The day before


China’s government has turned to state media to carry a message to the public: Stay calm and confident knowing that Beijing is in control.

The message—carried in newspaper editorials, read aloud on state television and circulated on social media—is meant to allay doubts and criticisms of the country’s leadership and prevent investor panic. “We remain calm, despite chaotic clouds flying all over,” an opinion piece in the People’s Daily newspaper said on Wednesday, referencing a poem by Mao Zedong, the Communist Party chairman who led the country for decades.

To avoid any confusion, online talk that doesn’t toe the line has been widely censored, according to monitoring services.

Chinese leaders often turn to the mixture of state-media messaging and censorship to guide citizens’ thinking and to avoid any fallout for Beijing, according to media watchers. That is especially the case when there is a risk of fanning grass-roots anger against foreign nations, even when aligned with Beijing’s interests. Several anti-Japan protests have spiraled into vandalism and violence in past years, with some protesters also using the demonstrations to vent criticism of Beijing.

King-wa Fu, a censorship expert at the University of Hong Kong, said Beijing is clearly seeking to tamp down the issue domestically, with even some pro-government posts on the topic censored online. But that information vacuum, he said, has also caused confusion.

The event that touched off the latest spiral in tensions—tweets from President Trump last Sunday that threatened new and higher tariffs to punish China for perceived backsliding in trade negotiations—were reported obliquely if at all, leaving investors bewildered.

“The government wants to cool down the negative side of the news,” said Mr. Fu. “But censorship can’t really stop the spread. The government can’t keep all investors in the dark.”

The Communist Party’s Propaganda Department, to which all media ultimately answers, didn’t immediately respond to a faxed request for comment on Thursday.

We’ll see what happens. Until then, there’s this.

One Response to “The day before”

  1. feeblemind Says:

    Pay no mind to that iceberg we just hit, this ship is unsinkable. Responsible people are in control.

    As for facebook, I don’t go there.

    There was this about Facebook the other day:

    From the article:
    Recently, I was in a local jewelry store in a small town in upstate New York, arranging to have a stone made into a ring as a birthday present for my wife. I talked it over with the jeweler. My iPhone nested in the inside pocket of my parka, patiently listening. A day later, I started receiving ads on my phone, on Facebook, for rings and jewelers.

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