Wednesday, November 18, 2009

China and Info-phobia

No one was surprised that Chinese censors blocked Obama's call for internet freedom. I imagine plenty of Chinese surfers heard it anyway, and evaluated it for themselves. This is the same government that condemned Western press coverage of the Iranian's people struggle to be heard as irresponsible rabble-rousing.

This is the same government that claims it is trying to modernize China (it's better than before, but still behind Guatemala in per capita income), and yet it treats its citizens as school children who have to be protected from the nasty realities of the world; it's also the same government that has increasingly regressed to a form of Han nationalism, regarding Tibetans and Uighurs among others as aliens who should be grateful for their (forced) homestead inside the Middle Kingdom. (And where are the voices of the always-overheated American Right calling attention to injustice in Xinjiang and Tibet? Disappointingly few and far between.)

What, exactly, is the Chinese Communist Party afraid will happen when China's citizens are given unfettered access to the world at large? Free speech and elections go a long way to improving lives and economies. A country ready to take on global responsibilities doesn't have such insecurities.

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