Chinese Communists have praised the Prime Minister for investigating whether clampdowns on instant messaging and other social media can be introduced.
Loyalist Beijing newspaper, Global Times, describes David Cameron’s consideration of blocking the use of social networking websites as a ‘bold measure‘.
The newspaper, which prints an English edition, belongs to the People’s Daily, an ‘organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China”.
Global Times was recently accused of ‘ astroturfing’ criticism of artist, nobel laureate and government critic Ai Weiwei by asking staff to pose as members of the public on internet forums discussing his imprisonment and to attack the human rights campaigner.
Weiwei was reported as having suffered torture when imprisoned for alleged tax evasion. He was never formally charged during his detainment.
The newspaper argues that a new authoritarian attitude by the British government could “appease” tensions between the UK and China. It says:
“The British Government’s wariness of the Internet and Blackberry Messenger – symbols of freedom of speech – is a forced reaction, which might upset the Western world.
“Meanwhile, the open discussion of containment of the Internet in Britain has given rise to a new opportunity for the whole world. Media in the US and Britain used to criticize developing countries for curbing freedom of speech. Britain’s new attitude will help appease the quarrels between East and West over the future management of the Internet.”
Global Times then uses Cameron’s consideration of a social networking clampdown as a weapon to criticise proponents for more internet freedom in the world’s most populous country:
Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by becoming a Left Foot Forward Supporter today.
“As for China, advocates of an unlimited development of the Internet should think twice about their original ideas.
“On the Internet, there is no lack of posts and articles that incite public violence. They will cause tremendous damage once they are tweeted without control. At that time, all governments will have no other choice but to close down these websites and arrest those agitators.
“Turbulence must lead to self-examination, otherwise it’ll lead to great peril in one’s destiny.”