The Globe and Mail reports on the thought police in China, and the new cyber police corps defending their protecting Chinese citizens from illegal information or what is otherwise known as state sponsored censorship:
But the new details have nonetheless brought fresh attention to the extraordinary measures China takes to quell digital dissent. Under Mr. Xi’s leadership, Beijing continues to diminish the ability of Chinese people to use the Internet to expose wrongdoing, communicate news not approved by authorities or even chat with friends without fear their conversations could land them in trouble. Recent months have suggested more is coming.
Authorities are working to set in place a broad new national security law that seeks to root out “harmful moral standards” and would create new “systems for cyber and information security.” Critics have called it a “neo-totalitarian” piece of legislation, but it falls in line with calls from Mr. Xi for the use of the Internet – along with Chinese arts and culture – to spread “positive energy.”
To further enforce that, China is also building a “social credit system” that would rely in part on individual Internet browsing and posting histories to assign each person a score that reflects their adherence to socialist values like patriotism and hard work. Comments critical of the Communist Party risk producing a poor score that would threaten a person’s ability to secure work or bank loans. It’s been called an “Orwellian” system for the digital age.
China’s Internet police, as part of their charm offensive this week, defended their work as keeping the Internet free of problems for everyday Chinese.
“Freedom of speech is enshrined in the law,” Zhong Zhong, deputy inspector at the Bureau for Network Security, said in an comments published by the Global Times, a Communist mouthpiece newspaper. Online enforcement is useful to “stop the spread of illegal information,” he said, so China can “protect the legal right of every netizen to use Internet.”