Sunday, July 10, 2005

Chinese censorship ... A friend of mine is currently in China. The following is the bulk of an email she sent out:
Was watching CNN on the treadmill today and during a "CNN Celebrates it's 25th anniversary" commercial, important scenes in recent world history were shown (in clips). Naturally, Tiananmen was included (the theme was "where were you when?") and as the commercial started to show the (in)famous tank stopped by the lone man in Tiananmen, the broadcast cut ENTIRELY to black and then came on like 10 seconds later. I literally laughed out loud.

The funny thing about this place is that on the surface there is this very open and dynamic commercial sector that is striving to place China on the world stage. And yet, to an obviously English-speaking and very specific/educated audience (eg. the people watching CNN in China which are only foreigners or those rich enough to afford satellite TV and/or visit a foreign hotel), they need to censor something that happened over 15 years ago. What, may I ask, are they
so afraid of?
The worst part of this is that after I asked permission to post the email, she asked me not to use her name for fear of being identified by Chinese immigration. I hadn't planned on doing so anyway -- unless specifically told otherwise I don't use anything other than initials -- but the fact that she took the threat of deportation sufficiently seriously is chilling.


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