Category Archives: China

The Gulag Aperture: Hollywood Becomes Handmaiden To China’s Communist Party

On New Year’s Day, China Central Television (CCTV) unveiled its newest “soft power” entertainment media venture, whose purpose is to extend China’s global media influence. Chinese President Xi Jinping said that the overriding directive of this new collection of television stations and news agencies will be to “follow the party line and promote ‘positive propaganda as the main theme.’”

The CCTV announcement compounds the growing risk that increased Chinese investment will entice Hollywood into volunteering itself as a propaganda division of the Communist Party of China (CPC). And if these trends continue, the Western world’s outlet for Chinese dissenters will be closed.

China’s film industry has in recent years grown approximately 34% annually and generated $6.8 billion in 2015. While many applaud the very modest political reforms that sometimes complement China’s market liberalization, one should be wary of the country’s iron grip on its entertainment industry.

China’s industry players are inextricably bound to the CPC, as evidenced by the ascent of Wang Jianlin, China’s richest man. Jianlin’s successes are a product of quid pro quo arrangements between himself and the CPC’s top officials. Further, Jianlin is a delegate to the CPC congress and was a high-level advisor in China’s faux legislature from 2008 to 2013. Today, CPC delegate Jianlin can count several American awards shows, including the Golden Globes, the Billboard and American Music Awards, and even AMC Theaters as part of his recently accrued collection.

Continue reading at Forbes.

 

Becoming China’s Surveillance Software Designer Is Consistent With Facebook’s Dangerous Authoritarian Progression

Authoritarian states, hungry for data on dissenters’ habits and eager for new methods of censorship, salivate at the surveillance capabilities of Facebook. And as the social network’s user base approaches one-third of the world’s population, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has evinced a happy willingness to help the authoritarians in their cause.

Over the Thanksgiving week, anonymous sources at Facebook revealed that the tech corporation has developed a content-suppression program which can be used by Chinese authorities to control viewable subject matter.

As Facebook continues to expand, its dedication to corporatized nanny-monitoring may turn it into the Skynet of our age: an all-encompassing technology whose power is restrained only when the program itself decides not to exert that power. By the by, the exercise of such a power has the tremendous potential to amplify the hollow one-mindedness of social media’s homogenous, politically correct user base.

Considering that Facebook may someday reach half the world’s population, its selective smothering of content, ranging from censoring the controversial, for example images of the Prophet Muhammed, to the historical, such as pictures of the Vietnam War, means it will have absolute power over what half the world watches and reads. When Facebook responds to Chinese pressure to censor controversial images like the self-immolation of a Tibetan monk, the concern over its reach is worsened by the realization that China’s oppressors have the ear of Mark Zuckerberg.

Continue reading at Forbes.

The Chairman with Feet of Clay

Two weeks into the new year, we may already be able to hand out the award for 2016’s biggest historical irony. Internet users in China have shown the world a gigantic golden statue of Mao Zedong built in one of the provinces devastated most severely by the Chairman’s attempts to build a communist utopia. The 121-foot tall statue, completed in mid-December, features Chairman Mao sitting with his hands crossed on his lap, staring out into the fields—the very same ones he sabotaged 58 years ago, causing one of the worst famines the world has ever seen.

Little is known about the origins or purpose of the statue, but the BBC reported that it was funded by local businessmen and cost around $460,000. Only four days after the news broke, however, the giant Mao was already being dismantled. The official explanation from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was that the construction of the statue had not been approved. Yet the statue was completed in December, and it was not until the statue came in for international criticism that the CCP addressed the issue.

Read the rest on Dissident here.

The end of China’s one-child policy is more important than you think

As a child, I enjoyed reading the Shadow Children series of novels. The seven books describe a dystopian United States where it is illegal for families to have more than two children. If they do, the third child is executed by the government, along with their family and any accomplices.

Because the book was set in an unlikely future version of the U.S., I never thought such atrocities were possible in the real world. But similar atrocities have been taking place in China for the past 35 years.

Since the late 1970s, most pregnant Chinese women have been forced to have abortions if they already have one child. Women who aren’t complicit in the extermination of their fetuses are physically forced into it, backed by law. Sometimes they are forcibly sterilized.

Read the rest on the Washington Examiner here.