Censorship in the Chinese Media: Sichuan Earthquake

Open Access
Perlow, Becky
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Bu Zhong, Thesis Supervisor
  • Anthony Barbieri, Honors Advisor
  • china
  • censorship
  • media
  • journalists
  • dissident
  • propaganda
  • citizen journalism
This thesis studies contemporary media censorship in the People’s Republic of China, with particular attention paid to the May 2008 Sichuan earthquake. Some critics of journalism have said that the Sichuan earthquake, in addition to destroying lives and bringing down thousands of schools and buildings, has also loosened China’s strict censorship controls. This study then aims to see if that assumption is correct by analyzing coverage in the mainstream and unconventional media (i.e.: citizen journalists) as well as first-hand accounts of journalists working in China. Presented in this study are three interviews conducted in Beijing in the summer of 2010, a little more than two years after the earthquake. To support such research, this study also profiles the Central Propaganda Department, the “Great Firewall of China” and the dissidents (both Chinese and foreign) who have worked toward a freer press in China.