Snowden Case Press Review: Paranoia and Repression

China’s domestic radio network quotes from a foreign-minstry press conference of today. (The radio network, Central People’s Broadcasting System, is also known as “China National Radio”, CNR).

Central People’s Broadcasting System (CPBS), June 14 — According to the Foreign Minstry of the People’s Republic of China (FMPRC) website, FMPRC spokesperson Hua Chunying said on a press conference that China is one of the countries suffering most from cyber attacks, and that China firmly opposes all forms of hacking attacks. It was hoped that the relevant parties would take practical measures, strengthen mutual trust and cooperation between all parties, and jointly protect peace and security in cyberspace.

中广网6月14日消息 据外交部网站消息,外交部发言人华春莹今日在记者会上表示,中国是遭受网络攻击最严重的国家之一,中方坚决反对一切形式的黑客攻击。希望有关方面采取切实行动,增进各方互信与合作,共同维护网络空间的和平与安全。

Question: According to media reports, America has, for many years, invaded Chinese networks all along, but accused China of conducting cyber-attacks against America. How does China plan to react?

有记者问:据媒体报道,美方多年来一直入侵中国网络却指责中国对美进行网络攻击。中方打算如何应对?

The indirect rendition of Hua Chunying‘s answer contains the same wording as the CPBS report’s first paragraph, plus three more sentences.

Also within her answer:

We will work with the relevant parties and continue a constructive dialog and cooperation about the issue of cyber security. We affirm the international principles laid down in the framework of the United Nations, and we have put forward specific proposals.

我们将与有关各方继续就网络安全问题开展建设性的对话与合作。我们主张在联合国框架内制定相关国际规则,并提出了具体倡议。

Hua Chunying sums her reply up with a specific remark about relations with America:

In the framework of strategic security dialog, China and America have workgroups concerning the internet, and China will, within this framework, conduct in-depth communicaton with America.

中美在战略安全对话框架下建有网络工作组,中方将在有关框架下就有关问题与美方进行深入沟通。

On Thursday, China Media Project (CMP) in Hong Kong published an overview of how Chinese coverage on the Snowden case had developed since June 10. The CMP post suggests that commercial media in China are allowed to cover the case, or that coverage by commercial media is tolerated.

CMP also points out that extensive use of foreign media as sources for their own coverage deviates from restrictions issued by Chinese authorities only in April this year.

Chinese propaganda has made efforts in the past to portray Chinese online censorship as “normal”, and as something that was practised in many other countries, too. In 2010, And in 2010, a report by CPBS’s channel Zhongguo zhi Sheng focused on Australian internet censorship. And in April 2011, Guangming Net informed its readers that in recent years, Japan has continuously strengthened supervision of the internet by means of legislation.

Edward Snowden‘s escape to Hong Kong is probably many times as good for Chinese propaganda to this end (“they do it, too”), than country reports like the two cited above. But the idea that American or Western criticism of Chinese censorship (or hacking attacks, for that matter) were hypocrisy has apparently become a wide-spread view among Chinese citizens long before. The turning point seems to date back some five years. Back then, CCP propaganda, rather than being defensive and bashfully silent about human rights violations or censorship, began to harness nationalism in a more systematic way, integrating parts of the blogosphere and nationalists. Censorship was, at times, actively advocated.

My impression is that many Chinese nationals simply became tired of questioning their own political system, or their culture. If propaganda served them with reasons to make themselves content, they leapt at them (Chinese growth and Western economic crisis being some of these reasons).

But a similar phenomenon appears to be going on in America. The way Snowden is frequently vilified in mainstream media, even by “liberal” columnists and commentariat, seems to suggest that even those who once hoped Obama would rid America of its “security” bureaucracy are resigned – and that they are willing to leap at any alleged inaccuracy in the coverage on Snowden’s NSA leaks.

The motors of progress are spluttering. Paranoia and repression have become acceptable replacements for progress – in Western countries, too.

____________

Related

» Banned from flying to UK, BBC, June 14, 2013
» Ai Weiwei on abuse of power, The Guardian, June 11, 2013

____________

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: