Scholarship today asserts that the Chinese Party-state's media control strategy with regard to popular protests has changed from suppressive to proactive. Nevertheless, existing literature tends to regard the Chinese state as a monolithic and unitary actor, and neglects the heterogeneity in different levels of government in handling protests. This article attempts to make a modest contribution to the literature by viewing the Chinese state as heterogeneous and multilayered actors with respect to popular protests. The authors contend that due to the distinctive incentives as well as the context factor "hierarchical government trust", lower-level authorities, especially the local ones, have a lower tendency to adopt a proactive approach to controlling media coverage of protests than their central counterparts. The authors utilise the Wukan incident as a case study to corroborate their argument, and identify the specific strategies that various levels of the governments have adopted.