Xi tightens his grip and unleashes ‘Wolf Warriors’

Beijing pushes through tougher social media censorship amid propaganda campaign

“It’s so easy for propaganda to work, and dissent to be mocked.”

British playwright Harold Pinter

President Xi Jinping has tightened his grip on China’s narrative since he came to power in 2012.

Not since the 1930s has the world seen such a shrill brand of nationalism wrapped up in “Wolf Warrior” diplomacy.

All major media outlets in the country are heavily censored and state-run. Idealogical rivals to Comrade Xi have been imprisoned.

The ruling Communist Party of China is under his total control as is the messaging from the “red aristocracy.”

Overseas friends are also becoming harder to find apart from the usual authoritarian suspects.

“Inside the system, voices of dissent are not heard. So one mistake follows another,” Minxin Pei, of the Claremont McKenna College in California, said about the Xi regime as reported by The Guardian in July.

Since then, the propaganda push at home has escalated as foreign relations sour.

Total control:

  • Last week, the Cyberspace Administration of China issued tough guidelines to control online content.
  • Stricter supervision and management of social media accounts will be crucial.
  • Censorship should be expanded with content spreading “positive energy” or Party-approved news.
  • The number of censors working across the online industry should be increased.

What was said: “The State Council [has] called for [tougher] cyberspace governance. To promote the healthy development of the internet industry, online platforms are also ordered to enhance awareness of national security and strengthen their self-regulation,” state-run China Daily said in a report on September 15.

Delve deeper: Propaganda has always been the lifeblood of the unelected Communist Party. An army of censors controls the mass media, wielding more power than the editors that run individual titles.

Party voices: “Just like thieves that cry ‘stop thief,’ agencies that claim to defend human rights and democracy may be tarnishing the pursuit of humanity,” columnist Xin Ping wrote in a commentary for state-run Global Times about human rights groups that have helped expose Xinjiang internment camps and civil rights violations in Hong Kong.  

Echo chamber: Anglo-American poet W H Auden succinctly deconstructed the propaganda myth when he pointed out: “Propaganda is a monologue that is not looking for an answer, but an echo.”

Times are a-changing: “The Chinese people are probably starting to realize that their country is in [a] Cold War [with the United States]. The future looks pretty uncertain [as] everything has changed,” Pei, of Claremont McKenna College, said. 

China Factor comment: The Party controls every aspect of life in China from the police to politics and from business to academia. Even the judiciary and the media are in the CCP’s pocket. And that is not propaganda. It is a fact.