CCP Shut down 31 Websites to “Strike Online Rumors"
On Thursday night, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)
State Internet Information Office said it would take serious
moves in striking “Internet rumors".
The office announced that 31 websites, including
Beijing Zhiqing Web and others, had been temporarily
shut down as “rumor mongers" with “poor management".
Commentators say, the CCP once again tightening control
over Internet is related to online reports of the party’s politics.
In the evening of July 17, the CCP State Internet Information
Office made an announcement through the Xinhua
The announcement said there had been “some outlaws"
who spread “fabricated news" and “rumors" via Internet.
Some websites had assisted in “circulating rumors" due to
improper management and had caused bad influence.
The office thus cooperated with its local departments to
temporarily shut down 31 such “rumor monger" websites
with “little management", including Beijing Zhiqing Web
and Bada Web.
Political commentator Huang Jinqiu said, the crackdown
against so-called “online rumors" should be directed against
recent reports such as the arrests of Zeng Qinghong and
detention of Jia Qinglin in Inner Mongolia and
escape of Guo Boxiong leading to massive flight delay
between Beijing and Shanghai.
Huang Jinqiu, political commentator: “Xu Caihou has been
publicly expelled from the CCP.
However, many other events have yet to be announced,
such as Zhou Yongkang’s situation and
there are reports of Guo Boxiong’s escape.
The CCP has no transparency on its policies, therefore
Chinese netizens have to collect and share information
about those events."
Huang said, although many online reports had been called
“rumors" by the CCP, a lot of them later turned out to
“foretell the truth far ahead".
Huang Jinqiu:"Examples include Wang Lijun’s defecting to
U.S. Consulate, Bo Xilai’s case, his wife’s murder of
British businessman and even Zhou Yongkang’s coup plot.
Now we see that all these are finally proved to be true.
In addition, many reports revealing corruption of CCP
officials were “announced" as rumors at first,
but later confirmed after investigation of those officials."
Huang Jinqiu comments that the CCP is always hiding
the truth on many issues.
Netizens hence collect information from various sources
that sometimes corroborate with each other.
This finally turns out to be another form of public supervision.
Now the CCP again attempts to suppress public opinion
in the name of “rumor crackdown".
The CCP also said it was carrying out a nationwide plan to
stop so-called “making up and spreading rumors" via Internet.
Following reports from netizens and collected information,
it would inspect accounts and websites that “circulate rumors".
Furthermore, related personnel would be held responsible
by public security departments.
Chen Yongmiao, Beijing constitutional scholar,
comments that online reports cannot be called “rumors",
especially if they relate to high-level CCP officials.
The reason is, many of them are released by party factions
as a strategy to strike opponents in the power struggle.
Chen Yongmiao: “Internet has become a tool, a powerful
political tool in the CCP’s internal power struggle.
The CCP factions are fighting with each other via Internet.
So it is indeed the Internet that is passively involved
in the CCP’s power struggle."
Chen says, when the CCP found that too many negative
reports was a threat to the regime’s stability, it turned to
suppress online public opinion, trying to silence netizens
from commenting on its power struggle.
Last year, the CCP had made several rounds of a campaign
against “online rumors".
Only in August 2013, over a thousand were arrested for
what they said on the Internet.
On September 9, the CCP released the notorious law that
put Chinese internet users up to imprisonment for “writing
defamatory messages that are re-posted 500 times".
Huang Jinqiu further comments that the CCP may have
another concern that motivates the suppression.
That is, some corrupt officials may escape if relevant
information is exposed on the Internet in advance.
Huang Jinqiu: “Maybe in the anti-corruption campaign,
some target officials heard about something in advance
from online reports.
They might take risk moves in such a situation.
I am not sure whether that is the case.
But even if that is true, public supervision should still not
be stopped, because only through public supervision can
any society achieve real fairness and justice."
Huang concludes that, instead of wasting money in
suppressing netizens and online media, the CCP should
rather improve transparency of its governmental work.
If the CCP reports any event immediately and responsibly
to Chinese people, there will be no room at all
for so-called “rumors" to circulate.
Interview Edit/Li Yun Post-production/Xiao Yan