Updated: Sep 7, 2020
China's Z Generation knows only Xi's "patriotic education": Criticism of China is not allowed
If you search for South Korean singer "Lee Hyo-ri" on China's largest search engine, there are articles that say she has stopped using social networking services (SNS). Lee Hyo-ri announced the suspension her SNS accounts 11 days after she said, "How about Mao for her stage name?" on a South Korean entertainment show. Nearly 30,000 comments were posted on Lee Hyo-ri's Weibo account attacking her. Chinese netizens poured fire on Lee, accusing her of insulting former Chinese President Mao Zedong, who is considered similar to King Sejong of Korea. Mao Zedong is the first president of China and is considered the best leader in Chinese history. Perhaps that's why the comments on Lee's remarks were so raw.
Thousands of likes were posted on comments such as "Would you like to use King Sejong as your stage name?" "Now that you're already dead, there's no birthday celebration this year," and "I know why you're a colony of the United States."
Koreans believe that the Chinese netizens are overreacting. This is because when Lee Hyo-ri mentioned the name "Mao" on an entertainment show, she did not mention his surname "Zedong". [There are plenty of people named "Mao" in the world.]
This reaction from Chinese netizens is similar to that of the 2016 girl group TWICE member Tzuyu's controversial waving of the Taiwanese flag on television. Tzuyu even had to make a public apology for waving the Taiwanese flag. In fact, the reaction to Lee Hyo-ri and Tzuyu was limited to some netizens. Behind the attack is "Xiao Fen Hong (샤오펀홍)", one of the most prominent cyber communities that stokes blind patriotism [for the Chinese Communist Party]. Xiao Fen Hong, meaning "little pink", means young people who display patriotic fanaticism. They are familiar with the digital environment and show strong pride and collectivity as Chinese people.
During China's Cultural Revolution of more than 40 years ago, the Red Guard (students who participated in the Communist Youth Movement) were enthusiastic about President Mao Zedong. Every single word he said became an absolute to live and die by. Mao remains in Tiananmen Square as a huge portrait. So what happened to the Red Guard? Those who claimed to be the Red Guard have aged and experienced changes in China's history. They eventually gave birth to a child. That child is the "Xiao Fen Hong". The Xiao Fen Hong couldn't stand it when a Korean celebrity joked about "Mao" as a stage name.
[Beijing=AP/Newsis] The first Shake Shack store opened in Beijing on August 12th. Customers are seen leaving the store with souvenirs as gifts for meal purchases.
First Chinese generation to receive "patriotism strengthening" education during Xi Jinping era.
It is somewhat unusual for young Chinese netizens, who are interested in entertainment news and restaurant information, to overreact to the act of criticizing China. The so-called "Z Generation", such as "Juring Hou" born in the 1990s and "Ring Hou" born in the 2000s. They are the first generation to fully receive enhanced patriotism education instituted by Xi Jinping in 2013. They grew up after China rose to the ranks of powerful nations, and some analysts say that this blind patriotism is expanding as patriotic education is strengthened.
Xiao Fen Hong's blind patriotism is characterized by strong hostility and merciless cyber-bullying against those who criticize or oppose China or Chinese-ism. Some worry that excessive patriotism may turn into show-offism. Some analysts say that Xi's attempt to hold office for life is behind the strengthening of patriotism. Rep. Hong Sung-kook, an economist and expert in futurology, argued in his book that the Xi's administration's emphasis on Confucius in the name of rediscovery of Chinese national traditions is aimed at stimulating nationalism. Confucius "thought" is based on loyalty, which has the effect of inducing blind devotion to the Communist Party and President Xi Jinping. Hong said, "It is an attempt to make Xi Jinping the center of Chinese nationalism by absolutizing China and enhancing primitive feelings that treat other groups (the U.S. or the West) with fear and envy.
[Beijing = Shinhwa News] Chinese Communist Chairman Xi Jinping hosts a symposium on economic affairs on August 24th.
U.S.-China conflict, China's manifestation of blind patriotism
Some analysts say that a patriotic fervor has been blowing in China amid recent U.S.-China conflicts. As these conflicts with the U.S. intensify, the Chinese leadership, which needs internal solidarity, is going to emphasize even more patriotism. "We never accept attacks on the Communist Party of China and on Chinese socialism," Chinese President Xi Jinping said in a national event aimed at the United States.
