Once again the folks at Freedom House provide valuable information about China.
Yep, no matter how hard Beijing says it wants to be part of the modern world, the leadership there keeps acting like the early emperors and other despots.
Over the past several weeks, the Chinese authorities—urged on by President Xi Jinping—have engaged in an unprecedented crackdown on what they consider “harmful information” disseminated via popular microblogging platforms and other social media.
The Chinese Communist Party in recent weeks has continued its crackdown on outspoken microbloggers, investigating and arresting hundreds of people—ranging from influential “big Vs” with millions of followers to ordinary, low-profile users—in an apparent drive to pare back or even quash online dissent.
The Chinese authorities have reinforced their current crackdown on online speech by airing confessions and statements of contrition by influential bloggers on state media, prompting comparisons to the coerced self-denunciations of the Mao Zedong era.
The new judicial interpretation on internet crimes and the growing number of arrests have had a more immediate and profound chilling effect on China’s “microblogosphere” than previous government attempts to enhance control over social media. In online postings and media interviews, microbloggers with even moderately large followings have voiced their fears and observations of the crackdown’s impact. “I am really scared now that any whistleblowing might lead to an arrest,” said Zhou Ze, a rights lawyer with more than 165,000 followers on Sina Weibo.