The Real Significance of a “Human-Flesh Search Engines” for “Chen Hua”

The following commentary is from overseas Chinese news site boxun.com, translated by CDT’s Lucy Lin:

A post about the corruption situation titled, “What Kind of Communist is Mr. Chen Hua?,” circulated throughout the Internet today. While this article has essentially been removed from domestic websites, it is still circulating on foreign websites.

The article was signed, “Zhang Tao,” which is made up by taking one character from the names of two Beijing Internet Management Department Chiefs. The article’s description of how Chen Hua is fond of alcohol and talks a lot after drinking, as well as his vehicles, properties, and bank deposits, all accord with Chen Hua’s current situation. The author should have a relatively good understanding of Chen Hua and could probably be an internal staff member of Beijing Internet Management Department or a staff member from another web company under the jurisdiction of Chen Hua, who had opportunities to be in contact with Chen Hua. The fanfare over the Beijing News Management office’s recent crackdown on vulgar content has caused hardships for a lot of Beijing websites. It’s more likely that someone from some website may be retaliating.

It is certainly unfair for the people who are mentioned in the post that the contents of the article were not verified before its release on the Internet. However, for Chen Hua or anyone else who is part of this information-controlling, autocratic regime, this kind of method is acceptable. The Chen Hua here should not be regarded as a specific person, but rather as a spare part in China’s media control machine.

It’s credible that no one has the power to confront a system as large as an autocratic government. However, using the current Internet platform, people can still do something about the situation by targeting specific objects within the system. For example, they can mobilize a “human-flesh search engine” for Chen Hua or other people and share their resulting information with the public.

January 26, 2009 11:51 PM
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