New Spaces, New Controls: China’s Embryonic Public Sphere

Veg, Sebastian. New spaces, new controls : China’s embryonic public sphere. Current History : A Journal of Contemporay World Affairs, Sept. 2015, p. 203-209. URL :  (consulté le 28 août 2015)

On July 17, 2015, People’s Daily announced that a new deputy director of the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Propaganda Department (the official translation has been changed to Department of Publicity in recent years) had appeared at a conference on children’s literature in Beijing. This was the first official notice that Tuo Zhen, the former director of propaganda in Guangdong province, had been promoted to a powerful position in the central government. Tuo had become famous in 2013 thanks to his personal intervention to cut and rewrite key passages of the newspaper Southern Weekend’s New Year’s editorial, hours before it went to press.

In the draft of this editorial, written just months after Xi Jinping’s inauguration as the party’s general secretary, the Guangzhou weekly—long a haven for investigative journalists critical of party methods—connected Xi’s notion of the “China Dream” with China’s century-long quest for constitutional rule. The editorial was originally titled “The China Dream—a dream of constitutionalism.” The title was subsequently changed to “We are closer to our dream than ever before,” a phrase taken from People’s Daily, and all references to constitutionalism were removed.

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Monique Abud

Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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Monique Abud

Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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