Right before we left for Shanghai in March, news stories described evidence of Jasmine Revolution starting in Shanghai and Beijing. We heard stories of civilians who were arrested for merely walking down the street in the area of a suspected protest. We were told reporters were being forced to gain approval by the government before they hit the streets to report.
Journalism in China
Journalists in Shanghai describe the challenge of pursuing truth while working for media with varying degrees of state control.
Needless to say, many of us were concerned about our fate as foreign students reporting in China when Middle East political protests were threatening to spread there. I worried people wouldn’t talk to me on camera at all, even about something as seemingly simple as chopsticks.
Once there, I didn’t see any of the chaos I was expecting. There were blue and white police cars, and uniforms on almost every corner, but if you weren’t looking for them, they could have blended in with the bustling city. I feared I would have to hide my camera wherever I went, but that fear disappeared once I was there. Maybe it was because I looked like an American tourist, but I was never questioned about my motives.
Even though China’s strict media laws didn’t affect me, I met Chinese reporters who are affected daily. Seeing their passion for being journalist in a country known for censorship has changed my life. I met some of the strongest-willed and determined people who only want to bring more information to their fellow citizens.