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Cap and trade: How China maintains positive coverage with limit on negative news

Excerpt of a 25 September 2015 CPJ Blog post by Yaqiu Wang, CPJ Northeast Asia Correspondent.

China's President Xi Jinping announced a major cap-and-trade program on carbon emissions at the White House today, but a cap on press freedom back home has long been in place.

On September 22, 2015 the Cyberspace Administration of China, the country's leading Internet regulatory body, issued a media directive stating that mobile phone apps of Chinese news organizations are not to send more than three push notifications of "negative news" related to public security and law during Xi's visit to the U.S. A journalist working for a newspaper in China, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal, told CPJ that the directive also stipulates that any organization violating the rule will be punished by having their app's push notification function disabled for 10 days. "This is to make sure that while Xi is in America, not too much bad news is spreading around back in China," the journalist said.

The domestic media have been covering Xi's visit with enthusiasm, from his policy objectives and the implications of his speeches, to what he eats for dinner and his wife's clothes. Absent from the reports in China, however, are details of the street protests against Xi in cities that he visits, as well as the numerous conferences, petitions, and exhibitions criticizing China's human rights records.

Read the full blog post on CPJ's site.

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