Chinese Law Prof Blog

Editor: Donald C. Clarke
George Washington University Law School

Friday, June 8, 2012

Corruption in China's financial press

For all those (including me) who have ever thought that loosening the bonds on China's financial press would, by improving the quality of information out there, go a long way toward improving China's corporate governance, this Caixin report (in English) makes sobering reading. What the financial press wants in many cases, it seems, is not information but good old baksheesh. They will shake down IPO companies for cash with the threat of publishing negative stories.

Just by coincidence, I heard the same complaint just a few days earlier from a businessman whose company had recently had an IPO. He said that China's financial press was all corrupt (黑). I asked him if that included Caixin, which has always had a good reputation. He said he wouldn't include them in the indictment.

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In china, journalists are being loved or hated more so than anywhere. If you hold out as a journalist, some people fear you. You are either authorized to intimate people by publishing their hidden misdeeds or you can blackmail whoever has things to hide. You are therefore hated. More infrequently, some people who want your platform to express certain grievances, they want to bride you or pretend to like you. I once gave an informal talk to about 20 journalists in Beijing through a friendly contact. I was amazed by how they teased a People's Daily editor saying that he is not a journalist but a propagandist.

Posted by: Frankie Fook-lun Leung | Aug 9, 2012 3:23:21 PM

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