“Press control has really moved to the center of the agenda,” said David Bandurski, an analyst at the China Media Project of the University of Hong Kong. “The Internet is the decisive factor there. It’s the medium that is changing the game in press control, and the party leaders know this.”
Today, China censors everything from the traditional print press to domestic and foreign Internet sites; from cellphone text messages to social networking services; from online chat rooms to blogs, films and e-mail. It even censors online games.
That’s not all. Not content merely to block dissonant views, the government increasingly employs agents to peddle its views online, in the guise of impartial bloggers and chat-room denizens. And increasingly, it is backing state-friendly clones of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, all Western sites that have been blocked here for roughly a year.
The government’s strategy, according to Mr. Bandurski and others, is not just to block unflattering messages, but to overwhelm them with its own positive spin and rebuttals.