," News Front, No. 7, 1997, pp. 36-38, (in
 Zhu, Benzhuo (1997), "The Path to Press Economic Development in Central
and Western China," News Front, No. 6, 1997, pp. 33-34, (in Chinese).
 Wang, Zhongyi, "A Survey Report on the Press's Financial Conditions in
the Anhui Province", News and Communication Research, No. 2, 1996, pp. 25-29,
 Tang, Xujun, "Whither the Chinese Press?" Modern Advertising, No. 3,
1997, pp. 65-67, (in Chinese).
 Department of Propaganda of The Chinese Communist Party, et al., Handbook
of Journalistic Regulations and Policies. (Beijing: Learning Press, 1992), pp.
226-229, (in Chinese).
 Li, Junchang, "The Causes of Underdevelopment of the Provincial Party
Press and its Strategies," Chinese Journalist, No. 7, 1997, pp. 21-22, (in
 Newspaper and Publication Bureau, State Council, Selected Work in
Newspaper and Publication. (Beijing: Knowledge Press, 1994), pp. 504-515, (in
 Zhu, Xinmin, "To Manage the People's Daily Better," News and Publications
Press, April 8, 1997, (in Chinese).
 Newspaper and Publication Bureau, Handbook of Journalistic Regulations and
Policies. (Beijing: Chinese Books Press, 1994), pp. 233-234, (in Chinese).
 Song, "On the Theory and Practice of the Operation in Our Country's Press
 Zhu, "The Path to Press Economic Development in Central and Western
 Chinese Newspapers and Magazines Monthly, , 1997, pp. 14-15.
 For example, the Yunnan Daily invested $100 million to build a 28-storey
office complex and another $20 million to import printing facilities from
Germany, and the Dazhong Daily built a 32-storey office complex and imported
high-speed color printers worth $65 million (see Chinese Journalist, No. 1,
1998, pp. 8-9). In addition, the Shenyang Daily also built a 25-storey office
complex at a cost of $150 million (News and Publication Press, October 23,
 Zhao, Cunxiao, "To Welcome the New Era in the Age of Competition,"
Chinese Journalist, No. 1, 1998, pp. 4-5, (in Chinese).
 Li, "The Causes of Underdevelopment of the Provincial Party Press and its
 However impressive, the $22 million figure is still dwarfed by two other
Shanghai papers: the Xinmin Evening Daily ($570 million) and the Liberation
Daily ($225 million).
 Chinese Journalist, No. 1, 1998, pp. 7-8.
 For a different comparison, 88 newspapers in Henan province only had a
combined advertising income of $163 million in 1996 (Zhu, "The Path to Press
Economic Development"), or less than one-third of Xinmin Evening Daily's.
 Pool, Ithiel de sola, "Communication in Totalitarian Societies," in Ithiel
de sola Pool and Wilbur Schramm, (eds.), Handbook of Communication. (Chicago:
Rand McNally, 1973).
 Lee, "Mass Media: Of China, About China;" White, "All the News: Structure
and Politics in Shanghai's Reform Media;" He, "Chinese Communist Party Press in
a Tug of War;" Pan, "Improvising for Social Change."
 Chinese Newspapers and Magazines Monthly, No. 2, 1996, p. 14.
This was a view expressed at the nation-wide working conference on newspaper
and publication affairs held in February, 1998.
 Wei, Yongzheng , "Press Complexes and Conglomeration," Journalism and
Communication Forum, No. 1, 1996, pp. 76-81, (in Chinese).
 It is cumbersome to list these papers; suffices it to give a few examples,
the names of which are revealing: the Nanfang Daily in Guangzhou published the
South China Municipal Daily (1997); the Jiangxi Daily published the Economic
Evening Daily (1993) and the Jiangnan Municipal Daily (1997); the Fujian Daily's
counterpart is the Straits Municipal Daily (started in 1997). This arrangement
appears to follow the lead of the Beijing Daily, which founded the Beijing
Evening Daily in 1958. The Xinhua Daily, the party organ of Jiangsu Province,
published the Yangzi Evening Daily and the Services Guide in 1985.
 Newspaper and Publication Bureau, Selected Works in Newspaper and
Publication, pp. 1-2.
 Chinese Newspapers and Magazines Monthly, April, 1997, pp. 15-18.
 See He, "Chinese Communist Party Press in a Tug of War" for example.
 International Advertising, June 1995, pp. 13-17, (in Chinese).
 Chinese Journalist, August 1996, p. 27, (in Chinese).
 Hsiao, Ching-chang and Yang, Mei-rong, "'Don't Force Us to Lie:' The Case
of the World Economic Herald," in Lee, Voices of China, pp. 111-121; Goldman,
Merle, "The Role of the Press in Post-Mao Political Struggles," in Lee, China's
Media, Media's China, pp. 23-36.
 Rosen, Stanley, "Setting Appropriate Behavior Under a Socialist Market
Economy: Debates and Controversies Reported in the Beijing Youth Daily," in Lee,
Money, Power, and Media.
 For a first-hand record of the reformist programs, see Wu, Guoguang, Zhao
Ziyang and Political Reform. (Hong Kong: Pacific, 1997), (in Chinese); see also
 Polumbaum, "The Tribulations of China's Journalists After a Decade of
Reform;" Pan, "Improvising for Social Change;" He, "Chinese Communist Party
Press in a Tug of War."