I have a piece up exclusively at Asia Times, Battle Between Xi Jinping and Propaganda Chief Plays Out in Media.
I look at a recent series of high profile incidents--high profile, I must say, because foreign media outlets obsess over PRC media issues--that involve free press and free expression (none of which are characteristic elements of PRC discourse) and power and propaganda (Communist meat and potatoes).
In consolidating Xi Jinping's rule and, I believe, in an exercise in battening down the hatches and making the CCP more disciplined, robust, and responsive to policies of the Center as Xi's plans to reconstitute and redirect the economy enter a much more fraught and difficult stage, control over the media has apparently been tightened.
At the same time, Xi's energetic activities imply that media and propaganda have also become a priority because they constitute a realm in which Xi's opponents have entrenched themselves, and Xi wants to spade them out.
This view is supported by the circumstances of the "Yes Men" essay, widely viewed in the West as a rebuke to Xi's authoritarianism and hostility to free expression but which, on closer examination, looks like something else.
Read the whole thing!