• Sat
  • Sep 20, 2014
  • Updated: 8:57am

Critics of 'rumour' crackdown point to history, as police voice dissent online

Cadres compared to despotic, overthrown king; police and court voice dissent online

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 03 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 03 September, 2013, 4:42am

Critics of Beijing's crackdown on "rumours" have resorted to citing ancient writings to voice their opposition to the campaign in recent months.

Meanwhile police in Guangzhou warned against the crackdown becoming a "nightmare" in a microblog post that was then deleted.

Song Huichang , a professor at the Communist Party's Central Party School in Beijing, compared "some current leading cadres" with King Li of the ancient Zhou dynasty, in an article published in the party school's paper Study Times yesterday.

King Li was a despotic ruler of the central Chinese kingdom that preceded the Chinese empire. A decadent tyrant, King Li suppressed opposing opinions until a revolt of farmers and soldiers ended his rule and sent him into exile.

"No matter what era, do not think that by holding onto power, one can do whatever one likes and gag the people's voices," the 74-year-old scholar wrote. "Of course, this can work for some time, but in the end [such rulers] will be ousted by the people.

"There are now some leading cadres with confused thoughts, their mindsets are even more backward than those of those wise feudal lords. They thoroughly believe in the following creed: if you have power, you have everything, whoever holds onto power, can decide everything."

Song is not the only one speaking out against the detentions and sweeping restrictions on information sharing linked to the anti-rumour campaign.

Rumours should be fought according to the law, and the campaign should not be magnified or it could turn into a nightmare, the official Guangzhou police weibo account wrote on Sunday. The Guangdong provincial Political and Legal Affairs Commission shared the post, as did more than 10,000 internet users before it was deleted.

The Guangdong High Court posted a translation from classical Chinese of an ancient tale alluded to in the deleted Guangzhou police post.

It recounted the tale of Zichan, a fifth-century BC philosopher who opposed the destruction of a building where people would gather to discuss politics, arguing that knowing the population's opinions was vital to ruling them.

The High Court's post was shared 16,000 times within 12 hours of being posted.

Local governments are trying to outdo each other as if taking part in a "rumour-monger arresting competition", the People's Daily public opinion monitoring office noted in a weibo post on Friday.

The crackdown has been widely interpreted as an attempt to silence prominent liberal voices, especially after popular internet commentator Charles Xue was detained on charges of soliciting prostitutes last month.



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