Chinese censorship…

January 5, 2009

I just came across an article on BBC’s online news site titled China to ‘clean up’ the internet. The piece describes the attempt to “rid [the internet] of unhealthy, vulgar and pornographic content” by closing access to sites as horrendous as Google and the most popular Chinese search engine, Baidu. These actions follow a long string of campaigns that have sought to end free speech, one of the most basic human rights, in the country.

Chinese Flag

Previously, shipments from Amazon have faced government inspection upon arrival on Chinese soil. Sites, such as the popular Tianya, which has a generous amount of content that critiques the government, have been openly addressed as problems sites by federal officials. Now, after a temporary lift of bans on certain sites preceding the summer’s Olympic games, the Chinese government is implementing a witch hunt to seek out what it defines as vulgar material.

The excuse the government makes for these actions is their duty to protect the morality of the populace. This is achieved by ridding “unhealthy” sites that impair the physical and mental well-being, particularly in youth. Tell me, China: what physical manifestations result from using internet searches? Perhaps one physical result would be the mass uprising and civil war that may occur from reading sites like Tainya, where the population could realize the unfair treatment they are receiving from their government. I suppose that may be the threat of these vlugar, unhealthy sites: an informed public could be a dangerous public.

No one seems worried by the restrictions being placed on the Chinese. With the country growing as a world power, each country is heavily reliant upon their exports and financial dominance. I suppose we do not have time to question their own morality when we are so indebted to them financially. You do not question the master; you bow down and accept your cheap clothing, toys, electronics, and other manufactured items. Yet, in America, we only hear about the slow control that Vladmir Putin is seizing in Russia, ready in the (Presidential) wings to assume a new term as Prime Minister. Or of North Korea’s Kim Jong Il and the seemingly forced enslavement of his people in a communist system they do not want. Or of Chavez in Venezuela. Or of Ahmadinejad in Iran. How many Americans can actually name the Chinese Premier or President of China? Not many, I would guess. I, personally, had to look it up.

Let us start 2009 by paying more attention to this and other ignored crises. And let us speak out anyway we can (while we can).

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