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.
@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?
Subversion by Way of Laughter, by Hu Ping