Inky Eyes Into China's Mind

The newspaper boxes can be found around Washington, D.C., ranging from Union Station near the Hill to Foggy Bottom in the vicinity of the State Department. Inside, the newspaper articles emphasize positive, even entrepreneurial themes: investment opportunities, technological advances, the virtues of trade and economic integration. This world view, at first glance, could be mistaken for that of the Western-style capitalist outlook of a U.S. or European business daily. But the reality of these newspapers’ agendas, and their ownership, are an ideological universe apart: it’s that of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

Chinese print media have played an important role since Red China’s establishment in 1949 under Mao Zedong, providing Americans with glimpses of a sometimes inscrutable society. China is one of humankind’s oldest civilizations, and its position as the world’s second-largest economy embroiled in a trade war with the Trump administration make it worthy of serious attention.

China Daily, ubiquitous on Washington’s streets and owned by the CPC, includes sections on art, music, sports, and fashion trends. A recent “most-viewed” article was titled, “Top 10 complaints of Chinese girlfriends.” Yet the heart of the newspaper is its coverage of Chinese commerce and current events, which is widely followed by foreign business leaders, diplomats, and scholars....

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