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Chinese Journalists Beat Censorship With Web 193

Posted by Zonk
from the end-run-around-the-man dept.
chris-chittleborough writes "When Beijing tried to make a journalist's pay at one newspaper depend on official reactions to their stories, a web-savvy reporter was able to create a groundswell of public opinion and reverse the move." From the article: "Just before the meeting, Li had posted a blistering letter on the newspaper's computer system attacking the Communist Party's propaganda czars and a plan by the editor in chief to dock reporters' pay if their stories upset party officials. No one told the editor in chief. For 90 minutes, he ran the meeting, oblivious to the political storm that was brewing. Then Li announced what he had done."
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Chinese Journalists Beat Censorship With Web

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  • Where is the ironical podcast?
  • by Tackhead (54550) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @02:23PM (#14769519)
    > Chinese Journalists Beat Censorship With Web

    "In Communist China, Web Journalist Censored, Beaten"

    (Someone had to say it.)

  • by plasmacutter (901737) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @02:23PM (#14769520)
    It's not the us where they can just rag on their leaders and thumb their nose without cosequence, as much as i'd love it to be otherwise. What's to stop the party from taking revenge or setting an example by making him "disappear"? I'm concerned for this guy.
  • followup (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @02:23PM (#14769525)
    Followup story: Chinese web censors beat journalists. With sticks.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    actually i predict he'll go mysteriously "missing" next week.....

  • Freedom fighters (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MikeRT (947531) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @02:27PM (#14769565) Homepage
    A lot of Americans, left and right, (yes, both sides do it equally) talk about giving up freedom like we can get it back in the next election. Freedom has rarely ever been given back in any form because an electorate said, "please sir, might we have some more." It usually takes overt acts of defiance which makes this journalist all the more heroic given which society we're talking about.

    The irony is that in America, anyone who votes for the two major parties is voting for the rise of Fascism. The Chinese live tyranny daily compared to us. If we ever get to the point where we live like them, it'll be our fault, and I don't see many Americans today who have the guts to pull a stunt anywhere near like this. A nation that won't even tell private security officers at stores like Best Buy to leave them alone when they're harrassing them, won't stay free long.
    • Totalitarian regimes always fall. As things get worse and worse, more and more people are negatively impacted, and as a result, more and more people start taking things seriously. Even if they're ignorant and don't really understand what's going on, most people wake up when they realize things are "majorly sucking". Even if they don't know exactly who to blame and haven't really thought it through, they know that they're angry and that, somehow, the people "in control" must be at fault. Eventually there are
      • I don't know cuba has been keeping it up pretty well. It probably won't survive much past castros death and eventually capitalism would breach it anyways, but Castro has been able to tiptoe on that delicate balance between tyranny and rebellion.
        • Ironically the US is why he's staying in power.

          Anti-US sentiment is keeping him in charge, the people there hate the US (except for those who flee there to come to the US - but they don't affect Cuban politics after their gone), which is only 90 miles away, and believe attacking him would be supporting the US, and hence they don't.

          That being said, without Castro, it will probably unravel fairly quickly, it is unlikely that his replacement will be as popular, and as able to hold things together, even with an
      • Define a timeframe for "always", though.

        If the timeframe is 200 years, then it may as well be "forever" for the people that live through it.
        • Far too short (Score:3, Informative)

          by hawk (1151)
          The Roman Empire was a military dictatorship from the beginning (The Imperator was the military commander).

          That's the First Century BC (I'll leave it to historians to quibble about whether the empire started with Caesar overstaying his term as Dictator or the crowning of Augustus), and it lasted the Fifth Century AD in the West--and another thousand years in the East.

          That's a very long time to wait . . .

          hawk
          • Yeah, but stuff happens faster now. We've had a few breakthroughs in communication technology since 1000AD, and it takes a lot less time to find a leader to blame now. BUSH! See? Look how fast I did that.
      • democratic societies always fail. people eventually realize they can vote other peoples rescources to themselves...
    • Read up on the battle of Athens, Tennessee. And no, it wasn't during the Civil War.
    • by jcr (53032) <jcr&mac,com> on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @03:13PM (#14770011) Journal
      The irony is that in America, anyone who votes for the two major parties is voting for the rise of Fascism.

      Yeah, but just try telling a democrat that Clinton was just as willing to put an end to our privacy as Bush, or telling a Republican that they're spending more than the Democrats did last time around, and they will work themselves into a hilarious snit. They have a massive ego investment in the idea that there's some practical difference between the wings of the Ruling Party.

      -jcr
    • Re:Freedom fighters (Score:5, Interesting)

      by lasindi (770329) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @03:52PM (#14770336) Homepage
      Freedom has rarely ever been given back in any form because an electorate said, "please sir, might we have some more." It usually takes overt acts of defiance which makes this journalist all the more heroic given which society we're talking about.

