Intellectual Property

GAPP newspaper pirates blogger

The International Federation of the Periodical Press (FIPP) is a global organization that represents the interests of magazine publishers. It is similar to the the World Association of Newspapers (WAN), but much less political: with its members publishing titles like Hello! and Cosmopolitan, FIPP is less interested in journalistic integrity than WAN and more interested in profits.

Nonetheless, the annual FIPP congress is an important event on the international media calendar. This year, it's being held in Beijiing with the active participation of the General Administration of Press and Publications (GAPP). It started yesterday and goes on until tomorrow.

Meanwhile, on the Internet, prolific blogger Wang Xiaofeng discovered that a newspaper under GAPP's supervision plagiarized a blog post of his, attributing it to a fictional journalist. Below is a rough translation of the first half of the post:

China News Blackboard

by Wang Xiaofeng

One year's worth of writing on my blog probably adds up to several hundred thousands of characters. Some of them are republished in traditional media. Because my information sources are limited, I don;t even know which media have republished my writing. Some kind-hearted editors will send me a fee after publishing, others, with no conscience, won't even let me know that they are using my stuff. They shouldn't be like that: I am a very open person and when you republish my writings you are saying that you value my work, and I still haven't thanked you. Because of these issues, I have a notice on my blog that says: "Commercial websites and print media, please do not republish without my permission".

A few days ago, someone named Teacher Zhang left a comment: "The May 8 issue of China Press and Publishing Journal (中国新闻出版报) published an article of yours, under the name 'Desert' (沙漠). Did you give the article to them?"

I don't think I have ever had such a psuedonym. I made some enquiries and found that this newspaper is produced by GAPP and is all about the administration and regulation of publications.

Hell! My own words, published in a publication whose title starts with 'China', what luster I have added to my humble family's honor.

As far as I know, one of the bodies under GAPP is the National Copyright Administration. GAPP directly leads the National Copyright Administration, and attaches a great deal of importance to copyright! Therefore their China Press and Publishing Journal should show exemplary behavior when it comes to copyright; they should be the Fang Yonggang of the publishing world.

Then I thought, was there someone who recently asked me to write an article? I rummaged through my email but couldn't find anything. Maybe someone sent me an SMS, asking for permission to use the article, but no. If someone had contacted me, it is unlikely that they would have changed my name. If 'Wears Three Watches' [Wang's penname] sounds vulgar, well I have a normal name, it's Wang Xiaofeng (王小峰). If you think this name is not suitable, you can also use the characters '王晓峰'. If all of these names are too common and vulgar, you could also call me 'Old Wang', 'Little Wang', 'Middle Wang', or Wang Zhong Wang [a famous brand of sausage from Luohe]. Those names are all OK - what's with this 'Desert'!

My email address is on my blog, writing a message asking for my permission won't kill you. if it will kill you, at least it won't break your spine to leave a comment on my blog. Why the hell didn't the editor ask my permission? ...


The entire piece in Chinese is available on Wang Xiaofeng's blog.

The commentary department of China Press and Publishing Journal invites readers to submit op-eds via its Sina blog. Recently it issued the following statement:

To readers who have criticized us!

Thank you for your critiques. Though there be thousands of reasons that our newspaper is not run well, or certain reports are not handled correctly, there is no justification; readers will be unforgiving, and we cannot hope that readers will forgive us.

We are still wearing away at it; everything will ultimately go smoothly and we will give everyone a better page.

We await more critiques. This is the only way for progess, and this is our reason for running this blog.

As for what's been said about People's Daily publishing manuscripts that have been submitted to us but that we've not published, this situation is due to the fact that our two papers have different standards for submissions. We look for pieces that are more professional, more industry-related. We hope you understand.

CP&PJ blog statement is here. [--JM]

There are currently 1 Comments for GAPP newspaper pirates blogger.

Comments on GAPP newspaper pirates blogger

Indeed China Press and Publishing Journal has problems for being exemplary as they themselves acknowledge on their Sina blog... In their case, it is probably due to a lack of funding for paying proper editors and journalists, on top of standard bureaucratic mediocrity... Well, nothing new under Mao-2.0's sun (luckily "exemplary" means also characteristic, typical...)

Once I was interviewed by a journalist of the China Press and Publishing Journal, during about 1.5-2 hours (forgot her name, and won't lose time retrieving her card; but she apparently was a regular employee of the journal, not a freelancer). She came with another lady, a friend and back-up interpreter. They didn't take any notes, both of them. As I made a remark, the journalist said she was recording everything on a small electronic machine (I thought it was an mp3 player -most journalists in China use in fact these little recorders-).

A week later my staff called the journalist for requesting, as planned, a copy of their article before its publication, an embarrassed journalist explained that her machine had not worked properly, nothing had been recorded in fact, so she had written an article from memory, and in using various documents or other articles found here and there, and that in any case it would be published the next day, so no time for re-reading, etc.

Obviously she was embarrassed to let us read her work before publication -and it was a long article, like half a normal newspaper page-. The goal for me was PR for some delicate media business in the PRC, so any mistake could have been counterproductive.

Thus I threatened the journalist with some kind of action, like calling some boss for stopping or delaying the article, etc. She apparently feared the phone calls, begged for leniency, and finally offered that I (re)write myself the entire article, but that I had only 1-2 hours to do so...

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