“Chinese central government doesn’t need to even lead public opinion: it just selectively stops censorship. In other words, just as censorship is a political tool, so is the absence of censorship,” Chinese journalist and blogger Michael Anti has said. Anti’s now popular quote is emblematic of the process of censorship of news media and social media in China.
This has salience in the ongoing border tensions between China and India. Experts commenting on the events at the Line of Actual Control have previously noted that the Chinese language state-media hasn’t given much attention to the story. But there has been growing interest in the story in China.
There was an intriguing silence in the Chinese language media narrative following the clash between the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and the Indian Army. Chinese language state-run news media agencies such as Xinhua and People’s Daily largely ignored the June 15 clash between the two sides. Besides some debate around who instigated the aggression and the number of causalities in the Galwan Valley on Sina Weibo, Chinese language media remained silent.
India’s ban on Chinese-owned apps was a turning point in the tone of the Chinese language media narrative. On June 29, “India bans 59 Chinese apps” was the second most searched hashtag on Twitter-like Chinese social media platform, Sina Weibo. It was also the second most searched phrase on Baidu search engine, the Chinese equivalent of Google. India’s second wave ban on China-owned apps