China's Media, Media's China Edited by Lee Chin-chuan Westview Press $595 AS China tries to cope with the more open, freer society it has created by allowing market forces to let rip, there is one area where it suffers from particularly uncomfortable indigestion: freedom of the press. Freedom of expression is not a concept that sits well with communist states run by Leninist parties, even those where 'the primary stage of socialism' means karaoke brothels and stock markets. As some of the chapters in this compilation show, China has invented a tightly ordered, harshly policed information system. In a topsy-turvy world that seems bizarre to Westerners but which Lewis Carroll would have appreciated, China's sophisticated news network provides lurid, detailed accounts of important events for top leaders in a print run of, at most, a few dozen, while palming off the masses with boring propaganda in daily newspapers. The public newspapers are so devoid of life that it seems hard to believe that Chinese politicians and policy advisers could ever be as media savvy as their European or American counterparts. But, as an informative chapter by the Post's former Beijing bureau chief Marlowe Hood demonstrates, Chinese insiders are just as adept at manipulation. Hood's story shows reporters in China face numerous moral dilemmas. It is a theme taken up by China-watcher and former Carter adviser Michel Oksenberg who traces in one succinct chapter the history of a century of China reporting. Other chapters offer a wide ranging survey of newspapers not only on the mainland but also in Taiwan. For broadcast media, the head of the Voice of America's China branch during the 1989 Tiananmen crisis details how the VoA responded. Local readers looking for an analysis of the challenges facing Hong Kong's media industry will be disappointed. The main discussion on the situation in Hong Kong is based on a survey of journalists' attitudes dating from 1990. Things have moved on since then, in particular with the arrest and imprisonment of Xi Yang and Gao Yu. Though their trials and sentencing came after publication, their arrests could and should have been covered by a book that purports to document how journalists cope with covering China. Also discouraging for the reader is the frequent use of academic jargon.