The Chinese government’s censors have prevented social media users from sharing an article written by former Premier Wen Jiabao that appears to go against the leader of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). ruling Xi Jinping.
Wen’s eulogy addressed to his mother, who had just passed away, was published in the magazine Macau Herald weekly newspaper on Friday, and has since appeared fully on social media platform WeChat. Soon after, it was blocked from sharing or retweeting.
“In my opinion, China must be a nation full of justice and justice, always respecting human will, humanity and human nature,” says the end of Wen’s article, not directly discussing Comment on current Chinese politics. Environment.
Although the article does not mention contemporary politics in China, it describes some of the struggles of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) under the late Supreme Leader Mao Zedong, involving his mother. by Wen.
Analysts believe that the article could be seen as a challenge for the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) ruling Xi Jinping, as it gives a point of view from an earlier leader, when the measures are taken. the control over freedom of expression is not so strict as it was under Xi and when Wen told the foreign media that pressure from within China for freedom and democracy was “impossible. avoid.”
Article interception occurred when the CCP launched a full-scale propaganda attack to disinfect and control public accounts of its own history a hundred years earlier. July 1.
The Cyberspace Administration last week set up a hotline for people to report to each other for failing to follow the party’s newly revised line on historical issues.
Fear of democracy and the rule of law
Cai Xia, a former professor at the Central Party School in Beijing, now living in the United States, said the article was likely subject to self-censorship prior to publication.
“This shows how much the totalitarian regime in mainland China fears democracy and the rule of law,” said Cai. “They are afraid of empowering people.”
Premier Wen told CNN in 2010 that freedom of speech is “essential”, while he sees the Chinese people’s aspirations for freedom and democracy as “inevitable.”
US-based scholar Wu Zuolai said Wen’s huge memory as a former Chinese leader could lead to restrictions on the article.
“This is a former head of state at the prime minister level, and they blocked even a moderate article like this one,” Wu said.
“This means they won’t allow any articles that could be seen as making hidden or dissatisfied criticism. [with and within the CCP], “he said.
He said the overall political line mentioned in Wen’s article was taboo under Xi, who is currently serving an unlimited second term following a constitutional change.
Comment on ‘Reform’ in 2012
Wen was especially remembered at the 2012 press conference at the National People’s Congress (NPC), his last in office, in which he mentioned the word “reform” many times, including in political reform context.
“Not only the economic system must be reformed; the political system, especially the reform of the party and state leadership,” he told reporters at the time.
Meanwhile, Xi has also called for “justice”, which analysts see as heralds a new era of foreign policy more closely resembling the Cold War than recent approaches.
“The world wants justice, not hegemony,” said Xi in his speech on the Bo’ao Forum. Tuesday. “A big country should be like a big country by showing that they are taking on more responsibilities,” he said.
While Xi did not name any country in his remarks, Chinese officials have recently referred to the US “hegemony” in public criticism of its geopolitical stance. Washington.
Xi’s remarks come in the context of international widespread criticism of the human rights situation in Xinjiang, where the US government sees the ongoing genocide policy against the Uighurs.
Chinese state media have also begun to attack wealth-flaunting social media accounts, with a popular content creator Big LOGO apologizing for a recent video showing off his wealth.
A Beijing resident Yu told RFA, “This is a warning to everyone that they must not scream about this lavish lifestyle. “They fear there will be an online reaction and possibly looting and smashing, so they are trying to control. [before it happens]. “
Zhang Kunlun, a scholar from the northern city of Taiyuan, said the criticism came amid a growing gap between those with and without in China.
“The economy was not doing well after the pandemic, so the gap between rich and poor is widening,” Zhang said. “The government wants to avoid a scenario that provokes public protest [to the CCP]. “
Reported by Mia Chen, Qiao Long and Lau Siu Fung for RFA’s Mandarin and Cantonese Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.