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China on US fake news debate: We told you so

The Chinese state media is weighing in on the fake news debate in the U.S., saying the controversy – and its possible impact on the election outcome – only serves to bolster Beijing's case when it comes to controlling the internet.

In an editorial entitled "Western Media's Crusade Against Facebook", Communist Party paper The Global Times drew parallels with China's fight a few years ago to clamp down on what Beijing at the time called "rumors" but what many in the West worried was political dissent.

"So long as the mainstream media is free and open, online rumors would do no harm in the big picture – isn't that the consistent argument from the West?" the Times asked, pointing out what it sees as a contradiction in the West's criticism at the time that Beijing's crackdown limited freedom of speech. It said the U.S. "can no longer play this card."


Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Getty Images
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

The paper suggested that U.S. internet companies like Facebook, Google, and Twitter - all currently blocked in China - heightened "unpredictable" political risks.

In the U.S., Google, Facebook and Twitterhave come under fire over the role they played in the U.S. presidential election and the spread of false and often malicious information that might have persuaded voters to pick Donald Trump.

The paper concluded that China is correct in pursuing its own online vision -- one where censors keep radical views in check and where tech companies, including American ones, should assist Chinese authorities in matters Beijing deems as national security concerns.

"China is also right in demanding that US internet companies, including Google and Facebook, abide by Chinese laws and be subject to supervision if they want to enter China market," it reads.

Beijing ramped up efforts to promote this vision at its third annual World Internet Conference last week. Many international businesses though have been wary of the greater Internet restrictions including the recent passage of a cybersecurity law.

Separately, some on Chinese social media cheered the U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's dressing down of American TV network executives and journalists at his New York offices this week.

On Weibo, China's version of Twitter, user Niurentucai writes, "Trump was spot on!", saying U.S. media outlets such as CNN "continuously promote anti-China sentiment from the West."

Many others, though, joke that Trump's treatment of the US media is eerily familiar, describing it as an American version of a Communist Party propaganda meeting meant to lecture the media on delivering party ideology.

"Comrade Trump incisively pointed out the current problems and deficiencies [of the media]," UsAmericaHopeTrump writes. He continued that Trump called on the media to "self-consciously keep a high-level of consistency to the White House with Comrade Trump as 'core'." This was referring to the new title of President Xi Jinping as the "core leader" of the Chinese Communist Party.


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