Ahead of the inauguration of Donald Trump as the forty-fifth President Of The Unites States, China has escalated their censorship of news organizations.
With Trump entering office, China’s propaganda officers ordered the press to report nothing but what was written for them by the official state media. According to a report seen by the Financial Times, “it is forbidden for websites to carry out live streaming or picture reports of the inauguration.”
They’ve been told not to give the inauguration any special focus and to “take care of news comments … and negative and harmful speech.” Not that this is anything new. China is internationally famous for their stringent censorship of major world news, and this is no exception.
According to English-language radio personality Elyse Ribbons, “Chinese leadership still trying to figure [Trump] out,” and has not allowed her to talk about him on her radio program. According to Beijing Foreign Studies University’s Professor of International News Zhan Jiang, “The government is still working out how to react to him, which is why in this case they are taking very close control of the media for this event.” He also called the new President “unpredictable,” and said that he has a “less friendly attitude” than former President Barack Obama.
The one thing that China’s state-controlled media did choose to emphasize was the cost of the inauguration event, at about $100 million. The Information Office of the State Council tweeted, “How much does #Trump’s #inauguration cost? The number must be staggering.”
This marks one of the only direct statements made by China regarding the ascent of President Trump, after filing a complaint regarding his contact with Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen on the phone. Historically, China has portrayed America as a stumbling block on its road to greater world power. Time will tell how they choose to frame the country’s new leadership, but one thing is pretty certain: their media’s words will be chosen carefully, and chosen for them by their leaders.
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