Zhao Yan

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Blog   |   China

Q&A: How to cope with perils of being a Chinese news assistant for foreign media

News assistants, or zhongmi (which literally means "Chinese secretaries"), are Chinese citizens working for foreign journalists in China. They play a number of roles including monitoring news leads, conducting research, translating materials, and arranging interviews, as well as acting as cultural liaisons who can explain social and political phenomena to journalists who may not be fluent in Chinese or have not long been in the country. As a former China correspondent for Agence France-Presse told the Asia Society, "Most foreign bureaus would be nothing without their Chinese news assistants."

Blog   |   China

News assistants in China: an invisible, important group

Among the first concerns a journalist may have on coming to China as a foreign correspondent is how to communicate with the Chinese people, the majority of whom do not speak a word of English. Finding a "news assistant" is usually the answer.

Blog   |   China

China's state secrets law leaves journalists exposed

The Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress adopted a revised state secrets law on April 29. The changes, which take effect October 1, put greater onus on media and telecommunications companies to defend state secrets and cooperate with authorities investigating alleged violations of the legislation. Chinese commentators point out that while individuals are having to reveal more and more about themselves online, an official culture of concealment allows corruption to flourish unreported.

May 5, 2010 5:50 PM ET

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