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China’s New World Media Order

Thirty years after the Tiananmen Square massacre, China's regime is proudly promoting its model of authoritarian capitalism around the world. The new world media order that it is trying to build is less well-known than the Belt and Road Initiative, but just as ambitious.

PARIS – Since the Tiananmen Square massacre 30 years ago, China has achieved extraordinary economic development. Yet, contrary to the expectations of many Western leaders and analysts, the country has not gradually embraced press freedom or respect for civil rights. On the contrary: as a recent Reporters Without Borders (RSF) report shows, China today is actively working to build a repressive “new world media order” – an initiative that poses a clear and present danger to the world’s democracies.

Press freedom, one of the main demands of the Tiananmen demonstrators, is officially guaranteed by Article 35 of the Chinese constitution. Yet the Communist Party of China (CPC) and its state apparatus still routinely flout this provision.

In fact, China is one of the world’s leading jailers of journalists, and ranks 177th of 180 countries in RSF’s 2019 World Press Freedom Index. The “Great Firewall of China,” an ultra-sophisticated Internet-filtering system, limits the access of most of China’s 830 million Internet users, and the CPC has no qualms about pressuring publishers and social-media platforms to censor themselves. China now openly rejects the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with rhetoric about “social harmony” and the “relativity of values.”

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