One of the few independently funded English-language publications to cover China in depth for Western audiences, The China Project, formerly known as SupChina, revealed that it will be closing down its operations.
The organization, which was established in 2016 with the mission of providing in-depth information about China, cited various challenges that have made it increasingly difficult to sustain its work.
Regrettably, the very work that earned them recognition and respect has also made them a target of allegations, both in China and the United States, said Mr Jeremy Goldkorn, the Editor-in-Chief said in a post on Monday (Nov 6).
Accusations of serving nefarious purposes for one government or the other resulted in substantial legal costs and hindered their ability to attract investors, advertisers, and sponsors.
“As the U.S.-China relationship deteriorated, and China’s relations with other countries have become more complicated in the years since then, our work has only become more important.
“But sadly, that same work has put several targets on our backs.”
He added that while The China Project’s subscription offerings have seen steady growth, they are not yet at a point where they can fully support the organization.
The media landscape’s inherent volatility, coupled with politically motivated attacks from various parties, has exacerbated their situation.
“We are not prepared to compromise our values for funding.
“And this week, we learned that a source of funding that we had been counting on was no longer going to come through, and we have had to make the difficult decision to close down,” Mr Jeremy explained.
The decision to cease operation is certainly regrettable, especially given Mr. Jeremy’s mention of their recent achievement with the highly successful NEXTChina Conference 2023 in New York last week on Nov 1 -2.
Furthermore, they had only recently introduced Edge, a database product poised to substantially boost their financial prospects.
“But we have a funding shortfall, and we cannot continue in our current form,” stated Mr Jeremy.
The China Project takes steps to unwind, promises detailed updates and FAQ for stakeholders
The organization has initiated legal proceedings to unwind the company, and they plan to provide subscribers, sponsors, and investors with a more detailed update in the coming week.
It remains possible that some of their initiatives and projects may survive the closure, and further updates will be issued as the situation becomes clearer.
The China Project also intends to publish a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document to address inquiries from subscribers, sponsors, investors, and other interested parties.
In a heartfelt message, Mr Jeremy expressed gratitude to all those who have been part of their journey, from employees to readers, listeners, viewers, subscribers, sponsors, and investors.
They acknowledged the support of their community and expressed their appreciation.
“We’d like to thank all the people who have ever worked for The China Project full time or as freelance contributors. We’ve made some great things together, and we have made the world more informed about China — the good and the bad.
“We’d also like to thank all of our readers, listeners, viewers, subscribers, sponsors, and investors for your kind support over the years. We’ve built a great community together. We love you.
“It’s been a hell of a ride!”
As this chapter comes to a close, The China Project leaves a legacy of informed reporting on China and a commitment to journalistic integrity.
The world has indeed become more knowledgeable about both the positive and negative aspects of China through their work.
Goldkorn and the entire team at The China Project, have played a crucial role in bridging the gap between China and the world, and their contributions will be remembered.
Internet users saddened by The China Project’s closure but hope for its return
Internet users expressed their sympathy and sorrow upon learning of The China Project’s unexpected closure.
“This is a loss for journalism and for China,” some of them said.
Nevertheless, in the wake of the closure announcement, optimistic voices remain, eagerly anticipating the team’s comeback and their potential to carry on their work on alternative platforms down the road.
One user pointed out that “The demand for your work will only increase going forward.”