Friday, December 7, 2012

Chinese Internet Activists

After a sex tape went viral last week depicting Chongqing district party chief Lei Zhengfu having sex with an eighteen-year-old girl, the official was quickly fired from his position while Zhu Ruifeng, the netizen who shared the video on his website, was praised for his internet activism.

The incident has since been praised by Chinese media. Below are some snippets from this article by the Voice of America:

In an editorial published Tuesday, the state-run China Daily newspaper welcomed what it called the "prowess" of Zhu and other activists who use the Internet as a "tool against abusive officials."

It said Lei's case shows the effectiveness of social media in triggering government action, and it urged anti-corruption leaders to "embrace" Internet activists as a "close ally." China's main anti-corruption agency issued a statement Monday saying it recognizes a need for authorities to "seriously address" corruption problems "reported by the masses."

And some skepticism:

"For the central government, Internet activism ... that singles out a few 'bad apples' [corrupt officials] is fine, but political and social red lines remain," said Galperin, an international freedom of expression coordinator at the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation. "Allowing [such] activism does not mean, for example, that Tibetan activists will see any increased tolerance."

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