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.
Two people were killed and another nine injured yesterday after being stung by hornets while hiking in New Taipei City’s Rueifang District (瑞芳), with officials warning against wearing perfume or straying from trails during the autumn to avoid the potentially deadly creatures. Seven of the hikers only sustained minor injuries after being stung along the Bafenliao Hiking Trail (八分寮) and made their way down the mountain with a guide, the New Taipei City Fire Department said. Four of them — all male — sustained more serious injuries and were assisted when leaving the mountain, the department said. Two of them, a man surnamed
‘ABNORMITY’: News of the military exercises on the coast of the Chinese province facing Taiwan were made public by the Ministry of National Defense on Thursday Taiwan’s military yesterday said it has detected the Chinese military initiating a round of exercises at a bay area in coastal Fujian Province, which faces Taiwan, since early yesterday morning and it has been closely monitoring the drills. The exercises being conducted at Fujian’s Dacheng Bay featured an undisclosed number of People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) warplanes, warships and ground troops, the Ministry of National Defense said in a press statement. The ministry did not disclose what kind of military exercises are being conducted there and for how long they would be happening, but it did say that it has been closely watching
China’s Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong has asked foreign consulates in Hong Kong to submit details of their local staff, which is more proof that the “one country, two systems” model no longer exists, a Taiwanese academic said. The office sent letters dated Monday last week to consulates in the territory, giving them one month to submit the information it requires. The move followed Beijing’s attempt to obtain floor plans for all properties used by foreign missions in Hong Kong last year, which raised concerns among diplomats that the information could be used for
Recent movements by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) have been “highly unusual,” but the military maintains a grasp of the situation, Minister of National Defense Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正) said on Friday, after the military for the first time said it was monitoring troop movements in China’s Dacheng Bay (大埕灣). The minister gave the remarks to reporters before appearing at the legislature on the first day of its new session. The Ministry of National Defense on Thursday evening released an air force surveillance photograph of a PLA Shaanxi Y-8 anti-submarine aircraft, and said it was monitoring the PLA Rocket Force and ground