China’s Information Management in the Sino-Vietnamese Confrontation: Caution and Sophistication in the Internet EraPosted: June 9, 2014 Filed under: China-Vietnam, Global Times, PRC News Portals, South China Sea, State media, TV, Weibo, Xinhua | Tags: CCP Propaganda Department, China-Vietnam, China-Vietnam relations, Chinese foreign policy, Chinese internet, Chinese internet censorship, Chinese patriotism, 理性爱国, 舆论引导, 西沙, HYSY-981, internet censorship, paracel islands, Paracels, Propaganda department, rational patriotism, Sino-Vietnamese incidents, south china sea, 南海, 南海问题, 宣传部, 海洋石油-981, 中越, 中越撞船 2 Comments
Jamestown China Brief piece published last week:
China’s Information Management in the Sino-Vietnamese Confrontation: Caution and Sophistication in the Internet Era
China Brief, Volume 14 Issue 11 (June 4, 2014)
After the worst anti-China violence for 15 years took place in Vietnam this month, it took China’s propaganda authorities nearly two days to work out how the story should be handled publicly. However, this was not a simple information blackout. The 48-hour gap between the start of the riots and their eventual presentation to the country’s mass audiences exemplified some of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) sophisticated techniques for managing information during fast-breaking foreign affairs incidents in the Internet era. Far from seizing on incidents at sea to demonstrate China’s strength to a domestic audience, the official line played down China’s assertive actions in the South China Sea and emphasized Vietnamese efforts to stop the riots, effectively de-coupling the violence from the issue that sparked them. This indicated that, rather than trying to appease popular nationalism, China’s leaders were in fact reluctant to appear aggressive in front of their own people.
By framing the issue in this way, China’s media authorities cultivated a measured “rational patriotism” in support of the country’s territorial claims. In contrast to the 2012 Sino-Japanese confrontation over the Diaoyu Islands, when Beijing appears to have encouraged nationalist outrage to increase its leverage in the dispute, during the recent incident the Party-state was determined to limit popular participation in the issue, thus maximizing its ability to control the escalation of the situation, a cornerstone of the high-level policy of “unifying” the defense of its maritime claims with the maintenance of regional stability (Shijie Zhishi [World Affairs], 2011).
China’s public response to the Mischief Reef FONOPPosted: May 29, 2017 | Author: Andrew Chubb | Filed under: China-US, Comment threads, Global Times, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, PLA & PLAN, South China Sea, State media, TV, Xinhua | Tags: CCP Propaganda Department, CCTV, China-US relations, Chinese foreign policy, Chinese internet, Chinese television, 环球时报, external propaganda, FONOPs, freedom of navigation, freedom of navigation patrols, Global Times, Hu Xijin, Huanqiu Shibao, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mischief Reef, online nationalism, Spratly, spratly islands, United States in South China Sea, US and South China Sea | 1 Comment
“Unreasonable”: CCTV’s 10pm Evening News (晚间新闻) bulletin introduces the US FONOP near Mischief Reef, Thursday May 25, 2017.
Chinese media coverage of the recent US naval patrol near its outposts in the disputed Spratly Islands suggests, to me at least, Beijing’s increasing confidence in its handling of public opinion on this sensitive issue.
In turn, the content of some of Beijing’s publicity offers insight into China’s intentions for the handling of the matter going forward. Specifically, the government’s response suggests a firm determination to avoid escalating tensions. It could even foreshadow an increasingly tolerant attitude towards US assertions of freedom of navigation into the future.
The basis for this speculation is outlined below, but as always i’d encourage readers with other explanations to get in touch or leave a comment.
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