Our Precious Bodily Packets
Chinese Party chief Hu Jintao has promised to "purify" the Internet without imposing censorship by raising the level of online guidance. ( Reuters) This gives the slogan "Server the People" a whole new meaning. But seriously, Hu has got to get ahead of the curve.
In 2006, China's Internet users grew by 26 million, or 23.4 percent, year on year, to reach 10.5 percent of the total population, the China Internet Network Information Center said on Tuesday. The vast majority of those users have no access to overseas Chinese Web sites offering uncensored opinion and news critical of the ruling party. But even in heavily monitored China, news of official misdeeds and dissident opinion has been able to travel through online bulletin boards and blogs.
Recently a blogger in China made the International news by opposing Starbucks, which is a place bloggers normally love because it provides wi-fi access. Blogherald describes how one Chinese blogger has campaigned against the chain opening an outlet in the Forbidden City in China. The International Herald Tribune reports that he had written that:
The outlet is "a symbol of low-end U.S. food culture" and "an insult to Chinese civilization," Rui Chenggang, an anchor at state broadcaster China Central Television, wrote on his personal Web log. The blog has attracted over 540,000 hits and thousands of responses in Internet chat rooms since last Friday.
You can see how the Chinese Communist Party could lap that anti-globalization message (please open your trade doors, America) up. But things may be different if Chinese bloggers start talking about corruption in high places. Hu's decision to "purify" the Internet is the real life inversion of the classic scene in Dr. Strangelove.
General Jack D. Ripper: Mandrake, do you recall what Clemenceau once said about war?
Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: No, I don't think I do, sir, no.
General Jack D. Ripper: He said war was too important to be left to the generals. When he said that, 50 years ago, he might have been right. But today, war is too important to be left to politicians. They have neither the time, the training, nor the inclination for strategic thought. I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.