China wants a more socialist internet

No matter how much trouble China causes for the rest of the world, it’s nothing compared to what the Chinese Communist Party inflicts on its own people. The country recently passed a sweeping collection of new laws intended to get the nation “back on track” in terms of its Communist Party roots. Those found not to be in compliance can quickly find themselves in trouble with authorities and have their “social credit score” reduced. Others are sent away on compulsory “vacations” so they can be “reoriented.” In the CCP’s latest announcement, however, they are moving away from the various rules regarding how people behave in public or in their own homes and expanding further into regulating how their citizens behave online. This initiative is being described as a way to have a more “civilized” internet. Of course, their definition of civilized means toeing the party line in all virtual forums. (Reuters)

China will step up efforts to promote a “civilised” internet by strengthening oversight over the likes of news sites and online platforms and encouraging them to promote core socialist values, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported on Tuesday.

After years of runaway growth and rapid change, China’s regulators have been to trying to strengthen control over society with more stringent supervision of a range of sectors from technology to education and entertainment.

Cyberspace should be used to promote education about the ruling Communist Party and its achievements, according to guidelines published by the State Council, the news agency reported.

Right off the bat, you will notice that the first type of websites they want to crack down on are news sites. It’s not as if they weren’t already controlling the spin of how news is covered or what stories are allowed, but now their news sites will need to “promote education about the ruling Communist Party and its achievements.” People who make use of online streaming services to publish videos or participate in discussion forums will be monitored to ensure that they are promoting socialism and the values of the revolution.

Stories involving sacrifice for the good of the party will be promoted. Examples of “decadence” or aspiring to gain wealth will be quashed. Any males appearing effeminate or “weak” will soon find themselves offline. Also banned will be “historical nihilism”, which they describe as an attempt “to use the past to question the party’s leading role or the “inevitability” of Chinese socialism.”

You may find yourself wondering how a nation with literally billions of citizens, most of whom are online at this point, could possibly monitor the activities of all those people Not to worry. The companies hosting any such internet platforms will be made responsible for “supervising” the activities of users. And your fellow users will be regularly encouraged to help “supervise” you, with rewards for those who rat out their fellow participants and punishments for those suspected of not being sufficiently vigilant.

Earlier this summer, I listened to an interview with a Korean journalist who traveled to western China in an attempt to find out what sorts of controls the government imposes on the Uhigers and any other suspect populations. Most people refused to even speak to him, but one witness described how every aspect of their movement and communications can potentially be monitored at any time. And that’s how China manages to gain such a huge margin of control. You never know when somebody is listening to you, either in a group of people or over your phone. People are mysteriously removed with no notice or reason given, sometimes never to be seen again. So people become so frightened of their own government that they are too afraid to speak and they are quick to report any “suspicious” activity by their neighbors. A failure to do so could mean that you are the next one heading to a reeducation camp.

All of this is known and established. And yet we still have people here in the United States, even including some elected officials, who rush to China’s defense. It’s simply mind-boggling.