Press Review: A Message to “People with Different Political Views”

Main Link: “Most countries support strengthened internet supervision and control”

People’s Net “quotes foreign media” and delegates to last week’s International Telecommunication Union’s meeting in Dubai: “Most countries support strengthened internet supervision and control – strengthening the legal construction of the internet, building a civilized and healthy internet environment – America’s refusal to sign International Telecommunication Union treaty comes with ulterior motives.”

加强网络法制建设 构建文明健康网络环境

In one of the subtitles, People’s Net quotes the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) as saying that this was America’s greatest defeat in the digital field. As usual in “foreign press reviews”, People’s Daily picks the message it deems suitable for its domestic readers. The WSJ’s, i. e. columnist L. Gordon Crovitzactual opinion can be found here.

People’s Daily:

More and more countries are worried about internet-based warfare, international cyber-crime and dissidents [“people holding different political opinions”, 不同政见] at home who use “Twitter” and “Facebook” and other services which aren’t controlled by domestic authorities. Many countries hope that the International Communications Union is going to prove by facts that it can solve these problems by defining standards or, at least, be a forum for exchanging views.

People’s Daily describes the place of everything concerning the internet in the resolution draft as “在所有提到互联网的内容都被放到一份次要决议中” – words I can’t translate. In the words of the New York Times on December 13, “.. under a compromise, [Russia] agreed this week to withdraw that proposal and settle for the lesser measure”.  Even though America “basically got what it wanted”, it refused to sign and “angrily left”.

People’s Daily does mention the numbers: 89 governments signed the resolution, 24 clearly stated that they wouldn’t sign, and the remaining countries out of a total of 144 which were eligible to vote hadn’t made a decision yet.

But the desired message is that China is part of a crowd, and that the countries siding with the American position were sort of isolated. By having the article republished by websites which are more likely accessed by Chinese citizens than People’s Daily’s website itself – such as, regional pages like, or Enorth (see main link at the top of this blogpost), the propaganda department makes sure that the message reaches the netizens.

This kind of propaganda is part of a continuous trickle-down of messages suggesting that censorship would be normal, rather than an exception. It also appeals to a (supposed) desire of the reader not to be an exception himself, or herself.

Trust in the party was an essential in the Chinese nation’s great rejuvenation, Huanqiu Shibao argued in March this year, after the Wang Lijun affair:

There is no contradiction between emancipation of mind and trust in the party’s central committee. It is exactly for the diversity, for having several options, that we truly discover that trusting the party’s central committee, implementing the party’s road map, is more reliable than any other method other people may teach us, and more able to create the conditions that make the country and the individual develop.

Huanqiu Shibao apparently hasn’t published the People’s Daily piece, at least not yet. If they are going to do that, they will probably spare themselves a commenter section, and the weeding work it would require – Huanqiu Shibao’s readership isn’t only rather nationalist, but also quick to anger.



» Netizens should tolerate censorship, March 26, 2011


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