Saturday, May 18, 2019

China, Its Controlling Interests

"In a project run by the University of Hong Kong's Weiboscope centre and the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab, analysts have amassed a compendium of Chinese social media content that has been censored this year due to its association with unauthorized memories of the 89 Democracy Movement."
"So far, the project has identified 3,237 key words that provoke deletion. During the first four months of this year, the project identified more than 700,000 posts the censors have deleted from Weibo."
Terry Glavin, Journalist, author, China-watcher
No one knows who the man was in this iconic photograph taken on June 5, 1989, the day after the Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing, in which thousands of peaceful protesters were killed by Chinese troops. It's quite likely he doesn't even know he's famous, if he's still alive, writes Terry Glavin.   Jeff Widener/AP
Weibo, of course, is China's very own Twitter, an approved and state-controlled Chinese social media site that the Communist government is free to manipulate as it will. To allow or to disallow mention of very particular events, for example. As particular as the 1989 uprisings, for example, that took place in over 300 Chinese cities over a period of two months, where millions of Chinese came out to protest over their lack of freedoms.

In the West, the enduring memory of Tienanmen Square recalls one courageous Chinese man's stance before a line of military tanks. This confrontation between a lone man and mechanical beasts occurred the day following a mass atrocity when the military crushed the last of the protests. The mass murder of thousands of protesting citizens effectively ended the protests that saw an unbelievable million people assemble daily and peacefully at Tienanmen Square.

Documentary evidence has the death toll report from the Chinese Red Cross at 2,700, while a British diplomatic cable reported the death toll as being over 10,000. The true numbers may never be revealed. British ambassador Sir Alan Donald, fed confidential information by a senior Chinese government source, cabled an account to London mentioning children bayoneted to death, armoured personnel carriers driving over civilians, hundreds of students mowed down in machine-gun fire.

But while this is an enduring memory in the West it is barely noted in China itself where at the time and ever since, news media failed to carry news of the events under government order. June 4, 1989 the military confrontation and bloodshed at Tiananmen Square is not very well known by Chinese citizens; its details are hazy and no one discusses the event. On social media platforms like Sina Weibo and Baidu any possible allusion to the date is immediately scrubbed.

And when the anniversary date rolls around police go into action to round up 1980s activists in a "stability maintenance" operation that has become a yearly staple to ensure that harmony prevails alongside ignorance. In the run-up to the 30th anniversary of the event, dozens of students in Beijing have gone missing from university campuses, taken into custody by the Ministry of State Security.
The photo for the Tiananmen Square Protests Wikipedia page. In April, China blocked the website in all available languages.   Creative Commons

Foreign news websites are unavailable in China. The Wikimedia Foundation and its Wikipedia reference site is now strictly off limits in China, all languages included. This is the country that maintains a strict control of all media and news sites throughout its vast domain. A country that takes huge pride in its communications giant Huawei, partnering internationally to national communications systems updating in the 21st Century and beyond.

A company that has been pressed by well-founded suspicion that its technology includes methods whereby state secrets, technology, military, commercial secrets can be funnelled through to China in its never-ending cyber-espionage focus. Beijing's National Intelligence law states that "any organization or citizen shall support, assist and co-operate with the state intelligence work in accordance with the law"; making it mandatory by law that all Chinese, corporate and individual, work in tandem with and service to the nation's intelligence services.

Huawei, however, states that "no law in China requires any company to install mandatory backdoors in its equipment", and that never would Huawei assist in anything that would bring harm to any country in the world which uses its equipment. In Canada, the statement looks like this: "Huawei Canada has, and we will continue, to act to protect our employees, our customers and our investments", even while the CFO, daughter of Huawei's founder, is held under house arrest awaiting extradition to the U.S. on a charge of misleading U.S. financial institutions relating to Iran sanctions.

To which Beijing has responded by arresting two Canadians, charging them with espionage, and sentencing another Canadian to death for drug smuggling, while warning Canada that should it be decided not to use Huawei in its 5G upgrades, there will be hell to pay. Even Canadian soy products, long an agricultural industry staple imported for Chinese domestic use, has suddenly been found to be contaminated, and disallowed entry to China.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Follow @rheytah Tweet