China is the largest media market in the world, and has the world's largest online population.
Outlets operate under tight Communist Party control. The opening-up of the industry has extended to distribution and advertising, not to editorial content. However, there is leeway for independent coverage that is not perceived as a threat to social stability or the Party.
Thirty-two journalists across China were in prison as of December 2012, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).
Beijing tries to limit access to foreign news by restricting rebroadcasting and the use of satellite receivers, by jamming shortwave broadcasts, including those of the BBC, and by blocking websites. Ordinary readers have no access to foreign newspapers.
Fears that the media in Hong Kong would lose their independence when the territory reverted to Chinese control in 1997 have generally not been borne out. Hong Kong still has editorially-dynamic media, but worries about interference remain.
There are more than 2,000 newspapers. Each city has its own title, usually published by the local government, as well as a local Communist Party daily. There are an estimated 1,000 state-owned radio stations.
With nearly 1.2 billion viewers, TV is a popular news source and the sector is competitive, especially in cities. State-run Chinese Central TV (CCTV) is China's largest media company. Its provincial and municipal stations offer a total of around 2,100 channels. China is a major market for pay-TV, which is almost entirely delivered by cable.
China spends hugely on TV, radio, online and press outlets targeted at international audiences, aiming to extend its political influence and boost its image. It is less keen to allow foreign players into the domestic market.Phenomenal online growth
With 591 million internet users (China Internet Network Information Centre, July 2013), China has the world's largest net-using population. Mobile platforms are the main means of web surfing.
Social networking has seen phenomenal growth. The number of microblog users reached 309 million in 2012; the leading platform is Sina Weibo. The top search engine is Baidu.
An extensive web filtering system, dubbed the "Great Firewall of China", is one of the "most technologically-advanced in existence", according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF). It blocks tens of thousands of sites using URL filtering and keyword censoring.
Thousands of cyber-police watch the web. Internet cafes are closely monitored. Filtering targets material deemed politically and socially sensitive. Blocked resources include Facebook, Twitter, and human rights sites.
RSF lists China as an "enemy of the internet" (2012). Sixty-nine internet users were imprisoned as of early 2013, the watchdog reported in its Press Freedom Barometer.
- Renmin Ribao (People's Daily) - Communist Party daily, web pages in English
- Zhongguo Qingnian Bao (China Youth Daily) - state-run, linked to Communist Youth League
- China Daily - state-run, English-language
- Global Times - state-run, English-language
- Jiefangjun Bao - People's Liberation Army daily, web pages in English
- Zhongguo Jingji Shibao (China Economic Times) - state-run, daily
- Fazhi Ribao (Legal Daily) - state-run
- Nanfang Ribao (Southern Daily) - Communist Party daily, Guangdong province
- Chinese Central TV (CCTV) - state-run national broadcaster, networks include English-language CCTV News
- China National Radio - state-run
- China Radio International - state-run external broadcaster, programmes in more than 40 languages, notably to Taiwan and Korea
- Xinhua (New China News Agency) - state-run, web pages in English