29 Wan, M., Sino-Japanese Relations: Interaction, Logic, and Transformation (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2006); Reilly, J., “China's history activism and Sino-Japanese relations,” China: An International Journal, Vol. 4, No. 2 (2006), pp. 189–216; J.C. Weiss, “Powerful patriots: nationalism, diplomacy and the strategic logic of anti-foreign protest,” PhD thesis, University of California, San Diego, 2008.
The article’s hook is the story of a woman who stomped a cat to death with a high-heeled shoe and anonymously uploaded a video to the Internet. When it spread to the forums on Mop.com, the Human Flesh Search Engine kicked into gear as people were outraged by the video, and within days, a combination of detective work, crowdsourcing, and media attention allowed them to track down and identify the woman and exact their wrath on her:

However, the official belief of ‘sole responsibility for one’s own profits or losses’ that has been established since the marketisation of Chinese media industries made it impossible for the Fujian press industry to gain sustainable financial investments from the state. Hence, the present objective of media convergence has been to explore new pathways towards profitability. To date, only a few new media outlets in the Fujian press industry have garnered gains. This ‘adventitious feebleness’ in profitability is deemed by local journalists as a consequence of the ‘congenital deficiency’ in content as exacerbated by the censorship system.
Over the past two decades, China’s media convergence has undergone three stages (Li, 2017; Yu, 2015). Stage I lasted from the mid-1990s to the late 1990s, during which the content of traditional media was transplanted onto the new media platform. Stage II began in the early years of the 21st century, during which traditional media co-produced content with new media. Stage III started in 2006 and continues to the present, during which traditional media collaborated with new media in many aspects. All the stages of media convergence concur with the conglomeration and capitalisation of Chinese media industries. China’s media reform has constituted the basic context of domestic media convergence. For the past 40 years, the main drive of China’s media reform is the state. Each critical time point of media reform cannot proceed without the propulsion of the national policy from top to bottom.
Specifically, information released in new media outlets emphasise timeliness. The irreconcilable conflict between such requirement and the principle of accuracy in news reportage concerns many journalists. In China, the common rule of thumb in terms of news production is that ‘the writer is responsible for the consequences of this article’. Journalists are obliged to take full responsibility for all issues engendered by the news under their name. The risk of ‘more mistakes with more releases’ is a shadow that follows news production as a by-product of the censorship system. Thus, the journalists in Fujian’s press groups disregard the new system of censorship as a ‘buffer’ that could protect them from various risks, particularly political ones. When journalists believe that the risk they may undertake outweighs the financial return they will attain, they choose not to cooperate.
In the past when our Weibo and WeChat accounts were not taken over (by the new media centre of Xiamen Daily)… Journalists running to the spot would make an instant call to our editors, saying how a piece was on WeChat… Nowadays, the journalists no longer have such enthusiasm… Anyway, whatever the achievement is, they are not ours. (Interviewee No. 8)

The Chinese media have undergone commercial liberalization during the reform era. Interviews with media practitioners reveal that media reform has brought about three different types of newspapers that differ with respect to their degree of commercial liberalization. Based on a natural experiment during the anti-Japanese protests in Beijing in 2005, this article shows that urban residents found more strongly commercialized newspapers more persuasive than less commercialized newspapers. Provided that the state can enforce press restrictions when needed, commercial liberalization promotes the ability of the state to influence public opinion through the means of the news media.


