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Chinese gov’t to test 10,000 journalists for loyalty to President Xi Jinping

Chinese President Xi Jinping waves to deputies at the 13th National People's Congress in Beijing on Tuesday, March 20, 2018. (Lan Hongguang/Xinhua/Sipa USA/TNS)
September 25, 2019

About 10,000 reporters and editors in the Chinese state media are going to have to pass a test in order to be issued press credentials.

In order to pass the test, there is a section specifically regarding President Xi Jinping and his Marxism, the South China Morning Post reported Thursday. It is assumed that those who do not show loyalty to China’s president for life that they will not be allowed to operate in the media. Test-takers will have two chances to pass.

Some will participate in “pilot tests” beginning early October using the Xuexi Qiangguo mobile app, according to an anonymous source, the SCMP reported.

Xuexi Qiangguo, also referred to as the “little red book” and translated to “study to strengthen the nation,” is a news aggregation app that feeds media content to its users about President Xi’s political philosophy.

“I’m very good at this kind of stuff,” said one anonymous and eager editor who runs a state-owned media outlet. “I cover it every day pretty much.”

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It was at one point compulsory to have Xuexi Qiangguo downloaded on party members’ phones and to register using their real names when it first launched.

The app collects users’ progress and can be accessed by propaganda departments, according to the SCMP.

State-run media in China is notoriously one-sided, constantly pushing pro-state propaganda.

One a recent instance, the state-run tabloid, Global Times, compared the Hong Kong protesters to terrorists in ISIS.

“In movies, masked people cloaked in black are almost always bandits who kill and plunder. Such image is also typical of a member of the Islamic State,” wrote Zhi Zhenfeng, a “research fellow” for the outlet. “However, in the riots that started after the anti-extradition bill protests morphed into a so-called ‘pro-democracy movement’ during the last three months, the belligerent protesters acted violently under the garb of masks and black clothes.”

Conversely, those who question official state narratives, or are even perceived to be disloyal to the state for their mere presence in the country, have been arrested.

Yang Hengjun, a former Chinese national and current Australian writer and political commentator, was arrested Jan. 19 at Guangzhou Airport and placed under “residential surveillance at a designated location” (RDSL) for six months.

Additionally, the state regulates what anyone can post online, recently using new guidelines which detail what China’s 700 million internet users should post online, including “spreading the thought of President Xi Jinping.”

Titled, “On Managing the Online Ecology,” the guidelines continue to forbid making fun of the Communist Party and its historical figures.