      A lot of people on Slashdot say this, and while I agree that it's very important to vigilantly guard civil liberties, I don't think this argument that "freedom given away 'temporarily' is impossible to get back easily" really flies. Also, the electorate usually doesn't "say" something timid like "might we have some more." It's usually a firmer "back off!" For example, look at the Alien and Sedition Acts that were passed under John Adams' administration; under our modern interpretation of the 1st Amendment, the laws were clearly unconstitutional, and a lot of Americans at the time thought so too. What happened? In 1800, the electorate threw John Adams and his Federalists out of power and voted in the Democratic-Republicans with Jefferson, who strongly opposed the acts. A similar episode came when Ford was kicked out when Americans voted after Watergate was exposed. The point here is that the American voters tend to tolerate relatively small transgressions on their freedoms, but if politicians take a real serious chunk, they'll let them know.

      The irony is that in America, anyone who votes for the two major parties is voting for the rise of Fascism.

      There is a slippery slope here, but you're turning it into a vertical cliff. The only censorship advocated by American political parties today is censorship of "obscene material" containing violence, sex, expletives, etc. While I completely agree that this ought to be covered under free speech, let's look at this honestly: this isn't political speech. Alberto Gonzales would like to could get rid of porn not because it's critical of Bush, but out of genuine (from his perspective) concern about "corrupting" children. The slope is slippery, but there is still a very significant bump that any politician wanting to do political censorship would have to overcome. However, even if political censorship is acceptable, that doesn't mean that all semblance of free speech disappears immediately. Look at many European countries, where denial of Holocaust or "hate" speech is prohibited. Such speech is banned for truly political reasons, and yet (nearly) free political discourse still survives in Europe.

      Again, I think that any censorship is silly and unethical. It's both futile and unnecessary; people will always get around it, and with free speech stupid ideas will die without logical underpinnings. But freedom is not quite as fragile as you think, and you completely exaggerate the political climate in America. Saying that censoring curse words by law on TV is the "rise of Fascism" would be like pointing at someone who just got a ticket for speeding and saying that they will turn into a serial killer. Yeah, the censorship of "obscene material" is wrong, but it's not the end of the world.

      A nation that won't even tell private security officers at stores like Best Buy to leave them alone when they're harrassing them, won't stay free long.

      Why do you see things through such a black and white lense? Some people don't mind if Best Buy takes steps to prevent shop-lifting, even if it's a bit of a bother sometimes. Many Slashdotters seem to think that if authorities even dare to check on whether or not you're breaking the law, whether through surveillance cameras at the Olympics, checking IDs at airports, or DRM on music, that is the end of the free world. The government can't be constantly watching because there is a danger of abuse, not because we're supposed to always presume that no one would ever violate the law when given the chance. Best Buy can't just lock you up because you look guilty, but you also cannot expect them to not do anything to prevent shoplifting.

      In short, there is a lot of gray area between not letting minors buy Grand Theft Auto and totalitarian political censorship that you are completely ignoring. It's not good, but it's not fascism.
      • by Stephen Samuel (106962) <samuelNO@SPAMbcgreen.com> on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @05:03PM (#14771009) Homepage Journal
        There is a slippery slope here, but you're turning it into a vertical cliff. The only censorship advocated by American political parties today is censorship of "obscene material" containing violence, sex, expletives, etc. While I completely agree that this ought to be covered under free speech, let's look at this honestly: this isn't political speech. Alberto Gonzales would like to could get rid of porn not because it's critical of Bush, but out of genuine (from his perspective) concern about "corrupting" children.

        You forgot about people who got censured and supressed for complaining about Bush's foray into Iraq "It's unamerican to criticize the president in a time of war".

        The thing is that this so-called war isn't like WWII where the start, end and opponents could be clearly deliniated by declarations of war and peace treaties. This 'war on terror' has no specific start date, and not prospective end time. The civil rights that dissapear in the name of 'The War On Terror' are not likely to be recovered anytime in the forseeable future.
        "The enemy" is the ephemeral 'terrorist', but terrorism has been so generically defined, at times, that organizing a general strike to signal opposition to an impugned government policy could classify as 'terrorism' and thus get the organizers quietly taken into custody with no notification to anybody (other than a body count a year later) and precious little in the way of civil rights.

        "they're terrorists, after all, not citizens.

        News organizations and reporters that portray Bush in a negative light are quietly frozen out of briefings, so they learn to be silent unless 'everybody else' is also criticizing him. The result is that public debate is quietly squashed.

