While print journalism served a political function in many nations, this role was particularly consequential in late Qing China, which had neither a system of political parties nor a representative national assembly. Independent of the dynasty and accessible to the reading public, the political press provided one of the few forums where reformists could advance their political agenda. Opening a field of mediation between the different spheres of late Qing China made it possible for reform publicists to challenge imperial authority and express popular grievances, encourage debate over government policies, and educate their compatriots about the urgent need to reform the structure of dynastic power.Does anyone else see the parallels between what was happening at the end of the Qing dynasty, and what's happening now with the Internet in the People's Republic of China? We're not seeing much online debate in China about the CCP or the current political structure, but late Qing newspapers in the 1870s didn't have this kind of debate, either .... Judge is referring to newspaper activity several decades later, in the first decade of the 20th century -- right before the fall of the Qing.
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