This is getting into bizarro-land.
If you read between the lines, it’s clear that the CCP is very nervous about something. When China was growing economically and forever expanding their economy, they were very open with the West. They tolerated the growth of the internet, the domestic big tech industry, and even a burgeoning movie industry with critically-acclaimed films. But clearly that China is gone. They’re worried, and it’s not just because they’re trying to take Jack Ma down a peg.
After years of 9% (okay, probably more like 5-6%) growth, their expansion is beginning to fall in line with other major world economies, only the Chines government has done a lot of lending over the past 10 years. And there’s a major housing bubble. Worse for them, a substantial amount of household wealth is tied to home ownership. And then there’s this news about a major construction firm, Evergrande, that is tanking and will probably need a Chinese bank bailout (i.e. their version of AIG).
This isn’t China trying to become tougher; this is China trying to make sure that they assert control over their subjects before the seed gets planted in their heads that they can express anger if their economy really capsizes.