If the the prospect of a potential government shutdown later this evening has got you feeling down, or if perhaps you find yourself lamenting the degree of so-called “dysfunction” that the present budgetary climate has inspired on Capitol Hill, I usually just remember that things could always be worse; we could be living in straight-up communist China, where a big topic currently under discussion by their wildly plutocratic government is how they can further restrict their residents’ access to the world wide web and whether or not to ban certain mobile apps in the pursuit of that oh-so-noble goal. It’s a rough life for a party member, trying to balance the burgeoning opportunities for economic growth with the ever-present problem of maintaining the veneer of Communist superiority. Via Reuters:
China on Monday launched a crackdown on several mobile news applications that provide news information services without approval from government regulators, threatening to shut down those who refuse to “rectify”.
The ruling follows a government campaign to curb “online rumours”, as the government tries to rein in social media.
The State Internet Information Office said that some of the news applications carried “pornography and obscene information and harm the physical and mental health of youngsters”, and others published false information.
Some mobile news applications also provide a channel for subscribers in China to read articles published by foreign media outlets whose articles have been blocked in China, such as the New York Times.
I don’t care much for reading about the government’s shutdown-showdown in the NYT, but at least I have the option, for goodness’ sake.
China’s new president Xi Jinping hasn’t made a secret out of his enthusiasm for Maoist principles and expanding the state’s freedom-crushing bureaucracy; he’s particularly fond of talking out of both sides of his mouth about the horrors of Internet surveillance while actively upping his own game on that front. China can continue to try to control social media while allowing it in limited capacities, but the endeavor took an a “the beating’s will continue until morale improves” flavor a long time ago.