China’s Li Jingtian Says Social Media Encourage Press Freedom

Li Jingtian, Senior Vice President of the Central Party School of the Communist Party of China, said social media are helping his country move toward a greater degree of press freedom.

“The social media is actually strengthening supervision of the Chinese officials” and “this is a very good thing,” he said today during a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum in Davos. “To guarantee the freedom of the media, of the press, this is the common goal of the administrations of all the countries in the world, and this is an issue remaining to be solved.”

Asked if he thinks the Chinese leadership will allow media to report more freely in China, Li said: “We need to minimize our mistakes, we need to be supervised by different parties, including the supervision from the society, from the people” and “the media.”

Harvard professor Kenneth Rogoff, who sat on the same panel, said it is essential for China to relinquish controls on the Internet to foster academic research.

“It’s hard to have a heavy hand over the Internet and still have a very high level of research and be at the top level,” he said. “You cannot compete at the top level without a pretty free Internet.”

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