Newspaper Response #10

This article titled “China Wages War on Apps Offering News and Jokes” discusses China’s recent clamping down on popular Chinese digital media apps through increased censorship. It mentions how Bytedance; an up-and-coming Chinese tech firm which gives users news, funny videos, and memes was valued at over $20 billion. Taking away any possibility for a global expansion, government regulators suspended Bytedance’s most popular app for three weeks and banned another joke-sharing app completely due to “vulgar and banal” content. This decision by the Chinese government to increase censorship has occurred for several other Chinese digital media and technology companies. This shift is part of a cultural campaign to stoke sentiment for the the communist party, to heighten President Xi Jinping’s exposure to the country, and to control users so they will act more ‘moral.’ In reality, Chinese leadership sees moral citizens as those who will more likely to follow party orders. The author of this article mentions how these decisions have brought great risk to Chinese leadership. By eliminating leeway on what citizens can do with their free-time, individuals who have no interest in politics will become irritated. Likewise, social media and digital media companies will have less freedom to create products that will serve users and the state. Therefore, there will be less data available to Chinese tech companies for the future development of AI. This is an interesting point, as China has such a massive population and a variety of technologies that could advance the human race, but state censorship is limiting the improvement of life in China and the world at large. Likewise, with Chinese citizens having heightened limits on the content that they can consume, the populace will be more  brainwashed by the government propaganda they do consume. With over a billion citizens in the powerful Chinese nation, this is incredibly troubling.