Chinese media regulators clamp down on tech-media companies for allowing undesirable (vulgar, satirical) content. Toutiao boss Zhang Yiming responds with what would until recently have seemed a shockingly excessive pre-emptive kowtow and self-criticism.
His statement – here in its full hideousness – apologizes for ‘a weak [understanding of] the four consciousnesses’ and failure to respect ‘socialist core values’, and promises to introduce ‘correct values’. (See CMP link for exciting details of the Four Consciousnesses®.) Zhang concludes by saying: ‘We earnestly await help from various parts of society in supervising our rectification’.
Wouldn’t you? This is a time when Mainland tycoons are being rectified through official shakedowns and even abduction, and enemies of the state are routinely forced to make televised confessions.
In Hong Kong, when they’re not ranting about a lawmaker outraging the national flag, the local Red Guards are calling for academic Benny Tai’s blood. The South China Morning Post gives top spot on its letters page today to pro-Beijing legislator Holden Chow insisting that Tai is abusing freedom of speech and will engender hatred and violence, so HK University must fire him. (To add to the ambience, the SCMP online inserts a photo of a sinister hooded marauding arsonist-rioter – roughly Benny’s height – emerging from the darkness to crush babies to death with bricks.)
The United Front-contrived mob-ambush of Benny ‘threat to the nation’ Tai, with Chief Executive Carrie Lam obediently joining in, may look bizarre or even ridiculous. But to the Communist Party officials behind the scenes, it is intended to serve as a warning to everyone else. The best we can do while we’re waiting for TVB and RTHK to install cages and shackles in their studios.
Scholars and historians rush to explain that we are not seeing a re-run of the Cultural Revolution in all this, on account of Xi-not-being-Mao and so on. They sound perfectly reasonable. So you can read this hilarious SCMP op-ed piece for the laughs.