Leaked internal directives from Chinese Communist Party (CCP) provincial authorities to Internet commentators issued in the past week highlight fears in Beijing of the potentially “negative” impact of closer contact with democratic Taiwan.
The leaked memo, posted by the China Digital Times on Friday last week, instructs Internet commentators in China to exercise caution when discussing sensitive matters such as Taiwan and the US.
“In order to circumscribe the influence of Taiwanese democracy, in order to progress further in the work of guiding public opinion, and in accordance with the requirements established by higher authorities to ‘be strategic, be skilled,’ we hope that Internet commentators conscientiously study the mindset of netizens, grasp international developments, and better perform the work of being an Internet commentator,” the notice says.
This call for caution is followed by a series of guidelines that Chinese Internet commentators are encouraged to follow.
“To the extent possible, make the US the target of criticism and play down the existence of Taiwan,” the first instruction says.
“Do not directly confront [the idea of] democracy; rather, frame the argument in terms of ‘what kind of system can truly implement democracy,’” the directives say.
To the extent possible, Internet commentators are encouraged to “choose various examples in Western countries of violence and unreasonable circumstances to explain how democracy is not well-suited to capitalism.”
“Use America’s and other countries’ interference in international affairs to explain how Western democracy is actually an invasion of other countries and [how the West] is forcibly pushing Western values [on other countries],” the memo says.
To stir up pro-CCP and patriotic emotions, commentators are also instructed to “use the bloody and tear-stained history of a [once] weak people [ie, China] to stir up pro-Party and patriotic emotions.”
Lastly, commentators are encouraged to increase exposure to “positive developments inside China” and to “further accommodate the work of maintaining [social] stability.”
In addition to the directives, a “very long list of keywords” are currently banned on Sina Weibo, one of China’s most popular social media platforms, which counts more than 140 million users. Some of the banned keywords included Ai Weiwei (艾未未), the artist who was released from jail last week, and “Ai Wei” (艾未), “Wei Wei” (未未), “Ai” (艾), “Wei” (未), “future” (未來), which are characters similar to Weiwei, as well as nicknames for Ai, such as “Fatty Ai” (艾胖子), “fatty” (胖子) and “Half Moon Son” (月半子).
The China Digital Times, a fully online publication offered in both Chinese and English, is run by the Counter-Power Lab out of the School of Information at the University of California, Berkeley. It receives financial support from the Catherine MacArthur Foundation, the Open Society Institute and the National Endowment for Democracy, among others. The publication did not mention how it obtained the leaked instructions.
LIABILITIES MULLED: New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi said Taipei would find out if the firm was legally registered, the guide was licensed and the weather was assessed The assets of Tian Da Local Nature Co are to be frozen after at least four people died after falling into the Beishi River (北勢溪) on an outing the company had organized on Saturday, the Taipei City Government said yesterday. Six people — two adults and four children — were washed away by a flash flood on the river in New Taipei City’s Hubaotan (虎豹潭) area. They were participating in a Nature Joy Camp outdoor activity with a group of 16 adults and 15 children led by a guide surnamed Su (蘇). As of 4:30pm yesterday, four of the missing had been
Taiwanese worked more hours than people in all but three other countries in the world last year, Ministry of Labor data showed. Singapore placed first in average hours worked among the 40 economies surveyed, with an average of 2,288 hours per worker last year, the data showed. The city-state was followed by Colombia with 2,172 hours — based on 2019 data — and Mexico with 2,124 hours, it showed. Taiwan came in fourth, with 2,021 hours, it showed. South Korean workers clocked the third-most hours in Asia, with 1,908 hours, followed by Japan with 1,598 hours, it showed. However, compared with 2019, the survey found
The US 7th Fleet yesterday confirmed that a US Navy ship transited the Taiwan Strait on Thursday and Friday. “The Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Dewey [DDG 105] conducted a Taiwan Strait transit in cooperation with Royal Canadian Navy [RCN] Halifax-class frigate, HMCS Winnipeg, October 14-15, 2021,” the US 7th Fleet said in a statement. “Dewey’s and Winnipeg’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the commitment of the United States and our allies and partners to a free and open Indo-Pacific. Cooperation like this represents the centerpiece of our approach to a secure and prosperous region,” it added. The transit marked the
‘COUNTERPRODUCTIVE’: The German, French and Singaporean missions said that Taiwan’s COVID-19 restrictions are hindering local projects and business operations Several foreign missions in Taiwan have urged the government to ease its strict COVID-19 border controls, which they say are hurting in-person exchanges and business operations. The missions made the appeal in response to media inquiries on how the border controls have affected their respective countries’ exchanges with Taiwan, amid growing concerns voiced privately by Taiwan-based foreign offices and businesses regarding the restrictions. Taiwan has maintained strict entry requirements since March last year, generally prohibiting most arrivals except for citizens and foreign residents, while it has required those who enter the country to undergo a stringent 14-day quarantine. Although the rules have been