CCP Axes Online Survey – Because Respondents Reject Chinese Identity

Now this is an odd one. Here is the entire short piece.

Chinese authorities have shut down an online survey that found most respondents would prefer a different nationality if they were born again. According to the South China Morning Post, two editors of the host website, NetEase, have also been fired in the past few days, prompting speculation that they have been punished for organising the poll.

Electronic surveys are popular in China, but while the authorities tolerate voting for TV pop idols they are uneasy about polls on sensitive political subjects. This did not deter NetEase, which asked readers of its 163.com game site: “Would you like to be Chinese if you had a second life?”

The survey was supposed to run until the second week of October, but it has closed and news editor Tang Yan and opinion editor Liu Xianghui have been sacked. NetEase declined to answer The Guardian’s request for an explanation.

At least two blogs, however, claim to have maintained a record of the results. If correct, they suggest greater insecurity about national identity than is usually reported. Of the more than 10,000 respondents, 64% said they would not want to be Chinese if they were reincarnated. The main reason, given by almost 40% of the respondents, was that Chinese citizens lacked human dignity. Among those who wanted to keep Chinese nationality in a future life, the main reason was love of the country, given by 19% of the total.

I’m trying to find more information on this and hope to expand this post later in the day. Based on the above, it sounds like more of the same: you craft the news to support the party line and make China look good, and if you do otherwise by telling the truth you can lose your job or worse. Nothing new there, but the suppressed results of the survey are definitely intriguing. But not really so surprising.

Thanks to the reader who flagged this for me.

The Discussion: 6 Comments

Wow. Talk about shooting the messenger. I guess next time somebody decides to organise a “how much do you love being Chinese” poll, they’ll know to fake the results.

September 19, 2006 @ 8:00 pm | Comment

you craft the news to support the party line and make China look good, and if you do otherwise by telling the truth you can lose your job or worse.

Sounds like the internet has created another seachange. ๐Ÿ˜‰

September 19, 2006 @ 8:45 pm | Comment

Well, Tom, give it time…:-)

The wonderful thing about the Internet is that this story won’t be kept secret and unknown as it would have in the old days. The whole world is reading about it today, and the Chinese blogs and BBS forums are certain to pick it up, as well.

September 19, 2006 @ 8:55 pm | Comment

If those survey results are true, this is an amazing story.

September 19, 2006 @ 9:58 pm | Comment

Well, it sure shows some gumption on the part of the Chinese respondents – because they seem to understand that they deserve human dignity, that they aren’t just disposable trash, Mao’s blank page that he could write on at will.

September 19, 2006 @ 11:39 pm | Comment

Well richard, we’ll see how harsh the counter measures the CCP wants to take to squash the BBSs and blogs from discussing it. Is this really something the CCP wants to expend energy on in their Spy vs. Spy game beyond just yanking the survey?

Secrets? Not like the people starving to death during Mao’s Great Leap Forward were a secret to the folks that were watching each other die. It’s always been a matter of how much energy the party wanted to expend on curtailing and disrupting open discussion of the forbidden topics.

September 20, 2006 @ 2:32 am | Comment

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