By Marielena Montesino de Stuart
He had grown accustomed to the perks that come with being a powerful property tycoon who plays according to the Communist Party rules– that is until his fingers got too happy on the keyboard.
Ren Zhiqiang had over 30 million followers on his microblogging account. But everything came to a screeching halt when he criticized Xi Jinping, the President of Communist China. Mr. Ren asked for state media to serve the people of China- who, after all, are the ones who pay for access to media. Beijing’s government immediately took action to censor and shut down his account and issued statements accusing Mr. Ren of subversive activities against the government.
The BBC reports:
The Cyberspace Administration of China accused Mr. Ren of publishing “illegal messages that had a bad impact.”
As a Communist dictatorship, China maintains very strict Internet regulations– which include blocking major websites and censorship of posts by audacious bloggers. China’s censorship program is massive– given the fact that China represents the largest online population in the world.
China has issued new rules, which will take effect on March 10, banning foreign media and foreign joint ventures from posting content online without the blessing of Communist Party officials. The BBC’s English language website has been blocked in the past across China. On October 15, 2014, BBC Global News director, Peter Horrocks said it appeared to be “deliberate censorship,” on a BBC article titled “BBC’s website is being blocked across China.”
With this scenario in mind, I am not surprised that BBC’s China Editor, Carrie Gracie, is currently taking “long service leave” from China until the summer, and has returned to the U.K.
Here’s an excerpt from an article that appeared in The Guardian (28 February, 2016, titled: BBC’s Carrie Gracie: ‘China is difficult– a giant piece of history rising’):
China’s political situation worries her greatly. “The level of oppression, Orwellian security is very serious,” she says. “I feel perhaps I need to ratchet up the coverage over some of the sombre truths.
Last summer, some Hong Kong booksellers disappeared– and journalists are under constant threat. Lawyers are being imprisoned (but I must admit that the idea of trying to practice “law” under a Communist dictatorship is baffling!).
Xi Jinping is turning out to be Mao in a suit and tie. His reign of terror is driving underground just about anyone who opposes him. Or they leave China, before it’s too late.
Someone has to say the truth…
© Marielena Montesino de Stuart. All rights reserved.