Web seen as tool to 'mobilise the people in a time of war'

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 23 November, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 23 November, 2004, 12:00am

Beijing was exploring the use of technologies such as the internet to mobilise the population in times of war, according to an official army publication.

A commentary carried by the National Defence Daily yesterday called for the use of new methods to mobilise public support in times of military conflict.

It said the central government should resort to all communications and telecommunications networks at its disposal, including the internet, radio broadcasts, television and the press, to promote the concepts of 'resisting invasion' and protecting sovereign and territorial integrity to the public to 'provide inexhaustible political capital for winning future wars'.

It should instil a sense of patriotism and an awareness of the need to defend the country, even in peacetime. This would bring 'the thoughts of the people in line with the will of the country' during a war, it said.

It is a rare for the military to elaborate on the sensitive subject of political mobilisation.

A high-powered command organisation specialised in public mobilisation for wars should be set up, the commentary said, and a professional team should be formed to ensure the government's capability to mobilise the public to support the mainland's cause for wars.

It said the organisation should involve government and military leaders, as well as local party apparatus.

The commentary said innovative ways of mobilising the public were needed because people's values and perceptions were becoming more diverse.

It said the new methods should take into consideration the high mobility of the 'targets of mobilisation' and 'the growing awareness of democracy' in society.

The government should issue regulations and laws to standardise procedures for public mobilisation as the previous practice of relying on ad hoc orders would no longer work, it said.

Research into the public's psychological state should be stepped up and national defence education strengthened 'so that the will of the people can stand the trials of wars and other risks', it added.