It is useful and interesting to be up-to-date regarding recent developments in China. The following list will serve as a good orientation point to find the most important direct sources both with respect to Chinese newspapers and Western newspapers with China outlets.
Here you can find an overview on different media outlets covering China extensively, giving you the opportunity to stay up-to-date with respect to recent developments and in-depth analyses. This list is by no means complete, but it can provide you an idea where to start when you want to learn more about China and its culture and opportunities. They are all good sources with big differences regarding their focus and perspective. It is, therefore, a great idea to follow a few of these websites to be able to form your own opinion.
Many news sources in China are only available in Chinese; however,
there are several China news in English available in some stores.
China Daily is the biggest daily newspaper delivering China news in English, which offers an extensive online version of its coverage. The main targets of this Chinese newspaper are internationals in China, such as tourists and business men, and Chinese people who want to improve their English. Articles are regularly about explaining government policies often by directly translating popular Chinese newspaper articles into English, but also many softer topics like entertainment and sports. It is usually seen as more liberal than most other Chinese newspapers (confirmed by a study conducted by Freedom Forum Media Studies Center at Columbia University). Different international versions are available in print and online for Europe, Asia, Africa, and the US.
The South China Morning Post delivers China news in English-language and their headquartered in Hong Kong with an extensive (now free) online coverage of their news. It is the most popular non-advertisement financed China news in English newspaper in Hong Kong with a daily circulation of about 100,000. Due to its location in Hong Kong, it is able to cover topics about China in a neutral to liberal way according to Western standards. The Alibaba group bought the newspaper in 2016, but announced that the independence of the editorial would remain. So far it seems to continue to be a great source for independent reports about China.
The Global Times is also a China daily newspaper that offers both Chinese and English language articles. It is well-known to represent the voice of the Communist Party of China (CPC). Its perspective can be seen as far-left and nationalistic or patriotic – at least in the Chinese version of the newspaper. The English version is usually more moderate and even liberal in comparison to the Chinese equivalent. Furthermore, the focus of the international version is rather on domestic issues while the Chinese version covers international issues in greater depth. The intended audience are internationals in China and interested Chinese citizens, too.
The People’s Daily is the by far biggest and most popular Chinese media group with several different publications, including a China daily newspaper with the biggest audience (3 to 4 million every day). It also offers China news in English among other languages, but the focus is clearly on the Chinese speaking audience. The same as for the Global Times, it is directly published by the Communist Party of China (CPC), but the focus of the Chinese version is in contrast rather on domestic and inner party issues than international issues. Interestingly, being positively mentioned here as a party official means that you are probably going to have a carrier step. Therefore, also the English version contains frequently very interesting news between the lines.
Caixin is a relatively recently established (2010) Beijin newspaper in English, focusing on financial/business news and information. They quite uniquely offer a broad range of different business magazines – Century Weekly, China Reform, Comparative Studies and Caixin-China Economics & Finance – with different focuses and intended audiences. Most important for foreigners is their English-language Caixin-China Economics & Finance magazine that offers more comprehensive economic reports than most other media which are usually limited to shorter news articles. They are seen as setting and consequently having the highest standard for publications in the business field and are maintaining their own economic index (“China purchasing manager index”). Caixin’s English website offers a trimmed version of their news, opinion and analysis articles that are worthwhile reading.
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Reuters, being famously one of the largest international news agencies in the world, has a nice section for China news in English. Of course, due to the nature of news agencies, you cannot find in-depth reports here, but it is the website where you can find the most recent news about China in a convenient and quality-wise reliable way.
Bloomberg is a financial news and media company established in 1981 and based in New York. While their focus clearly lies on providing financial data services, they nonetheless have a news section and they also work as a news agency particularly in this field. After discovering and reporting about Chinese leaders’ families and their connection to foreign banks in 2013, Bloomberg supposedly gave in and stopped covering these stories. However, you can still find interesting stories and critical opinion articles on their China section website.
The Guardian is a British national daily newspaper established – in different forms – since 1821 with a daily circulation of about 190,000 newspapers. It usually seen and sees itself as provider for quality journalism, and is often involved in investigative journalism discoveries such as the phone hacking scandal in 2011 or more recently the leaking of Snowden’s NSA papers. You can usually find a few great articles about China on its website every day.
The Daily Telegraph is circulations wise the biggest English newspaper (circulation of more than 500,000) and also has a long history going back to 1855. It is commonly seen to be relatively close to the conservative party. It’s section about China are often characterized by videos or photo series and shorter articles, similar to the other content. However, it’s a good address to get lighter news about China.
The New York Times (or NYT), founded in 1851, is the American daily newspaper with more than 1.3 million copies it has the second highest circulation in the US – directly after the Wall Street Journal, which has less international coverage. It usually seen and sees itself as provider for quality journalism. It has an interesting history with respect to China because it started a Chinese-language version of its website in 2012 that became surprisingly successful. By reporting about Chinese domestic issues in a critical way, not only the Chinese but also the original China news in English version became blocked in China. The coverage about China is extensive and a good primary source for information.
The Economist is a long established (1843) English-language weekly newspaper based in London. The weekly circulation is about 1.5 million copies worldwide. It is very famous for providing in-depth analyses of various business and finance related topics using scholarly methods. It often also provides interesting and China news in English on its website. However, you usually have to subscribe to read their articles frequently.
Western media provides you with summaries about events and developments in China.
There are just too many blogs that would have deserved it to be introduced here. However, there are a few good websites that aggregate and collect information about the the numerous blogs covering China news in English.
Chinabloggers is a database of blogs about China sorted into different categories. These categories include “Regional Blogs”, “Greater China Blogs”, “Language Blogs”, “Food Blogs”, “Photo Blogs” and more. It is worth it to go through these lists to find blogs that are corresponding to your individual interests.
China Blog List is quite similar to Chinabloggers and also provides links and brief introductions to numerous blogs about China. The number and the variety of blogs is even higher. However, this also means that the quality differences of those blogs are higher, too. It is definitely a good place if you are searching for niche topic blogs related to China.
Sinocism is strictly speaking no blog, but the newsletter sent out regularly can also be accessed online which kind of corresponds to a blog. The author Bill Bishop very successfully summarizes current developments regarding many topics in China. Furthermore, he provides links to his sources, which are often from websites mentioned in this article but also to blogs and other websites that are not covered here. It’s definitely a good way to stay up to date with Chinese world news, and an opportunity to find websites that are worth to be read regularly.