Shortly after issuing a directive noted further down in this post to oppress “unsanctioned voices and news reports” on the Tianjin’s toxic chemical blasts, China’s internet and propaganda team began deleting accounts starting with accounts on Weibo (China’s twitter) and WeChat[i].
The Cyberspace Administration of China—the main arbiter of internet discourse, with the unfortunate acronym CAC—announced (link in Chinese) that 18 news sites would be ‘shut down indefinitely’ while another 32 would be suspended temporarily.
In its announcement, CAC mentioned several “rumors” these sites are meant to have spread….
Zero Hedge reports that the Cyberspace Administration of China has in reality shut down more than 400 Weibo and WeChat accounts.
While perusing and translating both Weibo posts under hashtags 天津 (Tianjin) and 天津爆炸 (Tianjin Binai), the first reports to appear contained “rumors” as alleged by the Cyberspace Administration of China. HOWEVER, even under Google Translate, it was obvious that the content of the disinformation was in all likelihood planted by Chinese officials seeking to rationalize censorship.
END OF SIDEBAR
Some of the recent posts that have been deleted now appear on Freeweibo.com, a site that captures deleted Weibo posts.
One user wrote those in charge have the responsibility to conduct a thorough investigation into the cause of the explosions, and additional third party experts should be brought in or the firefighters would have died in vain. He also remarked on the apparent ‘calmness’ of the Tianjin authorities at the press conference amid the drama unfolding outside the room….
Below is a screenshot of one of the sites removed followed by a screenshot of the page translated by Google. Clearly, there is a reason that China needs to keep its people and the world in the dark. The post reveals just how ill prepared these young firefighters were to handle a tragedy of this magnitude.
GOOGLE PAGE TRANSLATION:
China Issues Directive to Control First Hand Reports, Silence Growing Concerns about Safety, Air and Water Quality
Determined to control the message, within a day of the multiple blasts that rocked the city of Tianjin, the Chinese government (Communist Party) issued a directive (below) to its media[iii].
Communist Party mouthpiece Global Times has published an op-ed demanding that media ‘rein in carping queries in wake of blasts’.
The paper tells readers that it is not ‘noble or morally correct to criticise’ rescue efforts. Reports, they write, ‘should be based on information offered by the official authorities’ and ‘indiscriminate queries should be restrained’….
“‘rein in carping queries in wake of blasts”, “indiscriminate queries should be restrained” are dog whistles for control the message.
Source:Global Times Published: 2015-8-14 0:38:01
The massive blasts in Tianjin’s Binhai New Area have rocked Chinese society. While Tianjin is still making full efforts in the rescue operation, a huge discussion is unfolding in the public opinion sphere over the disaster.
All the voices are mixed together. These include praise for the heroic firefighters, some of whom gave their lives, and the volunteers, but there are also sarcasm and queries over inadequate rescue efforts. Thanks to the Internet, the latter kind of voice seems to have captured more attention.
Under huge pressure, the city has made it through the first day after the catastrophe.
Tianjin municipal government ought to undertake the responsibility. After such a major calamity with heavy casualties, it is natural to hear not only sympathy and support for the city, but also certain complaints over inescapable human errors. Especially in the Internet era, the rescue teams often need to conduct their work among severe judgments.
However, the reality is there: is it noble or morally correct to criticize the rescue teams in the first place? Not necessarily.
Whenever a disaster occurs, delinquent people will be behind it. Investigations and punishments after the incident have already become an indispensable part of each case.
Chinese President Xi Jinping issued an order on Thursday, demanding to find the cause of the accident and punish those who were involved in any wrongdoings.
Yet Thursday was only day one after the explosion. Some of the fires are still smoldering. Treating the wounded should be the priority. It can be imagined how urgent it was in terms of the rescue operation, and how much was needed for these united and concerted efforts. At this point, is it really good timing to constantly question the rescuers?
[Question the rescuers or the Chinese government and their coverups????]
This is the time when the media should provide as many facts to the public as possible. These messages should be based on information offered by the official authorities, and with independent discoveries from the media. If some reporters or opinion leaders stormed into questioning the rescue operation, they should then seriously reflect on their constructiveness. These questions have led to mistrust from the public toward the rescue efforts, just when the rescuers needed encouragement and support the most.
[Levy allegations that so-called dissenters are attacking the integrity of responders. Silence or suffer the consequences.]
Quite a few incredulities were directed against the enormous sacrifices of firefighters on Thursday.
Some deem the rescue mission unprofessional and a mistake under the circumstances. But people who make such assertions are the ones that are really unprofessional.
The cruel reality has taught everyone a hard lesson. There is no need for us to keep pointing fingers at wrongdoings from kilometers away.
In a world in which things can always be hushed up, always be hidden, it is courageous for people to toss out questions.
But in a disaster that is in the media spotlight, those indiscriminate queries should be restrained. More time is needed for the rescue effort.
[Control the media, the message, silence and punish those who speak out. Keep the Chinese people in the dark by any means necessary.] Source: China Digital Times
As reported by the Hong Kong Free Press, while “’The world is watching Tianjin, Tianjin is watching Korean soaps’ – Hong Kong’s Ming Pao newspaper this morning lambastes local station Tianjin Television’s decision to run Korean soap operas and other light entertainment instead of reporting on city’s disaster….”
Additional directives issued by the Chinese government as also reported by Hong Kong Free Press’ Live Blog:
Tianjin Propaganda Department: Editors and reporters for city TV stations, radio stations, newspapers, and new media work units, including announcers and anchors, must absolutely not privately post to Weibo or WeChat friend circles about the explosions.
Internet Propaganda Office of [Province Withheld: Top Priority—Remove news and images from the explosions in Tianjin’s Tanggu Open Economic Zone from headlines and recommendations. Tidy up posts. Do not post articles that are not from Xinhua. If such articles have already been posted, please push them to the back of the stage. (August 13, 2015)…
[i] Unsanctioned reports have the dead at more than 1400 and 700 missing. The Chinese government propaganda site, the Global Times has listed the number of casualties at 114, 57 missing, including 52 firefighters and 5 policemen while at the same time playing down concerns about air and water.
[ii] It should be noted that many of those being silenced are firefighters, responders and their families, many grieving the loss of their children who were ill prepared to handle a chemical blast.
[iii] While reading the directive, I could not help but notice eery similarities between the Chinese’s messaging and need to control the message and that of the present U. S. administration but that is another post. You know, look over here, do not look over there because there is no there there (for starters).