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Unprecedented protests in China are making headlines around the world, except inside China

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The censors are working overtime in China.
The censors are working overtime in China.

In a rare show of anger at the Chinese Communist Party, thousands of protesters have amassed in the streets of more than a dozen Chinese cities in recent days calling for an end to strict Covid lockdown measures and political freedoms.

It is one of the top stories — if not the top story — for major news organizations around the world. But for the hundreds of millions in China relying on news coverage from state-run media, there has been almost no coverage of the unprecedented challenge to leader Xi Jinping.

That’s because Chinese media have largely ignored the uprising, considered to be one of the largest that has erupted in decades, as Xi employs a host of iron-fist measures to clamp down on coverage and quash the swelling acts of dissent in the authoritarian country.

A version of this article first appeared in the “Reliable Sources” newsletter. Sign up for the daily digest chronicling the evolving media landscape here.
On the homepage of the state-run Xinhua News Agency, for instance, there was not a single story about the demonstrations featured Monday. In fact, according to a search on its website, the word “protest” has not been used by the propaganda outfit in any digital stories since the protests broke out.

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