Mediating Asia| Guidance and Transgression: The Contest for Narratives of Environment and Pollution in China — Commentary

Isabel Hilton


The Chinese Communist Party has seen controlling information and guiding opinion as an essential element of power since its earliest days. But the methods of control and guidance have had to evolve radically in the transition from the age of broadcast media (one to many) to the era of networked communications (many to many). This article examines the contest between official and nonofficial media narratives of the environment, pollution, and climate change in China in the early 21st century. It finds that environmental issues provide a rich ground on which to explore fundamental questions about mediating China, particularly when considering the role of the party-state, the prospects for something akin to civil society, and the immediacy of the issue in people’s everyday lives.


China, environmental journalism, party-state, official media, censorship

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