The elite American media apparatus is disturbingly similar to the Chinese propaganda machine.

Habí Zhang:

In China, where I grew up, news is known to the people as propaganda in its neutral, if not positive, sense. Since all news agencies are run by the state, “news” is whatever events and opinions the Propaganda Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party permits or manufactures.

Growing up in a household of illiterate parents, I never saw newspapers as a child. My first dose of propaganda was a 30-minute TV program named Xinwen Lianbo(“CCTV Network News”), broadcast in the early evening via all local stations, that I occasionally watched at relatives’ homes. Sounds and images, rather than words, work better with uneducated or indifferent masses. Since 1978, this daily news program remains a textbook success of the Soviet style of propaganda—a refined manipulation warping concepts, language, and history, aimed at convincing the Chinese people of the benevolence of the Party and the superiority of Socialism. Many years later, when I read Orwell’s 1984, the depiction of the Two Minutes Hate ritual reminded me of the 30-minute Xinwen Lianbo.