The Press: Inside People's Daily

The four-story headquarters of the People's Daily on Peking's busy Wang Fu Ching Street bears scant resemblance to a Western newspaper office. A People's Liberation Army soldier with fixed bayonet patrols the main entrance and bars passage to anyone lacking an appointment. Inside, there is no bustle of copy boys, no chorus of jangling telephones. The People's Daily is plainly not a normal newspaper; it is the voice of the Chinese Communist Party. That fact—plus a circulation of 3.4 million —makes it China's most influential publication.

The six-page paper seems largely a collection of features. A typical assignment for the staff might...

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