China wants internet to be its propaganda engine

The Glorious People’s Republic of China has a cunning plan to turn the entire world wide wibble into its propaganda tool.

China is probably one of the most capitalist places on the globe right now, but it still believes that it is serving the revolution of Chairman Mao.  It also has enough cold war autocracy lying around to pull it off.

According to AP, the Chinese Communist Party has released a  secret strategy for transforming the internet into a force for keeping it in power and projecting what it calls soft power abroad.
China’s top internet official posted a speech on the net by accident before pulling it.  The speech outlines a vast array of institutions and methods to control opinion at home and also “create an international public opinion environment that is objective, beneficial and friendly to us”.

Wang Chen, who is deputy director of the Propaganda Department, head of External (foreign) Propaganda and also director of the State Council’s Information Office added that those efforts provided powerful public opinion support for “unifying thinking, consolidating strength, assisting in our diplomatic battles and safeguarding our national interests”.

The speech was made to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on April 29 and posted on the Congress’s website on May 4, before being removed, sanitised and re-posted on a more mainstream government website the following day.

However it was spotted by Human Rights in China and included in its report released yesterday.
The report with the catchy titke China’s Internet: Staking Digital Ground said that China has this goal of establishing a Chinese intranet and removing China from the global internet.

Anne-Marie Brady, an expert on China’s propaganda system at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand said that the average Chinese person knows basically how the propaganda system works but there’s no need to advertise so blatantly what the government is doing.

Wang said the internet had increased the government’s capabilities in social management but also brought new subversive threats.

“As long as our country’s internet is linked to the global internet, there will be channels and means for all sorts of harmful foreign information to appear on our domestic internet,” he said.
Foreign language channels are becoming an important force in countering the hegemony of Western media and in bolstering our country’s soft power,  he added.