China wants to make Communist Party the strongest voice in cyberspace

Propaganda efforts must push the ruling party in its online efforts says China

China has the world’s biggest population of internet users

China has the world’s biggest population of internet users

 

As a follow-on to last week’s story about China calling for tighter control of the internet, the Communist Party has taken things a step further, after the country’s internet regulator vowed to make party views the “strongest voice in cyberspace”.

China has by far the world’s biggest population of internet users – 668 million people. It also has the most tightly controlled internet, with the Great Firewall of China suppressing content seen as a threat to the party.

Among the sites now blocked are Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, the New York Times and Bloomberg. The only way to access these sites is using a virtual private network, an external server.

The Cyberspace Administration of China recently said it backed continued exploration and improvements to the governance of cyberspace “with Chinese socialist characteristics”.

The report on the official Xinhua news agency ran: “It was agreed that the CPC’s [Communist Party of China] theories and achievements would be the mainstream opinions and main tone of China’s cyberspace, and the internet would be utilised to garner public support on the 13th five-year plan (2016-2020).”

Internet regulators were told to “improve the propaganda of the new thoughts and concepts” of the governance of the Communist Party central leadership, with Xi Jinping as general secretary of the CPC central committee, according to Xinhua.

Significantly, the report called for “measures to ensure global cyberspace governance meshed with Chinese opinions and plans”.

After a recent conference on the internet, curiously held in China, President Xi said “no country should pursue cyber-hegemony” and he stoutly defended China’s right to independently choose its own model of cyberspace governance.

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