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Media Sensitivity: No Surveys, but Plenty of Plagiarism

The media in China is a sensitive sector, and has always been tightly controlled. Rolling Stone was rocked by the authorities last year as part of an ongoing media clampdown [1]. Now it is the development and NGO publication China Development Brief [2](h/t Danwei [3]), which has just been given its marching orders. The editor Nick Young writes [4]that he was:

Another Danwei story points to plagiarism in the Chinese media [5], and provides a list of examples, including the nicely titled: “Guardian article plagiarized by Shenzhen Daily plagiarized by Xinhua [6]”.

Another one they might add relates to the Confucius Institute Online [7]and ChinaExpat.com [8](h/t China Law Blog [9]). It seems that the Institute lifted a large amount of content from ChinaExpat with no credit. A flurry of postings and emails later the Institute has removed the offending articles and apologized [10].

It is perhaps not surprising that the authorities (at whatever level) are quick to clamp down on writing that is, rightly or wrongly, perceived to be against the national interest. But as the government continues to try to develop an innovative economy, and to improve protection of intellectual property rights, it is surprising that an officially-backed site like the Institute should get itself into such an embarrassing position – when it should be setting the standard for others to follow.

Whatever the morality or legality of plagiarism, it seems there are few places on the internet where “borrowed” content can be hidden from bloggers!