Reporting on the Mainland

Doreen Weisenhaus*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


News events occurring on the mainland of the People's Republic of China are important for both Hong Kong and international media. Many stories, from health scares such as the SARS crisis and bird flu outbreaks to incidents of labour unrest, land disputes, mine disasters and to the latest economic and political developments, are of vital interest to the world's media, including Hong Kong's. As of December 2006, more than 300 international and Hong Kong-based news organizations were operating or working on the mainland.1 Media from at least forty countries have established bureaus, mostly in Beijing and Shanghai, but some in the southern cities of Guangzhou and Shenzhen as well. The western provinces, including the rapidly growing city of Chongqing, also have drawn more visits from foreign press. Many more were expected to cover the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. What happens in China, however, has unique significance for Hong Kong. For cultural, political, historical and nationalistic reasons, Hong Kong's media clearly have an interest in covering the mainland in ways they did not while reporting on the British government during its rule. After the resumption of Chinese sovereignty in 1997, the mainland became a much more important story for a Hong Kong audience. With the mainland's proximity facilitating news coverage, Hong Kong reporters regularly headed north over the border for stories. But they - like the international press - continued to be aware of the legal and regulatory landmines awaiting those who report on the mainland. This chapter is not intended as an exhaustive examination of PRC laws and regulations that affect newsgathering there. This is not a guide, for example, for Chinese reporters, who are PRC citizens, working for state media. Nor is this an in-depth look at the Internet and government controls over that medium that affect writers of news and commentary. Many excellent publications and research centres deal with these topics.2 Instead, this chapter focuses on some key laws, regulations and rules that Hong Kong and foreign journalists reporting on the mainland typically face. These journalists usually go to China to cover news that they consider important or dramatic. This means they are often covering stories that the mainland government considers sensitive, and so they are subject to a certain degree of control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHong Kong Media Law
Subtitle of host publicationA Guide for Journalists and Media Professionals
PublisherHong Kong University Press, HKU
Number of pages24
ISBN (Print)9789622098077
StatePublished - Dec 1 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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