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Andrew Chubb -- Foreign Correspondents & Democracy Wall: The impact of the Western media in China, 1978-1979

Andrew Chubb -- Foreign Correspondents & Democracy Wall: The impact of the Western media in China, 1978-1979

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Published by Andrew cc
Foreign Correspondents & Democracy Wall: The impact of the Western media in China, 1978-1979.

The impact of Western journalists has been identified in various crucial junctures of
China’s twentieth-century history. This thesis evaluates the impact of Western
correspondents in China between November 1978 and April 1979, at the height of the
Democracy Wall Movement. It reveals the interaction of Western journalism, Chinese
activists and a rising ‘Paramount Leader’.

By their actions, and their presence, Western correspondents influenced the progression
of Chinese events during this period in a number of ways: they increased knowledge
among the Democracy Wall Movement’s participants regarding political freedoms
outside China; drew even greater numbers to the Xidan Democracy Wall in late
November 1978; created a channel of communication between the movement’s
participants and the Chinese Communist Party leadership; directly assisted certain
elements within the movement; contributed to the spread of the Democracy Wall
Movement to other parts of China; and provided a conduit for activists to reach both
Chinese and foreign audiences.

The net effect of all this on the Democracy Wall Movement may well have been to
hasten the movement’s suppression. Yet, paradoxically, Western correspondents also
may have prolonged the movement’s lifespan. Which one should be emphasised over
the other depends on our interpretation of Vice-Premier Deng Xiaoping’s actions in first
encouraging the movement’s emergence, then cracking down on it.

There is no doubt, however, that the correspondents helped strengthen Deng’s political
position at home and abroad. The evidence strongly suggests this was no coincidence,
for Deng deliberately enlisted the Western media’s influence in the service of his
political objectives.
Foreign Correspondents & Democracy Wall: The impact of the Western media in China, 1978-1979.

The impact of Western journalists has been identified in various crucial junctures of
China’s twentieth-century history. This thesis evaluates the impact of Western
correspondents in China between November 1978 and April 1979, at the height of the
Democracy Wall Movement. It reveals the interaction of Western journalism, Chinese
activists and a rising ‘Paramount Leader’.

By their actions, and their presence, Western correspondents influenced the progression
of Chinese events during this period in a number of ways: they increased knowledge
among the Democracy Wall Movement’s participants regarding political freedoms
outside China; drew even greater numbers to the Xidan Democracy Wall in late
November 1978; created a channel of communication between the movement’s
participants and the Chinese Communist Party leadership; directly assisted certain
elements within the movement; contributed to the spread of the Democracy Wall
Movement to other parts of China; and provided a conduit for activists to reach both
Chinese and foreign audiences.

The net effect of all this on the Democracy Wall Movement may well have been to
hasten the movement’s suppression. Yet, paradoxically, Western correspondents also
may have prolonged the movement’s lifespan. Which one should be emphasised over
the other depends on our interpretation of Vice-Premier Deng Xiaoping’s actions in first
encouraging the movement’s emergence, then cracking down on it.

There is no doubt, however, that the correspondents helped strengthen Deng’s political
position at home and abroad. The evidence strongly suggests this was no coincidence,
for Deng deliberately enlisted the Western media’s influence in the service of his
political objectives.

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Published by: Andrew cc on Nov 23, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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07/02/2013

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