The last two sections show some potential changes in the dominant path of media convergence adopted by the local press industry. Existing studies indicate that institutional and organisational factors considerably influence the journalists’ perception of their professional roles (Tao and Zhang, 2014; Wu et al., 1996; Zhang and Wu, 2016). Long-term attention is equally worthwhile with regard to whether the future structural adjustment of the local press industry in the area of media convergence will change the journalists’ identification of their roles.
Specifically, information released in new media outlets emphasise timeliness. The irreconcilable conflict between such requirement and the principle of accuracy in news reportage concerns many journalists. In China, the common rule of thumb in terms of news production is that ‘the writer is responsible for the consequences of this article’. Journalists are obliged to take full responsibility for all issues engendered by the news under their name. The risk of ‘more mistakes with more releases’ is a shadow that follows news production as a by-product of the censorship system. Thus, the journalists in Fujian’s press groups disregard the new system of censorship as a ‘buffer’ that could protect them from various risks, particularly political ones. When journalists believe that the risk they may undertake outweighs the financial return they will attain, they choose not to cooperate.
Starting from the emergence of online newspapers, traditional media departments, particularly their leadership, were rather ‘antagonistic’ against new media departments based on the concerns over newspaper circulation. Nevertheless, the competitive relationship between the two types of departments remained unclear because new media departments were situated in a relatively marginalised position inside the press industry. After media convergence along the dominant path was officially launched, original new media departments have been integrated into the new media centre. Vast financial support, manpower and material investments were put to the new media centres of the Fujian press industry, which had reinforced the position of new media department as a ‘rival’ to newspaper offices.
The last two sections show some potential changes in the dominant path of media convergence adopted by the local press industry. Existing studies indicate that institutional and organisational factors considerably influence the journalists’ perception of their professional roles (Tao and Zhang, 2014; Wu et al., 1996; Zhang and Wu, 2016). Long-term attention is equally worthwhile with regard to whether the future structural adjustment of the local press industry in the area of media convergence will change the journalists’ identification of their roles.
93 Lai Fei. Jining, zaozhuangdiqu huaxiangshi gailun (An Introduction to Han Stone Pictorial Reliefs at the Jining and Zaozhuang Region) in Zhongguo huaxiangshi quanji, Shandong Han huaxiangshi (di er ji) (Complete Collection of Chinese Stone Pictorial Reliefs, Shandong Stone Pictorial Reliefs (Volume 2))(Jinan: Shandong meishu chubanshe, Zhengzhou: Henan meishu chubanshe, 2000), 19.
The effects of the dominant path of media convergence on the mid-size press industry are the focus of this study. The path chosen by the press industry in other regions of China may differ from the dominant one in Fujian due to the nuances of power structure, level of economic development, size of press group and other factors. For example, the Nanfang Media Group’s choice of the fully transformed path has a bearing on its pioneering spirit and remarkable investment, which are derived from its distance from the centre of political power, the prosperity of the market economy in Guangdong and the surrounding areas, and the considerable assets from accumulation within the media group in the past decades (Yin and Liu, 2013). Nevertheless, Fujian’s case discloses the common challenges that the Chinese press industry will face as they further advance the convergence regardless of which path they choose. This study also develops an analytical framework based on the interplay amongst the state, media and journalists to be used in future research on China’s media convergence.
One of the goals of media convergence in the reconstruction process is to modify the journalist–editor relationship by veering from ‘journalist-centred’ to ‘editor-centred’, such that journalists shall mainly undertake the role of information gatherer, whereas editors perform the role of information synthesiser. Regarding real news production, most new media centre editors are recruited from the members of society who are familiar with new media but inexperienced in news gathering and editing; thus, they are mere ‘stevedores’ rather than ‘processors’ of texts. Given that editors lacked the required qualifications, journalists were forced to undertake additional tasks (e.g., verifying information and converting statements from frontline journalists into text) that should have been performed by editors.
In 2001, the Publicity Department of CPC, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, and the General Administration of Press and Publication issued the Opinions on Intensifying Reform on the Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television Industry, thereby establishing media groups concurrently operating across media and regions as well as initiating comprehensive adjustment over the capital structure of media groups. In late 2003, the State Council issued the Notice on Printing and Issuing Two Regulations on Supporting the Transformation of Cultural Industry Development and that of Cultural Institutions into Enterprises in the Trail of Cultural System Reform to separate operative resources, such as the contents of social service and mass entertainment, from present institutional resources, thereby realising capitalisation. Henceforth, the gap in the domain of ownership has been further filled, and media reform has entered the capitalisation stage.
Contextualised within the relationship of state, media and journalists, the current study begins with a brief description of local journalists’ attitude towards new media. Thereafter, the authors discuss how local journalists perceive and evaluate media convergence, disclosing the implementation of the dominant convergence path and its influential mechanism. Consequently, this discussion lays an empirical foundation for exploring the regional diversity of China’s media convergence in the future. The following concrete questions will be discussed:
Last year or the year before, I went to the trial over a deputy mayor in Fuzhou. Only another journalist and I went to the whole course of the first trial. He (a newspaper department supervisor) demanded strictly at that time that the number of online figures could not exceed 500. Plus, the next day he scolded (another journalist) in a loud voice, ‘It’s too foolish of you to have (only) offered them the lead of the foregoing news. You should have cut out a bit from each paragraph. You giving these 500 figures to others, who would read the newspaper?’ (Interviewee No. 14)
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