chapter  12
22 Pages

Conformity and Dissent

The Arts, the Media, and Social Control
ByJune Teufel Dreyer

This chapter identifies the Maoist concept of the role of literature and the arts in creating the ideal socialist society and the tensions it caused between the party and members of the PRC’s literary and artistic community. The CCP’s changing views on what was acceptable created uncertainty; some have chosen to self-censor, others to test the limits of the party’s tolerance. Following the Tiananmen demonstrations, the party state’s concern with instability resulted in progressive decreases in freedom of expression. The leadership reacted to the rapid spread of social media through a variety of censorship methods, most recently employing artificial intelligence techniques to track and record citizens’ movements and opinions. In an ongoing cat-and-mouse game, motivated individuals continue to seek ways to evade these controls.