According to China's state-run Global Times, Xi delivered a tough message during a sit-down meeting marking the 75th anniversary of the victory of the anti-Japanese and anti-fascist wars at the Beijing People's Congress. The Global Times said, "This is the first time that a top Chinese leader has responded to U.S.-led attacks on the Communist Party of China."
At the meeting, President Xi Jinping said, "The Chinese will never agree with any attempt by any person or force to distort the history of the Chinese Communist Party and undermine the character and purpose of the Communist Party," and added, "We will not tolerate individuals or forces who distort China's own socialism or deny the great development that Chinese people have made in socialist construction."
At another meeting, Xi also targeted Japan. In his speech marking the 75th anniversary of the victory of the anti-Japanese war and the anti-fascist war, he pointed out historical issues, saying that maintaining peace and friendly relations between China and Japan is beneficial to both countries, but that deeply reflecting on the history of Japanese militarism is the foundation for the development of those relations.
President Xi's father (Xizhongxun), who has been considered a source of China's communist revolution, was painfully crushed by the Red Guard during the Cultural Revolution. However, Xi is said to be enjoying the soaring popularity of the new cyber Red Guard or "Xiao Fen Hong", a descendant of the Red Guard, as he re-enters the core of the regime and is even seeking permanent power.
"Winnie the Pooh" a taboo Chinese word?...Censorship of "Movies~SNS"
Chairman Xi of Communist China / Shinhwa News
Recently, China has put the brakes on the publication of the new work, "Capital and Ideology," by star economist Thomas Piketty. It came as Piketty refused to delete parts of his book describing social inequality and the gap between the rich and the poor in China. Hong Kong South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported, "Even if Piketty's new book does not intend to criticize China, certain content is likely to offend the Chinese Communist Party, so publication in China has been banned." The Chinese Communist Party's censorship of cultural content is serious business. They not only look into books, movies, and dramas, but also comments on games and personal social networking services.
Xi resembles Winnie the Pooh, Sensitive China
Picture = US Secretary of State Pompeo Twitter Capture
One of the most popular is Winnie the Pooh. In China, because of his close resemblance to Winnie the Pooh Chinese President Xi Jinping has strictly restricted media related to the cartoon. Some Chinese Internet users satirize Pooh by comparing it to a poem to avoid online censorship. The Disney film "Christopher Robin," starring Winnie the Pooh, was banned from screening without reason in China. If you search for "Winnie the Pooh" (Po) on Weibo, China's leading social networking service, you can only see postings approved by the Chinese government. In July, when the conflict between the U.S. and China intensified, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo posted a photo of his dog playing with a Pooh doll on his SNS account, and even called it "Winnie the Pooh Gate". Some Internet users speculated that Pompeo posted the photo to ridicule Xi. In the end, Pompeo explained that he did not mean Xi.
From personal SNS to comments, to checks one-by-one
Picture=Hong Kong Freedom Press Twitter
There are also various reasons for censorship. Singer Liu Keqing has repeatedly been blocked from personal SNS and censored just because he physically resembles Xi. More than 300,000 people followed his TikTok account because of his appearance resembling Xi, and his performance videos also garnered massive views. Liu Keqing told the New York Times he has been blocked from TikTok and Weibo since last year. The reason was that he violated the profile photo regulation, which was assumed to be because he looked like Xi in a suit and a red tie. When I changed my profile picture, I was able to reopen my account. The account, however, was also suspended when there was a major political happening in China.
Personal online censorship is more thorough. China operates an Internet monitoring system called the "Mali Firewall" and blocks not only British and American media such as the New York Times and CNN, but also foreign social media such as Hong Kong and Taiwan, Facebook and YouTube. All online games censor chat content and ban Chinese and foreigners from contacting each other. In addition, it is reported that personal SNS and online comments posted by the public are being censored. According to Xinhua News Agency, the National Cyber Information Board (CAC), which oversees China's cyber policy, ordered the government to tighten control over Weibo and Wechat and also strengthen its own censorship. As a result, more than 40,000 WeChat accounts were closed last year. Last month, a Chinese man who had his WeChat account suspended jumped to his death from the WeChat parent company Tencent Building.