Proving yet again that the Chinese authorities just don’t like, get the internet, bloggers have been urged to play a ‘constructive role’ online, Xinhua reports.
Internet celebrities, who have notable influence on public opinions in virtual society, should deliver more positive and constructive messages to Chinese netizens, said Lu Wei, director of the State Internet Information Office, at the meeting held in Beijing on Saturday.
The government expects them to uphold law and order as well as promote virtues and trust, said Lu, cited by a statement issued after the meeting.
Lu said that bloggers should “set an example of protecting the legal rights of citizens and denouncing any activities that harm the reputation and interests of other people.”
This pronouncement comes in the wake of the arrest of singer Wu Hongfei, who jokingly remarked on Weibo following the Beijing airport bombing that she would like to blow up the government housing commission offices.
According to Human Rights Watch, a US-based non-profit, Wu’s detention was likely related to criticisms of the government she had made in the past. In an online poll by CCTV, 80 percent of respondents did not think Wu’s post constituted a crime.
In the UK, a man arrested for posting on Twitter that he would blow up an airport if it didn’t improve its service eventually defeated the charge on appeal, in a judgment that Chinese officials would do well to read the British justices said:
If the person or persons who receive or read it, (the message) or may reasonably be expected to receive, or read it, would brush it aside as a silly joke, or a joke in bad taste, or empty bombastic or ridiculous banter, then it would be a contradiction in terms to describe it as a message of a menacing character.
[Image credit: Electronic Frontier Foundation]