China Touts Restriction on Fress Speech

The US media are doing a terrible job of ignoring this story.

China’s propaganda arm, The Global Times, brags that China’s “continuously improving management over the internet” is becoming a trend in other countries and regions. 

The Times says  “the US is losing a major front to China in the new cold war,” as a  “a swathe of the world is adopting China’s vision for a tightly controlled internet over the unfettered American approach.”

Examples given by the Times include Vietnam and Thailand.  Obviously, they could have added Russia, North Korea, Cuba, and other totalitarian states.   I was surprised that the article left out the US with Trump’s systematic effort to categorize all news as fake.   The Times says that problems arise “in those countries given their previous slack approach. The number of fake news spiked months before the just-concluded Indonesian election, in which many were targeting political candidates and electoral institutions. Hate speech and fake news photos flooded Myanmar’s internet after the outbreak of the Rohingya crisis in 2017, exacerbating local clashes. It is not an exaggeration to say the lack of governance jeopardized their social stability.

The situation does not only happen in emerging economies. As Bloomberg pointed out, “Facebook and Twitter manipulated the 2016 US election… American social media allowed a gunman to livestream the worst mass shooting in New Zealand.”

The so-called internet freedom, advocated by the US, has stirred up enough trouble not only for itself, but also for many developing countries, especially in those societies which were already facing sharp ethnic conflicts and social division. Social media has failed to consolidate or promote their democracy, but has facilitated the spread of misinformation and rumors. Take the Arab Spring. It showed the potential of internet freedom at the very beginning and seemed to have temporarily boosted local democracy, but in the end, it tore the society apart and caused long-lasting turmoil.

Developing countries are tightening internet governance, and so are developed nations, which are formulating stringent regulations to crack down on vicious dissemination of political misinformation. Some European countries including Germany even allow police to spy on encrypted messaging services so as to limit dissemination of pornographic, fraudulent and terrorist content.

Absolute freedom leads to freedom for no one. Compared to US-style internet regulation which is full of problems, China’s approach showed its worthiness.

Labeling China as an authoritarian country and calling countries that are learning from China authoritarian is dividing the internet into two completely different fronts, and splitting the internet in two.

US media needs to know that if more countries start to follow Beijing’s footsteps in internet governance while pursuing democracy in social media, it means China must have done something right.”

1 Comments Add Yours ↓

  1. Mark Adans #

    Too bad the Chinese Government does not enforce Article 35 of the Chinese Constitution; which is why you can have the abrogation of Article 35 as presented here.

    Free speech is not the speech you want to hear. It is the speech you do not want to hear, and especially speech our government does not want you to hear. All governments are tempted to regulate speech. Usually an excuse of protecting people or children is used. and then countries with a real court system and real civil courts tell the government no. This does not happen in China as the government is bought and owned by the Communist government, all rather fascist of them.
    And Tibet is just the ultimate Shangri La under the Chinese friendship acts. And of course there are no protests in Hong Kong over encroachment of the government on its special status not to be under the Chinese approach.
    Memorize your Little Green book. and you will stay out of the concentration camp. And never extend that middle finger to the government. It is your friend.

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