Economic Observer Closure: 『Killing A Chicken To Warn The Monkey』?
Due to a reform in the rail system, efforts will be made
to keep politics and business separate.
Yet, an office of the Economic Observer in Beijing has been
closed due to its factual report on Beijing flood’s casualties.
Critics believe, in order to create a façade of “stability,”
the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) uses this approach to reduce public dissention.
However, this seem to produce the opposite effect,
becoming a focus of public outcry.
On August 6, the Economic Observer’ (EO) office in Beijing
was shut down by China’s Ministry of Culture.
The news agency’s door was sealed and its sign taken off.
Its’ paper newsstands have also been collected.
According to sources, EO is overseen by Shandong Bureau
of Press & Publication and CCP’s Propaganda Department.
The reason for this was said to be EO’s illegal publishing,
and the need to open a newspaper office in a new location.
However, another reason could be that EO became
a sensitive search word on China’s Weibo.
Economic Observer’s message on
Weibo’s official website says,
“There is absolutely resistance, but we have to fight
until the end, and must not get discouraged.”
Market Weekly Editor in Chief Huang Liangtian points out,
Mainland China does not have the press law.
Everything is done according to the department in charge,
or verbal orders by the Central Propaganda Department.
Huang Liangtian: “They [EO] established an editing center
here, which every other news agency has, including South China Morning Post.
But the reason it [EO] was sealed must be
because it criticized the flood in Beijing.
This is very common in China. It will destroy your paper,
or revoke your registration, or remove your leaders.”
Hong Kong free lance writer Zhang Chengjue points out
the way Chinese regime sealed EO is a warning.
It’s killing a chicken to warn the monkey,’ to scare
other media to not talk and criticize the flood in Beijing.
The regime wanted to cover up the tragedy from this flood.
However, it achieved the opposite results.
Zhang Chengjue: “It is better to not make noise again
on things like this, to not let others see your flaws.
Otherwise people can clearly see your motive. The more
attention it gets, the more it becomes a topic of interest.
So I think it was a very moronic move.”
Zhang believes this is due to Chinese regime trying
to create a façade of stability before the 18 CCP congress.
Zhang Chengjue: “The 18 congress hopes to avoid any new
troubles, so it tries its best to suppress, so there isn’t so much dissent distracting it.
It knows that doing this may bring problems, but it still will
act this way. Their logic is, I’m the mafia, I’m not afraid of anyone.”
On July 21, unusually great rainstorm hit Beijing, the city
became like a sea, many cars and houses were submerged.
Afterwards, Infzm.com mobilized more than a dozen interns
traveling 2,000 km and interviewing relatives of victims.
They recorded 25 victims’ names and stories, however
8 of these truthful accounts were removed before the 26th.
Prior to this incident, four other in depth daily stories
on the flood were also removed.
On July 22, the Chinese regime have already announced
the number of flood victims to be 37.
Yet , due to pressure from the public for the real figure,
on the 26th the number of victims was announced to be 77.
This however did not appease citizens. Criticism,
questions and blames towards CCP authorities continued.
On August 6, the regime announced again
that the number of flood victims is 79.
Yet citizens are still unhappy. They say, tens of thousands
died in the rainstorm, and demand Beijing’ CCP Secretary Guo Jinlong to step down.