Front page of the first issue on 16 June 1949
|Founded||16 June 1949|
The Guangming Daily, Guangming Ribao, or Enlightenment Daily is a national Chinese-language daily newspaper published in the People's Republic of China. Established in 1949 as the official paper of the China Democratic League, it has become the official organ of the Chinese Communist Party for China's intellectuals. As one of China's "big three" newspapers during the Cultural Revolution, it played an important role in the political struggle between Hua Guofeng and the Gang of Four in 1976 and between Hua and Deng Xiaoping in 1978.
The Guangming Daily, then romanized as Kuangming, was launched on 16 June 1949 in Beijing. It was originally the official newspaper of the China Democratic League, but later became the Chinese Communist Party's official organ for China's educated elite.
During the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976), Guangming Daily was one of the only three national newspapers that remained in circulation, together with the People's Daily and the People's Liberation Army Daily, and the sole magazine Red Flag. The four periodicals, known as "the three papers and one magazine", dominated China's public affairs. For safety reasons, regional newspapers and specialist magazines all took cues from the big four, and largely reprinted articles from them.
Before the death of Mao Zedong, the paper fell under the control of the radical Gang of Four led by Mao's wife Jiang Qing. In October 1976, Vice Premier Ji Dengkui played a significant role in taking over the Guangming Daily, helping Mao's successor Hua Guofeng oust the Gang of Four and put an end to the Cultural Revolution.
In 1978, the liberal Communist Party leader Hu Yaobang appointed Yang Xiguang, formerly with Shanghai's Jiefang Daily, chief editor of the Guangming Daily. Under Yang's editorship, Guangming was the first Chinese newspaper to stop publishing Chairman Mao's Quotations on the front page every day. On 11 May 1978, it published Hu Fuming's famous editorial "Practice is the Sole Criterion for Testing Truth" (Chinese: 实践是检验真理的唯一标准), refuting Hua Guofeng's Two Whatevers theory in support of Deng Xiaoping's Reform and Opening policy. The article was quickly reprinted in almost all major Chinese newspapers, cementing support for Deng's victory over Hua.
Guangming Daily's circulation reached 1.5 million in 1987, but as independent publications flourished during the Reform and Opening era, it dropped to 800,000 in 1993.:167 To survive in the market, it decided to reduce political coverage and propaganda, and increase its coverage on culture and science.:167 As of 2013, the paper had a daily circulation of 490,000.
In 1998, Guangming Daily launched its official website Guangming Online (GMW.cn), which was one of the earliest news websites in China. As of July 2017, Alexa Internet ranks the website as the 73rd most visited in the world and 14th in China.
The Beijing News
In 2003, Guangming Daily partnered with the Southern Newspaper Group (publisher of the highly successful Southern Weekly) to jointly publish The Beijing News, which quickly became one of Beijing's most influential newspapers.
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