The coverage of the 17th Party congress is very red
Despite extensive coverage in China’s news media of the 17th National Congress of the Chinese Community Party, discussion of the reshuffle among top leaders is absent, although it has been the focus of foreign media’s coverage of the congress.
Xinhua.com and sina.com.cn, tow of the biggest online news venues in China, both carry special sections for the congress with abundant stories about the main sessions, side lines as well as representatives. Almost all of the stories, however, focus on singing praise of the Party’s achievements in China’s development in the part five years.
Public online comments, that is, those there are allowed to stay, follow the same tone, as demonstrated on Xinhua and Sina BBS. There are some sketchy mentioning of environmental problems and the income gap among people’s comments, but are mostly with a mild tone or uttering hope and support for the Party’s “wise decisions” to solve them.
The permitted theme of the coverage, including commentaries, across the board of Chine’s media is clear: celebrating, supporting and strengthening the rule of the Party.
There is no report or comment on one of the congress’ most important issues, personnel change among the top leaders, particularly the new politburo, on China's major news websites or BBS, at least so far. On one of the most popular Chinese public forum, tianya.cn, there is even no post about the congress at all. As a matter of fact, Tianya has banned since last month all posts regarding Party and national leaders and other political issues.
The silence suggests the sensitivity of the personnel issue, and the Party’s extreme caution in controlling public discourse of this matter in China. Unlike during the National People’s Congress earlier this year, the week of the Party congress is not so much a time for the public to voice concerns, debate policies and suggest solutions.
One of the few negative, sort of, messages stands out among the overwhelming positive reflections is anti-corruption, something the current leadership has vowed to contain.
Special web sections of the congress