Why does censorship work and What is the goal of the CCP’s censorship

Zola’s speech at China Focus Princeton

Censorship, the whipping of the weak by the strong, shapes your behavior and molds your thinking. In one-party dictatorship China, censorship is omnipresent, including but not limited to the internet, television, newspapers, radio, magazines, books, textbooks, and even singing events, sporting events, and commercial activities.

If you are in China, you know that you cannot mention the Tiananmen Massacre or the June 4 student movement on the Internet, that your content will not be published successfully, that you will be warned, or even that your account will be deleted or your website will be ordered to be shut down by the authorities.

If you’re from Taiwan, you know that you can’t say Taiwan is a country , and your Chinese clients will upset with you and correct you with the fixed phrase “Taiwan is a sacred and integral part of China”. 

If you were an NBA manager and you took to social media to show solidarity with the people of Hong Kong, the Chinese government would stop broadcasting NBA games and Chinese companies would stop doing business with NBA teams.

If you were from the United States and mentioned Wuhan pneumonia and the Wuhan virus, your Chinese friends would blame you were “racist” and ask you to use the term “novel coronavirus” instead.

All of this are censorship from China.

Since 2000, with the assistance of Chinese internet giants such as Baidu, Google, Sina, Tencent, and network infrastructure providers, the CCP has created a comprehensive Great Firewall (GFW) through countless propaganda directives, blocking directives, website blacklists, and IP blacklists, combined with hardware and administrative processes to create a environment like that of the movie Truman’s World, where the person inside the GFW thinks he sees the whole world, but he does not know that world is a world carefully designed for him.

In 2019, TikTok became the Chinese company with the ability to reach more than 100 million youth in the U.S.  U.S. Senators asked the National Intelligence Agency to investigate TikTok. TikTok follows the instructions of the CCP to censor content, and the CCP influences the ideology of the younger generation in the United States. If TikTok makes American youth yearn for a socialist state, admire authority, idolize dictators, be hostile to liberalism, and have pride in their skin color, it will affect U.S. national security. Censorship from the CCP can influence social cognition,  academia, policy, elections, and even destroy the existing social order in the United States.

In 2021, Tesla CEO Elon Musk spoke about China in an interview, saying he had a “positive experience” talking with Chinese government officials during his visit to China and praising the Chinese government for caring about the well-being of its people, perhaps more than the U.S. government. Musk, as a business superstar, was treated decently by the Chinese government and give a positive opinion of the Chinese government. The story like the Potemkin’s village in Russian history, his perception was deceived by the censored propaganda content too.

The story of Potemkin’s village is that General Potemkin used mobile homes to deceive the Catherine the Great  in order to convince her that his territory was very rich on the riverbank where she was inspecting. Not showing the real riverbank was “censorship”, showing the reassembled house was “propaganda”, and the empress’s perception was “shaped”.

#Why does censorship work? 

How is cognition formed? Humans do not have free will. All human cognition is acquired through learning.

Humans are higher animals with the intelligence, and the intelligence is positively correlated with age. Positive correlation means that when one variable increases or decreases, the other variable also increases or decreases. For example, a 5-year-old child will have a weaker judgment than a 10-year-old child.

intelligence is also positively correlated with happiness. Analysis of Cognitive Ease suggests that by delivering information in a firm, joyful tone and by repeating it over and over again, humans become proficient at completing the conditioning reflex and the learning process of pleasure.

intelligence is positively correlated with the number of statistical samples. One person who lives a solitary life in isolation and another who is contact to more people, reads more books and news, and learns more about possibilities must have different judgmental abilities.

Intelligence is also related to the direction of attention. Each person’s career direction is not exactly the same, and the ability to make judgments in different fields will also be different. For example, architects know more about how to prevent buildings from being destroyed by accidents than political scientists.

In short, intelligence is related to “learned possibilities. Those who have not learned about the possibility of another event will not be able to response to an accident more quickly, and will thus show a slower ability to judge.

Learning is about learning more about possibilities, and censorship is about intervening in the learning process, controlling the flow of information you receive and shaping your perceptions through both “censorship” and “propaganda” . A lie repeated a thousand times can become the truth.

# What is the goal of the CCP’s censorship?

The CCP controls all media, and censorship is introduced to shape a submissive population and to maintain dominance.

The CCP destroyed its own economy during its first three decades in power until it declared reform and opening up in the late 1970s and began to accept the olive branch from the United States, receiving assistance from the international community led by the United States and benefiting from globalization. But for 40 years, the Communist Party only carried out economic reforms and refused to carry out political reforms, or in Hu Jintao’s words, “no Z-turn”, he means will not going to make major changes.

In the Xi Jinping era, the Communist Party’s sense of crisis has intensified, so it has suppressed the space for civil society activities. It has reshaped the public opinion environment by cracking down on NGOs, Internet influencer, public intellectuals, and human rights lawyers, and by strengthening Internet censorship.

Internet opinion leaders have been confessed on television one after another, other opinion leaders and intellectuals have been silenced, students will report teachers with liberal-leaning statements, public figures will lose their jobs for statements that do not meet censorship standards, and Internet Influencer will be reported and criticized for political comment published during the Hu Jintao era.

Rational public discussion is no longer available, and the space for civil society resistance is increasingly compressed, while statist and nationalist sentiments are allowed to spread by Censorship System.

As a result, in mainstream social opinion, statism and nationalism became paramount, economic development became paramount, legal dignity is trampled on, and people’s basic human rights are trampled on; national leaders are worshipped and deified; the public cannot distinguish between the three concepts of party, government, and state; the government, police, and military are glorified; there is no opposition party; no distinction is made between military and party spending; the legitimacy of the CCP is glorified with economic development achievements; and even the origin of Wuhan pneumonia is denied.

Growing up in such an environment, Young people don’t know what humanitarian disasters were happening in Tibet, Xinjiang and Hong Kong. They lack understanding of human rights and respect for others. They believe that criticism of the CCP is “anti-China”, show strong nationalistic feelings and aggression when studying in Europe and the United States, accept the CCP’s claims of “Hong Kong thugs” and “Hong Kong seeking independence”, tear down the Lennon Wall, and actively defend the CCP’s narrative.

From others’ point of view, he was “brainwashed”, but from his own point of view, it was the firm beliefs of people he trusted that helped him to establish.

That is how censorship works.


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