People's Daily

The People's Daily (Chinese: 人民日报; pinyin: Rénmín Rìbào) is the official newspaper of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).[1][2] The newspaper provides direct information on the policies and viewpoints of the CCP. In addition to its main Chinese-language edition, the People's Daily is published in multiple languages.

People's Daily
Front page on 1 October 1949
(the day the PRC was established)
TypeDaily newspaper
Owner(s)Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party
PublisherCentral Committee of the Chinese Communist Party
Founded15 June 1948 (1948-06-15)
Political alignmentChinese Communist Party
LanguageChinese and others
HeadquartersNo. 2 Jintai Xilu, Chaoyang District, Beijing
OCLC number1011095986
People's Daily
Chinese name
Simplified Chinese人民日报
Traditional Chinese人民日報
Mongolian name
Mongolian CyrillicДундад улсын (Хятадын) ардын өдөр тутмын
Mongolian scriptᠳᠤᠮᠳᠠᠳᠤ ᠤᠯᠤᠰ ᠤᠨ
(ᠬᠢᠲᠠᠳ ᠤᠨ)
ᠠᠷᠠᠳ ᠡᠳᠦᠷ ᠲᠤᠲᠤᠮ ᠤᠨ


The paper was established on 15 June 1948 and was published in Pingshan County, Hebei, until its offices were moved to Beijing in March 1949. Ever since its founding, the People's Daily has been under direct control of the CCP's top leadership. Deng Tuo and Wu Lengxi served as editor-in-chief from 1948 to 1958 and 1958–1966, respectively, but the paper was in fact controlled by Mao Zedong's personal secretary Hu Qiaomu.[3]

Newspaper articles in the People's Daily are often not read for content so much as placement. A large number of articles devoted to a political figure, idea, or geographic focus is often taken as a sign that the mentioned official or subject is rising.[4][5]

Editorials in the People's Daily are regarded both by foreign observers and Chinese readers as authoritative statements of official government policy. Distinction is made between editorials, commentaries, and opinions. Although all must be government approved, they differ sharply on the amount of official authoritativeness they contain by design – from the top. For example, although an opinion piece is unlikely to contain views opposed to those of the government, it may express a viewpoint, or it may contain a debate that is under consideration and reflect only the opinions of the writer: an editorial trial balloon to assess internal public opinion.[6] By contrast, an official editorial, which is rather infrequent, means that the government has reached a final decision on an issue.[6]

During the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests and massacre, the People's Daily editorial of 26 April, which condemned "unlawful parades and demonstrations," marked a significant moment in the newspaper's history.[7] The editorial increased tension between the government and protesters, and top CCP leaders argued about whether to revise it. An article that compiles the most important editorials was released by the People's Daily during the student movement.

An analysis of the wording of all the issues of the People's Daily from 1995 to 2000 was used in the writing of The First Series of Standardized Forms of Words with Non-standardized Variant Forms.[8]:3

The People's Daily is also responsible for the publication of the nationalistic tabloid Global Times.[9]

Overseas editions

The People's Daily also maintains a multilingual internet presence; and established the People's Daily Online (人民网) in 1997.[10] The website of People's Daily includes content in Arabic, French, Russian, Spanish, Japanese and English. In comparison to the original Chinese version, the foreign-language version offers less in-depth discussion of domestic policies and affairs and more editorials about China's foreign policies and motives.[11]

The People's Daily in recent years has been expanding on overseas social media platforms. It has millions of followers on its Facebook page and its accounts on Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. However, an unusually high proportion of its followers are virtually inactive and are likely to be fake users, according to a study by the Committee to Protect Journalists.[12] According to a 2021 report by The Washington Post, the People's Daily Online provides overseas public opinion monitoring outside of the Great Firewall for various police, judicial, and CCP organizations.[13]

Writing practices

The People's Daily employs "writing task groups" (Chinese: 写作小组; pinyin: xiězuò xiǎozǔ) of various staff to compose editorial pieces to signal the significance of certain pieces or their relationship to the official views of the CCP.[14] These groups are published under "signatures" (i.e., pen names: 署名 shǔmíng) that may correspond with the topic and weight of a piece, and what specific government or CCP body is backing it, often with homophonous references to their purpose.[15][16]

