With the Chinese authorities claiming a report about contaminated food on Beijing TV was fake when in fact it may well be true – imagine the thought of steamed buns made with cardboard instead of pork – is the Chinese government realising the pointlessness of web censorship?
The internet and mobile phones have undermined attempts by China’s secretive rulers to control the news, a senior Communist party official admitted today.
He accused local governments of being “too naive” by continuing to suppress damaging information about corruption or about disasters, and urged party members to be more open with members of the public.
Wang Guoqing, a vice minister with the cabinet’s information office said: “It has been repeatedly proved that information blocking is like walking into a dead end.”
He said governments used to believe that they could muffle 90 per cent of all bad news. But this was no longer the case. In the internet age, he said, the party had to become adept at managing and controlling information, rather than covering it up.
It’s a courageous statement in a country where secrecy, censorship and filtering are daily occurrences.