China’s New Law to Censor Online Content to Reinforce Communist Ideology


China has proposed a new law to target internet users and promote patriotic education. The proposed law was recently presented for review by the National People’s Congress, China’s top legislative body. While the complete draft has not been made public, certain details have been disclosed through state media reports. According to state broadcaster CCTV, the draft law requires online content providers to enhance the creation and dissemination of patriotic content.

The law also compels online content and service providers to develop and utilise innovative platforms, technologies, and products to promote patriotism online, as actively stated by Xinhua. Implementing this law is expected to significantly impact fostering national pride, strengthening unity among the population, promoting the development of a strong nation, and achieving national rejuvenation.

Under the leadership of Chinese President Xi Jinping, there has been an increased emphasis on ideological control by the Communist Party, leading to regular efforts by China’s top internet regulator to promote innovative media for political education. These initiatives often coincide with campaigns to regulate and censor online content that deviates from Beijing’s ideological perspectives. Over time, China has established a complex framework for managing online information to reinforce the party’s authority. In March, the country’s primary internet regulator called for the use of online media to produce content for educating young people about politics.

The proposed law includes provisions that specifically target “overseas Chinese,” as reported by CCTV. In recent years, Beijing has sought greater support from overseas Chinese to counter what it perceives as “Taiwan-independence forces,” particularly as tensions across the Taiwan Strait have escalated. China considers Taiwan a renegade region that must be reunified with the mainland, even through coercive means if necessary. While most countries, including the United States, do not formally recognise Taiwan as an independent nation, they oppose any unilateral alteration of the status quo by force.

According to CCTV, the proposed law extends its reach to cover individuals in Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan. It includes provisions that emphasise patriotic education through various activities, such as displaying the national flag, singing the national anthem, and reciting constitutional oaths, as reported by Xinhua. The law also highlights the importance of designated patriotic education sites, including museums, historical sites, and venues associated with the party’s history and China’s cultural heritage. These sites will be elevated as crucial resources for promoting patriotism, according to Xinhua’s statement.

Since 2017, the Ministry of Education in China has been incorporating Xi Jinping Thoughts on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, the political ideology of the Chinese President, into the national school curriculum. This ideology gained official status within the Communist Party during that year. In 2021, Beijing launched another campaign to instil party loyalty among schoolchildren by mandating the inclusion of additional ideological content, such as the “core socialist values,” in school education.

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