China’s Media War on “Online Rumours"
Recently, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader,
Xi Jinping stressed ideological work is very important.
Subsequently, the authorities started
nationwide control of the internet.
Several thousand netizens were arrested on
allegations of creating and spreading rumors.
State-controlled media have published
articles to comment against their ideas.
Suddenly, the internet has become a chaotic battlefield.
Analysts said that Xi Jinping is worried
that public opinion is out of control.
Xi initially hoped to hold the
ideology, to stabilize the regime.
However, the leftists and rightists are currently in conflict,
and they are internally separated, thus Xi’s hope is in vain.
On August 19, Xi Jinping stressed in a propaganda
work meeting that any relevant departments
must be responsible for their ideological work.
Officials and media immediately followed up Xi’s order,
and thirty one provincial party secretaries vowed to act.
Public security officers in each
city started to arrest people.
That day, internet celebrity Qin Huohuo,
Li’er Caisi and others, were arrested on
allegations of creating rumors online.
On August 23, big V (V refers to verified user) Xue Manzi
was detained on the allegation of hiring prostitutes.
Within several days, thousands people were detained
for allegations of creating rumors on the internet.
Hua Po, Beijing current affairs observer: “The
CCP officials at every level hate the internet.
They have accumulated hatred for a long time.
Once they received Xi’s order, they began to arrest
activists, and have arrested many people so far."
In this large-scale suppression, CCP state media started
a furious internal battle, arguing with different opinions.
On August 29, People’s Daily said that the internet is
like a dangerous flood, and a scourge on the CCP.
On September 2, fought back, stating
control of people’s free speech is more harmful than
the potential flood damage the internet could cause.
Hongqiwengao said that internet
controls must be severely tightened.
Beijing Daily suggested to act and arrest people.
Online Huasheng worried that
freedom of speech will be blocked.
Legal Daily said there must be crackdown.
Guangming Daily insisted to rely on netizens.
Hua Po: “The CCP felt that the internet has
greatly shaken its power and may bring collapse.
Thus a decision was made
to enforce the CCP ideology.
The CCP’s two major ministries are the Politics
and Law Committee and Propaganda Ministry.
One is good at “action", and the other is good at “talk".
Together, they implemented large
scale sweeping of the internet."
On September 2, Xinhua news said that cracking
down on online rumors must not go off track.
On September 4, People’s Daily website changed its stance.
It stated that control of the internet is against
the central regime’s spirit and it’s new trend.
The PLA newspaper suggested seizing the initiative
of struggle on the internet, fighting an “invisible enemy".
Hua Po: “The outcome is against Xi’s initial goal.
Xi originally sought stability, but
it went in the opposite direction.
It aroused social unrest and chaos.
It didn’t achieve the goal of stability.
Thus the media appeared
to fight against each other."
Xing Tianxing, current affairs commentator said
that this media chaos shows the high level CCP
is splitting up, and infighting is intensifying.
Xing Tianxing: “It has manifested on the internet.
They hope public opinion can push forward democracy,
however, the actual situation has become serious.
It reflects that the CCP’s common practice is to
suppress freedom of expression and individualistic talk."
However, suppression of “online
rumors" didn’t intimidate netizens.
They have used various ways to fight back,
even vigorously exposing more corruption.
For example, officials falsified information about farm
production, stating “per mu exceeded ten thousand kilos".
A netizen posted: “If the online crackdown
had started earlier, the “smiling official"
Yang Dacai would have not been jailed.
If big V had been arrested earlier, the sex
tape scandal official Lei Zhengfu would
have married Hongxia and taken her home.
If the crackdown on online rumors started 50 days earlier,
Shanghai judges who hired prostitutes would still be judges.