“In reality, the accusations are loosely connected to cybersecurity laws, which contains only a single clause related to content management,” a team of China analysts at political risk consulting firm Eurasia Group, said in a Tuesday note.
“Instead, the Cyberspace Administration of China appears to be simply advertising the law — its crowning achievement — while enforcement is driven by an uptick in more prosaic repression and risk-aversion ahead of the 19th Party Congress,” the note continued.
As one of the world’s most-censored nations, Beijing regularly clamps down on social and traditional media in the lead-up to meetings of top political brass.
Slated for October or November, the Communist Party’s 19th National Congress is due to unveil new leadership that will govern the country for the next half-decade. Five of the seven members of the Politburo Standing Committee, the ruling party’s key decision-making body, are due to retire, but Xi is widely expected to stay on for a second term.
But even if he keeps his seat at the table, Xi still remains under the spotlight as he tackles challenging obstacles such as financial market liberalization and highly leveraged state-owned enterprises. So to demonstrate strength and uniformity before the high-profile meeting, Beijing is expected to prioritize steady economic growth and orderly societal conduct.
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