When CCTV aired V for Vendetta, uncut, last Friday, netizens thought it was a sign that reform is truly on its way. They were a bit crushed, then, to read a signed article in Tuesday’s People’s Daily entitled “The Internet is Not Outside the Law.” The official media should at least hold itself to the same standards as netizens are now being asked to, savvy commenters complain. Some worry the article marks an official response to a series of “Internet anti-corruption” efforts in which human flesh searches and vocal complaint about abuses of power have forced the government’s hand. Everything from luxury watch collections to bedroom antics have been exposed online, costing a number of officials their jobs. Will the censors now crack down on Internet justice?
author-blessing: The Internet is not outside the law? In that case, please respect the constitution; do not delete comments as you please, do not detain people as you please, and do not wield labor re-education as you please.
JinningMantouMonster: On the one hand, you people take in an astronomical amount of advertising money, and on the other, you enjoy lucrative government funding. On top of all that, you retain exclusive privileges to the Spring Festival Gala and special rights to broadcast your news show over every local satellite channel every day from 7-7:30 p.m. You’re half government and half business, and yet you have the audacity to talk to me about the rule of law? Piss off!
ZhaoChu: CCTV’s News Simulcast publicized a People’s Daily article about how “the Internet is not outside of the law.” Not bad. According to the universal, modern principles of the rule of law, nothing should fall outside the boundaries of the law. However, I wish to inform CCTV and People’s Daily of the following: every office of every level of the Party and the government, all heavily guarded secret government locations, and even the two of you, which are government-funded and operated, should even more so not exist outside the boundaries of the law.
赵 楚 : CCTV新闻联播高调转发《人民日报》文章，说什么“网络不是法外之地”，不错，按照普世的现代法治原则，没有任何地方应该成为法外之地，但是，我想在这 里告诉央视和《人民日报》：各级党政的办公楼以及各种戒备森严的官家秘密场所，连同你们两家以公帑运营的媒体，更不应该成为法外之地。
HeBin: So CCTV is the only one outside of the law?
Evan_Chen: Government officials should not do their work outside of the law, yet your corruption is impossible to ignore. News Simulcast should not speak outside the law, yet you continue to spew nothing but lies. No offense, but my level of acceptance for this government and this TV station is zero.
PoliteYoungMaster: Totally, man! It’s only the government that is outside the effing boundaries of the law!
chuyoo: What the crap… I’m a law-abiding citizen! But are you sure you’re in accordance with the law?
NanQianZhu: In today’s China, justice is found mostly online. Democracy is found mostly online. Law-abiding citizens, for the most part, I’m afraid, are found mostly online. The Internet is virtually the only channel through which Chinese can freely access information. The Internet and the country’s citizens aren’t outside the law–that’s the domain of the government and corporations.
HeartwoodLife: For the most part, signed People’s Daily articles don’t actually represent the work or views of an individual. Even though an author’s name is given, it name obviously represents the combined views of a given organization. For example, take Zhong Xuanli. That’s obviously the Central Propaganda Ministry’s Indoctrination Bureau. And Zhong Zuwen is the Central Organization Department. Actually, precedent for this kind of tactic dates back to ancient times.
China Media Project all points out that the name of the article’s author, Mo Jinjin, is likely a fictional commentator representing an entire government department.
WenZhige: These fucking mouthpieces… First they say the law is not a shield, and then they say the Internet is not outside the law. What kind of ass-backwards logic is this?
LiZhiyongLawyer: Can’t take it anymore?
ToriWine: Of course they’ve come out with an article like this. All those watch brothers are really taking a hit from Weibo.
LeisurelyFuton: In that case, I want to say something too: the Communist Party should not retain the special right to override the constitution.
Read more untranslated comments at CDT Chinese.
Translation by Little Bluegill.