        Similar things can be said about criticizing large corporations that media organizations rely on for advertising revenue.
        I've talked to the photo editor of a large daily who pointed to one of my images as an especially good news photo, "... But we'd never print it", because it would have promoted the viewpoint of the wrong side.
        She talked to me of how one well-respected photographer's images couldn't be used because he was 'to biased' (i.e. he was with the anti-logging protestors). That day, her paper back-paged the story of a large local protest against then-current logging practices. A couple of days later, the paper printed on the front page an image that was credited to the logging company that the protests were aimed at. It was an image of a smaller pro-logging rally that the company had orginized in another city.

        This is a local example that I was directly involved in, but there are examples elsewhere. Censorship is alive and well and living at a news source near you. It's just not official.. As Li Datong said in TFA: "A newspaper can evaluate reporters that way, and many do, but it can't be so blatant about it."

        • This 'war on terror' has no specific start date

          September 11, 2001
        • You forgot about people who got censured and supressed for complaining about Bush's foray into Iraq "It's unamerican to criticize the president in a time of war".

          Speech offered to shame or belittle the President's critics is neither censorship nor suppression. It is simply more free speech. True censorship would manifest itself either as laws making it illegal to criticize the President, or as overt arrests of the President's critics. In fact, the example you give above proves that we have free speech,

        • You forgot about people who got censured and supressed for complaining about Bush's foray into Iraq "It's unamerican to criticize the president in a time of war".

          No, you forgot that the people who say that are entitled to just as much free speech as opponents of the war.

          The thing is that this so-called war isn't like WWII where the start, end and opponents could be clearly deliniated by declarations of war and peace treaties. This 'war on terror' has no specific start date, and not prospective end tim
      • >In short, there is a lot of gray area between not letting minors buy Grand Theft Auto and totalitarian political censorship that you are completely ignoring. It's not good, but it's not fascism.

        Arrested for a political T-shirt [mercurynews.com]

        Arrested and prosecuted for a political sign [scpronet.com]

        Three years in prison for a political cartoon [newsday.com]

        Grounds for concern, I hope you'll agreee, even if you don't consider it Fascism [themodernword.com].

        • Arrested for a political T-shirt

          The Capitol police has apologized for the incident, so it appears that this was a result of unprepared police officers, not a policy. In any case, your right to wear a political T-shirt and march through town with it is as certain today as it has always been (in fact more so than at other times in our history).

          Arrested and prosecuted for a political sign

          I wish Bush wasn't so shielded from criticism, but this is more of a "it would be good for him" than "OMG he's a ty
    • The irony is that in America, anyone who votes for the two major parties is voting for the rise of Fascism.

      No, the two party system is simply the byproduct of the need for a elected majority to make law and control the US government. The republicans and democrats ones simply exchange members from the political center in long period cycles. I see the purity of Reagan's party (smaller government, fewer taxes, strong defense, moral clarity) has been sorely compromised in the present by moderates. Today's r

  • by ReidMaynard (161608) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @02:29PM (#14769577) Homepage
    In a related story, senior editor Li Datong has been escorted from the city, for some restful quail hunting....
  • by cp.tar (871488) <cp.tar.bz2@gmail.com> on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @02:31PM (#14769590) Journal
    Wow.

    Well, there's a plan for defeating censorship... it only takes someone outside China with an IM client and a group of people willing to forward the messages.

    Especially if the messages end with "... and Kwai Chang Caine, who taught his son wisdom in a Shaolin temple, forgot to forward this message. An evil force destroyed the temple. Father and son each believed the other had perished. Then Kwai Chang Caine found the message in his chat log and forwarded it to all the people on his contact list. Now they are reunited..."
  • by ndogg (158021) <the.rhornNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @02:31PM (#14769595) Homepage Journal
    I've been noticing a lot of press on China lately, and it seems that reporters are taking braver actions than before. Do these events portend the fall of the China Communist Party? Will the CPC fall from within? If it does, that would be a wonderful tribute to the strength of human will, especially considering that the Iron Curtain required external help.
    • Well from what I've been reading china is slowly coming around to the success of capitalism (aka they know they need to leave Hong Kong alone, and apparently they have a test capitalism city forgot what its called.) Strangly they believe they can loosen the reins on the economy while keeping tight social controls. One can only wonder if the capitalistic regions will rebel first because of their knowledge of what is truly happening, or will the poor regions rebel first simply out of desperation.
    • A. Some chinese people are doing very well financially. People with good pay checks don't riot unless they are under threath to loose them. The LA riots did not take place in the hills.

      B. There are those who claim China is becoming more capatalist. Yeah right. Only those who do not have a clue as to what it means believe that. China very much has its own system and it isn't what you think it is.

