For the past four years Peking has been trying to draft a press law. As of late 1988, it still does not have one and is not likely to have one within the next few years. The reason why a press law is so important and so difficult to agree upon is readily apparent if we consider the past thirty years of journalism in mainland China. 1 When Mao tried to use the press in 1957 in the Hundred Flowers movement to rectify the Party, many responded, only to be branded as "Rightists" and have their lives ruined. Moderate Party propagandists were pushed aside, and the press proceeded to careen into the Great Leap Forward and later served the Cultural Revolution. These grave errors, as former People's Daily editor Hu Chi-wei has stressed, came from blind obedience by subordinates and the habit of leaders imposing their own opinions. 2 The post-Mao period has brought a relaxation of restrictions, a partial reversal of previous purges, and a call to serve economic modernization. The press has thus been filled with criticism of the Cultural Revolution and information and exhortations about the "Four Modernizations." However, this reform has not gone smoothly. First the "Democracy Wall" independent papers of 1978-1979 were suppressed, then humanist-oriented editors and writers from the establish ment were attacked in the "Campaign Against Spiritual Pollution" in 1983-1984, and most recently many of those same reformist intellectuals were finally expelled from the Party in the 1987 "Campaign Against Bourgeois Liberalization." Rules of the game are needed, indeed, demanded. It has long been accepted in mainland China that the press should propagandize the policies of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), but in the post-Mao reform period it is not clear how the press should do that. The press law should provide the guidelines for the press, and this is why it is such a subject of debate and political competition.