Microblogs a Threat to China’s National Security: Official Report
Microblogs in China have become a concern to authorities and have triggered
even more stringent Internet controls, according to an official Chinese think
The report, titled “The
Development of China’s New Media in 2011” was released by the Chinese Academy of
Social Sciences (CASS) in Beijing on July 12.
It states that Chinese Internet users have identified reliable technologies to
bypass the “Great Wall,” a nickname for the firewall that censors the web in
China, and have succeeded in accessing foreign websites, thereby jeopardizing
Southern Daily provided more details of the report on July 13, saying China is now
the country with the largest number of Internet users and mobile phone
subscribers, 450 million and 900 million, respectively, and more people than
anywhere else in the world are using the new microblog social media.
the end of 2010, there were 1.91 million domestic websites in China. The number
of fledgling microblogs, called “Weibo” in Chinese, increased dramatically from
17 in early 2010 to 88 by year’s end.
Microblogs Expose Corruption
Increasing numbers of Chinese Internet users now send messages to microblogs
from their mobile phones, and microblogs have
evolved into a platform to expose incidents of social injustice, corruption, and
scandals involving officials.
CASS personnel said at a press conference,
that microblogs carry a lot of “false” information, which is then blindly copied
and pasted onto other media, resulting in detrimental impacts to national
security and hastening Chinese authorities’ implementation of more
Liu Ruiseng, an associate researcher at the Academy warned
that the phenomenon of politicizing the new [microblog] media shouldn’t be
Liu cited Google’s exit from China in 2010 as an example,
saying it was a conspiracy jointly plotted by the U.S. government and
Yin Yungong, director and chief editor of the Journalism
Institute at CASS, warned that new media, such as microblogs, have impacted
society and politics.
“The Jasmine Revolution, which has spread across
North Africa and the Middle East at the end of 2010, has also been called the
“Twitter Revolution” by western media. Such events reveal the fact that new
media are making strides into political and military domains,” Yin
CASS experts at the press conference also said
Internet users who bypass the firewall are jeopardizing national security. Their
recommendation was that authorities step in and take tighter
Internet users were quick to reply, saying officials were just
trying to defend the authorities’ repression of free speech online.