A new website that vilifies Chinese political liberals, including 2010 Nobel Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, has caught the attention of the Chinese internet for its extreme views and presentation last week. The site is called Progressive Society and its anonymous creators describe themselves as patriots. Despite the fact the website contains numerous sensitive political keywords, web censors have allowed the site to remain online. This inevitably raises questions.
The website is divided into four main sections including “Hanging the Slaves of the West”, “Rotten Media”, “New Ideological Emancipation Movement” and “Soft Warfare”. The apparent objective is to present a counter-force to the liberal “traitors” of the People's Republic of China. “We don't believe our thoughts can change the world, but we see progressive efforts are growing and we want to position ourselves against such forces,” it says on the home page.
Slaves of the West
Most of the listed “Slaves of the West” are political liberals and human right activists. On the screen capture below you can see profile pictures of human rights lawyer, Teng Biao, citizen right activist Xu Zhiyong, political science scholar Qin Hui, prominent writer Yu Jie, and Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo.
There are four main themes on this page, namely:
- 1. Western Slave Hanger – a records of the backgrounds of so-called traitors and running dogs
2. Analyzing the Western Slaves – a collection of articles that analyze rhetoric of the so-called Western Slaves
3. Defending China – a collection of articles written by patriots and nationalists;
4. Combat Zone – a collection articles that combat against the so-called Slaves of the West.
The website has an exceptionally violent tone, but many of the terms used are ones that frequently appear in populist nationalist writing, for instance in books like China Can Say No and China is Unhappy.
On the homepage of the website there is a suggested reading list that includes links to nationalist websites and bloggers who are described as “new leftists”, “nationalists” and “pioneers of the new emancipation movement”.
- Wang Xiaodong （王小東）, flag holder of Chinese nationalists;
Song Qiang（宋強）, one of the writers of China is unhappy;
Song Xiaojun（宋曉軍）, a current affair and military critic;
Huang Jisu（黃紀蘇）, a cultural critic;
Han Deqiang（韓德強）, a critic of globalization and neo-liberalism.
Gan Yang（甘陽）, a prominent scholar based in Hong Kong;
Wang Shaoguang（王紹光）, a political science scholar and CCP think tank based in Hong Kong;
Wen Tiejun（溫鐵軍）, an expert on rural problems and reform.
The list also includes websites like state-run media, Global Times, new leftist journal Dushu（讀書） and Maoist website Utopia（烏有之鄉）.
New Ideological Emancipation Movement
The term “ideological emancipation” or “emancipation of thoughts” is historically and politically loaded. It has resurfaced many times in Chinese history, as far back as May 4th Movement, Mao Zedong's cleansing of opponents from within the Communist Party, and as recently as the Beijing Olympics in 2008 at the height of reignited nationalism. On the website, the “New Ideological Emancipation Movement” section has four main themes:
- 1. China Model 3.0 – a collection of articles that defend the Chinese system and run counter to neo-liberalism;
2. Combat against reversed racism – a collection of post-colonial critiques against discourses that criticize China through a Western lens;
3. Early 30-year history of New China – a review of the legacy of the PRC from 1949-1979 before the Economic Reform;
4. Pioneers of the New Ideological Emancipation Movement – a collection of articles and debates that contribute to the new ideological emancipation movement.
In the section, Rotten Media, the contents are categorized into six main themes, namely:
- 1. Peeling the skin of rotten media – a record of rotten media including paper media such as the Nanfang Daily Press Group, China Youth Daily and Economic Observer, and online media such as KDnet;
2. Rotten media people - a record of rotten journalists, columnists and opinion leaders. So far only Micheal Anti is listed;
3. Ugly Western Media – so far no western media has been listed;
4. News diagnosis – a collection of critiques against writings that are selective, twisted, against China's national interest and damaging to society;
