Jaime FlorCruz, former CNN Beijing bureau chief and current Peking University adjunct professor, spoke on China’s quest to control public opinion in the new media age.
He shared his insights from 45 years as a student and journalist in China with journalism students, scholars and community members at UH Mānoa on February 6.
FlorCruz described current conditions faced by foreign correspondents in China and compared Chinese and foreign reporting techniques. He also discussed China’s struggles to balance the need for community interaction on social media with government regulation to prevent the spread of pornography, cybercrime and dissent. He also noted that China aims to be a “strong cyber power” by 2035.
FlorCruz also discussed what is banned on social media in China, such as the Tiananmen tank, June 4 riot, Free Tibet, Falun Gong, Winnie the Pooh and names of critics. Some of China’s solutions to control of the internet include the Great Firewall of China, cracking down on the use of virtual private networks (VPNs) to circumvent it, and requiring real-name accounts.
FlorCruz is this year’s distinguished Carol Burnett Fund speaker. His talk was made possible by the Carol Burnett Fund for Responsible Journalism, which supports teaching and research as well as awards to “outstanding students who have demonstrated a strong sense of journalistic responsibility and integrity.”
Joining FlorCruz was Rick Hornik, former AsiaWeek executive editor, who served as TIME’s bureau chief in Warsaw, Boston, Beijing and Hong Kong. Hornik is director of Stony Brook (NY) University’s Overseas Partnership Program and has taught news literacy in China and other countries.
FlorCruz was a reporter for Newsweek Magazine in 1981, and the next year joined TIME magazine’s Beijing bureau, serving as bureau chief from 1990 to 2000. He was CNN’s Beijing Bureau Chief and correspondent from 2001 to 2014. FlorCruz has witnessed and reported the most significant events of China’s past four decades, such as the 1989 Tiananmen protests and the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He has been the longest-serving foreign correspondent in China and is considered the dean of the Beijing press corps