Category Archives: Social Control

Chinese press stays on message in Yunnan quake coverage

Line 21 Project coordinator, Nicholas Dynon, recently provided insights to Agence France-Presse (AFP) on the Chinese media’s coverage of the devastating earthquake that shook Yunnan province earlier this month.

The example set by the People’s Daily, commented Dynon, shows us that Chinese media coverage of the quake has followed a thematic pattern we would expect of disaster reportage out of China.

“The state-sponsored press has adhered largely to officially sanctioned themes, including the responsiveness of the central government and military, swiftness and professionalism of rescue and recovery efforts, accounts of death and destruction, stories of survival, and solidarity in grief”, he stated. “These themes reinforce the key messages that authorities have reacted appropriately and that the nation is united in its support.”

The report, carried by Yahoo!7, can be read here

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Civilisation-State: Modernising the Past to Civilise the Future in Jiang Zemin’s China

This research article by Nicholas Dynon in this April’s issue of the peer-reviewed China: an International Journal analyses the largely overlooked role of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in the promotion of “socialist spiritual civilisation” in contemporising the exemplary role of the Chinese state and in informing the state’s efforts to rehabilitate China’s cultural traditions.

Drawing material from handbooks, newspaper articles and posters published between 1996 and 2002, it may be argued that the ability of the Party to reclaim the achievement of “civilisation” as an ultimate goal in Chinese history has a direct impact on its continuing pursuit to underwrite its long-term legitimacy. The article departs from the existing scholarship to locate the CPC’s civilising discourses within an historical context that predates the apotheosis of the CPC itself and links them to the sacred mission of maintaining the Chinese civilisation-state.

Available here at Project Muse

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[Creating a civilised community – propaganda poster in a residential compound in Shawo, Beijing]

The Language of Terrorism in China: Balancing Foreign and Domestic Policy Imperatives

The latest article by Nicholas Dynon for the Jamestown Foundation’s China Brief…

In late October, central Beijing tasted terror when a flaming SUV rammed a crowd of tourists at the city’s iconic Tiananmen gate, killing the three alleged perpetrators and two bystanders. Authorities were quick to label the attack an act of jihadist terror.

The ensuing media commentary and controversy prompted questions around how terrorism is defined—and how terror incidents are framed—by Chinese authorities. Were the perpetrators of the attack radicalized Uighur Islamist insurgents or were they just normal folk marginalized and driven to extreme measures by an arbitrary and belligerent state?

Ultimately, the Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP), an extremist group with purported links to al-Qaeda, praised the attack in a speech given by its leader posted online—a move that seemingly vindicated official finger pointing. While this perpetuates Beijing’s narrative of China as victim of international terrorism, it takes the focus away from a more inconvenient truth. Self-immolation, bombings and other indiscriminate attacks have abounded in China in recent years, and most have been carried out by citizens with no known terrorist, separatist or ethnic minority links. Yet as frequent as these attacks are, the use of “terrorism” to describe them in official media reportage has been noticeably absent. Read more

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[Propaganda feature in Beijing Airport’s Terminal 3, where frustrated petitioner, Ji Zhongxing, detonated a homemade bomb last July]

 

China Attacks: Not the Usual Suspects

English: The Tiananmen Gate in Beijing on Nati...

The Tiananmen Gate in Beijing on National Day. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When a blazing SUV rammed traffic cordons and ran over sightseers at the Tiananmen Gate in Beijing two weeks ago, killing five and injuring 40, media outlets reached for their usual suspects. Both Chinese and international commentators were quick to frame the suicide attack on the symbolic epicenter of China within the context of long-running ethnic tensions in the country’s peripheral Xinjiang region.

Chinese state-controlled media reported the incident as an act of terrorism, claiming that the East Turkistan Independence Movement (ETIM) – a group Beijing lists as an international terrorist organization – was behind the attack. Despite blaming ETIM for the incident, China’s top security official, Meng Jianzhu offered no details of the allegations against the group.

Fast-forward one week, and the November 6 bombing of Communist Party headquarters in the Shanxi province capital of Taiyuan has further heightened sensitivities just days out from the Party’s third plenum in Beijing. With no hint of jihadist involvement for authorities to point the finger at, this attack appears to be the latest in a spate of terror attacks emanating from well within China’s heartlands and far from its restive borders…

Read more of this article by Nicholas Dynon at The Diplomat website.

Tensions rise over Xinjiang after attack near Beijing’s Forbidden City

English: The Tiananmen gate house in Beijing, ...

The Tiananmen gate house in Beijing, China. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Line 21 Coordinator Nicholas Dynon recently fielded questions from Agence France-Presse (AFP) in relation to this week’s Tiananmen jeep incident in Beijing. This article appears today in The Australian newspaper online:

 

FESTERING discontent with China’s governance of Xinjiang is on the rise and Beijing is intent on clamping down, analysts say, in a vicious cycle that will only spin faster after this week’s fatal attack in Tiananmen Square.

Authorities say attacker Usmen Hasan and his wife and mother were carrying jihadist banners and machetes in the vehicle that they crashed into crowds outside the Forbidden City on Monday, before setting it alight and dying in the blaze… read more

 

Soft Power Meets Social Management: New Tourism Law to Punish Unruly Travelers Overseas

The latest article by Nicholas Dynon featured in today’s Jamestown Foundation China Brief…

[“Ding Jinhao was here”]

Passed last April, the new China Tourism Law came into effect on October 1, in time for this year’s Chinese National Day “golden week” holiday. While the main thrust of the legislation is greater regulation of the domestic and outbound tourism industry and squeezing out unscrupulous operators, the law breaks new ground by legislating requirements for civilized tourist behavior.

Following a long run of bad international press about poorly behaved Chinese tourists, the new law comes as a decisive move by Beijing to reign in its unruly globetrotting citizens. It also serves as implied official acknowledgement that the negative press has hurt China’s “soft power” efforts to bolster its reputation among the world’s publics.

Furthermore, the law includes an ambitious effort to extend China’s social control strategies beyond its borders, providing a legal basis for Beijing to manage its citizens abroad just as does at home. Failure to tow the official line overseas can now land a tourist in hot water back home… read more