A leaked internal memo describing how the internet has enabled the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) “to actively strengthen our abilities to guide public opinion” was accidentally posted to a Chinese communist government website on May 4.
The memo was removed less than a day later, and was replaced with a heavily edited version, but the organization Human Rights in China picked up the original before it was taken down.
The memo, which was penned by none other than Mr. Wang Chen—whose titles include but are not limited to deputy director of the CCP’s Propaganda Department—is filled with statements regarding how the internet is a tool for the CCP and must be used to “…initiate targeted international public opinion battles, and create an international public opinion environment that is objective, beneficial, and friendly to us.”
Fear of outside “harmful information” is mentioned again and again throughout the memo. “We will perfect our system to monitor harmful information on the Internet, and strengthen the blocking of harmful information from outside China, to effectively prevent it from being disseminated in China through the Internet,” says a translation of the memo.
There is also a bit of bragging about how “Under the unified leadership of the Party, we organized initiatives to guide public opinion related to major emergency incidents, hot topics related to people’s welfare, and key ideological issues. They included the March 14 Incident in Lhasa; the July 5 Incident in Urumqi, and the earthquake rescue and relief efforts.”
Plans for future Censorship
In addition to boasting about using the Internet to censor information on major disasters and events throughout China, and around the world, the memo also mentions cutting China’s Internet access from the rest of the world.
“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. As long as our Internet is open to the public, there will be channels and means for netizens to express all sorts of speech on the Internet… actual contradictions and problems in our society are reported on the Internet,” says the memo.
Some IT industry experts speculate that all this ranting and raving is pointing towards the CCP creating a local “intranet” that may or may not have access to the world wide web. This would in effect be a set of websites and information that could be completely under the control of the CCP, with no chance of external information reaching netizens inside of China. Commonly-censored material includes, democracy, Falun Gong, information regarding Tibetans, and the Tiananmen Square Massacre.
The original memo can be found here http://www.hrichina.org/public/contents/article?revision_id=175119&item_id=175084#ft3