6 December 2019


Security has been tightened in Beijing and police officials are on high alert after a sports utility vehicle crashed and exploded in the heavily guarded Tiananmen Square Monday afternoon, killing at least five people and injuring 38 others. While the cause of the crash remains unclear, there has been some speculation that the incident, which happened in the nation’s symbolic center, could have been a deliberate act perpetrated by disgruntled elements such as activists from the restive Xinjiang region. Chinese news coverage of the crash has been little and no details have been given. Unrest among religious and ethnic groups in Xinjiang has been a headache for Chinese leaders, and Monday’s crash may be seen as a direct challenge to social stability, which has been a top priority for Beijing. The timing of the incident is also sensitive as top leaders are preparing to hold the third plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Committee in November to come up with a roadmap for the nation’s development in the next decade. Earlier in July, 35 people were killed in an outburst of violence in Xinjiang, with the clashes occurring around the fourth anniversary of the July 2009 riots which resulted in a death toll of 197 individuals, along with 1,721 injured.

Media transformation: The birth of Shanghai Newspaper Group, product of a merger between Shanghai Jiefang Daily and Wenhui-Xinmin United Press, is a reflection of how the Chinese government is responding to the impact of new media on the industry environment. People are changing the way they access news as they browse on mobile devices. Amid this situation, it is important for the government to consolidate the resources to develop online services in order to keep a strong channel to convey the party and government messages. Shanghai Newspaper Group is now China’s largest press group with estimated assets of 20.8 billion yuan, according to a statement issued by the group. Media reports have said earlier that over 10,000 newsstands managed by China Post were dismantled between 2008 and 2012, and presently just a little over 30,000 such outlets are said to remain.

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