China issues rallying cry for new internet culture war against US

22 May 2015

Sparking images of China’s brutal Cultural Revolution during the 1960s, a Chinese military newspaper has called on its citizens to engage in an ideological war online with the US and the west to limit western thoughts spreading to the country.

While the online engagements between the west and China are well documented, the mouthpiece of the Chinese military is now boldly saying that western thoughts and ideals online are something that needs to be fought against to prevent them spreading to the Chinese population with the help of an ‘internet culture war’.

According to the English version of the People’s Liberation Army Daily, an editorial within the paper has said that the internet “has grown into an ideological battlefield, and whoever controls the tool will win the war”.

The article has since been republished on the China Communist Party official magazine for the Chinese Communist Party (and translated by Ars Technica) and shows a clear worry by those in authority in China that the internet is being used as a weapon to guide the Chinese public’s opinion.

Defending the “online Great Wall”

“In the eyes of Western anti-China forces, the internet is undoubtedly intended to guide public opinion in China,” the piece said, with the West presenting itself as “a cure-all recipe for salvation” and presenting the ideas of the Western world as the leading civilised “universal values”.

It even goes as far as to accuse the West and its governments of using the internet and social media to overthrow the one-party state that has ruled China since 1949: “Their fundamental objective is to confuse us with ‘universal values’, disturb us with ‘constitutional democracy’, and eventually overthrow our country through ‘colour revolution’.”

To combat this, the author of the piece said that fire must be fought with fire and that China must develop an army of “seed-planters and propaganda teams” to defend the “online Great Wall”.

Retro Communist poster image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic