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Chinese reporters in Boca have freedom to write about U.S. election

by Andrew Abramson | October 21st, 2012

Chinese reporters, who have to watch what they write about their own government, have much more flexibility to write about American presidential elections.

There are about 800 foreign journalists expected to attend Monday’s presidential debate at Lynn University in Boca Raton. A contingent from the Xinhua News Agency, China’s largest media outlet, took some time Sunday night at Delray Beach’s BurgerFi to discuss the Chinese view on American politics with The Palm Beach Post.

It’s no secret that the Chinese media doesn’t have complete freedom to write about their own government. While media organizations there are privately owned, they receive government subsidies and must abide by government-issued guidelines.

But here are some points you might not know, according to the Xinhau staff:

- The Chinese government rarely cares what its reporters write about the American elections. “There are very few limitations,” one reporter said.

- The majority of the Chinese probably favor President Obama over Mitt Romney because Obama is more well-known and Romney has made comments seen as criticizing China. However, Republicans are considered historically more friendly with the Chinese.

- While Richard Nixon might be a toxic name in American political history, Nixon is a well-known and popular figure in Chinese history because he reopened trade between the U.S. and China. Nixon’s former Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, is also a major figure in Chinese-American history.

- Although reporters are limited in what they can write in China, Weibo (the Chinese Twitter) is changing the rules. The Chinese government technically can delete tweets its find offensive, but since there are now hundreds of millions of Weibo users, the government is having a tough time keeping up with the tweets.

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