Chinese Premier forced to censor himself

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. (Photo courtesy: CNN)
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. (Photo courtesy: CNN)

(, May07, 2018) – Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has learnt through bitter experience that he has to watch what he says, for he may end up having to censor himself when citizens seek to hold him to account for it, according to a report May 2, citing Radio France Internationale.

On Apr 27, Li delivered a speech to a State Council meeting on clean governance in Beijing. He made comments about allowing the people more oversight of government affairs. He was stated to have stressed his belief that the people of China should use modern information technology to supervise government affairs and dissuade officials from abusing their power or engaging in corruption.

The report said that immediately after this was posted on government websites, some netizens reflected: “What do people do to supervise you? The newspaper is under your control, television is under your control, the web is under your control, the radio is under your control, the infantry are under your control, the police are under your control, the 50 Cent Party is under your control, the cynics are under your control… the masses send out weibo, if you want it gone you delete, interrogate, threaten— anyone you say can be arrested. Please teach me central leaders: what can I do to supervise you?”

It led to Li’s speech being quickly censored. The report said the censored state media coverage now carried only a summary of his speech with a vague description of his call for cleaner governance and focus on his praise of actions taken so far.

Li’s speech had come days after former Politburo member Sun Zhengcai had stood trial for bribery, becoming the biggest “tiger” in years to be toppled amid Xi Jinping’s ongoing anti-corruption drive.

The report noted that in recent years, authorities had gone to great lengths to stifle grassroots action for more public oversight of the government, even as it appeared right in line with Xi’s anti-corruption efforts: the New Citizens’ Movement, led by rights activist Xu Zhiyong, was aggressively targeted by the Xi administration after publicly calling for better asset disclosure measures to be applied to officials.


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