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People's Daily

The People's Daily a daily newspaper, is the organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, published worldwide with a circulation of 3 to 4 million. In addition to its main Chinese-language edition, it has editions in English, Japanese, French, Spanish, Russian, and Arabic. As the CCP's mouthpiece, the newspaper generally provides direct information on the policies and viewpoints of the Party.


The paper was established on June 15, 1948 and was published in Pingshan, Hebei, until its offices were moved to Beijing in March 1949. Ever since its founding, People's Daily has been under direct control of the Party's top leadership. Deng Tuo and Wu Lengxi served as editor-in-chief from 1948-1958 and 1958-1966, respectively, but the paper was in fact controlled by Mao's personal secretary Hu Qiaomu.

During the Cultural Revolution, the People's Daily was one of the few sources of information from which either foreigners or Chinese could figure out what the Chinese government was doing. During this period, an editorial in the People's Daily would be considered an authoritative statement of government policy and was studied across the nation.

Newspaper articles in the People's Daily are often not read for content so much as placement. A large number of articles devoted to a political figure or idea is often taken as a sign that the mentioned official is rising.

Editorials in the People's Daily are also regarded both by foreign observers and Chinese readers as authoritative statements of government policy. Distinction is made between editorials, commentaries, and opinions. Although all must be government approved, they differ sharply on the amount of official authoritativeness they contain. For example, although an opinion piece is unlikely to contain views that are opposed to those of the government, it may express a viewpoint, or it may contain a debate that is still under consideration and may reflect only the opinions of the writer. By contrast, an official editorial, which is rather infrequent, means that the government has reached a final decision on an issue.

Since the mid-1990s, the People's Daily has faced a decline of governmental subsidies combined with increasing competition from international news sources and Chinese tabloids. As part of its effort to modernize, it began an online edition in 1997, and the web bulletin forums, such as the Strong Nation Forum in the Chinese edition, has been known for their surprisingly candid content. The complexity of the People's Daily's situation can be seen by the fact that it is a dot-com, with banner advertising for washing machines and Coca-Cola next to banners promoting the Communist Party of China.

Former and present chief officers


  • Wu Guoguang. "Command Communication: The Politics of Editorial Formulation in the People's Daily." China Quarterly 137:194–211.
  • People's Daily. 人民日报基本情况 (Basic facts about the People's Daily) 2003-05-14.

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