China’s Internet censorship agency released a theme song in which its employees lauded their “loyalty and devotion” to a censored Internet where “each individual represents the whole nation.”
The Cyberspace Administration of China recently debuted the song, entitled “The Mind and Spirit of Cyberspace Security,” at a Lunar New Year celebration organized by the Beijing Internet Association and attended by many of the country’s leading figures.
“An Internet power: Tell the world that the Chinese Dream is uplifting China,” the translated song lyrics state. “An Internet power: I represent my nation to the world.”
China’s Internet censorship system, known as the “Great Firewall,” prevents citizens from viewing a huge number of web sites, including Facebook, Twitter and those Chinese authorities deem to contain “politically sensitive” material, such as the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.
The censorship is so effective that when journalists passed around a copy of the famous “Tank Man” photo to students at Beijing University, where the 1989 protests originated, the undergraduates who looked at it were clueless.
“May I ask if this is a piece of your artwork?” One student asked the journalists about the photo of a lone protestor blocking a column of tanks.
Likewise, an NPR reporter, Louisa Lim, performed an informal poll of 100 students at several of Beijing’s universities and found that only 15 of the students could correctly identify the photo, two of whom had never seen it before but correctly guessed.
“In fact, the number of students who mistakenly believed it to be a photo of a military parade was higher at 19 than those who recognized it,” she wrote in her book The People’s Republic of Amnesia, adding that the students are among the best educated in China.
Simply stated, tyranny thrives when the population is ignorant of the truth, which is unfortunately why Chinese-style censorship is spreading throughout the world.
World leaders have already proposed an international “Internet Police” with the power to censor web content and even shut down whole web sites as part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an international trade deal backed by the White House.
“TPP raises significant concerns about citizens’ freedom of expression, due process, innovation, the future of the Internet’s global infrastructure, and the right of sovereign nations to develop policies and laws that best meet their domestic priorities,” the Electronic Frontier Foundation wrote.
It’s also interesting to note that a U.S. State Dept. official, Catherine Novelli, met with the Cyberspace Administration of China back in December and urged “co-operation” with China’s censorship czars who implemented harsh prison sentences for on-line critics of the Communist Party.
“Novelli… said the United States and China should cooperate and are cooperating as the two countries share common interests on cyber issues,” Chinese state media outlet Xinhua reported.