To Serve People: No One Loathes Porn Like China’s New Master Of The Dark Arts

A weekly column in which Chinese media is taken to the stocks.

By TAR Nation

His name is Liu Yunshan, and here’s why you should care: this will be (has been) the guy blocking your Twitter and New York Times, slowing down your Internet speed, ramping up diplomatic bile, telling Hu Xijin what to write in his god-awful columns and basically making China a worse place for everyone. He has had experience, but now, he has a seat at the big table.

There’s the face. The next time your proxy breaks down and you have to deal with “Chinanet,” that’s the face you should think about. Look into those dead eyes and feel despair.

He has been acting as the head of the Propaganda department for quite some time now, usually appearing with his predecessor Li Changchun. What has he been doing? Well, nothing good.

As both Changchun’s (and Hu Jintao’s) lapdog, he has been a consummate supporter of censorship and China’s disastrous and often embarrassing soft power pushes. As far as traditional media goes, it’s in the iron fist of the CPC and will remain there until you reading this are long dead. As analysts say in SCMP, Liu operates “like a fireman” bursting in to “crack down on state media when it steps out of line.”

So, let’s take a look at where our newly-anointed Lord and Master of the Dark Arts stands on other issues.

The Internet

Carolynne Wheeler at The Globe and Mail says, “Liu Yunshan… has presided over China’s draconian and ever-worsening censorship of the Internet.”

Liu doesn’t like the Internet. One of his favorite buzz-words for the past at least four years has been: Internet-related problems. He was also at the forefront of compulsory real-name registration on microblogging sites, not to mention the blocking of Twitter, Facebook, human rights websites and IMDB. His problem with the Internet comes in the form of “harmful information.”

As a general rule, when China blocks something like The New York Times or Facebook, they don’t make a big deal about it. Or any deal. They just pretend it didn’t happen and say it’s “in accordance with China’s laws,” which is true. Also, sad. The same information blackout goes for Liu Yunshan. But there is one instance when they pat themselves on the back pretty hard.

Porn. Everyone loves porn. Back in January-February 2009, Liu was at the forefront of the much bragged about crackdown that put the kibosh on 1,635 porn sites. Here’s what he had to say: “Internet pornography is not only preventing the healthy development of the country’s Internet services, but also eroding people’s mind, destroying the moral standard of the society and endangering young people’s healthy growth.”

Liu also said in February of that same year, “Work priorities should be given to purifying the environment of Internet, Internet bars, screens, audios and campus surroundings.” Under this crackdown, ISPs were encouraged to hire special personnel to supervise “lewd content.”

As far as Liu is concerned, the Internet is something to be cleaned up. Or, as said in People’s Daily, “All departments concerned should fully cooperate and people from all sectors of society should be mobilized to create a positive social and cultural environment that is helpful to the healthy growth of minors.”

He wasn’t joking about mobilizing; in November of 2010, 131 institutions and 202 individuals were awarded for their “outstanding efforts in China’s porn crackdown.” In 2010 again, even advertising agencies went under the knife for obscenity.

His ideas on porn haven’t changed. In February 2012, “Liu stressed a further crackdown on lewd content in the cultural market, especially online pornography.” Apparently, the Internet is part of the “cultural market.” Go figure.

Basically, the guy doesn’t like porn, online, wireless or on a mobile phone. Never has a man needing a good wank meant so much, to so many. In January of this year, he said, “Government at all levels should firmly eliminate pornography and other ‘cultural rubbish.’”

As a potential part of the “cultural rubbish,” I take offense.

Brainwashing

Having overseen $8 billion (or 2.9 Wen Jiabao families) poured into China’s overseas soft power push, his greatest belief is that China’s soft power pushes are, in fact, a media force to be reckoned with and not some sort of sad joke that has gotten out of hand.

In that wheelhouse are the Confucius Institutes, harmless language/community centers with a Chinese propaganda pitbull guarding the door. Look forward to more of those.

Remember National Day? You know, that other time the Communist Party came to town and ruined Beijing? Well, in August of 2009, Liu Yunshan called on authorities at various levels of government to “step up patriotic education” and urged authorities to incorporate patriotic education into the daily life of the Chinese people, to “turn their love for the country into concrete actions.”

“Morals,” somehow, are a big deal for Liu. He, of course, is a massive fan of the fictional character Lei Feng, calling him, “our model forever.” You can’t swing a cat in People’s Daily without hitting an article of him rambling on about the importance of “socialist culture” and the morals thereof.

But this vague road leads down a path of obscenity by Party consensus. In May 2012, while attending a video conference on “the development on morality,” he stated they were launching a campaign “to improve moral awareness.” In order to do this Liu assured the silent reporters present that “China will continue to screen movies and music for immoral content and step up related regulations for the cultural market.”

He is a proponent of “more efforts to educate the public on the CPC’s glorious history, valuable experience, splendid achievements and hardworking spirit to strengthen people’s confidence to keep to the socialism road with Chinese characteristics.”

