China To Web: “Adhere To Correct Propaganda”

    April 24, 2007

If you use the right euphemisms, it’s almost enough to give you warm fuzzies: the Chinese government, according the country’s president, is developing plans to "actively and creatively nurture a healthy online culture."

Unfortunately, China’s state television forgot to dress up the language, and instead disclosed the less comforting thought that "development and administration of Internet culture must stick to the direction of socialist advanced culture, [and] adhere to correct propaganda guidance."

Yikes – those guys really need to pay more attention to the president’s speechwriters.

The basic problem, though, is that the Chinese government seems to have grown tired of dealing with porn, illegal music, and that ever-pesky practice called free speech.  What the president has recommended would tighten existing censorship, but might also actively promote "correct" sites and codes of behavior.

Reuters listened in to a television broadcast that laid out some of the goals.  "Internet cultural units must conscientiously take on the responsibility of encouraging development of a system of core socialist values," Chinese state television announced.  "Consolidate the guiding status of Marxism in the ideological sphere."

The timing of this "push" is interesting, given that China is in many ways trying to make itself presentable for the 2008 Summer Olympics.  And so it appears that, along with instituting any number of beautification programs, government officials may be attempting to quiet online dissent before the international community comes calling on Beijing.

Of course, that same international community isn’t likely to approve of increased censorship, and the Internet tends to transcend national borders, but, well . . . you try telling that to a communist regime.