Communist China Increases Censorship of Negative News and Views of “Struggling Economy”

(p. A16) BEIJING—Several prominent commentaries by economists and journalists in China have vanished from the internet in recent weeks, raising concerns that Beijing is stepping up its censorship efforts as it tries to put a positive spin on a struggling economy.

. . .

. . ., Li Xunlei, an economist at state-owned Zhongtai Securities, warned in a column published on Chinese news outlet Yicai that insufficient household consumption would persist unless China’s leadership took steps to help lower-income families. Li also highlighted a study conducted by Beijing Normal University showing that some 964 million Chinese people, representing roughly 70% of the population, were living on a monthly income of less than 2,000 yuan, equivalent to about $280.

That data point quickly went viral on Weibo before it disappeared from the Chinese microblogging platform’s official list of trending topics. Before long, Li’s column vanished from Yicai’s website too. It has also become inaccessible on Li’s public account on Chinese messaging platform WeChat, where a message read: “The content can’t be viewed due to violation of regulations.”

For the full story, see:

Jonathan Cheng. “Negative Takes on China’s Economy Vanish Online.” The Wall Street Journal (Thursday, February 1, 2024): A16.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the story was updated January 31, 2024, and has the title “Negative Takes on China’s Economy Are Disappearing From the Internet.”)

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