Little Research about How Different Media Report Bo Xilai’s Trial

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        There is a big difference on the amount of relevant articles about the trial between the foreign media and Chinese media. From the website of New York Times and the Times, I only find one article each in September reporting the trial. In the meanwhile, the Guardian has four articles and builds up a story-line, but not in-depth report. When it comes to SCMP (South China Morning Post), they post ten articles online from the 20th to 25th, September. I think it can be explained by proximity: people like to know what happen close to them, so the local media sometimes will report more local news.

        Analyzing how they choose an angle or use what kind of words, I found out that foreign media and some Hong Kong media use multiple angles and different headlines. Some focus on Bo’s tear and action; some pay more attention to Bo’s dramatic tale of punch-ups and marriage split; and some just use titles to emphasize the attitude of Chinese government. Besides the headlines, they offer information about the trial like “Bo Xilai appeals against guilty verdict and life imprisonment”, or the fact that he denied his guilt and how he was doing at the court. And the New York Times report that some section like if the pressure from Communist Party force Bo to confess, was out of public record.

         Some media in mainland China dare not report the trial in a more-detail or in-depth way, because the censorship and editorial monitoring can be really serious. So one of the safest ways to report that is to use articles of Xinhua News Agency. For example, Guangzhou Daily (in Chinese) is a newspaper my father reads every day, they just use what Xinhua News Agency published and only did some cutting work.

         Unlike most Hong Kong newspaper reporting different angles or details, mainland newspaper became very cautious. SCMP has articles talking about how the trial result will influence Chinese political area and how Bo’s life in prison will be: hotel-style prison and luxury. They even pointed out Bo’s case can reflect to some political phenomenon in China.

         As a brief conclusion, I think Hong Kong and foreign media have more freedom of speech and do more objective reporting than the mainland media. 

New York Times:
the Guardian
Ta Kung Pao
Bo Xilai to appeal life sentence for corruption: sources
In China, justice serves the cause of party politics
Bo Xilai’s cries of defiance after he is sentenced to life in prison for corruption
After Bo Xilai, a fork in the road for China
Hotel-style prison awaits China’s Bo Xilai
Bo Xilai case: Critics and fans united in scepticism
After Bo, China’s political dysfunction just as opaque
Creature comforts inside prison for corrupt officials
Bo Xilai sentenced to life imprisonment
Bo Xilai ‘will appeal’ verdict and sentence Jinan court hands down
Xinhua News Agency


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