Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg lauded the virtues of socialism during a recent meeting with Lu Wei, the czar of China’s draconian Internet censorship system.
Having previously met with State Department official Catherine Novelli, who urged the two countries to “work together as friends” on web security, Wei paid a visit to Facebook’s SIlicon Valley offices despite the fact that the social networking website is completely banned in China.
During the meeting, Wei discovered a book written by Chinese President Xi Jinping called “The Governance of China” sitting on Zuckerberg’s office desk, leading Zuckerberg to comment, “I’ve bought this book for my co-workers. I want them to understand socialism with Chinese characteristics.”
“The sight of Xi’s book on a tech tycoon’s table has been taken as hypocritical and absurd by many observers – the government Xi leads has one of the most restrictive Internet policies in the entire world and Facebook itself is banned in the country. Zuckerberg’s promoting of the book struck many as kow-towing,” reports the Washington Post.
Prominent Chinese dissident Hu Jia accused Zuckerberg of having an understanding of Chinese politics akin to a 3-year-old, while users of China’s social media site Weibo portrayed the Facebook CEO as a Mao-era Red Guard clutching Xi’s book.
— Bridget O'Donnell (@bridgers) December 8, 2014
Given that Facebook is the second biggest website in the world after Google, the fact that Zuckerberg is palling around with the head of a formidable censorship program that routinely silences and intimidates government critics is disconcerting to say the least, especially amidst efforts by the Obama administration, which has received Facebook support in the past, to reclassify the web as a utility, bringing it under Title II of the Telecommunications Act and greasing the skids for FCC control.
Under Wei’s control, blocks on foreign websites in China have increased, while regulations on social media were tightened to make web users who posted content critical of the state legally responsible for any content which receives over 500 shares should it be deemed a “false rumor” by authorities.
Those who flouted Wei’s order to keep posts about government conduct “positive” had their accounts shut down and some were even detained by police.
China routinely censors the Internet and cuts off access in order to hide evidence of government corruption and to cover up atrocities committed by the state, a process that Wei has personally overseen since 2011.