China is said to be clearing the internet of negative coverage of its economy
The New York Times reported that China is erasing negative economic coverage of the country.
According to the New York Times, China’s Ministry of State Security warned citizens not to be influenced by “false narratives” about the economy.
Beijing is facing difficulties in the real estate sector, deflation, and the migration of global investors.
Reports this week from The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal detail efforts by Chinese authorities to cleanse the Internet of negative views about the state of its economy.
According to the New York Times, the Ministry of State Security said on its official WeChat account that citizens should not believe “false narratives” about China’s path, and instead should believe in President Xi Jinping’s vision.
The report said that Beijing has moved to censor social media and news articles written by financial and economic experts who have a pessimistic view. The Wall Street Journal similarly reported that some of the country’s top officials reiterated the importance of promoting “bright prospects for the Chinese economy.”
Meanwhile, officials continue to embrace an upbeat outlook for growth this year, even as the economy grapples with a mix of downward headwinds including a troubled real estate sector, a stock collapse, deflation, and youth unemployment.
The latest round of oversight indicates policymakers in Beijing are concerned about national security and outside perception, and raises questions about how threats are defined.
In one example cited by the Wall Street Journal, an article from a Beijing-based media outlet, which called for more direct state intervention in addressing economic challenges, was scrubbed from the site within hours of publication.
In another case, economist Li Shunli, who works at state-owned Zhongtai Securities, published a column about the plight of low-income families. That also disappeared shortly after it was posted, and on WeChat, a message appeared for those trying to reach it on Li’s account: “Content cannot be viewed due to violation of regulations.”
The New York Times said that the technology platform Weibo blocked dozens of accounts from publishing after they shared grim economic realities with other users. The report said that the platform also warned its users in November of the consequences of “malignant pessimism” about the Chinese economy.
The obstacles Beijing faces extend beyond media chatter. Experts have told Business Insider in recent weeks that the “hard bearish” narrative on China has become entrenched, and that authorities have little chance of engineering a recovery in the near term.
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