And he is a little brainwashed himself. In 2010, at the annual Asia Media Summit, he said: “The Chinese media has always followed a policy of being true to facts, to life, and to the people, besides (also) promoting innovation in news and communication concepts, content, formats and techniques.”

Yeah. So much for the meritocracy gimmick.

Politics

He’s red. Bloody red and pretty far right. In May of this year, just a few months before attaining his crown, Liu made a speech for the 70th anniversary of a celebrated Mao Zedong speech on art and literature, celebrated insofar as I’ve never heard it and that Mao had a famously, shall we say, turbulent relationship with writers and intellectuals in general.

He “urged the writers to study Mao’s speech, which called for putting people first, promoting national unity and harmony and going to the grassroots to find inspiration.”

He is also a big fan of “red tourism,” a lot, which I honestly still can’t believe is a thing.

He supports and publicizes CPC history pushes and fawns over communist theory and its popularization.

As a politician in China, he calls for, stresses and vows things a lot, all without making promises or sense. For example:

  1. Senior CPC official vows to develop friendly cooperation with French Communist Party
  2. Senior CPC official calls for closer media co-op with Japan, ROK
  3. Senior CPC official stresses publicity that caters to public understanding
  4. Senior CPC official meets Cuban Raul Castro’s special envoy
  5. Senior CPC official calls for greater development of acrobatics (seriously, that’s a real headline)

Those, believe it or not, are supposed to be news articles about Liu Yunshan.

It’s pretty difficult to find evidence of him being a prat, as he is the propaganda chief. People like that are pretty good at keeping things out of the news. The fact that the only coverage of him comes from the propaganda rags makes things worse.

At some point you’re just searching the propaganda newspapers run by the propaganda chief to search through the propaganda in the propaganda newspapers to find out about this propaganda chief’s particular brand of propaganda. It is what annoying people refer to as “meta.”

As to political affiliations, his closest is Hu Jintao, with whom he has had a long and toadying relationship, but to give you a little inkling of his leanings, he was promoted at light speed in 1993 to vice-minister of the propaganda department, many believe, due to his association with Bo Yibo. Yeah, Bo Xilai’s daddy.

Apparently, he wasn’t always terrible. In SCMP’s “Elevation of Liu Yunshan heightens censorship fears,” Du Daozheng, a former senior editor at the Xinhua news agency and Liu’s boss in the 1970s when Liu was a reporter in Inner Mongolia, said Liu became conservative after entering the party’s propaganda department.

However, for all of his boisterous support for “socialist theory” and communism in general, it’s more of a preach than practice sort of scenario.

Yanshan’s son Liu Lefei was chairman of CITIC Private Equity Funds Management (current CEO) and was listed by Brookings Institution as one of the “25 most powerful business people in Asia.” The Beijing-based CITIC investment company is, surprise, a state investment company. Liu Lefei made the move to CEO in June 2012 and, as Asia Venture Capital Journal puts it, “It wouldn’t be the first time the child of a political figure has stepped back (on paper, at least) supposedly for the sake of the parent.”

So, there we are, the man in charge of your media, Internet and newspapers for the next decade. Sorry.

|To Serve People Archives|

15 Responses to “To Serve People: No One Loathes Porn Like China’s New Master Of The Dark Arts”

    • RhZ

      Really? mine is really low because I keep clicking and clicking, just to read the most simple thing, like how China’s milk is all poison.

      The worst was the San Lu scandal. The company bribed people at Baidu to delete bad results. So when desperate mothers with sick children went online to look for information, they were denied. Sick, huh!

      Reply
      • A

        I agree. I think, if you were to add up all the time I’ve spent trying to get into gmail, looking for free proxies and smoking cigarettes angrily because I can’t get into a website, it probably takes up about 7%-10% of every work day.

        Reply
    • narsfweasels

      I searched “duck colouring page” for my Spawn one day last week, clicked about three images and my whole Internet shut down for five minutes. I “productively” imagined urinating on this guys’ face until I could get back online. Then it happened again, but with a “snail colouring page” search on google.

      Those snails and ducks are well-known imperialist spies, eh comrades?

      Reply
  1. Chuckle Brother

    He looks like the kind of maverick that would take a shit on a subway train and not give a fuck. He looks like the kind of badass that would walk straight past a dying child hawking and spitting. He looks like the kind of tough guy that would speed through traffic lights in a 4×4 smoking a cigar swigging Chivas Regal. Looks can be deceiving though, only time will tell and maybe he’ll change his mind about porn.

    Reply
  2. Kevin

    Someone should post a ton of personal information about this guy and his family online, addresses, bank account information, cars, etc.

    Reply
  3. Boooooooooya

    ‘urged authorities to incorporate patriotic education into the daily life of the Chinese people, to “turn their love for the country into concrete actions.”’

    If I was in the Chinese government I would think very, very carefully about encouraging this.

    Reply

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