China is among a few nations that has decided to extensively control the amount of information people can access on the internet by banning certain sites. Currently the government in China has control of the Telecom business and the Internet is controlled in Cybercafe’s and dial-up services. In terms of public relations I do not think this is a very good practice. Most of the sites forbidden are online news services and any organizational sites.
As a citizen of China it would seem to be frustrating not having the ability to enjoy the internet the way that most people do around the world.
There are ways to get around the constraints that the government has placed on Internet access in China. Information can be sent via email. Also, messenger services are commonly used, and this allows access to people around the world with the information that the government may not want available to its citizens.
I made a valuable contact through a friend who had recently visited China. She introduced me to her Chinese friend, Jessica, who works for People's Daily, one of China’s most popular newspaper. Jessica and I chatted on MSN Messenger while she was worked (it was midnight here in Florida and noon in Beijing.) She felt safe enough to criticize the government during our chat, but made it a point to say that it is difficult and dangerous to oppose the government more publicly. She told me that the news was filtered through the government officials, and extremely biased.
I found this interesting and disturbing, but she said that most people accept that the news as primarily propaganda. Something else that she has come to terms with living is China is that there are very few sources to look for "the truth" as she called it. As I said before in the public relations part of this website, China is new to the world of western public relations. The government is stuck in the traditional form of public relations that involved a certain amount of deceiving the public. It is difficult to determine which method of public relations a communist government should take in addressing citizens.
In public relations it is important to have objectives and overall goal in mind. So first we have to determine what the goal of the Chinese government is and go from there. If the goal is to create a society producing and working relentlessly, that has to be considered. For all I know, their public relations is working rather well. It has been more than 10 years since the student revolts at Tianemen Square in Biejing. Their government takes measures that is difficult to quantify and relate in terms of public relations, but that is what it is. Former Primire Li Peng sent a clear message to the citizens of China after the student protests, and that message was to keep quiet and you will not be killed. So now according to my new friend Jessica complacency and indifference seems to be the way of most.
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2. Ni Chen, "Public Relations Education in the People's Republic of China." Journalism Educator, Spring 1994, p. 14-22.
3. David Coffey, "Coverage of China's Three Gorges Dam in the Globe and Mail and New York Times. Master's Thesis, University of Florida.
4. Jim Malusa, "Valley of the Dammed." The Discovery Channel, (premiered) January 10, 1997
5. "Great Wall Across the Yangtze" PBS brodcast televsion http://www.pbs.org/greatwall
6. "Three Gorges Dam Project" http://www.chinaonline.com/refer/ministry_profiles/threegorgesdam.html