After the terrible earthquake this May, some officials from the government went out to the stricken areas. There, they spoke to people whose children, parents, and loved ones had been killed when the buildings they were in collapsed around them. Their mission was not to console and comfort them. They were not there to provide grief counseling. They were not there to help rebuild the fallen structures or bury the dead.
They were there to make sure that the survivors of the earthquake did not blame the government for the poor construction of the buildings that led to all those deaths. Because a lot of people thought that building codes should have been enforced and rescue operations had been botched by the government. Sichuan’s earthquake was on the verge of being China’s Hurricane Katrina, at least until the Thought Police got called to the scene.
Dissent was quickly stifled. So was foreign inquiry into those same issues. Domestic criticism of the government and the Chinese Communist Party was retroactively deleted from internet websites and censored prior to publication in newspapers. As we have seen elsewhere, the force of so many people having so much to say creates gaps in the efficacy of the censors, so there were some people who had made publications critical of the government, venting anger and grief over the loss of their children, that escaped the control of the loyalty enforcers and got to the outside world. Those people have been identified and jailed.
Even after the fact, official government minders have stayed on the scene to make sure that people who speak out to foreign journalists about poor construction of schools resulting in the unnecessary deaths of nearly 300 children did not leak out to the outside world. Wouldn’t want to portray China in a negative light before the Olympics. (They failed.)
I don’t know how else to describe thought control other than in ugly, brutal terms. But it is morning duty for loyal Communist party members in China. And it is both frightening and evil.