Downsides Unseen of Child-abduction Blog, Online Rogues

Global Times, the official sister publication of People’s Daily, has published an article criticizing recent online efforts to tackle child trafficking and reunite kidnapped children with their parents:

…The crackdown on trafficking children, involving an extensive investigation into the organized crime, should be largely left to the police. Now a large number of “volunteer netizen cops” are attempting to rescue underage beggars with digital cameras and laptops. Their goodwill should be appreciated, but it may not lead to the desired result. The problem of underage beggars is a national one, and it must be stopped at its root.

The real side effects of the online campaign against child abductions have barely been mentioned in the media, which is overwhelmingly applauding the effectiveness of the blog-based effort. A few well-known scholars have actually privately voiced their concerns of this campaign, but they seem reluctant to openly express their views.

The Internet has played an irreplaceable role in advancing political democracy in China, but its negative aspects should also be noted. The Internet campaign against child abductions has illustrated the “autocracy” of the online opinion, which tends to mute any dissident voices. Quite contrary to the diversified viewpoints in the traditional media, it seems that online media has adopted the old-style censorship by the media of the past. A few activists have now dominated the public opinion seen online. And to some extent, freedom of speech has been suppressed online.

Read more about the microblog et up by Yu Jianrong to help trafficked children.