- Ziyi Wu Massachusetts Institute of Technology
There exists a seemingly contradictory treatment towards foreign news and social media in China. On the one hand, foreign news articles and social media are severely censored. On the other, the Communist Party frequently quotes these censored sources when addressing the public. These behaviors are puzzling. It is natural for authoritarian regimes to hide repressive behaviors, rather than to expose them. The use of foreign news contents is also not necessary for advancing party ideologies because the party’s own words work just as well. To address the puzzle, I ask the following research questions: Why does the party media in China actively quote censored sources when reporting contested foreign affairs? I argue that the party media quote from foreign sources to demonstrate professionalism and to appear credible, while government censorship has effectively framed foreign news sources as generally biased and thus prevents people from trusting them in the first place.