China social control

1. Why Chinese People Support Their Government ?

May 28, 2021, Ma Shikun from

Globally, Chinese are among the most optimistic about their government. The article identified four reasons for this: First, economically, China’s rapid growth is beyond dispute. The median age of both the Chinese and U.S. population is around 37. While young Americans have experienced war, economic crisis and stagnant incomes, the young people in China have largely lived in an era of growing wealth thanks to poverty elimination, and they are better off than their parents’ generation. Second, the “state decision-making” model wins the trust of the Chinese people. China’s success lies in the government’s ability to manage the micro economy. The world’s most populous country has built an extensive network of modern railways and roads in a span of 25 years, and a highly efficient digital infrastructure has been put in place. The third reason lies in China’s recent history. The Chinese people remember well the lessons of the “century of humiliation” suffered at the hands of invading imperialists and foreign forces, and they are keenly aware of the havoc wreaked by Western-style democracy in modern China. The last one is education. For more than 2,000 years, the Chinese nation has been infused with Confucianism, which argues that individuals should obey the state in the name of the common good. The Chinese stand ready to give up some level of individual freedom in the interest of collective prosperity. There are many other reasons, but according to experts the most important thing is that with fast economic development and growing national strength, the Chinese people have a general sense of gain, security, happiness and pride, which naturally translates into trust and support for the government.
4. They shall never be conscious
A man faces tanks during the Tiananmen Square demonstrations in 1989

“Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.” “…The real power. The power we have to fight to for night and day, is not power over things, but over men.” These sentences are taken from the classic dystopian novel 1984 authored by George Orwell in 1949. They show the importance of psychological control in establishing a complete hegemony over society. Surveillance appears to be an inherent attribute of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) behaviour.

Article 25 of the constitution provides publishers with a list of types of content that are strictly prohibited. They include ‘incitement to secession’, ‘sabotage of national solidarity’, ‘disclosure of state secrets’, ‘promotion of obscenity, superstition or violence’ and, ‘harm to social morality and excellent cultural tradition of the nation’. Article 8 categorises acts that are ‘manufacturing ethnic conflict and incitement to secession’ through ‘fabrication or distortion of facts’ or ‘publication or spreading of words or speeches’. It is not clearly mentioned as to exactly what writings will lead to sabotaging national solidarity or will lead to a revelation of the state’s secrets. Due to its vagueness, authorities can easily catch hold of the publisher at any point blaming him for violation of the rules. With the uncertain criteria of what opposes national security, one cannot think aloud on social media.

Such vague definitions make people shut down their thoughts even before they emerge.

By the end of 2012, came “Document No. 9,” another secret circular that identified seven crucial ideological dangers, including the promotion of Western constitutionalism, universal values, civil society, neoliberal economics, freedom of the press, historical nihilism, and challenging Socialism with Chinese characteristics. What’s important to note is, the “Internet” and “Academia” were asserted to be the vantage points of these ideological risks.

China is creating a digital illiberality with an emphasis on a rule-based internet. Xi Jinping’s emphasis on internet sovereignty shows an extensive usage of technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), and Big-data to control the behaviour of citizens.

2021 from: Observer Research Foundation

3. China Credit Social system
Social credit, by KEVIN HONG, 2019

China's social credit system has been compared to Black Mirror, Big Brother and every other dystopian future sci-fi writers can think up. The reality is more complicated — and in some ways, worse.

Brits are well accustomed to credit checks: data brokers such as Experian trace the timely manner in which we pay our debts, giving us a score that's used by lenders and mortgage providers.

China's social credit system expands that idea to all aspects of life, judging citizens' behaviour and trustworthiness. Caught jaywalking ("crossing a roadway that has traffic, other than at a suitable crossing point)", don't pay a court bill, play your music too loud on the train — you could lose certain rights, such as booking a flight or train ticket.

The target, eventually, is that the government system will be country wide, with businesses given a "unified social credit code" and citizens an identity number, all linked to permanent record.

One city, Rongcheng, gives all residents 1,000 points to start. Authorities make deductions for bad behaviour like traffic violations, and add points for good behaviour such as donating to charity.

Some people say that this system could help build alternative means of financial credit. For some specialists though, China’s social credit system is a state-driven program designed to do one thing, to uphold and expand the Chinese Communist Party’s power.

China's social credit scheme is developing, but it is only one part of the country's surveillance state. As well as tight controls on the web content which is available, through the country's national firewall, there is monitoring and censorship of social media.

Wired, NICOLE KOBIEBUSINESS07.06.2019 12:00 PM
Extra document. An impressive economic growth
Extra document: Uyghur repression in Xinjiang
Detainee in a Xinjiang Re-education Camp located in Lop County listening to "de-radicalization" talks

From an article titled "用情感敲开心灵大门 用说理舒缓群众情绪", published by the wechat MP platform account "Xinjiang Juridical Administration", via baidu baijiahao platform

2. New opportunities and challenges (part a)
Gilles Sabrié for the NY Times
If Li Qiucai is determined to get into a top college, his mother, Gong Wanping, may be even more so. She checked on him while he was studying during a lunch break.

To Ms. Gong, 51, who dropped out of school, the future of her son, Li Qiucai, 17, is paramount. If Qiucai does well on the college entrance exam, if he gets a spot at a top university, if he can achieve his dream of becoming a tech executive — then everything will change. “He is our way out of poverty,” she said. To achieve all this, Ms. Gong and millions of other Chinese like her have an unspoken bargain with the ruling Communist Party. The government promises a good life to anyone who works hard, even the children of peasants. In exchange, they stay out of politics, look away when protesters climb onto rooftops to denounce the forced demolition of their homes, and accept the propaganda posters plastered across the city. Ms. Gong is proud of China’s economic success and wants a piece of it. Politics, she said, doesn’t matter in her life. “I don’t care about the leaders,” she said, “and the leaders don’t care about me.”

NY Times, By AMY QIN and JAVIER C. HERNÁNDEZ NOV. 25, 2018
2. New opportunities and challenges (part b)
Gilles Sabriée for the NY Times
"Students read aloud from textbooks so they can memorize them. That’s just a warm-up before the start of class."

Since Qiucai began attending the school two years ago, his life has been a blur of late-night cram sessions, practice tests and mastering the art of finishing geometry problems while slurping noodles. He starts each day by running around a racetrack chanting, “The heavens reward industrious people!” He attends classes until almost 10 p.m., with only a short break on Sundays, and lives nearby in a $32-a-month apartment with his mother, who cooks and cleans so that he can study full time. All of it is pointed toward next June, when Qiucai will be one of nine million students taking a test that is at the core of China’s high-stakes meritocracy — those who perform best get a ticket to the Chinese dream.

Perhaps nothing is more linked to social mobility in China than education, especially the college entrance exam, known as the gaokao.

Yet if the gaokao is a symbol of opportunity, it is also a tool of social control.

“It allows the government to say: ‘If you are not successful, you can only blame yourself. You did not work hard enough,’” said Yong Zhao, an education professor at the University of Kansas. “That is a very powerful way of governing.”

NY Times, by AMY QIN and JAVIER C. HERNÁNDEZ NOV. 25, 2018

Extra document: Honk Kong
Repression in Honk Kong, July 2020