Pekings Angst vor den neuen Medien
In Peking wächst die Angst vor dem Protest- und Demokratiepotenzial der neuen Medien:
Facing a steady rhythm of violent protests, the Chinese government is showing increased concern about stability, using caution in putting down riots around the country but warning people that violence will not be tolerated. The fallout from a series of demonstrations has been magnified recently because of loosened restrictions on news reporting and increased use of cell phones and the Internet, even by villagers in remote areas, according to government-connected researchers and peasants involved in the protests. Although Communist Party censors try to stifle reporting on the unrest, they said, word of the incidents is transmitted at a speed previously unknown in China. As they are more widely publicized, the violent protests have become a major issue for President Hu Jintao's government. According to Chinese academics with ties to the government, senior officials early on realized that such violence could undermine the country's economic growth -- and perhaps the party's monopoly on power -- if it continues to grow and spread. As a result, calls for stability and social harmony have become the watchwords in speeches by Hu and Premier Wen Jiabao. Reflecting the leaders' concern, the People's Daily, the main party newspaper, declared in a front-page editorial July 28 that any attempt to use protests to correct social injustices that arise as China moves toward a market economy would be "punished in accordance with the law." The editorial was also broadcast on state television and relayed by the official New China News Agency, underlying the importance officials attached to the warning.