Selected notable People's Daily pen names
Pen name Etymology/symbolism Usage Example articles Ref
Ren Zhongping 任仲平 From 人民日报重要评论 Rénmín Rìbào zhòngyào pínglùn
'important People's Daily commentary'
Used to represent the view of the People's Daily as an organization. "Hong Kong scores brilliant achievements after return", June 2017
"Keeping original aspiration, CPC creates glorious achievements", September 2019
Zhong Sheng 钟声 Homophone of 中声 Zhōng shēng
'voice of China'
Commentary on major international affairs by editors and staff. "U.S. practice to claim compensation for COVID-19 outbreak a shame for human civilization", May 2020 [15][18]
Guo Jiping 国纪平 From 有关国际的重要评论 yǒuguān guójì de zhòngyào pínglùn
'important commentary on international [matters]'
According to China Daily, Guo Jiping is "used for People's Daily editorials meant to outline China's stance and viewpoints on major international issues."[19] Guo Jiping articles are rarer and generally longer than Zhong Sheng articles. "Losing no time in progressing—grasping the historic opportunity for common development", December 2019 [18]
Guo Ping 国平 Unclear. Guó means 'country' and píng 'peace, calm'. Píng is also the last character in Xi Jinping's name. Articles that focus on Xi Jinping and his political thought. "在改革中更好掌握当代中国命运: 六论习近平总书记治国理政新思想新成就" ('Better Grasp Contemporary China's Destiny during Reform: On the New Thought and New Achievements of Xi Jinping in Governing the Country'), February 2016 [20]
Zhong Zuwen 仲祖文 From 中共中央组织部文章 Zhōnggòng Zhōngyāng zhībù wénzhāng
'articles from the Central Party Organization Department'
Pieces from the Organization Department of the Chinese Communist Party, covering topics related to the Party principles and ideology. "Moral standards for officials' personal life necessary", July 2010 [14][20]
Zheng Qingyuan 郑青原 Taken from the saying 正本清源 zhèngběn qīngyuán
'clarify matters and get to the bottom of things'.
Used to comment on political reform, particularly in attacking Western-style liberal democracy.[21] A writer from the Beijing Morning Post (now part of The Beijing News) speculated that it represented the Politburo in an article that was taken down within a day in China. "China to promote reform with greater resolve, courage", October 2010 [14]
Tang Xiaowen 唐晓文 Similar to 党校文 dǎngxiào wén
'Party School writing'
Central Party School editorials written during the Cultural Revolution by a group under the leadership of Kang Sheng. "孔子是’全民教育家‘吗?" ('Is Confucius really an 'educator for the entire people'?'), September 1973 [22]
Special guest commentator 特约评论员 Briefly realized as Yue Ping 岳平, from yuē pínglùnyuán Used from March 1978 to December 1985 to republish select articles from the internal Party periodical Theoretical Trends (理论动态) under the direction of Hu Yaobang. "实践是检验真理的唯一标准" ('Actual Practice is the Sole Criterion for Judging Truth'), May 1978 (originally published in Guangming Daily) [23]

List of presidents

  • Zhang Panshi (张磐石)
  • Hu Qiaomu (胡乔木)
  • Fan Changjiang (范长江)
  • Deng Tuo (邓拓)
  • Wu Lengxi (吴冷西)
  • Chen Boda (陈伯达)
  • Hu Jiwei (胡绩伟)
  • Qin Chuan (秦川)
  • Qian Liren (钱李仁)
  • Gao Di (高狄)
  • Shao Huaze (邵华泽)
  • Bai Keming (白克明)
  • Xu Zhongtian (许中田)
  • Wang Chen (王晨)
  • Zhang Yannong (张研农)
  • Yang Zhengwu (杨振武)
  • Li Baoshan (李宝善)
  • Tuo Zhen (庹震)


During the AIDS epidemic, the People's Daily downplayed the epidemic domestically while "presenting AIDS as a relatively innocuous social problem for the country."[24]

A 2013 study of the People's Daily coverage of the 2002–2004 SARS outbreak reported that it "regurgitated triumph and optimism" and framed the outbreak as an "opportunity to showcase China's scientific achievements, and the strength of national spirits, as well as the wise leadership of the party and effective measures to protect the lives of ordinary citizens."[25]

