“Good Kids are Cultivated by Praise…”

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From the indispensable Xiao Qiang, director of the China Internet Project at Cal Berkeley’s School of Journalism, comes the following classic exchange between a reporter and Wang Min, the governor of Jilin Province, on the role of the press in present day China. How odd to have a provincial governor compare his fellow government officials to “chidlren” who need to be `praised.’

“I Don’t Welcome Excessive Negative Media Coverage” – Wang Min (王珉)

Following excerpts are from a Southern Weekend reporter Zhao Lei (赵蕾) interview with Wang Min, Jilin Province, a delegate from Jilin to this year’s NPC conference, translated by CDT:

Reporter: You have just mentioned that various governing systems are coming into being, and at the same time many problems are just showing up. As the Party Secretary of the (Jilin) Province, do you welcome the supervision from the press?

Wang Min: The supervision of the press is an effective way to ensure that the party committee and the government will make correct decisions and conduct scientific governance. The effect is becoming more and more noticeable. But I don’t welcome excessive negative media coverage. Generally speaking, excessive negative coverage will create a negative feeling among the people. It’s very detrimental. I think the press should have a broad perspective and be politically correct. It should be responsible for the party, the government and the society. The press can’t blindly insist on being eye-catching. It should do more support and encouragement. When I was in charge of education, once I said that good kids are cultivated by praise. If everybody praises you, you will slowly have very good self-discipline. I haven’t been in charge of propaganda, but I think doing propaganda is just like educating kids, and good behavior is created by praise.

Xiao Qiang
Director, China Internet Project
The Graduate School of Journalism
University of California at Berkeley