Maybe it can’t:
Beijing’s clumsy social media campaigns against democracy in Hong Kong and Taiwan have failed but attempts to control local media are ramping up. …
[President] Xi believes that the Western values of a free press, free speech, and separation of powers contributed to the fall of the Soviet Union and that China must avoid them so as not to succumb to the same fate. But the Soviet Union fell just before the internet became today’s information superhighway. The decades to come will provide the largest and most dramatic test in history. Heather Zeiger, “Can a totalitarian state be an information society” at Mind Matters News
If the principle goal is to suppress information unpopular with Top People, won’t creativity necessarily dry up? The point that jumped out at me, assessing the many incidents that Zeiger recounts, is this: A totalitarian state can put out the eye of a journalist with impunity. But it can’t apparently match a 14-year-old brat at running a social media campaign.
China may be the biggest and most sophisticated experiment in history along those lines.
See also: Serious media in China have gone strangely silent With a compulsory new app, the government can potentially access journalists’ phones, both for surveillance and capturing data. Liu Hu sums up the scene in a few words: “Outside of China, journalists are fired for writing false reports… Inside China, they are fired for telling the truth.”