In February 2020, the People's Daily published an article stating that the novel coronavirus "did not necessarily originate in China."[26] In March 2020, the online insert of the People's Daily, distributed by The Daily Telegraph, published an article stating that Traditional Chinese medicine "helps fight coronavirus."[27] In May 2020, the People's Daily stated that the novel coronavirus had "multiple origins."[28] In November 2020, the People's Daily published a claim that COVID-19 was "imported" into China.[29][30][31][32] In January 2021, the People's Daily inaccurately attributed deaths in Norway to the Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.[33]

In 2020, the United States Department of State designated the People's Daily a foreign mission, thereby requiring it to disclose more information about its operations in the U.S.[34][35][36][37]

In 2021, ProPublica and The New York Times reported that the People's Daily was part of a coordinated state propaganda campaign to deny human rights abuses in Xinjiang.[38]

The Onion parody

In November 2012, American satire news site The Onion published an article where it declared North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as the 'Sexiest Man Alive for 2012'. In response, People's Daily republished the article with 55-page photo spread of Kim and tongue-in-cheek quotes from The Onion. They later took down the article from its site after realizing that it was a parody. The Onion later updated their article about Kim stating; "For more coverage on The Onion's Sexiest Man Alive 2012, Kim Jong-Un, please visit our friends at the People's Daily in China, a proud Communist subsidiary of The Onion, Inc."[39]

