China adds to the Great Firewall with new Internet controls

posted at 11:01 am on December 28, 2012 by Erika Johnsen

The Chinese communist regime works uncommonly hard to maintain the veneer of a prosperous, free, and morally sound society, using the channels of education and state-run media for their active brainwashing campaign and demonstrating a remarkable disdain for freedom of speech and the rule of law when things don’t go their way. The Chinese “constitution” is nothing but a farcical, bass-ackwards attempt at a governing document, since the well-entrenched Chinese plutocracy does pretty much what it wants, when it wants, and as it suits their needs.

For instance, that “freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly” the Chinese constitution insists its citizens enjoy? Heh, that’s a good one. Chinese authorities and companies have long since monitored Internet activity, including blocking access to Western social and information-sharing sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, but the latest installment of plutocrats is getting increasingly wary of keeping a tight lid on any dissent in the growing digital age:

China unveiled tighter Internet controls on Friday, legalizing the deletion of posts or pages which are deemed to contain “illegal” information and requiring service providers to hand over such information to the authorities for punishment.

The rules signal that the new leadership headed by Communist Party chief Xi Jinping will continue muzzling the often scathing, raucous online chatter in a country where the Internet offers a rare opportunity for debate. …

Chinese authorities and Internet companies such as Sina Corp have long since closely monitored and censored what people say online, but the government has now put measures such as deleting posts into law. …

The restrictions follow a series of corruption scandals amongst lower-level officials exposed by Internet users, something the government has said it is trying to encourage.

Yes, I’m sure the Chinese regime is all too happy for citizen journalists to expose the many incidents of flagrant corruption and oppression that seem to plague all totalitarian regimes, everywhere. As Bloomberg notes, there’s no income disparity quite like communist income disparity, and the grand illusion of equality and moral righteousness is getting harder to maintain all the time:

They are the result of a conscious decision by the former paramount leader Deng Xiaoping and some of his closest associates — the so-called Eight Immortals — to safeguard the primacy of the Communist Party by putting their families in charge of opening up China’s economy.

As Bloomberg News documents, what resulted was an enormous concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a few. …

Robber barons and power elites are nothing new. Nor are they necessarily unhealthy — unless, that is, your society professes to be egalitarian. And notwithstanding the Communist Party’s protestations, China increasingly isn’t. …

China has tried to keep a lid on popular discontent over corruption and privilege by controlling its media. Bloomberg.com has been blocked in China since it published its story on Xi in June. But the best way to curb corruption is public accountability, and as we have argued, outsiders can help by supporting efforts to punch more holes in China’s Great Firewall.


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