Rebecca MacKinnon recently put out a survey to foreign correspondents to see whether blogs have an impact on their reporting on China. Instead of repeating Rebecca’s good work, you should just read the results of the survey from her post.

What I found interesting is that most of those participated in the survey follow blogs for story ideas or information. I suppose before blogging becomes popular, reporters had to rely mainly on other media organizations. And to follow China, the state-owned news agencies have to be the way to go. I can see that for some in-depth reporting, the academics is also a good source. But to get most up-to-date about new policies or the official word from the Chinese government, much of the foreign media follows Xinhua News Agency and other newspaper published in China. It is still the case as evident in Rebecca’s survey results, plus my experience of reading China-related news everyday. If an article has mentioned they got the info from Xinhua News Agency, I just go straight to the source and find out exactly how Xinhua reports it because foreign media often puts their own spin on the story or focus on a small portion of what’s being reported originally. It’s not that we should believe in what’s being put out by Xinhua or other foreign media.  Instead, I think we should be critical of what’s being broadcast to us, make comparison and then form our own opinion.

But looking for certain articles on Xinhua’s website is not easy. Not all their articles are posted on the web, especially the high profile human rights cases. Like I was looking for their report on Gao Zhisheng earlier today and I couldn’t find anything, even their Chinese site came up with no search results. There is certainly some power-that-be in China deciding on what can go on the web.

Despite the difficulties, I have been able to dig up most of the original reporting on China and shared the info on this blog. It kind of became the theme of my blog by accident when I got annoyed by the copy-and-paste approach of other blogs. If any links posted on this blog expire, write me a comment. I have another way to keep the information alive.