Posts tagged ‘fascism’

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

China’s Hate for the Free Flow of Information: Fascism is the absolute Principle

More than fourty years ago, China started policies of reform and opening up. The latter part is often overlooked, but the Chinese authorities had to find new ways to deal with a greater flow of free information, or, as Deng Xiaoping put it, “when you open the window, you can’t stop the flies and mosquitos from coming in, too”.

Despite the ostentatious nonchalance, the party made great efforts to keep the flies out anyway. Really inquisitive international press was only available in international hotels or airports, and shortwave broadcasts from the outside world remained heavily jammed. And to this day, “Uncle Policeman” will take care of the rest of the flies.


Uncensored info, hence harmful

Shut up, we don’t care

What the CPC may not have hoped to achieve though was a fairly successful immunization program against flies. They achieved it anyway. This vaccine’s effect is that it makes most Chinese people ignorant – or nearly ignorant – of information deemed undesirable by the party. Around 2008, “Anti-CNN” propaganda rose – at least partly, it seems – from the Chinese grassroots. On the eve of the Beijing Olympic Games, Chinese people appeared to be simply fed up with bad news about Tibet or Xinjiang, no matter if true or not, and any lapse in any overseas picture editorial room was gladly taken as proof that news about uprisings in China’s Tibetan or Turkic colonies were fake news.

But the real sources for the willful ignorance lie deeper. For one, there’s a natural desire of people to be proud of their country, even if there is little reason for that, and that seems to be a particularly strong desire in some East Asian countries.

Then there was an actual source of pride: China’s rising economic and political power, and a series of economic crises in the West. In the minds of many, might made right if only it led to even more might for the motherland.

Not all Chinese nationalists deny that Tibetans or Turkics are going through hell. Rather, they believe that they deserve no better, and that “those guys” had been pampered by their Han rulers for too long.

Obviously, that kind of news isn’t fit to print or be broadcast by China’s “Global Times”, or CCTV. It is enough that people know that their party’s “toughness” on “terrorism” knows no limits, and that resistance is futile.
The latter bit is immportant, too, because Han people, too, have grievances. They must not even dream of getting a verdict in their favor, when the party says “no”. The brutal message from the top is targeting “national minorities” for now, but as Rebiya Kadeer said in 2018, “Uighurs’ today is the Han Chinese peoples’ tomorrow”.

For the more general public inside China – the news has to be more subtle.
While the faces of many of the cadres “interviewed” by CCTV about their “ethnic work” speak volumes, the message itself is that the loving care of the party for the masses earns itself enthusiastic reactions.
The essence of these domestic news: resistance is futile, but then, there’s no reason for resistance, anyway, is there? Our cultural massacres are a beautiful garden.

And for audiences outside China, plain denial is the only possible answer – if that turns out unsuccessful, you can still try to sell the camps in East Turkestan as “vocational schools”.

Shut up and join us – you are part of the United Front

What strikes me most is the wide-spread preparedness among overseas Chinese people to take part in Beijing’s disinformation work.
A desire to be proud of the motherland may be one motivation for that, just as it has been among Chinese at home and abroad since 2008.
Intimidation may be another. As Joanna Chiu noted in a recent article for the “Toronto Star”,

Beijing leaders truly feel anyone of Chinese descent is fair game and they have a right to curtail their freedom of speech years or even generations after they settled abroad.

What Joanna Chiu wouldn’t write either, but what has to be said, is that “socialism with Chinese characteristics” isn’t socialism. It’s full-blown fascism.
Let me apply some of Matthew Lyons definition (the link will take you to more paragraphs):

Fascism is a form of extreme right-wing ideology that celebrates the nation or the race as an organic community transcending all other loyalties. It emphasizes a myth of national or racial rebirth after a period of decline or destruction. To this end, fascism calls for a “spiritual revolution” against signs of moral decay such as individualism and materialism, and seeks to purge “alien” forces and groups that threaten the organic community. Fascism tends to celebrate masculinity, youth, mystical unity, and the regenerative power of violence. Often, but not always, it promotes racial superiority doctrines, ethnic persecution, imperialist expansion, and genocide. At the same time, fascists may embrace a form of internationalism based on either racial or ideological solidarity across national boundaries. Usually fascism espouses open male supremacy, though sometimes it may also promote female solidarity and new opportunities for women of the privileged nation or race.

When you encounter people on Twitter who dedicate many hours of their days to support Beijing’s disinformation work, they won’t necessarily be paid by Beijing. To think that to be the only explanation underestimates Beijing’s success in immunizing its underlings against unwelcome information. You aren’t necessarily dealing with troll factory products. You may be dealing with real-life fascists.

Shut up – you are doing it, too

To enter discussions beyond a few tweets with them may or may not be worth the trouble. In my view, it can be instructive to debate with them when you are aware that “your” side – the West, Japan, India or what have you – are no foreigners to disinformation either. But you won’t get much out of debates with fascists when you can’t stand justified criticism of racism, injustice or other deficits of the society you belong to (or feel you belong to).

On the other hand, you shouldn’t feel discouraged by such expedient “criticism”. When a reported million of Uyghurs is or was in internment camps, some individual stories that emerge internationally may indeed be fake news. China is “re-educating” its nationalities – Han included – on a massive scale, so obviously, some editor will pick the wrong photo or the wrong person.
What you should be aware of is Beijing’s nihilistic script. “You do it too, so even if we did commit atrocities (which we don’t, it’s all fake news), it would be nothing worth to be reported.”
It’s not the West that is running a massive brainwashing program against its own people, it is China that does so. It isn’t the West that is threatening war on its neighbors; it is China.

And while there are places in the West and elsewhere in the world that are rife with racism and bigotry, those aren’t usually run by the state as they are in China. Even most of the “pro-China” guys you meet on Twitter, whitewashing China’s crimes against human rights, would choose a life as a black person in the U.S., rather than an Uyghur’s life in East Turkestan, if they had to choose.

But they can’t admit that. After “a century of humiliation”, they feel that it is time for some fun. After all, they are consumers, too, and “me, me, me & now” is the absolute principle.

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