April 19, 2024
China is reportedly scrubbing negative coverage of its economy from the internet

  • The New York Times reported that China is erasing negative economic coverage of the country.
  • According to the NYT, China’s Ministry of State Security cautioned citizens not to be influenced by “false narratives” about the economy.
  • Beijing is grappling with a struggling property sector, deflation and a flight from global investors.

Reports this week in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal detailed efforts by Chinese officials to curb the internet’s negative impact on the state of its economy.

According to the NYT, the Ministry of State Security said on its official WeChat account that citizens should not believe “false narratives” about China’s trajectory, and should instead believe President Xi Jinping’s vision.

The report said Beijing has begun censoring social media and news articles from financial experts and economists who share negative viewpoints. The WSJ similarly reported that some of the country’s top officials have reiterated the importance of promoting “the bright prospects of China’s economy.”

Meanwhile, officials continue to maintain an optimistic outlook for growth this year, even as the economy grapples with recessionary headwinds including a troubled real estate sector, falling stocks, deflation and youth unemployment.

The latest round of censorship points to Beijing policymakers’ concerns over national security and external perception, and raises questions about how threats are defined.

In one example cited by the WSJ, an article by a Beijing-based outlet that called for more direct state intervention in tackling economic challenges was wiped from the website within hours of publication.

In another example, Li Xunlei, an economist who worked at state-owned Zhongtai Securities, published a column about the difficulties of low-income families. That also disappeared soon after it was published, and on WeChat, those attempting to access it on Li’s account saw a message: “Content cannot be viewed due to violation of rules.”

The NYT said tech platform Weibo had banned dozens of accounts from posting because they shared bleak economic realities with other users. The platform also warned its users in November not to be “maliciously pessimistic” about China’s economy, the report said.

Beijing’s obstacles extend far beyond media talk. Experts have told Business Insider in recent weeks that the “uber-recession” narrative on China has become entrenched, and authorities have little chance of engineering a rebound in the near term.

Source: www.businessinsider.com

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