The Chinese media landscape is complicated and contradictory, playing a controversial role between the Party Line and the Bottom Line (Zhao, 1998). It does affect on all types of media, Internet included, despite the fact that the government applies strict rules of control and censorship, which is against the nature itself of Internet.
In order to deliver a better idea of how media work in China today, is necessary to remind where the People's Republic of China is from and what is the approach to media generally, that helps to understand the contrast based on the different ideologies behind Internet and Chinese government relating to media.
When the People's Republic was founded in 1949, the telecommunications system and facilities were seriously damaged, what remained was outdated and rudimentary until early 1950s when Communications in China were rapidly established. They mainly used wire for telegraph or telephone, then satellite communication were soon introduced and become common; by 1987 China possessed many different communication system able to connect.
With the introduction of economic reforms in 1978, China has become one of the world's fastest-growing major economies and as of 2013, it is the world's second-largest economy. Since 1979 the Chinese media had a general revitalization, by 1987 the government possessed many different communication system able to connect, with initial efforts to protect and safeguard the freedom of press. That idea has been dropped when the government faced the pro-democracy demonstrators at Tiananmen Square in 1989. While Communist Party “guidance” of the news remained tight after 1989 with domestic censorship in force across all regions and all types of media, media developed with the economic growth independently ignoring the censorship orders and finding alternative solutions in order to keep the media products free to be posted, uploaded or broadcasted; for example, many Chinese reporters pursue difficult stories and post their work on blogs or online message boards. The logic of global capitalism and free trade runs against any significant role for states in managing their own media; this is nowhere more evident than in China.
In most Western democracies, the media are seen as performing the function of monitoring and evaluating the activities of government, as terms like “Fourth Estate” (Benkler, 2011) and “watchdog” (Yuezhi, 2000) describe; in China, the role is differently perceived. The Media are expected to serve as the voice of the Party, propagating Party's programs, policies and accepting the Party leadership following their directives. This concept represent the “Party principle” that defines the Party Line. On the other side there is the bottom Line, meant as the Market which demands more freedom and no control or censorship on it. Even the role of Law is different in China; it is meant to serve the needs of the Government, it does not control or limit the activities of the...