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As in most countries, the Chinese media consists of television, radio, newspapers, magazines, and the Internet. From 1949, when the communists took over the government of China, creating the People's Republic of China, until the 1980s. all media in China was state-owned, with the exception of some of its autonomous regions, such as Hong Kong and Macau.

However, China now allows an independent media, which are not required to follow journalistic guidelines imposed by the Chinese government. Nevertheless, government regulatory bodies still set strict regulations on topics that the government considers sensitive, such as the legitimacy of the government's policies in Tibet, as well as banned religious groups, such as the Falun Gong and the Dalai Lama. Self-censorship is still the norm. China is routinely rated poorly by international media freedom monitors, particularly over the government's control over the Internet in China.

A degree of press freedom exists, even in the state-owned media, because the Chinese government no longer heavily subsidizes the media, but expects expenses to be paid through advertising. In a sense then, they have to offer something other than pure propaganda, as news outlets have to compete for viewers and advertisers. This has led several newspapers, including some owned by the Communist Party of China, to take editorial positions critical of the government.

In 1965, there were only twelve television stations and ninety-three radio stations in China. Today, there are about seven hundred conventional television stations, three thousand cable channels, and a thousand radio stations. Television broadcasting is dominated by China Central Television, China's national network, which has twenty-two channels and a staff of about ten thousand. CCTV is regulated by the Propaganda Department and the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television.

CCTV is the only network allowed to purchase overseas programming, and local stations are required to carry CCTV's 7 pm news broadcast. Despite its advantages, CCTV only has about 30% of the market share. Chinese viewers have a preference for local television programs.

Controversial segments of foreign broadcasts are often blacked out. International news networks are required to agree to an arrangement whereas their signals pass through a satellite controlled by China, which allows authorities to black out anything they don't want the Chinese people to see.

There are more than two thousand newspapers, and more than seven thousand magazines and journals, published in China today. There are several independent newspapers in China, but those with the highest circulation are state-operated. In addition, several books and journals are printed unofficially, some with political or intellectual content.

Talk radio allows for a freer exchange of opinion and ideas than that which is found in its television or print media. There are more than a hundred talk radio stations in the Shanghai area alone.

Since 1996, the Chinese government has suspended new applications from Internet Service Providers wishing to offers services within the People's Republic of China, and has placed all existing ISPs under the authority of the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, the Ministry of Electronics Industry, and the State Education Commission. It has also taken steps to establish a firewall, to limit the content of web pages, and to block access to certain sites by Chinese citizens. However, wider access to the Internet by Chinese citizens has rendered many of the government's efforts ineffective, as the increasingly tech-savvy Chinese people are finding ways around the government's interventions. Sensitive news is often propagated through forwarded text messages.

Separate from that which is intended for the Chinese public, the Chinese government has an internal publication system of journals that are published for government and communist party officials alone. These reports offer information and analysis not available to the general public, including sensitive and controversial information, as well as works of investigative journalism.

Websites whose topics relate to the media in China are appropriate for this category. These may include sites representing news or media outlets, newspapers, magazines, television or radio stations, news analysis, and those referring to the Chinese media, as a chief topic.



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