Planet China

On song

There was a time when China’s efforts to censor the internet were carried out in a quiet, need-to-know basis.

But the country’s new internet regulator, the Cyberspace Administration of China, is a lot less bashful about its mission. In fact it has posted video of its employees singing a rousing anthem about their work.

Entitled Spirit of Cyberspace it lauds the “cleanliness” and “purity” of the Chinese internet and promises that the agency will “guard its domain day and night”.

Among other lyrics, the group sings: “In the ocean where all loyalties meet, we are the measurement of the Chinese culture.”

Since becoming leader, Xi Jinping has taken a tough line on internet freedoms. As WiC readers will know, he is also lobbying for recognition of ‘internet sovereignty’ across the international community, allowing China (or any country) to decide what its own citizens can see online.

The cyber song, which was written by the composer of China’s Olympic anthem, makes mention of Xi’s quest in the line: “Helping the global village become its most perfect self.”

But if Beijing hoped that the song would win netizens over to its own way of thinking, it was wrong. Shortly after posting the video – which has an eerily North Korean feel to it – the agency was deluged with mocking comments. Rather aptly, it opted for a spot of self-censorship, pulling the clip from most of the sites online.

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