Tag Archives: Xi Jinping

China Censors Orwell’s 1984, Animal Farm Amid Vote to Remove Term Limits

Beijing, China – The ruling Chinese Communist Party government announced plans on February 25th to remove a constitutional clause limiting presidential service to two five-year terms, paving the way for current Chinese President Xi Jinping to retain control of the country indefinitely after his second term expires in 2023. The proposed amendments to China’s constitution are expected to be signed off by the country’s parliament, the National People’s Congress.

The move to eliminate term limits has been met with condemnation and social media backlash in China since it was announced on Sunday, the eve of an annual political congress in Beijing, and has pushed China’s online government censors into overdrive. As Chinese took to social media to criticize the announcement, government censors went into overdrive suppressing the use of certain terms to retain an illusion of support for the ruling Communist Party and Xi Jinping.

Heavy censorship on Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter-type microblog, has become the norm since the announcement, according to China Digital Times and Free Weibo, two China censorship-monitoring websites, which noted that censors included phrases such as “incapable ruler” and “I oppose,” as well as words including “shameless,” “disagree” and “emperor” – and even the letter N for a short time.

Additionally, the list of banned terms includes the names of George Orwell’s classic books about intrusive government, 1984 and Animal Farm; the term “Xi Zedong,” a combination of Xi’s name and that of Mao Zedong. Even Winnie the Pooh, a cartoon that critics have used to mock Xi, has been included in the censored terms.

Despite concerns from western onlookers and criticism from individuals in China, China’s state-run Global Times claimed that the change does not mean “that the Chinese president will have a lifelong tenure.” The paper quoted Communist Party academic and party member Su Wei, who forwarded the notion that China needed a “stable, strong and consistent leadership” from 2020-2035.

Experts cautioned that the increased levels of censorship suggest that the Chinese government was surprised by the criticism levied by Chinese internet users, according to Charlie Smith, co-founder of GreatFire.org, an organization that helps internet users circumvent Chinese online censorship. Smith is a pseudonym used to protect his identity.

“The response from Chinese netizens indicates that Xi may have miscalculated how this would be received by the general public,” he told The Guardian. “Hence, he has asked the censors to put in overtime and things like the letter ‘N’ end up as collateral damage.”

Smith warned that the online suppression may intensify— including potentially shutting down the Chinese internet — if individuals continue to speak out online.

“If the momentum continues to build and netizens continue to look for other ways to express their displeasure with Xi, we could reach a critical point where the authorities might have to consider ‘turning off’ the internet, however they might do that,” Smith said.

Trump Praises Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Consolidation of Power

Palm Beach, FL – During a private luncheon speech to Republican donors at Mar-a-Lago on Saturday, President Trump praised Chinese President Xi Jinping for his recent moves to consolidate power and extend his political tenure.

“He’s now president for life. President for life. And he’s great,” Trump said, according to a recording obtained by CNN. “And look, he was able to do that. I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot someday.”

Trump’s comments followed an announcement from China’s Communist Party that it will be voting this week to alter the country’s constitution to abolish term limits — a move that would theoretically secure Xi as president indefinitely.

In a report for Vox, Carl Minzner, a professor at Fordham Law School, explained:

With the removal of these term limits in the constitution, that also sets up the likelihood — the extremely strong likelihood — that going forward, Xi Jinping is likely to serve in all three roles [head of state, general secretary of the Community Party, and head of the military] indefinitely into the future, which of course would be a significant reversal from recent practice since the beginning of China’s reform era.

CNN reported that during his speech, Trump appeared to reflect that he’d received unfair treatment regarding the ongoing Russian collusion investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, in comparison to the lack of legal scrutiny opponent Hillary Clinton received for her activities.

“I’m telling you, it’s a rigged system, folks,” Trump said according to CNN. “I’ve been saying that for a long time. It’s a rigged system. And we don’t have the right people in there yet. We have a lot of great people, but certain things, we don’t have the right people.”

Trump was possibly referring to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who was recently chastised byTrump for opening an OIG investigation into alleged FISA surveillance abuses rather than a criminal probe; Trump described the situation as “DISGRACEFUL” regarding Sessions’ continued refusal to launch a criminal investigation into other potentially criminal activities carried out by Clinton in regards to Uranium One and her private email server.


[RELATED: Reality Check: GOP Memo and FISA Problems]

Trump’s remarks, which CNN illustrated as “upbeat, lengthy, and peppered with jokes and laughter,” also questioned whether Clinton could be a “happy person” after her loss to Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

“Is Hillary a happy person? Do you think she’s happy?” Trump asked. “When she goes home at night, does she say, ‘What a great life?’ I don’t think so. You never know. I hope she’s happy.”

Trump also took aim at former President George W. Bush and the intelligence community that provided false intelligence indicating Iraq possessed WMD’s, labeling the invasion of Iraq “the single worst decision ever made” and likening it to “throwing a big fat brick into a hornet’s nest.”

“Here we are, like the dummies of the world, because we had bad politicians running our country for a long time,” Trump proclaimed. “That was Bush. Another real genius. That was Bush,” he continued sarcastically. “That turned out to be wonderful intelligence. Great intelligence agency there.”