China takes a lot of flak in the West for their internet censorship program. Many popular international social networks, mostly US based companies, are blocked. And China is ruthless in censoring topics that might damage the legitimacy of the ruling regime.
But looking at the world from the Chinese perspective, and you have to admit that the strategy of the Chinese government is savvy and effective. It does not see Western companies like Facebook and Google as neutral entertainment services, but rather as information organs that can spread Western ideas. “Chinese Democracy” has no appeal to CCP leaders. They don’t relish a future where the politics of China is controlled by parties influenced and funded covertly by the US. Recent revelations of the full scope of NSA wiretapping capabilities, and the complicity of private US companies in US government spying, only add to the apparent wisdom of the ChiComs.
China is not the first regime to recognize the danger of Western information diplomacy and has taken steps to preserve their independence. But they are the country that pulls it off best. China has the brainpower and resources to make high-quality copies of Western services that it bans from its borders. There is no embarrassing Red Star OS here. Weibo, for example, is a popular service with 500 million users similar to a combination of Twitter and Facebook. But unlike Twitter and Facebook, which ultimately answer to Western governments, Weibo answers to the Chinese government on issues of censorship or access to user data. In America, social networks sometimes block users and messages who violate the standards of Political Correctness – the popular version of the Marxist religion of the ruling class. In China, social networks also block users and messages that threaten the ruling regime.
China operates the largest political sphere free from US/Cathedral influence. Recognizing the danger of Western information organs is one of the important ways it maintains its independence. It also fiercely guards its territory, ignoring Western liberals who call for independence for Tibet, greater democracy in the Chinese mainland, or the relinquishment of its claims to disputed territory – as if capitulating to enemies of the state were the best way to maintain their sovereignty. The Chinese government may have other problems, but it is not run by fools.
If there is a chink in the armor of the Chinese regime, it is probably their tolerance of religion. Christianity, in particular, is a gateway drug to Western liberalism. Wikipedia references sources putting the number of Christians at about 84 million.
I admire the savviness of the Chinese leadership required to maintain true independence from the long arm of Western influence. I am happy that some degree of political and ideological competition will remain in the world. That said, China is not utopia. It is only proof that we don’t yet live under a one-world shadow government.