Josh Chin writes: China offered an almost exclusively positive portrait of its human rights situation in a white paper released Monday that cited progress in a wide range of areas. Near the top of the list: development of the country’s film and cartoon industries.
“The white paper has departed so much from reality that its claims that the government has made ‘great achievements’ on human rights are absurd. The government could have counted the number of pandas as a sign of rights progress.”
— Ms. Wang
The annual white paper, which weighed in at 21,000 characters this year, is China’s response to frequent foreign criticisms of its human rights record. In contrast to its critics, who tend to emphasize the rights of the individual, China advocates a broader definition of human rights that puts greater weight on social goods, such as economic and cultural development.
And, evidently, entertainment.
In the report’s first section, titled “Right to Development,” this year’s white paper backed up Beijing’s claim to have better protected the Chinese people’s cultural rights by pointing to, among other things, China’s burgeoning television, cartoon and film production.
”The tremendous achievements China has made in its human rights endeavors fully demonstrate that it is taking the correct path of human rights development that suits its national conditions.”
In 2014, the paper noted, China produced 429 TV series, accounting for 15,983 episodes, and cartoon programs amounting to 138,496 minutes. The report also flagged growth on the silver screen, saying the country produced a total of 618 feature films — 36 of which earned more than 100 million yuan each — and racked up total box office revenues of 26.9 billion yuan ($4.3 billion) last year.
The latter figure represented a 36% increase over 2013, the white paper said. It wasn’t clear from the report how that growth related to human rights. The State Council Information Office, which produced the report, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Read the rest of this entry »
Gmail Appeared to Be Blocked on Applications That Were Previously Able to Connect With It
BEIJING— Chuin-Wei Yap reports: Google Inc. ’s popular Gmail email service has become unavailable in China, in what appears to be the latest move by Beijing to curb the U.S. search giant’s presence there.
“Chinese authorities, who strictly control online content, sometimes block or unblock Internet sites and services without stating a reason. It wasn’t clear whether Gmail access would return.”
Data on Google’s website showed Gmail traffic in China dropped sharply beginning on Friday. The service appeared to be blocked on computer applications that were previously able to connect with it.
Google spokesman Taj Meadows said Monday that “there’s nothing wrong on our end.”
“Foreign services such as Facebook Inc., Twitter Inc. and Google’s YouTube, among others, are blocked in China.”
China’s State Internet Information Office didn’t respond to a request for comment Monday. At a daily press briefing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said she wasn’t aware of the matter. She added that the government “always welcomes foreign businesses to carry out relevant work in China.”
Chinese authorities, who strictly control online content, sometimes block or unblock Internet sites and services without stating a reason. It wasn’t clear whether Gmail access would return. Read the rest of this entry »
Beijing’s recent efforts to tighten control over the Internet have so far included a crackdown on online rumors given partial credit for prompting a mass exodus from microblogging platform Sina Weibo to private messaging services, a subsequent crackdown on Tencent’s instant messaging app WeChat (and month-long renewal), and an ongoing anti-vulgarity drive. Yesterday, China’s State Internet Information Office (SIIO) announced new rules for users of instant messaging platforms. The China Copyright and Media blog has translated the new regulations in full. From Xinhua:
The Chinese government has passed a regulation that will require users of instant messaging services to use real names when registering in an effort to hold users responsible for content.
[…] Targeting China’s 5.8 million public accounts on subscription-based mobile apps such as Tencent’s mobile text and voice messaging service WeChat, the new regulation will take immediate effect.
Registrants of public accounts are obliged to register with real names and reviewed by service providers before being qualified to release information.
“A few people are using the platforms to disseminate information related to terrorism, violence and pornography as well as slander and rumors,” said Jiang Jun, spokesman of the SIIO. “Such behaviors have raised bitter feelings among netizens.” [Source]
Read more at China Digital Times.
A ‘Directive from The Ministry of Truth’
The following censorship instructions, issued to the media by government authorities, have been leaked and distributed online.
State Council Information Office: All websites strictly prohibit promotion of the December 11 Southern Metropolis Daily article “Name Change Requested for Mao Zedong’s Birthday Commemoration at the Great Hall of the People” and all related news. Immediately delete already published material. Close discussions on interactive segments and strictly control online comments. (December 13, 2013)
In an attempt to lower the profile of a planned symphonic concert honoring the120th birthday of Mao Zedong, authorities ordered a name change and merging of the commemoration with a New Years Gala. Recently, the State Council Information Office ordered the deletion of a Phoenix Net article that included an interview subject discussing the supernal power of Mao pictures.
Chinese journalists and bloggers often refer to these instructions as “Directives from the Ministry of Truth.”