As the conflict rages on in Ukraine, the Chinese people are being prevented from being told the truth in any form. Their government has a long history of keeping things from their people, but this latest example is one we have not seen in a long time from any developed nation. This position to take them back towards acting like North Korea is incredibly alarming.
According to leaked censorship directives obtained by China Digital Times, media outlets are to be incredibly biased in their news. “Effective immediately, re: Weibo posts related to Ukraine. Send all posts from the Horizon News account first, then repost from the main [Beijing News] account in order to promote Horizon. Do not post anything unfavorable to Russia or pro-Western.” This choke-off from the truth is not something the Chinese people need. It’s not something the American people who reside in China need, either.
Ramping up this propaganda machine again by China is a sign of many things to come. First and foremost, they are trying to sow the seeds of dissension amongst the people. If you control the information being put in front of the people you can control their narrative. Historically, this has always started with the news organizations, and as this release shows, they are already doing that and starting from the top down.
Next, you go after social media. Well, the directive is already on that. “Carry out selection and control of comments: first enable selective comment display, then let suitable ones through. Everyone is responsible for the ones they publish. Pay real attention to which comments are allowed. Keep an eye on [responses to] each post for at least two days, paying attention at shift handovers. If using hashtags, only use those started by People’s Daily, Xinhua, or CCTV.”
As China tries to paint the U.S. and NATO as the enemy who is very incapable of being trusted, many of the Chinese are finding ways to get outside news sources. Sharing these sources with other trusted people is a way to ensure they stay well informed. The Chinese people know how corrupt their government can be, and how deeply that same government wants Taiwan back under its thumb.
For the people of Taiwan, news of this kind of censorship is incredibly disturbing. They want the people of mainland China to know about their desire to be free. About their desire to not be taken back under the wing of Chinese control. It also leads to concerns about how their story is being spun in China. Are the people on the mainland seeing them as the victims, or as the unwilling? Are they being portrayed as struggling and on the brink of death, or are they represented as being just fine?
Either way, this level of censorship in conjunction with their new partnership with Russia, and it certainly seems like the two nations are gearing up for something big together. This kind of move should worry people of all backgrounds and situations. There is no good end to these two being partnered up together. Yet, that is where we are finding ourselves at this very moment in time. With North Korea beginning to ramp up its nuclear capabilities once again, this is a very scary time in history. Especially as censorship is returning in full force. While there is little we can do as a nation for China’s media, we can continue to push forward the message that the U.S. is ok and a great place to be.