See also


  1. Fish, Eric. "China's Angriest Newspaper Doesn't Speak for China". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 18 July 2020.
  2. "Q&A: China's newspaper industry". BBC News. 11 January 2013. Retrieved 18 July 2020.
  3. "Historian: Hu Qiaomu". Chinese Revolution. 27 August 2015. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
  4. Wu, Shufang (3 September 2014). "The Revival of Confucianism and the CCP's Struggle for Cultural Leadership: a content analysis of the People's Daily , 2000–2009". Journal of Contemporary China. 23 (89): 971–991. doi:10.1080/10670564.2014.882624. ISSN 1067-0564. S2CID 145585617.
  5. Weston, Morley J.; Rauchfleisch, Adrian (23 July 2021). "Close to Beijing: Geographic Biases in People's Daily". Media and Communication. 9 (3): 59–73. doi:10.17645/mac.v9i3.3966. ISSN 2183-2439.
  6. Wu, Guoguang (March 1994). "Command Communication: The Politics of Editorial Formulation in the People's Daily". The China Quarterly. 137 (137): 194–211. doi:10.1017/S0305741000034111. ISSN 0305-7410. JSTOR 655694. S2CID 154739228.
  7. "April 26 Editorial". 26 April 1989. Archived from the original on 17 June 2012. Retrieved 10 May 2012.
  8. 国家语言文字工作委员会 (20 April 2016). 第一批异形词整理表(试行) (in Simplified Chinese). Archived from the original on 27 November 2018. Retrieved 21 November 2017.
  9. Branigan, Tania (20 April 2009). "China defies media cuts and closures with new newspaper launch". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 July 2021.
  10. "A Loyal Customer: People's Daily and Beijing". The Wall Street Journal. 10 January 2012. Archived from the original on 8 June 2016. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  11. Chinese and English versions of China's leading news portals – Two styles of journalism Archived 21 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine, Thinking Chinese Archived 26 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine, August 2011.
  12. Shepherd, Christian (23 November 2015). "Twitter tally at People's Daily does not add up, say researchers". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 10 December 2022. Retrieved 25 February 2022.
  13. Cadell, Cate (31 December 2021). "China harvests masses of data on Western targets, documents show". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 1 January 2022.
  14. Banurski, David (5 November 2010). "Who is 'Zheng Qingyuan'?". China Media Project. University of Hong Kong Journalism & Media Studies Centre.
  15. Gitter, David; Fang, Leah (2018). "The Chinese Communist Party's Use of Homophonous Pen Names: An Open-Source Open Secret". Asia Policy. 25 (1): 69–112. doi:10.1353/asp.2018.0009. ISSN 1559-2960. S2CID 158246582.
  16. Bandurski, David (23 June 2022). "Pen Names for Power Struggles". China Media Project. Retrieved 13 January 2023.
  17. "人民日报记者揭秘'任仲平'背后的故事 [People's Daily Reporters Reveal Story behind 'Ren Zhongping']". People's Daily. 28 December 2008. Archived from the original on 22 March 2018. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  18. "吴长生、王恬详细介绍"国纪平"和"钟声"". People's Daily. 6 February 2009. Archived from the original on 10 February 2009. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  19. Guo, Jiping (31 December 2019). "Losing no time in progressing—grasping the historic opportunity for common development". China Daily. Archived from the original on 31 December 2019. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  20. "2014中国互联网年度人物名单揭晓 "国平"成唯一入选且获奖的群体". Guancha News. 12 February 2015. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  21. Godement, François (2015). Contemporary China: Between Mao and Market. Rowman and Littlefield. p. 112. ISBN 9781442225398. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  22. "康生死前為何會揭發江青:老謀深算 善於投機 [Why Would Kang Sheng Expose Jiang Qing before his Death? Scheming, Foresight, and Opportunism". People's Daily (in Chinese). 16 October 2006. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  23. Wu, Guangxiang. "胡耀邦与"特约评论员"署名". News of the Communist Party of China. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  24. Dong, Dong; Chang, Tsan-Kuo; Chen, Dan (19 June 2008). "Reporting AIDS and the Invisible Victims in China: Official Knowledge as News in the People's Daily , 1986–2002". Journal of Health Communication. 13 (4): 357–374. doi:10.1080/10810730802063793. ISSN 1081-0730. PMID 18569366. S2CID 38167270.
  25. Changfu, Chang (21 November 2013). "One System, Two Frames: The Coverage of the WTO Negotiations and the SARS Outbreak by the People's Daily and the China Daily". Evolution of Power: China's Struggle, Survival, and Success. Lexington Books. pp. 263–265. ISBN 978-0-7391-8498-1. OCLC 864899546.
  26. Gitter, David; Lu, Sandy; Erdahl, Brock (30 March 2020). "China's Coronavirus Misinformation Campaign Seeks to Avoid Blame". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  27. Sterling Jones, Dean (1 April 2020). "A British Newspaper Has Given Chinese Coronavirus Propaganda A Direct Line to the UK". BuzzFeed News. Retrieved 8 January 2021.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  28. "China's latest U-turn, says COVID-19 virus had 'multiple origins'". National Herald. 27 May 2020. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  29. Graham-Harrison, Emma; McKie, Robin (29 November 2020). "A year after Wuhan alarm, China seeks to change Covid origin story". The Observer. ISSN 0029-7712. Retrieved 30 November 2020.
  30. "Chinese media step up campaign to muddy probe into Covid origins". Financial Times. 26 November 2020. Archived from the original on 10 December 2022. Retrieved 26 November 2020.
  31. Stanway, David (26 November 2020). "With frozen food clampdown, China points overseas as source of coronavirus". Reuters. Retrieved 26 November 2020.
  32. Palmer, James (25 November 2020). "How Will Biden's Team Handle China?". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  33. Hui, Mary (21 January 2021). "China's vaccine diplomacy has an aggressive anti-vax element". Quartz. Retrieved 29 January 2021.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  34. Jakes, Lara; Myers, Steven Lee (18 February 2020). "U.S. Designates China's Official Media as Operatives of the Communist State". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on 24 March 2020. Retrieved 18 April 2020.
  35. O’Keeffe, Kate; Jonathan, Cheng (19 February 2020). "State Department Names Five Chinese Media Outlets as Foreign Missions in U.S." The Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Archived from the original on 1 April 2020. Retrieved 18 April 2020.
  36. "US tightens rules on Chinese state media over 'propaganda' concerns". The Guardian. Agence France-Presse. 18 February 2020. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on 25 March 2020. Retrieved 18 April 2020.
  37. Wong, Edward (22 June 2020). "U.S. Designates Four More Chinese News Organizations as Foreign Missions". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 23 June 2020.
  38. Kao, Jeff; Zhong, Raymond; Mozur, Paul; Krolik, Aaron (23 June 2021). "How China Spreads Its Propaganda Version of Life for Uyghurs". ProPublica. Retrieved 25 June 2021.
  39. "North Korea joke slips over China's Great Firewall". USA Today. 28 November 2012. Retrieved 5 December 2020.

Further reading

  • Merrill, John C. and Harold A. Fisher. The world's great dailies: profiles of fifty newspapers (1980) pp 264–72
  • Wu Guoguang. "Command Communication: The Politics of Editorial Formulation in the People's Daily". China Quarterly 137:194–211.
  • 人民日报基本情况 [Basic facts about the People's Daily]. People's Daily (in Simplified Chinese). 14 May 2003.
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