Monday, February 9, 2015

Government Shuts Websites, Wechat Accounts for "Distorting History," "Publishing News Without a Permit"

On January 14, 2015, the website of the state sponsored China Radio International published an article entitled “China Shuts Objectionable Websites and Wechat Accounts.” Some excerpts:
China's Cyberspace Administration has released a blacklist of websites, channels, and WeChat accounts which have been shut down over the past two months. 
24 websites, 9 channels, and 17 WeChat accounts have all been closed due to serious violations of the law. 
Some websites, such as Government Legal Web, are accused of publishing political news without permits or qualifications. . . . Several of the channels in question are owned by web giants like Sina and Tencent.
On January 20, 2015, the state sponsored Global Times published an article entitled “Accounts of Govt Agencies Flourish on WeChat: Report.” Some excerpts:
The number of public accounts by government agencies on WeChat, a popular instant messaging service, increased substantially in 2014, according to a Tuesday report. 
At least 17,217 government WeChat accounts are active, according to the report from 
The figure is a remarkable increase from a July report by the Communication University of China (CUC), which said that at the end of 2013 there were 3,600 government WeChat accounts, and nearly 6,000 at the end of March. 
About 20 percent now belong to Communist Party of China (CPC) organizations, people's congresses (legislatures) and the committees of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (political advisors).
On the same day, the state sponsored China Daily published a report entitled “133 WeChat Accounts Shut Down for Distorting History.” Some excerpts:
A total of 133 accounts on instant message platform WeChat have been shut down for distorting Chinese history and the history of the Communist Party of China, the country's Cyberspace Administration said on Tuesday. 
The accounts, such as "zhebushilishi" (meaning this is not the history), spread fabricated information and confused the public, said the administration.
. . . .
The accounts "were against laws and regulations," "disobeyed socialist core values" and "severely disturbed the online order," which should be punished in accordance with laws, said the administration.
The state-sponsored Liberation Army Daily (解放军报) explained the underlying concerns motivating the shut downs in a Chinese-language article entitled "'This Isn't History' and Other Weixin Public Accounts Hoped to Shake the Power of the Communist Party." (“这不是历史”等微信公号想动摇共产党执政地位) Some excerpts:
Some people might dare to be opinionated and believe that freedom of expression is protected by the law, and that when it comes to history of the Party, the State, and the military, one-hundred schools of thought can contend. Sure, one hundred of schools of thought can contend, and 1,000 readers can have 1,000 Hamlets in their hearts. But there are all kinds of indications that, when certain Weixin public accounts are "contending," their starting point is extremely suspicious . . . they are interested in academic exploration, but are denying for the sake of denying and spreading rumors to deceive people with the obvious intent to shake the ruling party status of the Communist Party. 
"Psychological warfare" has already become one of the main battlefields of major powers during the 21st century. Toppling a government begins by undermining its ideology. How was it that the state power of Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and others was so easily brought down by "Twitter," falling from power in a single night? This is worth everyone's deep consideration. During the Internet age, enemies hold in their hands not only the knife and the gun, but the mouse and the keyboard!
. . . .
Rectify and shutter those websites, video providers, columns, and public Weixin accounts that would twist scripture to their purpose. Build a pure and bright online environment. This is the only choice if we are to safeguard the greater good of the nation and its people. 
. . . .
These screenshots were taken on January 26, 2015, and show that Baidu has banned users from opening PostBar (Tieba 贴吧 ) forums to discuss "1989," the "Cultural Revolution," (文革) and the "Great Leap Forward" (大跃进).