A reader tipped me off to China Digital Times’ translation of a leaked internal memo instructing China’s Internet commenters how to counter the influence of Taiwanese democracy and guide the public on this issue. Absolutely priceless. Here are the specific guidelines:
(1) To the extent possible make America the target of criticism. Play down the existence of Taiwan.
(2) Do not directly confront [the idea of] democracy; rather, frame the argument in terms of “what kind of system can truly implement democracy.”
(3) To the extent possible, choose various examples in Western countries of violence and unreasonable circumstances to explain how democracy is not well-suited to capitalism.
(4) Use America’s and other countries’ interference in international affairs to explain how Western democracy is actually an invasion of other countries and [how the West] is forcibly pushing [on other countries] Western values.
(5) Use the bloody and tear-stained history of a [once] weak people [i.e., China] to stir up pro-Party and patriotic emotions.
(6) Increase the exposure that positive developments inside China receive; further accommodate the work of maintaining [social] stability.
My personal favorite is No. 5 — China as perpetual victim. How many times a day does the antiCNN clique turn to that one?
In all seriousness, this reads like a laundry list of what my site’s trolls do, to the letter. Even those I don’t think are 50-centers, like yourfriend. In fact, was there any reason to issue these guidelines to begin with? I think they’re already common knowledge among those assigned to make mischief in blog and portal comments.
Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.