Front page on 1 October 1949
(the day the PRC was established)
|Owner(s)||Central Committee of the Communist Party of China|
|Publisher||Central Committee of the Communist Party of China|
|Founded||15 June 1948|
|Political alignment||Chinese Communist Party|
|Language||Chinese and others|
|Headquarters||No. 2 Jintai Xilu, Chaoyang District, Beijing|
The People's Daily (simplified Chinese: ?; traditional Chinese: ?; pinyin: ) is the largest newspaper group in China. The paper is an official newspaper of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, published worldwide with a circulation of 3 million. In addition to its main Chinese-language edition, it has editions in English, Spanish, Japanese, French, Russian, Portuguese, Arabic, Tibetan, Kazakh, Uyghur, Zhuang, Mongolian, and other minority languages in China. The newspaper provides direct information on the policies and viewpoints of the Chinese Communist Party.
The paper was established on 15 June 1948 and was published in Pingshan, 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 Party's top leadership. Deng Tuo and Wu Lengxi served as editor-in-chief from 1948-1958 and 1958-1966, respectively, but the paper was in fact controlled by Mao's personal secretary Hu Qiaomu.
During the Cultural Revolution, the People's Daily was one of the few sources of information from which either foreigners or Chinese could figure out what the Chinese government was doing or planning to do. During this period, an editorial in the People's Daily would be considered an authoritative statement of government policy, was studied and reproduced nationwide, and analyzed globally for insight into the Party's plans. The most important editorials were jointly published by People's Daily, People's Liberation Army Daily and Red Flag, from 1967 to 1978, so called "Two newspapers and one journal" (?), directly representing the highest voice of Chinese Communist Party.
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 or idea is often taken as a sign that the mentioned official or subject is rising. Likewise with articles on geographical areas foreign or domestic; recently increased interest in Latin America has been shown.
Editorials in the People's Daily are regarded both by foreign observers and Chinese readers as authoritative statements of official government policy, and are therefore studied with care. 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. By contrast, an official editorial, which is rather infrequent, means that the government has reached a final decision on an issue.
During the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, the People's Daily editorial of 26 April, which condemned "unlawful parades and demonstrations," marked a significant moment in the newspaper's history. The editorial increased tension between the government and protesters, and top CPC 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.
Since the mid-1990s, the People's Daily has faced a decline of governmental subsidies combined with increasing competition from international news sources and Chinese tabloids. As part of its effort to modernize, it began an online edition in 1997, and the web bulletin forums, such as the Strengthening Nation Forum in the Chinese edition, has been known for their surprisingly candid content.
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.:3
The People's Daily employs "writing task groups" (Chinese: ?; pinyin: ) of various staff to compose editorial pieces to signal the significance of certain pieces or their relationship to the official views of the Communist Party. These groups are published under "signatures" (i.e., pen names? sh?míng) that may correspond with the topic and weight of a piece, and what specific government or Communist Party body is backing it, often with homophonous references to their purpose. They may be used frequently over many years or only for a few specific pieces.
|Pen name||Etymology/symbolism||Usage||Example articles||Ref|
|Ren Zhongping||From 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||Homophone of Zh?ng sh?ng
'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|||
|Guo Jiping||From y?ugu?n 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." 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|||
|Guo Ping||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.||": " ("Better Grasp Contemporary China's Destiny during Reform: On the New Thought and New Achievements of Xi Jinping in Governing the Country"), February 2016|||
|Zhong Zuwen||From Zh?nggòng Zh?ngy?ng Z?zh?bù wénzh?ng
'articles from the Central Party Organization Department'
|Pieces from the Organization Department of the Communist Party of China, covering topics related to the Party principles and ideology.||"Moral standards for officials' personal life necessary", July 2010|||
|Zheng Qingyuan||Taken from the saying ? zhèngb?n q?ngyuán
'clarify matters and get to the bottom of things'.
|Used to comment on political reform, particularly in attacking Western-style liberal democracy. 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|||
|Tang Xiaowen||Similar to d?ngxiào wén
'Party School writing'
|Central Party School editorials written during the Cultural Revolution by a group under the leadership of Kang Sheng.||"''" ("Is Confucius really an 'educator for the entire people'?"), September 1973|||
|Special guest commentator||Briefly realized as Yue Ping , from tèyu? pínglùnyuán||Used from March 1978 to December 1985 to republish select articles from the internal Party periodical Theoretical Trends (?) under the direction of Hu Yaobang.||"" ("Actual Practice is the Sole Criterion for Judging Truth"), May 1978 (originally published in Guangming Daily)|||
The People's Daily also maintains a multilingual internet presence; and established the People's Daily Online () in 1997.
The internet website of People's Daily includes pages 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 editorial about China's foreign policies and motives, often explaining China's positive intentions.
In 2014 the newspaper launched a Chinese-language application which was followed on October 15, 2017 by an English-language version.
People's Daily in recent years has been expanding its publicity on the overseas social media platforms. It has tens of millions followers on its Facebook page, Twitter account, Instagram account, and YouTube account. However, an unusually high proportion of its followers are virtually inactive and likely to be fake users, according to the study of Committee to Protect Journalists.
There have been calls for the People's Daily to register as a foreign agent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act in U.S. 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.