The Current Digest of the Chinese Press

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    Like its older sibling, Current Digest of the Russian Press, this weekly serial publication launched early in 2012 (after a pilot issue in August 2011) provides English translations of timely articles selected from domestic Chinese news publications. The digital archive from East View contains 373 issues dating from 2011 to the present. 

    East View reports that the archive will grow with ongoing subscription and is hosted on East View's Universal Database platform. 

    May 31, 2024 4:27pm
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    Like its older sibling, Current Digest of the Russian Press, this weekly serial publication launched early in 2012 (after a pilot issue in August 2011) provides English translations of timely articles selected from domestic Chinese news publications.

    An editorial team of China experts select the articles in CDCP, and East View commissions native speakers to translate. Each weekly issue includes around forty articles. Most article translations provide the complete text. East View reports that a few are “condensed” if the text is repetitive, and  the condensed text is noted in the bibliographic citation.

    The editorial effort involved with selection and translation creates a gap of over three months in the appearance of materials online. The most recent issue, examined on August 16, 2012, included news articles from April 30, 2012.

    Although source titles change from time to time, East View describes them as “two dozen key daily newspapers, and some key weeklies.” The Appendix, CDCP Working Source List includes a working source list from East View. The news sources range across various provinces, and include “publications focused on specific industries and regions.” 

    East View stresses that its editorial selection provides a unique overview of Chinese domestic press output without a restrictive editorial filter for foreign consumption: “[I]t is difficult . . . (especially if a person lacks Chinese-language fluency) to get a broad-survey, comprehensive understanding of current events and happenings from the Chinese point of view. Since the media in China are far from free, any China-borne attempt to represent a broad picture of China to the outside world is bound to lack perspective.”  

    The challenge of forming conclusions from any digested content is to understand what proportion of emphasis the selection represents. Ideally additional data would display the overall distribution of subject content in the original sources. East View reports that selection criteria draw heavily on topics observed to be receiving increased coverage in the domestic press, as well as: “topics that are getting decent or heavy coverage in the Chinese press but little to no exposure in English-language news resources; and any reports or commentary that bring fresh perspectives to widely reported events.” In this sense, the digested content can be thought of as a indicator, however subjectively obtained, to deeper content in the original sources.


    CDCP is available in both print and online format.

    The interface for the online database is fairly straightforward. The most effective searches are most likely full text. The classified headings or “rubrics” are either fairly broad or in some cases unpredictable, such as “Politics & Culture” and “Business & the Economy,” but also “China Fights Antidumping Rule.” The rubric tags also designate articles by type, including “Featured News Stories.” It would be helpful to be able to browse the list of rubrics, as it is not clear if other article-type designators exist.

    In the bibliographic citations, the CDCP database is listed as the source for all articles, while the original newspaper source title is tucked into the text of the translated article. Presenting the source title in a fixed field could promote further flexibility of searching, to track the perspectives of particular sources.  

    Searches can be limited by dates. Although the limiter for date searches defaults to 1980, since the interface is applicable to cross-database searches of content from East View, the CDCP content goes back only to August 2011. The prompt for “Advance Search” is not prominently displayed from the basic search page.

    Browsing individual issues of the digest offers a snapshot of news articles featured in any given week. Access to the issue browse function is available as a tab. Users may also select the title from the source list on the search interface, but since the text does not appear to be hyperlinked, this option may be confusing at first.

    One important feature: the individual article entries are crawled by the major web scale discovery services.


    As with East View’s digest of the Russian press, several options exist for access to the content. Institutions can subscribe to print, online, or both versions. Individual subscriptions are also available.

    Strengths and Weaknesses

    The CDCP clearly provides a valuable, unique resource for researchers or students who want to integrate a more global perspective into their work in other fields but lack the language or East Asian specialization. It could also be seen as a current awareness tool for more specialized researchers wishing to track trends in the domestic press, except that the time lag between publication of the original article and the translation offered in the digest is a disadvantage for those tracking more recent events or breaking issues, especially in today’s online environment that emphasizes real-time access to news.

    Ultimately this tool can provide balance for collections lacking a specialist perspective. One university librarian noted: Wide coverage of various subjects; sources are cited. Sources are mainly Chinese newspapers in China: this may be a plus-point since we currently do not have a dedicated database of Chinese newspapers.” Another librarian indicated, “CDCP contents  are English translation of  selective Chinese news sources  which mostly are freely available on the web. It is a product for those who need current awareness of China's developments but cannot read Chinese sources.”


    Center for Research Libraries

    • Virginia Kerr - Digital Program Manager

    Penn State University

    • William Brockman - Collection Development Coordinator

    University of Alberta

    • Louis Chor - East Asian Librarian

    University of Michigan

    • Nick Krabbenhoeft - CRL Intern

    University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

    • Hsichu Bolick - East Asian Librarian

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