China increases censorship amidst economic troubles

China increases censorship amidst economic troubles

On Tuesday August 18, 2015, the Chinese police announced that they had arrested 15,000 people for internet crime, under a programme to keep the Internet ‘clean,’ writes Prince Michael of Liechtenstein.

GIS warned, in the report on July 23, 2015, ‘China's new normal showing first signs of strain,’ that China is likely to crack down stronger on freedom of expression on the Internet in the future.

Why would the Chinese regime do this? The pretext of the arrest programme is to protect the public from bad influences called ‘illegal and harmful information’ which are now placed alongside other vices such as pornography and gambling.

As GIS reported, the only thing that would legitimise the Chinese government would be a constant improvement of their economy, rising living standards and increased purchasing power of the overall population. Full employment is also crucial.

However, the Chinese engine is slowing down and the former lofty expectations are far from guaranteed now. The already high number of riots taking place, due to social problems, is increasing.

This is not only worrying for China's social system and its economy. As China is also one of the drivers of worldwide growth, its economic problems become a global concern.

This is one side. However, very worrying is the following, we know that regimes of major powers, which become questioned internally, look for foreign policy success by becoming more aggressive.

China already has enormous tensions on most of its borders. The Chinese regime is also compelled - by its doctrine - to maintain its claims against its neighbours in the South China Sea, as well as against Japan in the north. There is also the fear of containment, economic and military, by the United States.

A troubled administration could escalate these conflicts with incalculable military consequences, including setting off a chain reaction of events leading to war.

Increasing the number of regulations and tightening censorship is the typical reaction of a regime on the ropes. In China’s case, this has consequences not only for the liberty of its citizens, but also for the safety of the world at large.

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