The political culture that is China

News from the Middle Kingdom seems to be coming out systematically worse than what you might have been expecting, at least these days.  Here is an update on censorship and content control:

The platform has been designed with a built-in “Xi Study Points” system (学习积分系统) that allows users to accumulate points on the basis of habitual use of the platform, from reading and viewing of content to the posting of comments and other forms of engagement. It has been widely promoted by local governments and ministries and departments across China, and there have also been reports that some work units have ordered employees to attain specified point levels, with disciplinary measures to be imposed for those who fail to comply…

The app defines several periods of activity as “lively intervals,” or huoyue shiduan (活跃时段), during which users engaging with the platform can earn double points — 0.2 for each article or video, 2 points for a full 30 minutes of use, and so on. The intervals are Monday through Friday from 8:30 PM to 10 PM, and on Saturdays and Sundays from 9:30 AM to 10:30 AM, and 3:30 PM to 4:30 PM. The system, then, incentivises Party members, once home from the office and done with family dinner, to spend golden hours of otherwise discretionary personal time engaging with “Xi Jinping Thought.”

Interesting and frightening throughout, via Comrade Balding.


By George ! Orwell got it right.

By George ! Orwell got it right.

"We're at war with the most dangerous enemy that has ever faced mankind in its long climb from the swamp to the stars, and it's been said if we lose that war, and in so doing lose this way of freedom of ours, history will record with the greatest astonishment that those who had the most to lose did the least to prevent its happening. Well I think it's time we ask ourselves if we still know the freedoms that were intended for us by the Founding Fathers." -Ronald Reagan

With the exception that China isn't trying to remake the world according to its own ideology and the fact that China and the US are the worlds largest trading partners, you're spot on!

"China and the US are the worlds largest trading partner."

Exactly. Red China has developed a hari seldonian plan to use economics to subject America and subvert its democracy.

Why isn't there a federal investigation abut Red China's control in Hollywood? There was a time Americans cared about their freedoms and wouldn't allow a hostile power to control America's youth .

... it's getting to the point now where one just can't trust giant totalitarian governments anymore.

Luckily, in the U.S., the FCC would absolutely never censor/control the content of American radio and TV,

And when NetNeutrality powers are finally given to the FCC -- it will absolutely never interfere with internet content and distribution.

Nicely done.

Isn't it true that every social and political system establishes the bounds of the appropriately thinkable? Have you considered that you may be ensnared in the dominant cultural narrative and/or an unconscious anti-Chinese bias belief system if you highlight and take umbrage at this app and not, say, a similar one developed in Canada?

The penalties for exceeding those bounds probably differ somewhat between China and Canada.

The slug in the URL yo ugive begins with "creepy-canadian-app". So why is it bias to frowm China does a similar tihng?

Actually, anti-Chinese is where one thinks it's ok or at least rationalizes mind control over Chinese people. Believing that Chinese people deserve to live in freedom as much as anyone else is the opposite of anti-Chinese bias.

The Chinese system is still more punitive for not going along, but I do agree to some extent, that we're all converging on a soft form of technocratic coercion. The Chinese system feels more about maintaining generic government control along somewhat abstract ideological lines; the American version fuses tech overlordship with more fleeting culture war obsessions (trans rights) and so is subject to change, which reflects its democratic input to some degree, actually.

Western consumer brands use similar systems to teach retail employees and volunteer brand influencers the fine points of their products. Read product release news, watch videos, pass multiple choice tests. The rewards are certifications, schwag, and discounts on product.

I wonder if ‘Xi Jinping Thought’ goes better with beer.

I picture a series of one frame cartoons, all with Xi looking pensive and a thought bubble over his head with different musings in each frame.

Tech tyrannies translate to tech treadmills (cognitive and temporal): my gast is flabbered.

Odd coincidence: moments before seeing TC's post, I'd just listened again to Zappa/Mothers' "It Can't Happen Here".

In America, one spends one's personal discretionary time engaged with Netflix, social media, and porn. That's how social and political control are exerted over the populace. It's a more market based and effective solution than the top down, centralized communist method. On the other hand, its content is much more toxic and corrupting than the bureaucratic pablum of "Xi Jinping Thought".

Maybe it's the post-modern American equivalent of ancient Rome's bread and circuses.

We've identified the paid Chinese operative

The 50 Cent Party is notorious for infiltrating internet sites to subvert freedom.

Yes, he must be the paid Chinese operative, and you must be the butthurt porn addict.

All they need to do to show that they aren’t paid trolls is to write something like “Pooh Bear Xi should free Tibet and the Ughyers”.

Isn't that the premise of the Adam Curtis documentary "HyperNormalisation"?

It shouldn't take long for Chinese citizens to write programs that post comments and click articles automatically to accumulate points.

Some ingenious Chinese software developer will develop a bot to earn Chinese points, just like the Russian used bots retweet to get more likes.

Cultural Revolution 2.0
What most people don't get is that Xi is a real Marxist, that is, a true believer. Read Pierre Ryckmans (i.e. pen name Simon Leys) (or Geremie Barme his former student) : "Chinese Shadows" and " The Chairman's New Clothes: Mao and the Cultural Revolution". Incredibly, these books are out of print. No wonder people don't get what's happening.

I read that out to the guy sitting next to me, who said he thought it didn't sound as bad as having to learn about child molesting once a year, which training is compulsory at his child-free workplace.

Just shows we have our own mini Marxist wannabes running around making policy here as well.

“Xi Jinping Thought.”

It is in the grip and wrist. I have studied the dynamics of racket methods. If you hold the rack properly, then you get two axes of motion, the finger and wrist.

Its not just ping pong, a lot of this applies to tennis, especially the back hand. Two degrees of freedom, wrist and grip.

It is not about ping pong. It is about the thought of communist dictator Xi Jinping.

So what’s the over/ under now for when India becomes the world’s largest economy?

We should definitely continue allowing trade and migration to and from China as if they're just another country. No reason to suspect they are creating a unified nationalist empire with massive military potential and support from the overwhelming majority of the population there.

It may not change the thrust of the point, but “学习” here is being translated as 学 - study 习 - Xi [Jinping]. But the word “学习” itself is the more common verb for “to study”.

Perhaps it’s designed as a clever pun, but I’d be surprised if this is the most natural reading.

It's worth noting that the China Media Project is blocked on eduroam, the international roaming service for users in research and higher education. At least in Cambridge (UK).

Anyone who has had to sit through mandatory annual HR-mandated CYA training (sexual harassment, workplace values, etc) or has been under the thumb of metrics drawn up by clueless bean-counters knows that this app will be the end of the Xi Jinping regime. The intensity of hate generated by this app will be hard to contain. The more widespread its use, and the more is demanded of its users, the faster we'll see the back side of Winnie the Pooh.

Let's hope so. But Chinese politics has been notoriously hard to predict. We used to think that when PPP GDP passed USD$12,000 there would be serious democratization.

a Chinese form of "gamification"???

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