The National Office Against Pornographic and Illegal Publications, a branch of China’s main media regulator, recently announced a new crackdown on pornographic online content, a measure the Global Times notes is essential for China’s “cyber development.” But “Cleaning the Web 2014” has little to do with porn, and much to do with bolstering the Party’s new media influence.
The Rumors Are True
The Chinese government is tightening its grip on online “rumor mongers” in an effort to control public opinion.Two Weibo users were arrested on August 21 for allegedly defaming legendary Chinese Communist heroLei Feng. Then Charles Xue, an American citizen Weibo “Big V” celebrity, was arrested on the 24th on suspicion of seeing a prostitute. The state-run press called him an “online rumor monger” as well.
The weibo below could have been deleted for its sardonic take on rumors, but the number 64 almost certainly flagged it for censors. In Chinese, the crackdown on Tiananmen protesters in 1989 is often called “June 4th,” or simply “Six-Four.”
老虎布吃饭饭: Don’t pass on rumors, don’t believe rumors … this is definitely no rumor … // 章立凡: [Long Live Taxes] The government will turn 64 this year, and still insists on working. Generation after generation, we taxpayers have to support the elderly on its behalf.
不传谣，不信谣，这个肯定不算谣… // 章立凡: 【万万税】政府今年64岁了，还在坚持工作，我们纳税人要世世代代给他老人家养老
1985: It’s good to have just one child; the government will support you in old age.
1995: It’s good to have just one child; the government will help support you in old age.
2005: Don’t count on the government to support you in old age!
2012: It’s good to postpone retirement; support yourself in old age.
China Digital Times founder Xiao Qiang talks about Internet censorship and coded language on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered.
If Lu Xun and Mao Zedong were still alive, I’d ask their opinion of real name registration. After all, Lu Xun had many pen names and Mao Zedong also published many articles under many names in many newspapers. Internet real-name registration will become the darkest political scandal in human history: the Real-Name Registration Scandal.