Facebook is technically not illegal in China. However, since the 2009 riots in Xinjiang, it–along with Twitter and most other western social media sites–has been blocked. There are ways to get around the Great Firewall of China, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to do so. The use of social media sites is also heavily monitored by the Chinese government, and people are being hauled off to jail for making comments or posts in social media that the government does not like.
So imagine our surprise to find the Chinese government has its own Facebook page. Here is a screenshot:
As the page is completely in Chinese, no doubt its purpose is to inform and mobilize the millions of people in the Chinese diaspora living in overseas countries such as Taiwan, Singapore, Canada, and the US.
Its most recent posts include:
- A post on the superlative relief efforts made by the Chinese government in regards to a small earthquake in Yunnan.
- Photos of a glorious fighter jet and helicopter landing on a highway, specially built to serve as a landing strip for times of war.
- A rather unintelligible bit (in any language), about price reform and price reform mechanisms.
- A notice that on July 1, the government will commence a four year census of geographical names.
- A notice that a flotilla from the glorious Chinese navy will arrive in Lagos, Nigeria, and that all overseas Chinese in the region are expected to come out and welcome its arrival.
While the posts are generally insipid and bland (as is typical of the output of the Chinese government and its relevant party organs), the comments to these posts are more enlightening. Many of the comments in Chinese are in favor of the overthrow of the Chinese government. Tiananmen Square is also highlighted, using of the Chinese catch-phrase “平反六四”, which means “redress for 64” (that is June 4, 1989). This comment (translated by Bing) is typical:
中國政府知法犯法，翻牆上違禁網站,結束一黨專政,平反六四!! (Chinese Government enforcing, prohibited Web sites on climbing over the wall to end the one-party dictatorship and vindicate the 64!!)
There are, of course, a few commentators who support the Chinese government, but these are usually shouted down.
If this is any hint as to what would happen if common people in China were allowed to use Facebook, then no doubt the Chinese government would have revolution on its hands. No wonder Facebook is blocked.
Then again, it is puzzling as to why the Chinese government is not moderating comments on its Facebook page. Perhaps the people actually running the page stand in agreement with the negative commentators?