Chinese journalists visiting Monterey County as part of a tourism delegation said they are not concerned about their country's limits on the media.

Television host Hong Ye, 40, said her station's mission is to "be the lip and throat of the party."

Her company, Xiamen Broadcast and Television Group, is owned by the government. Her show, "The Sound of the Wind Chime," has to be reviewed by government officials before it airs.

She said a Western-style news program would not necessarily be better.

"If you focus on the negative, you drag everyone down," she said through a translator at a group dinner Tuesday at Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Ye, who has been a TV host for 20 years, said her station's dual role as an arm of the government and news outlet has its benefits.

"It's not just a reflection of a problem," she said, "but ... guidance."

Kai Chen, 27, a director for Xiamen Broadcast and Television Group, said most Chinese journalists do not bother worrying about censorship.

"Most journalists are so used to the system," he said. "They know there is very little they can do."

Chen said the government does not typically edit entertainment or general interest programs. Yet, for news, journalists can expect the station's internal review board to watch closely.

He said his position is held in higher regard than his Western counterparts.

"It is a very prestigious job," he said.

The journalists' trip came as one of the most public battles in China for press freedom in recent years was being reported in the international press.

Reporters at the Southern Weekend newspaper in Guangzhou province went on strike this week after they said a propaganda official drastically changed an editorial, according to The New York Times.

The paper said the editorial was about greater respect for constitutional rights but was changed to praise party policies.

The country's Central Propaganda Department told other news organizations that Southern Weekend's defiance had involved "hostile foreign forces," the Times said.

Phillip Molnar can be reached at 646-4487 or pmolnar@montereyherald.com.