“China is faced with an Internet-management crisis,” Liu Yunshan, the country’s propaganda chief, said back in September
Liu is talking about the country’s inability to control and censor communication across social networks. Of particular concern is Sina Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter, which currently has about 400 million users.
The country is famous for its Great Firewall and thirty-plus thousand censors that investigate Web sites and join message boards to either delete comments or spin government messages their own way. But trying to do the same to the Chinese equivalent of Twitter posts has escaped the censors.
As the Sydney Morning Herald notes, “As quickly as [censors] delete individual messages, they find they have already been spread by hundreds, or thousands, of others.”
Proposed solution: Throw more censors at the “problem”. Sina just hired a thousand people to monitor messages across its network.
Via the Sydney Morning Herald:
China’s Communist Party has set out to curtail social networking following years of unfettered growth after its top committee issued an edict launching a new drive to control open messaging.
Websites such as Sina Weibo, a Chinese version of Twitter, have been allowed to grow explosively, with 400 million Chinese posting opinions and sharing information.
The Central Committee of the Communist Party, a 300-strong body of party, state and army leaders, has signalled its alarm that there is no equivalent to the Great Firewall that marshals the internet. It has promised to “strengthen the guidance and administration of social internet services and instant communications tools” to ensure “orderly dissemination of information”.
Anyone spreading “false rumours” was threatened with stern punishment.
According to the Vancouver Sun, punishment includes arrest:
Already a number of people have been put under what China calls “administrative detention,” usually 15 days under arrest. One was accused of writing a fake report about changes to the income tax system. A student was jailed for claiming that cancer had killed eight village officials in Yunnan. A third was detained for writing that a Chinese jet had crashed.