An article published in the People’s Liberation Army Daily, the official newspaper of China’s military—and reprinted in part by Qiushi, the official magazine of the Chinese Communist Party—calls the Internet “the ideological ‘main front’ and ‘the main battlefield’” upon which China must fight an ideological war upon the West to defend itself from the creeping evils of Western thought.
The article calls for greater restrictions on Internet content and for the People’s Liberation Army to “protect ideological and political security on the invisible battleground of the Internet” as it protects the physical security of the country.
“It is said that before the 1960s, who took control of the print media, will have the right to speak; before the 1990s, who controlled the television media, will have more right to speak; and after entering the new century, who control Internet, including mobile Internet, will have the greatest right to speak,” the unnamed author of the piece wrote.
“In the eyes of Western anti-China forces, the Internet is undoubtedly intended to guide public opinion in China,” undermining the authority of the government with “unwarranted charges” and “exaggerating minority conflicts” while presenting democracy as “a cure-all ‘recipe for salvation’ and presenting the ideas of the Western world as the leading civilised ‘universal values’.”
In the view of the PLA Daily, Western powers and Chinese “ideological traitors” have used the Internet to wage war on the Party: “Their fundamental objective is to confuse us with ‘universal values’, disturb us with ‘constitutional democracy’, and eventually overthrow our country through ‘color revolution’,” the article stated—an allusion to the “Orange Revolution” in Ukraine and other popular uprisings against Communist authoritarian governments in the former Soviet Bloc. “Regime collapse that can occur overnight often starts from long-term ideological erosion.”
The newspaper’s calls for ideological struggle and purity hold echoes of the Cultural Revolution, urging that “we in the ideological force should have firm belief…dare to attack, and have the courage to speak.” An army of “seed-planters and propaganda teams” is needed, the paper said, to defend the “online Great Wall.”
To counter “domestic and foreign hostile forces” from spreading their ideas and rumours, “propaganda departments must strengthen their management and control…using various means to fight back the wrong words and thoughts, and guarantee the purity of the network environment,” the article continued. “At the same time, we should dare to take the initiative, effectively use the communication capacity of the network, so that the mainstream values (of the Party) occupy every corner of the network, deep into the hearts of every Internet users, providing inexhaustible spiritual strength characteristics of China’s socialist construction.”
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