5. Unveiling media myth – a critique of Western ideology on the role of the media and value such as free press;
6. Reconstruction of mainstream media with a China position – a collection of articles from nationalistic media outlets.
The website quickly caught the attention of micro-bloggers in Sina. Below is a selection of instant reactions in one of the discussion thread at Sina from November 26, 2010 (the page was removed 3-4 hours later after attracting more than 200 comments):
成尚枫格: 貌似文革？(11月25日 14:46)
爱迟到的蘑菇: 居然允许这种网站出现，是解除禁言了吗？还是只允许“极左”不允许“极右”？(11月25日 14:50)
我是niuhaoning: 准你南方系天天跳，不准极左网站扇你们耳光？搞笑。左右要平衡嘛，否则跷跷板怎么玩呢。如果跷跷板一头是空的，那另一头的肯定就屁股和大地亲密接触了，那也是很疼的。(11月25日 15:20)
穿拖鞋的啤酒猫: 越来越感觉中国才是新纳粹的沃土..(11月25日 17:13)
蛋蛋看世界: 转发此微博:看到了，内容充满暴力，前些天想骂，但觉得那是替他们推广，我们正在加速奔向朝鲜(11月25日 17:16)
老唐88: 我倒要看看真理部怎么对待这个网站，当然，也许真理部就是这个网站的后台呢。(11月25日 19:27)
camphorbear: 恩，赞同这个网站的存在，但是希望他们能够把网站做得不这么血腥，不这么暴力。极左也好，极右也好，都可以心平气和地表达你的观点呀，搞成这样少儿不宜，不知道会不会被当作暴力网站屏蔽。(11月25日 23:39)
宏之叙事: 不必激动，不必气愤。check & balance 左右制衡,方才和谐，现在这种制衡还处在初级阶段，充满了鄙视、谩骂，彼此都想灭了对方。希望今后能发展为良性互动，那才宪政可期。(今天 11:13)
whvictoria: 日本有阴魂不散的右翼分子、德国有新纳粹、我们有毛左－－与国际接轨了。(今天 11:25)
左岸文化网盘索: 这么干其实是在给左派抹黑。网站活不了多久(今天 11:32)
断桥不度: 很有趣的网站。我的担心是，这些文章的作者是一群什么样的人？70后？80后？90后？如果是，那太可怕了，这证明主导这个国家的仍是文革思想。(今天 12:01)
爱迟到的蘑菇: How can such a website exist? Have we lifted our censorship? Or do we only allow the extreme left to appear while we censor out all the extreme right? ( Nov 25 14:50)
我是niuhaoning: How come you allow the Nanfang Daily Press Group jumping everyday and forbid the extreme left to slap you on the face? This is funny. We need a balance between the left and the right or else how can we enjoy the game? If we only have one force in the balance while the other side is empty, the other end will hurt its bottom. (Nov 25 15:20)
穿拖鞋的啤酒猫: I have a feeling that China is becoming a breeding ground for neo-fascism…(Nov 25 17:13)
蛋蛋看世界: Retweet this microblog: I have read it. It is full of violence. I wanted to curse at it a few days ago, but worried that I would help them to promote the website. It seems that we are moving rapidly towards North Korea. ( Nov 25 17:16)
老唐88: I want to see how the propaganda department deals with this website. Of course, it is also possible that the department is behind the scenes。(Nov 25 19:27)
camphorbear: I agree that the such a website should have a space to exist. However, I wish they could be less bloody and less violent. You can express your idea peacefully no matter whether you are an on the extreme right or the extreme left. Now it is totally not suitable for children, it can be blocked because of the violent messages. (Nov 25 23:39)
宏之叙事: Don't be agitated and angry. Check and balance is necessary for a harmonious society. Now it is in the preliminary stage, the content is full of resentment and hate as if they want to eliminate each others. I hope in the future, there will be more constructive interaction so as to push forward the constitutional changes. (Nov 26 11:13)
whvictoria: Japan has ghost-like right wingers, Germany has neo-Nazis, and we have Maoist leftists — we really are merging with the international world. (Nov 26 11:25)
左岸文化网盘索: The website actually makes the leftists look very ugly. I don't think the website will survive for long. (Nov 26 11:32)
断桥不度: This is an interesting website. I worry who are the writers behind this? Were they born in the 70s? post 80s? post 90s? If so, it is very terrible. It shows that the ideology of the cultural revolution still play a dominant role in this country. (Nov 26 12:01)