The Chinese government is apparently launching a propaganda war against microbloggers. They must really be emerging as a threat to the propaganda narratives the government feeds the people in China:
The consequences of China’s collapse will be even worse than the Soviet Union’s.
So proclaims the provocative headline of commentary from the official Xinhua news agency that spread widely on major Chinese news sites on Thursday (in Chinese) and has since become the subject of much teeth-gnashing on Chinese social media sites.
The essay, which warns that China faces poverty and misery because of the destabilizing activity of its growing population of microbloggers, hits at the heart of the ideological divide in China and suggests conservatives are growing increasingly anxious about the direction Chinese president Xi Jinping might take as he looks to reform the Communist Party.
Pointing to economic and political turmoil in post-Soviet Russia as evidence of the dangers of embracing political reform too soon is nothing new in China, but the Xinhua essay, penned by one Wang Xiaoshi, paints an unusually dire portrait of China’s neighbor to the north. According to Wang, the Russia that resulted from the demise of the USSR — the one where “people truly awakened to ‘democratization’ and ‘universal values of happiness’” — discovered that “GDP had fallen by half; access to the sea achieved through the centuries was gone, along with a fleet that aged, corroded and finally fell into a pile of scrap metal; where new domestic oligarchs plundered state assets; Russians lined up on the street in supply shortages; and veterans had to sell their medals in exchange for bread.”
That level of misery and misfortune, or worse, is what China faces because the country’s social media users have embraced similar values to those that led to the collapse of the USSR, according to Wang. “Every day,” he writes, “microbloggers and their mentors in the same cause pass rumors, fabricate negative news about [China’s] society, create an apocalyptic vision of China’s imminent collapse, and denigrate the existing socialist system — all to promote the European and American model of capitalism and constitutionalism.” [Wall Street Journal-China Real Time]
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