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U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, "Hearing: China’s Media and Information Controls – The Impact in China and the United States," September 10, 2009

This hearing was conducted by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission on September 10, 2009. The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission was created by the U.S. Congress in 2000 to monitor, investigate, and submit to Congress an annual report on the national security implications of the economic relationship between the United States and the People’s Republic of China.
September 10, 2009

September 10, 2009
Room 562 Dirksen Senate Office Building
First Street and Constitution Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20510

Hearing Co-Chairs: Chairman Carolyn Bartholomew and Commissioner Daniel Blumenthal

Opening Statement of Commissioner Daniel Blumenthal, Hearing Co-chairman

Thank you, Chairman Bartholomew. I’d like to also extend my welcome to our panelists and guests. For China, 2009 was filled with many politically “sensitive” anniversaries and events. The Chinese government sought to manage the media’s coverage of the many anniversaries of 2009, including the 20th anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, the 50th anniversary of the Dalai Lama’s exile, and the upcoming 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. The year also saw the July 2009 riots in Xinjiang, a tragic series of events with many parallels to last year’s violence in Tibet.

The government’s response to “sensitive” news events this year has indicated some changes in Beijing’s strategy for controlling the media. In order to take a deeper look at China’s media policies, we’ll examine today three prominent stories from the past year: the messages that the Chinese government has spread in regards to the global economic recession; the way in which the government has responded to the calls for greater individual freedom and democratic reform set forth in the “Charter ‘08” movement; and the narratives that China’s state-controlled media has promoted regarding this year’s disputed Iranian elections and subsequent civil unrest. A close examination of these stories highlights many of the Chinese government’s interests and insecurities. It also illuminates the ways in which it portrays the United States to China’s own citizens, a critical factor in shaping Chinese perceptions of the United States -- and therefore a critical factor in U.S.-China relations.

To help analyze these issues, we are fortunate to have with us today prominent experts from academia and non-governmental organizations. We welcome them, and we welcome all of those who have joined us in the public gallery.

Thank you again, Madame Chairman, and thanks to our witnesses for being here today. I look forward to your statements and our subsequent discussions. At this time, we will introduce our first panel.

Commissioners’ Opening Statements
Opening Statement of Chairman Carolyn Bartholomew
Opening Statement of Commissioner Daniel Blumenthal

Panel I: The Status of China’s Commitments to Greater Media Reforms
Mr. Phelim Kine, Asia Researcher, Human Rights Watch, Hong Kong [Testimony]
Ms. Madeline Earp, Asia Research Associate, the Committee to Protect Journalists, New York, NY [Testimony]

Panel II: Coverage of Sensitive News Stories in Chinese News Media: Charter ‘08 and the Global Financial Crisis
Dr. Victor Shih, Assistant Professor of Politics, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL  
Dr. Perry Link, Professor of Comparative Literature and Foreign Languages, University of California, Riverside, CA [Testimony]
Mr. Lawrence Liu, Senior Counsel, Congressional-Executive Commission on China, Washington, DC [Testimony]

Panel III: Information Technology and Freedom of Expression in China
Mr. Robert Guerra, Project Director for Internet Freedom, Freedom House, Washington, DC  [Testimony]
Dr. Robert Faris, Research Director, Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA [Testimony]