China has spent years trying to stifle dissent and punish critics, but it is taking a step further, using a secret law to keep journalists from reporting on its government and clamping down on dissent in a bid to protect the country’s power and interests, according to a report by the state-run news agency Xinhua.
The article was published on Wednesday by the Institute for Political Studies, a think tank affiliated with the Communist Party’s top official, and it quoted a top official in the Chinese Communist Party as saying the crackdowns were “to keep the country stable, to prevent internal disturbances and to protect national interests.”
The crackdowns, which include jailing bloggers and other “hostile elements,” could result in “serious consequences” for Chinese society, the report said.
The government is targeting bloggers, online activists and other dissidents, and has made it a crime to criticize the government online.
According to the report, China has launched dozens of investigations and detained more than 1,000 individuals since last year.
A few months ago, the government detained the wife of a Uighur scholar and his wife in an apparent crackdown on criticism of the government, and another Uighursman has been detained for two years for allegedly publishing material critical of the regime.
In a rare statement released by the government last month, a senior official in Xinhua, the state news agency, called for a “political consensus” among “the public” to support the government.
The comments were in response to a series of articles in the state press that have sought to challenge the authority of the Communist party and highlight the growing power of the ruling elite.
Xinhua said the latest crackdowns are part of a campaign to “protect the interests of the party, consolidate its power and safeguard national interests, and to prevent the spread of hostile elements within the country.”
“The aim is to keep the party stable, the party secure and to maintain the party’s hegemony and control,” it said.
Last month, the United States announced it would expand sanctions against Chinese companies and individuals that are linked to human rights abuses, saying it was taking action against those responsible for the “gross human rights violations” by Chinese officials.
The US has also designated a Chinese bank, Jiaotong Capital Group, and the Uighu family of companies for suspected violations of human rights.