To no one’s surprise, the Chinese leadership sees microblogging as a tool to destroy China. And events in Egypt and Libya are just more “evidence” of that belief.
China Digital Times has a series of articles about how Beijing is reacting to the use of microblogging sites such as Twitter in the uprisings in Egypt and Libya. They are well worth a read.
From China Media Project director Ying Chan:
Despite all attempts by the leadership to stifle the discussion and “guide” public opinion, however, popular voices demanding the truth and pushing for greater openness have only increased. On the virtual public square of the Internet, Chinese explore sensitive issues through the constant invention and re-invention of memes, so that keyword blocking becomes largely irrelevant; they use proxy servers to get around censorship and post what they wish.
The gap between the people and the government is deepening as well, a divide compounding the gaps between rich and poor, and between the city and countryside.
From People’s Daily columnist Li Hongmei:
Just give another thought to the case of Egypt, the Western media again never hesitate to cash in on the idea that the Egyptian uprising was Internet Revolution, and it was Twitter and Face book that helped spur on international coverage of the events unfolding, which ultimately led to the downfall of Hosni Mubarak. However, the West pays no heed to the true feeling of the ordinary Egyptians who actually have no access to computers, and pushed to streets by the few elites with some idea of reform enlightened by the Western-style democracy, and motivated to follow suit by the slogans and symbols which sound all alien to their knowledge.
Kinda sounds as if the official Chinese line is that democracy is alien to Arabs and therefore they (the Arabs) shouldn’t have it.
In another article (China Official Warns Of Domestic Unrest And “Hostile” West) the party leadership pulls out all the stops:
Chen Jiping, deputy secretary general of the Communist Party’s Political and Legal Affairs Committee:
“The schemes of some hostile Western forces attempting to Western and split us are intensifying, and they are waving the banner of defending rights to meddle in domestic conflicts and maliciously create all kinds of incidents.”
And, of course, those “schemes” are all being carried out by the use of unfettered Tweets.
There are a whole series of updates and commentaries at the CDN site about China’s reaction to blogs and microblogs:
- February 19, 2011 | Activists Detained as China Web Users Call for ‘Jasmine Revolution’ (Updated)
- February 18, 2011 | Middle East Revolutions: The View from China
- February 17, 2011 | Great Firewall Father Speaks Out
- February 16, 2011 | China Blocks U.S. Push on Web Freedom (Update)
- February 15, 2011 | China’s Wen, in his Twilight, Takes on Reformer’s Role
- February 14, 2011 | Howard French: The View of Cairo from Authoritarian International
- February 14, 2011 | Wired Up
- February 12, 2011 | Beijing Looks Warily at Egypt Uprising
- February 11, 2011 | Xinhua on Revolution in Egypt
- February 10, 2011 | International and Domestic Implications of China’s Drought
- February 9, 2011 | China IS Discussing Egypt: Reactions from the Chinese Blogosphere
- February 9, 2011 | Should China Worry About Egypt?
- February 9, 2011 | China Prepares for ‘Severe, Long-Lasting Drought’
- February 7, 2011 | Chinese Professor Creates Microblog to End Child-Abduction and Forced Child Beggars