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Politically-Motivated Farce against Popular Microblogger Backfires

By ChinaChange.org, published: August 31, 2013

 

Chinese authorities have recently intensified a campaign against social media “rumor mongers” and the so-called Big Vs, or verified accounts by celebrities with a large number of followers, who are critical of the regime. Nationwide, hundreds have been arrested for online expression, and earlier this week, Beijing police detained Xu Manzi (薛蛮子), or Charles Xue, for soliciting a prostitute, but it’s clear to everyone that the millionaire, venture capitalist Chinese American living in Beijing was singled out for his regular comments on social issues and politics on Weibo, China’s equivalence of Twitter, in an effort to rein in similar accounts. For several days, CCTV hopped on the “news,”and the “moral degeneration,” of Xue’s actions in its primetime evening news.

This should come as no surprise for China watchers who are familiar with the Chinese Communist Party’s hysterical ideological crusade against democratic values and freedom of expression this year. For months, Chinese propaganda officials and mouthpiece media outlets have been revealing a deepening sense of crisis over social media’s lopsided public opinion against the party. The party’s anxieties, and sometimes outright hatred, are transparent in Document No. 9 (our post in May and NYT’s recent coverage), and more than one PLA generals referred to the social media as a battlefield that must be won back. In an article entitled Where China’s Challenges Are last year, the director of American Studies at the China Academy of Social Sciences named five categories of people as dangerous elements who want to overthrow the regime, and online opinion leaders as one category was among them. The five categories are: rights lawyers, underground believers, dissidents, online opinion leaders, and the disadvantaged members of the society. They were quickly referred to by netizens as the new five black categories (新黑五类) in a refrain from the “five black types” denounced during the Cultural Revolution. (The part about the five categories has since been removed from links to this article, but it has been widely noted.)

But in our Internet era, the spread of information is no longer linear and isolated and defies any dictatorial effort to block or to monopolize it. For that reason, the attempted clampdown has backfired. For the 1001st time, the Chinese government has succeeded in exposing its own perversity and arrogance, and here are the invincible Chinese netizens who are not afraid to tell the party what they think:

Anonymous: Those who submit to me shall be whores; those who resist me shall be johns. (顺我者娼,逆我者嫖娼. ) via @langzichn

 (Readers who speak Mandarin, do enjoy this brilliant play on顺我者昌,逆我者亡 — “Those who submit to me shall prosper; those who resist me shall be put to death.”)

@余耕:August 2013 is the month of johns. In Shanghai, judges deny vehemently that they have solicited hookers; Li Tianyi’s mother insists that her son [accused of gang rape] had merely solicited a prostitute; as for Xue Manzi, he is a john regardless.

@majunpu: Given that the authorities put Xue Manzi on the Evening News while prohibiting coverage of Shanghai judges’ solicitation of sex services, one concludes that the small details of people’s lives are big, while big issues about the leaders are nothing.

@笔刀侠: Take a look at the overwhelming online support for Xue Manzi and you know that, in the eyes of the people, you are worse than a john. You’ve screwed it up, haven’t you? You’ll never get your way since you have lost the hearts and minds of the people!

‏@liushihui (rights lawyer): Xue Manzi was detained on the familiar charges of “soliciting a prostitute.” This is the second strike in the government’s clampdown on “rumor-mongering” following the arrest of Qin Huohuo. For any political dissenters, if the authoritarian government wants to get you, it will always be able to find the “appropriate charges,” and this is the case with all of the authoritarian regimes in the world.

The sign reads "Strike down online demon and monster Xue Manzi"

The sign reads “Strike down the online demon Xue Manzi.” Cartoon by @baduicao.

@fqq1000: The way they are clamping down on the Big Vs is no difference from the way they persecuted the rightists (in the 1950s) and the capitalist roaders (in the 1960s). The Cultural Revolution is far from being over.

@审评1:Perhaps Xu Manzi will found a political party after he’s released. An enraged Chen Duxiu (陈独秀) established a party after being expelled from Peking University for soliciting a prostitute. What has followed you already know. (Chen Duxiu was the founder of CCP.)

@Business_trader: The cab driver said, “owing prostitution dues” is not convincing. Only your girlfriend will let you owe her prostitution dues.

@平壤作家崔成浩:I’ve always thought the Evening News is such a prig who only receives the state leaders, but last night she was screwed by a big-time john.

@Arctosia: Since a CCP branch must be established where there are three or more people, 3P is of course qualified for “assembling a crowd to engage in sexual promiscuity.”

@中央党校教授蔡霞 (Professor Cai Xia of the Party School of CCP): Xue Manzi was not apprehended in a place for commercial sex. Instead, he was apprehended on his own property. Also note, Xue Manzi didn’t admit he had solicited a prostitute until after he was detained. The question is: How did the public security and the informant do it, unless they had 24-hour surveillance? …… Who would still be able to have a sense of security?

 

Related reading:

Subversion by Way of Laughter, by Hu Ping


7 Comments

  1. buzzsargent says:

    There have been so many odd investigations started by the new Chairman that it is starting to look like the era of Purges that occurred in the Soviet period with Stalin. Wonder if anyone else has noticed this going on in China.

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  3. kingtubby1 says:

    Love the tweets, but underground believers!!!!! Just can’t see it, since the Party could have strangled the Christian disease during its inception. They are quiescent crowd with bugger all interest in political change. Strictly interested in hymn singing and their bastardized version of the King James Bible. Drink bitter tea six days a week, but on the seventh get down with the Lord. Also a pretty good location for locating suitable marriage partners. (Just like South Kore

  4. kingtubby1 says:

    a.)

    Here is the rule of thumb. Males interested in Christianity, drinking and smoking plus extra-marital sex, guys, you join the Catholics. You get the big out by going to confession.

    All the rest of you join the Evangelicals and Protestant cults. No non-marriage nookie or pissed behaviour, but you will feel truly righteous seven days a week.

    If there was ever an indictment of the type of society being produced in CPC Mainland China today, it is the resurgence of Christianity in the past 25 years.

    The great US dream of the 19th and early 20th for the Chinese people is now being realised.

    One of the excellent aspects of 19th century Sino society was its resistance to Christian evangelisation. I think the-then pejorative term was Rice Christians. The missionaries in Shenyang province made about a dozen genuine converts in the 19th century. (Reference on request.)

    Rice Christians were simply attempts by powerless individuals seeking to latch on to an alternative form of guanzi (western colonial power) visa a vis traditional authority eg yamen administrators.

    Look forward to your response, Yaxue.

  5. smashfaceonkeyboard says:

    Why does your off-topic rambling merit a response from the author???

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  7. […] of two years ago [in which famous users of Sina Weibo who were critical of the government were publicly humiliated and in some cases jailed] is still in the memory of many. In the eyes of the authorities, control of the Internet is not […]

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