A few years down the road, when we look back on the recent Dongguan anti-prostitution crackdown (东莞扫黄) during the Chinese New Year holidays, we will perhaps realize that it was a monumental turning point in the evolution of Chinese politics. In my own view, it marks the first time that China’s official media lost their long-held ability to shape political narrative. For the first time, the people’s opinion has crushed the official spin.
Over the course of the event, the Chinese authorities revealed their loss of confidence in the legitimacy of their political power, as well as their anxiety over losing the hearts and minds of the people. Most importantly, it raises doubts in them as to whether they will be able to maintain their, heretofore, firm control over Chinese public opinion.
A Rare Faceoff
It all happened when CCTV aired a…
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