When the human representative of all that is hidden in China, the supposed father of the country's Internet filtering complex, Fang Binxing, waltzed onto China's largest microblog service provider last month, he got a mouthful and some of rage that apparently boils beneath what Chengdu-based writer Ran Yunfei suggests is a carefully maintained illusion of social harmony, now perpetuated, in large part, by the staff at Sina Weibo themselves, out to make a profit.
Beyond merely staying within the boundaries of government-sanctioned speech, does Ran make the case [zh] that microblogs also serve to curate an alternate version of what China looks like today, or do the many examples linked to above suggest that there isn't much malfeasance which can now take place without the microbloggers finding out?
They took a heap of tabloid celebrities they approve of, “mouthpieces” from state monopoly media, and a small number of officials they actually can't stand, and invited them all to join up with the prestige of VIP status; at Weibo management's doing, their follower counts blasted skyward, playing to these people's sense of vanity, establishing Sina Weibo as a popular “new media” at the same time that it shamelessly vaunted its own ability to completely pirate off Twitter.
There is the occasional voice that does get through, like Xiao Han on his Weibo, which is now on its umpteenth stage of “reincarnation”. In brief, Sina Weibo's stringent censorship system leaves it running wrapped firmly in a “harmonious” climate.
But, it seems Sina Weibo and Fang Binxing himself have been betrayed by their own skill when it comes to shielding the truth such that they figure that even the bones of Chinese people are inherently worthless, and people are only apt to function when enslaved. And not just that, but they even thought that not only are people not opposed to people like Fang Binxing shielding the truth and filtering out much information which is in their own interest, but that they would even thank him for doing it so well, for having us truly live in such a rarely seen “gilded age“, in a “harmonious society” which has no equal on this earth.
Fortunately, a growing number of the Chinese public are no longer eating up the Communist Party's fantastic propaganda, and are becoming increasingly aware of the circumstances which so deeply enslave them. Today, with the conflicts of interest and values between officials and citizens increasingly severe, inviting Fang Binxing to Weibo as something to “show off” was definitely a celebrity effect failure for Sina.
With Fang Binxing having proposed real-name registration for the Internet and a whitelist for mobile phones, and with his “grand achievements” as the father of China's Internet prison, he has done great harm to the public's right to know and many other similar rights, which, no matter how you look at them, are not excessive. According to reports from Radio Free Asia, Singpore's United Morning Paper and Deutsche Welle, within two hours of Fang Binxing opening his Weibo account, he encountered everything from vituperative to questioning, derision and ridicule to the point of being under “siege”, with much of this including netizens’ resentment over Fang Binxing's role in assisting the government do harm to public interests.
Those doing the most evil, those with the most bodyguards around them, screaming “serve the people” day in and out, are actually the people most afraid of the public. With Fang Binxing able to do as much evil as he pleases, who's to say that he won't keep getting promoted to the point where he too can have as many bodyguards and escorts as he pleases? I don't approve of making violent threats against Fang Binxing, but as the father of China's Internet prison, he has done a great amount of harm to many of China's netizens. This is an irrefutable fact. The damage has been done, but to think that you can completely escape any punishment you have coming is, I'm afraid, not that easy. In fact, it's just a matter of time.