By Staff Middle Land 3:43 pm PST

Western people tend to believe that the earliest newspaper was The Daily Chronicle, founded by Julius Caesar in 59 B.C. In fact, in terms of age, the Chinese newspaper, Di Bao, predates the Daily Chronicle by about a century.

According to the Yangcheng Evening News, Di Bao was also known as Di Chao, Zhaobao (morning newspaper), Tiao Bao (column newspaper), and Za Bao (miscellaneous newspaper). The word “Bao” (newspaper) indicates it is used as a kind of news announcement, precisely, the news copy for the court to inform the documents and political information. The earliest appearance of Di Bao was in the early Western Han Dynasty, around 200 BC.

Since the Han, Tang, Song, Yuan, and Ming dynasties, the name of Di Bao has been changed repeatedly. Still, its issuing has not been interrupted, and its nature and content have not changed much. With the invention and development of papermaking during the Eastern Han Dynasty, China made paper with plant fibers. Di Bao was copied on paper, thus making Di Bao Newspaper further developed and easier to issue and deliver.

During the Tang Dynasty, the Di Bao was distributed by the Newspaper Service Ambassador stationed in the capital. In the 12th year of the Dali era of the Tang Dynasty (777 A.D.), the official position was renamed “memorial officer.” The publication of Di Bao was carried out under the unified jurisdiction of the Upper Capital Memorial. Therefore, among the various origins of newspapers, the original form of Chinese newspapers originated in the Tang Dynasty and is the most plausible. The earliest physical newspaper in existence is the Dunhuang Tang Dynasty Memorial to Court, more than 1100 years old, held in the British Library in London. Historical records show that the newspaper was in circulation until the abdication of the Qing emperor in 1912.

By the Song Dynasty, newspapers had been called several names, but Di Bao was still the most common name among them. The contents of Di Bao were all about the court’s major policies and the officials’ personnel changes at that time. Therefore, its distribution was always strictly controlled by the central government and copied by hand.

During the late Ming Dynasty, movable printing was used to print the newspaper. Before the introduction of Western printing, the cabinet of the Qing Dynasty had a particular institution, a “copy room” outside Donghua Gate in the capital Beijing. The newspaper room sent people daily to copy the news published that day, Palace Papers Clerical. After the newspaper room, people obtained the transcriptions, then instantly typeset and printed.

At the end of the Qing dynasty, in addition to Di Bao, there was also The Beijing News. The Beijing News comprised the “palace door copy,” the decree, and the memorial. Since the memorial had more words and was time-consuming to type, it needed to be printed and bound in the evening to be issued the next day. The Beijing News, printed into folded double pages bound together, was already very much like the daily newspaper issued now.

(Article Source: Web Reprint)