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China launches yet another crackdown on social media

'I am the Chinese Communist Party. I will be with you forever' - Beijing's new propaganda vid says the quiet part out loud

The Cyberspace Administration of China has continued its drive to clean up the internet, on Sunday taking aim at the behaviours of independently operated content producing accounts on sites like Weibo and WeChat, known as “self-media.”

The move is part of Operation Qinglang, launched by the CAC in 2021 to create an online ecosystem with values more aligned to Beijing’s desires. It’s included regulating or banning a wide range of behaviors, ranging from cyberbullying in online fan clubs to curbing livesteamers who use infomercials to seek money from minors, to vaguely defined shows of vulgarity.

The CAC reported earlier this month it had removed 54.3 million pieces of information from the internet in 2022 alone.

The internet regulator has tackled self-media before. In August 2021, Beijing launched a campaign to prevent citizen journalists and others from misinterpreting financial markets and economic policies.

But now Beijing wants to dive deeper into taming self-media and go beyond cracking down on financial fake news.

The CAC accused of this subset of accounts of spreading rumors, causing malicious speculation, counterfeiting, and in general stirring up netizens' emotions and “tearing society apart.”

“It is an inevitable requirement to win the online ideological struggle and maintain national security and political security,” said the CAC.

The regulator wants platforms to take more responsibility in managing such accounts and behaviours, fine account-holders who make money from alleged fake news and standardize the management of self-media account

The CAC said of accounts relying on these naughty behaviors, presumably meaning they do not hold up the ideals of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), “the number of fans should be eliminated, and illegal profit-making... should be resolutely curbed.”

The CCP over the weekend launched a new video outlining its values. The short film, titled “This is me, People’s Republic of China”, has an English language narration and a heroic narrative.

The video is subtitled in both English and Chinese with the English language spoken over it. The narrator declares several ideals including “I am the one who is working earliest. I am the one who leaves last. I am the one who does the least for myself.”

It also states “I am the Chinese Communist Party. I will be with you forever,” and China is a “vast territory, but not an inch shall be lost” - all while depicting nature and city scenes and engineering accomplishments including rocket launches, train systems, ports and satellites. ®

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