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Media Politics in China: Improvising Power Under Authoritarianism
Cambridge University Press (2017)

Who watches over the party-state? In this engaging analysis, Maria Repnikova reveals the webs of an uneasy partnership between critical journalists and the state in China. More than merely a passive mouthpiece or a dissident voice, the media in China also plays a critical oversight role, one more frequently associated with liberal democracies than with authoritarian systems. Chinese central officials cautiously endorse media supervision as a feedback mechanism, as journalists carve out space for critical reporting by positioning themselves as aiding the agenda of the central state. Drawing on rare access in the field, Media Politics in China examines the process of guarded improvisation that has defined this volatile partnership over the past decade on a routine basis and in the aftermath of major crisis events. Combined with a comparative analysis of media politics in the Soviet Union and contemporary Russia, the book highlights the distinctiveness of Chinese journalist-state relations, as well as the renewed pressures facing them in the Xi era.

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Podcast Reviews

‘Critical’ journalism in China, explained by Maria Repnikova, SupChina, Sinica

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Media Politics in China: Improvising Power Under Authoritarianism, New Books Network

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Best Book Of The Year, 2019
— International Journal of Press and Politics

Scholarly Book Reviews

“I suspect it will prove to be the one essential reading summing up media politics in the Hu-Wen era.” Journal of Chinese Political Science

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“It is research of the highest quality: meticulous, critical, persuasive, creative, and provocative.” International Journal of Communication

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“Maria Repnikova’s book is a major contribution towards our understanding of the relationship between the Party-state and the media in China.” Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture

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“The explication one finds in this book has never been so clear, systematic, and focused.” Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly

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“The unique theoretical contribution and solid empirical analysis in this book advance the study of media politics and comparative authoritarianism.” The China Quarterly

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