Washington International Law Journal


Litong Chen


Litong Chen translated the regulation into English.


The Chinese Government traditionally has believed that the voices of adversaries, whether foreign or domestic, should not be heard. The Preamble to the Chinese Constitution states that, "The Chinese people must fight against those forces and elements, both at home and abroad, that are hostile to China's socialist system and try to undermine it."' The beachhead which has been regarded as most critical for the Communist Party of China ("CPC") to defend is China's mass media—the CPC's mouthpiece for its ideological rhetoric. Conventionally, the best way to keep a beachhead is to repel the enemy from its shores. Historically, China has successfully protected its culture, and specifically its media, from foreign "invasion." For a long time, private and foreign investors, viewed as hostile forces and elements, were not allowed to invest or engage in the mass media business. Because "the exploiting classes as such have been eliminated in [China]", and class struggles between capitalism and socialism are no longer regarded as a primary social conflict, the CPC adopted the "Reform and Open Door" policy and introduced private economic reforms. The CPC's policies have become more pragmatic and economic in their focus. They are also less ideologically inspired, as they were during the Mao era. Under these reforms and policy changes, parts of the mass media, such as films and television programs, were opened to both foreign and private investment. The newspapers, radio and television station sectors remained closed to such investment. In 1995, the Chinese government allowed foreign investment in the television program industry under the Administrative Regulation of Sino-foreign Cooperatives Producing Television Programs (Videos) promulgated on September 1, 1995 ("Old Regulation"). The Regulation on Sino-foreign Cooperation in Making Television Programs ("New Regulation") was promulgated on September 21, 2004, to replace the Old Regulation. The New Regulation is significantly less restrictive than the old one. For example, Article 13 of the Old Regulation outlawed any programs "not in accordance with" (Wei bei) the Constitution and laws of the People's Republic of China as well as other restricted programs as listed therein. In contrast, in addition to the listed restricted programs, the New Regulation states that the television programs must not be "against" (Fan dui) the cardinal principles of the Constitution and must not have contents which are "prohibited" (Jin zhi) by law, administrative regulation, or the State's acts. The New Regulation manifests a governing philosophy which is new in China to both the government and the governed—"you may do what is not prohibited" rather than "you may only do what is permitted."

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