By Liu Caiyu
A cyber police force in Southwest China’s Sichuan Province listed fighting extremism as its foremost mission to purify cyberspace, which has sparked wide discussions online on Tuesday.
Extreme organizations use so-called justice to influence the public and unite those with radical views when they are in need, aiming to deliberately disturb the public order, and spark conflicts rather than solve problems, the cyber police force of the Mianyang Public Security Bureau said on its Sina Weibo post on Monday.
It said extremist organizations worldwide are financially supported by certain forces to push the agenda of their patrons on the internet. When the forces hide behind military strikes or a trade war against the country, such extreme organization and individuals would show up to deliver dire forecasts on the economy, spread anxiety, smear certain industries and create social disorder and tensions.
Extremism can be widely found on Chinese social media and this needs to be regulated as this kind of behavior can incite public emotions and worsen social contradictions, Wang Sixin, a media law professor at the Communication University of China in Beijing, told the Global Times.
The Mianyang police also said in the post that extreme organizations, including those that support extreme feminism, create social opposition in the guise of fighting for women’s rights and animal protection which were listed as terrorists by many countries.
Animal protection groups such as the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) are considered one of the most serious terror threats to the US, a CNN report in 2005 said.
Meanwhile, fighting extreme feminism and animal protection sparked heated discussions among netizens. The post was commented on and shared by thousands of netizens as of press time.
The Global Times reached the network security detachment of the Mianyang Public Security Bureau on Tuesday. A detachment officer, surnamed Zhang, confirmed with the Global Times that fighting extreme feminism and animal protection is part of their ongoing mission against extremism.
When extreme feminism and animal protection are rampant in the world, China has also become a place where such content can be seen online. Fighting those trends should be the mission of every netizen and internet law-enforcement officer. “We shall be the first to stand out,” Zhang explained.
Once extremist-related information is detected on social media platforms such as Sina Weibo and Baidu Tieba, the Mianyang internet police will first report the offending posts to the platform, Zhang said, noting that individuals and internet celebrities are major targets.
In 2016, several dog lovers tried to ram a truck carrying 320 dogs on an expressway in Langfang, North China’s Hebei Province to rescue the dogs. They beat up the truck driver, ended up getting hurt themselves, and caused hours of congestion on the expressway.
Similar stories of rescuing dogs occurred frequently in recent years. China’s traffic law clearly states that any group or individual shall not block vehicles on the highway.
Legal experts reached by the Global Times said that China supports the fight against extremism, but since China has no clear definition of extreme feminism and animal protection, when police enforce their legal rights, they should avoid excessive use of law enforcement measures.
The Global Times found that China’s counter-terrorism law states that the cyber security department, public security department and state security department should keep an eye on online information that contains terrorism and extremism. They are required to delete and stop the information from further spreading.
The law doesn’t mention extreme feminism and animal protection.
Zhu Lijia, a professor of public management at the Chinese Academy of Governance in Beijing, warned that local police should also strictly follow China’s laws and regulations on the protection of women rights and animals, rather than simply enforcing their legal rights by making personal judgments on what they consider extreme feminism and animal protection.