Annie Wang at PostGlobal

Annie Wang

Shanghai, China

Annie Wang is a journalist, public speaker, and author who specializes women’s issue. She has published eight Chinese books and two English novels. Her English debut, Lili - A Novel of Tiananmen, (June 2001 Pantheon Books) published internationally to critical acclaims. A multi-layered novel, Lili, is a story of a "bad girl's" maturation and adventure in the Post-Mao Era leading up the Tiananmen Student Movement in 1989. Her most recent English novel, The People’s Republic of Desire (Harper Collins 2006) is a hilarious satire and an insightful portrait of China’s MTV generation, urban women, and cross-cultural relationships. It has been hailed as a cross between Sex and the City and Joy Luck Club. A child prodigy in her native China, Annie Wang studied mass communications at UC Berkeley and won the Berkeley Poetry Contest in 1996 with two poems, "Speaking to Mao Tse-tung, Tongue-in-cheek" and "A Woman from a Mountain Area". She has worked for high-tech companies in Silicon Valley, and then served in the Washington Post's Beijing bureau and the US State Department. In 2004, she returned to China and ran a fashion magazine in Shanghai. Currently, she lives with her husband and son and divides time between the U.S. and China. Close.

Annie Wang

Shanghai, China

Annie Wang is a journalist, public speaker, and author who specializes women’s issue. She has published eight Chinese books and two English novels. more »

Main Page | Annie Wang Archives | PostGlobal Archives


Youth Dream of Being Journalists, Not Judges

China's college students do not want to become judges, they see them as corrupt. When people from rural China travel to cities to pursue justice, they do not arrive at court. They go to the newspaper or television station.

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Anonymous:

É muito interessante o país de vocês e talvez por ser una culturA EXÓTICA, tende a receber cada vez mais os turistas ocidentais. Há mais de dez anos conhecí a china e realmente fiquei imprescionado com as belezas locais. Vejo que você está mais para o lado de ser jornalista do que ser "juiza".Todas as duas profissões são importantes , porque se envolvem diretamente com os interesses dos cidadãos.

Josh:

Ms. Wang is right to note that zhengfu in Chinese means "government" or "administration" in the broadest sense, and that the separation of powers present in Western systems of government do not apply in China.

That does not, however, mean that there are no checks and balances. Indeed, the party system in China is designed to include multiple sources of control (party, government, military), as well as multiple layers of bureacracy (local, provincial, central). Navigating this system is no easy task, and, as Ms. Wang points out, often the best solution for those with grievances is to go straight to Beijing. After all, someone has to sit at the top of this system and if local officials are not willing or able to help, why not take it to center.

But where I differ from Ms. Wang is in her analysis of judicial reform vs. media reform. It seems to me that in China judicial reform is moving along faster than media reform. Corruption cases are frequent and public. Death penalty cases now have to be reviewed under a new procedure enacted last year. And judges themeselves are subject to careful scrutiny by their peers and government watchdogs. Note last year's well publicized case of judicial abuse in Shenzhen.

By contrast, the media remains relatively closed off. The seeming openness of the corruption cases to which Ms. Wang alludes is permitted precisely because the government recognizes the overarching need to address that endemic problem in China. And while in theory foreign journalists have gained the right to travel around China without prior approval or escort, their movement remains restricted at the local levels.

Part of this is lack of communication between the center and the regions, but another part is the widespread aversion to accoutability in China. Local officials don't want to be help responsible should a journalist turn up something unpleasant on their watch. Better to err on the side of caution.

And these rules only apply to foreign journalists. Local reporters are still heavily censored, regulated, and, at times, jailed. I don't think this is going to change anytime soon.

I'm heartened to hear that young Chinese people want to be jouralist. I hope that by the time they are ready to enter the workforce, the govermment at all levels of China is secure enough to let them do their jobs.

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