chapter  7
Opposition Political Opinion Magazines
WithDaniel K. Berman
Pages 32

Fating the press is more difficult than bathing a leper. The use of political opinion journals as a base for opposition political activities follows a Chinese tradition that began in 1895 with Liang Ch’ich’ao’s Peking-based Chinese and Foreign News. The reasons for the role that opposition magazines came to play can be traced to both generic and culture-specific sets of phenomena. At a general level, magazines anywhere require less minimum start-up capital than newspapers. Damage control can be swift and fairly comprehensive with magazines, in contrast with both newspapers and the broadcast media. Once something is broadcast over the airwaves, it cannot be recalled. Because of their substantial bulk, cost and consumer buying habits, magazines cannot be hawked by mobile street vendors for quick distribution with the same facility as newspapers. One longstanding point of contention in the study of politics relates to the controversy over the importance of individual political actors.