Monday, December 9, 2013

Chinese Web Sites Censor General Liu Yazhou, Again (and Again)

On November 17, 2013, the state sponsored Global Times published an article entitled "'Silent Contest' Silenced." Some excerpts:
Recently, a 92-minute documentary, Silent Contest (较量无声), allegedly produced by the Chinese PLA National Defense University (NDU), has caused wide speculation online. The film is an exploration of the belief that the US remains China's enemy and has never stopped its strategies to westernize and divide China.
The film warns Chinese nationals, especially political and military officials, to keep on high alert against alleged US ideological infiltration and political subversion.
The video was first circulated among military fans and netizens in late October.
On October 31, at a regular press conference, when asked to verify the video, Ministry of National Defense's spokesperson Yang Yujun said "we will not comment." Efforts to reach the NDU information office failed.
But since that day, the film has become unavailable on domestic websites.
. . . .
According to the subtitles of the film's end, the film was produced by the NDU's political commissar Liu Yazhou and president Wang Xibin, and made by the university's information management center in June 2013.
. . . .
"A regime that is in self-denial instead of self-improvement, refuses to make progress, does not trust people's power but trusts the myth of the West, and loses its ruling foundation, decline and fall step by step are inevitable," the film said.
It claims that since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, China has become the major target for the US to carry out "political genetic modifications."
"They [the American elites] confidently believe that only by approaching, contacting and accepting China, and incorporating it into the US-led system of international political economy, can they better fragment and undermine China. This is the best option with minimum strategic cost and price," Liu Yazhou says in the film.
This is not the first time Liu Yazhou's (刘亚洲) work has been censored. In August, 2013, images of a document began circulating on the Internet entitled "A New Perspective on China's Political Reforms - Liu Yazhou's Internal Talk" (中国政治改革新思维 刘亚洲内部讲话). Some excerpts:
From the highest levels of government to the average people in villages, China remains stuck with a cold war mindset. As a result, as far as China's reform has come, it really remains somewhat stuck in the middle of the river, amidst deep and roiling waters, unstable and inharmonious. Cadres and officials at the grassroots levels are clashing with people, with no recourse but to mobilize military police to suppress them by force, seeing every difference of opinion as "enemy forces." The average person has absolutely no confidence in their local officials, and not only resort to petitioning to higher levels, but violent mass protests have become commonplace. Today there is no trace of the old propaganda slogan "as close as fish and water." 
As for those born to special privilege, the so-called "Red Princelings," this sticking to the old ways of thinking is creating irreconcilable differences. Wasn't there a rumor on the web saying that there was a debate amongst the Red Princelings, with some believing that constitutional governance would bring down the Communist Party, that the Red Princelings should safeguard the eternal rule of the Communist Party, and pursuing constitutional governance would be a violation of faith in the Communist Party. The "Universalist Constitutional ism Faction" of the Red Princelings, represented by Qin Xiao, believes that the only way to do what's best for the nation is to implement constitutional governance, that there is no other option. Qin Xiao believes that, he himself sincerely wants to improve the Communist Party, and questions a certain Red Princeling who oppose constitutional governance, why does he send his own wife and child to America? The implication is that he is hypocritical critic of constitutional governance, letting his own family enjoy the blessings of democratic freedoms, while he himself enjoys the special privileges afforded by those inside an autocratic system. That infuriated the Red Princeling who opposes constitutional governance, who cursed him as a sonofabitch.
. . . .
We have a series of anti-corruption measures and agencies, so why is it that incidences of corruption have not only not been eliminated, but have in fact become exacerbated? I believe that we should strengthen the Party's Discipline and Inspection Commission and the government's Procuracy. There are two models we can refer to. One is Hong Kong's Independent Commission Against Corruption, whereby we first establish a clean agency directly under the central government. Before it is set up we first take the time to let officials clean up their act, hand over their ill-gotten gains to their superiors and consider that the cost of getting clean government and let bygones be bygones. Then there is the American model. Besides police (like our public security), and the CIA (like our state security), it also has the FBI. We could establish a "political security bureau" that is dedicated to carrying out investigations of corrupt activity by Party and government officials. This law enforcement agents of this "political security bureau" would be under the central government, and would not be subject to restraint by Party or government officials at any level. Corruption would certainly be eliminated with strong measures like this system in place.
. . . .
Today what I want to say is, the ancients had an expression: "Silencing the people is like damming a river. Many may be harmed when a river bursts its banks, such is it when the people are silenced.  Thus is it that those who rely on rivers seek to guide them on their path, and those who rely on the people declare that they should speak." Today our Communist Party cadres are not the equal of those ancient millennia ago. Nor is the era where everything under heaven is unified by traditional newspapers, telephones, and television. With the appearance of the Internet anything can spread across the globe within minutes. How would you stop it? 
We have not only brought traditional media under our control, the last two days have seen a domestic crackdown on Internet rumors, as if we're once again starting another political movement. As I understand American law, the online rumors we're witnessing should belong in the category of civil defamation, and in America it would be up to the victim to take the rumormonger to court. How is it that in China that has been turned into law enforcement agencies showing up to arrest people, with the media conducting attacks like its a "movement"? If the target of "defamation" is a famous figure or government official, then it still enjoys the protections of free expression provided for in the Constitution. This kind of law is what ensure that average citizens can use public opinion to oversee famous people and government officials. If we undertake this kind of attacks as if this were a political movement, won't this completely eliminate the possibility of supervision by public opinion? I'm using American law as an example here, because I think the American justice system is extremely independent. In fact its also this way in Taiwan. This is an important goal for us in the future. 
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These screenshots were taken on August 31, 2013, and show:
  • Baidu had banned users from setting up a PostBar (Tieba 贴吧) forum about Liu Yazhou;
  • Baidu and Qihoo were both censoring searches for "Liu Yazhou Internal Talk" (刘亚洲内部讲话); and
  • A search on Baidu for "A New Perspective on China's Political Reforms" (中国政治改革新思维) returned no results, just a censorship notice.

For another example of censorship of Liu Yazhou, see this post on the censorship of his article entitled "Western Discourses" (西部论)  here -