Plus ça change…

What do ethnic groups, Xinjiang, Tibet, disaster prevention and Internet have in common? They were the themes of the Chinese government’s last white papers.

The most recent one – on the Internet in China – outlines in under 8000 words the current thinking of Beijing on what it calls a “significant technological invention of the 20th century and a major symbol of contemporary advanced productive force”. We are also reminded that the government “energetically advocates and actively supports the development and application of the Internet across the country” through 4 policies: active use, scientific development, law-based administration and ensured security.

It may come as a surprise that the third section (out of six) is entitled “Guaranteeing Citizens’ Freedom of Speech on the Internet”. Don’t get your hopes too high up since it is followed by “Principles and Practices of Internet Administration” and “Protecting Internet Security”.

It’s anyone’s guess what the next white paper will be about.