      C. They only got to look to the west. No not the US, Russia to see what happens when the communist leave. Do the

    • The former Soviet Union collapsed largely from internal decay, so I'm not sure what "external help" you're referring to. If China's government falls, it will be from their own failure to adapt. As the saying goes, a great civilization is never conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within.
  • by digitaldc (879047) * on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @02:33PM (#14769611)
    The party's propaganda department had targeted Freezing Point in its media crackdown because it often published investigative reports that embarrassed officials, as well as essays on history, society and current events that challenged the party line.

    It surprises me that they didn't just call the cops to come in there, arrest everyone and shut the whole thing down.

    Or just lock the doors to the place and tell everyone to stay home and do some censored blogging.
  • by TomSawyer (100674) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @02:36PM (#14769652) Homepage
    For 90 minutes, he ran the meeting, oblivious to the political storm that was brewing. Then Li announced what he had done.

    Do not hire any more journalists with noticeable bulges in their pant crotches caused by a case of having massive balls.

  • I read about this from a Digg post and noticed that these events weren't exactly new - but the recent exposure here in the US has brought it to our attention.

    Li Datong, the author of the memo (I can't help but be reminded of Jerry Maguire), was basically fired for this.

    "They are being transferred to work in the paper's news research department, which they jokingly referred to in their letter as 'the warehouse.'"

    from "Radio Free Asia" [rfa.org]
  • Li Datong's Letter (Score:5, Informative)

    by atomic_toaster (840941) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @02:38PM (#14769674)
    For those who are interested in the letter that got the Chinese censors so up in arms, a copy of Li Datong's letter can be found here [zonaeuropa.com].
  • good bye old red (Score:2, Insightful)

    by freg (859413)
    The old ways of China are falling right before our eyes. The question is will this great nation degress into civil war or will enough of this young free-thinking generation pull together and peacefully take the reigns from the old guard. If the latter happens America may be left wondering where its world dominance went so quickly. I don't know enough about China's political situation to guess which route they will take though.
  • Freedom Fighters (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @02:41PM (#14769701) Homepage Journal
    In China journalists brave jail and execution for independence. In America journalists are afraid to ask politicians questions about their crimes.

    You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone.
    • In America journalists are afraid to ask politicians questions about their crimes.

      No, they are not. American journalists swarm all over any politician who's in any kind of trouble, if they think there's a chance of being the next Woodward or Bernstein.

      -jcr
    • by SuperBanana (662181) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @03:40PM (#14770230)
      In China journalists brave jail and execution for independence.

      Li didn't seem all that worried about either, to be honest. I think you're romanticizing things a tad.

      In America journalists are afraid to ask politicians questions about their crimes.

      So, which is more insideous? The blatant "don't go against the groupthink, or we'll kill you"?

      Or, the subtle "don't go against the groupthink, because we give nothing useful in a public press conference, and you won't be given the good stuff anymore like your colleagues. You'll be labelled a 'biased liberal', and because nobody in the administration will speak to you, you'll be unemployable"?

      Study the White House press core situation, and tell me that isn't censorship in full force. The press secretary refutes any serious question with almost every trick in the logical-fallacy handbook. Unless you play along, you don't get the "government official, speaking on condition of anonymity" or "after the press conference, Scott McClellan said privately..." tidbits. Remember the days when presidents would be the ones speaking at a press conference, not a guy who keeps saying, "The President feels..."?

      I recall reading recently how the WH press core got all bent out of shape about getting the news late about Cheney's little shooting incident. Where was the outrage over something that matters, like domestic spying? And if they were truly so angry, why didn't they just all get up and leave?

      The White House press core are like crack whores. They rely on yet despise their pimps, occasionally developing some backbone or attitude. But at the end of the day, they're still just puppet addicts.

      • We can't tell whether Li was worried, or whether he was brave, or both. But journalists do risk jail and execution for stunts like that when they don't go right. Maybe Li was skillful, maybe he was lucky, maybe he was just assured of success on a wave of Chinese history. But he could have just complied with the government control. Standing up, even when confident of success, is still brave. Compare that to our coward American journalists.

        Scotty McLiar is the trick, the john - not the pimp. The pimps are the
      • Li didn't seem all that worried about either, to be honest. I think you're romanticizing things a tad.

        I wouldn't say he's romanticizing:

        Li Zhi jailed. [rsf.org]
        Shi Tao jailed [rsf.org]

        For starters....

    • To explain the dutch broadcasting system completly would take more space then the /. servers have but simply, we got multiple broadcasters who share stations according to popularity. Each broadcaster usually comes from a certain background, socialist VARA, Christian EO, Youth BNN.

      Because they survive partly on goverment grants they got to make responsible programming. So lots of boring talkie news programs and very little pure mindless entertainment to compete with the commercial stations.

      This was thought

      • Whenever I've (rarely) had the misfortune of being bored enough in Holland to watch TV, it seemed that only the weather is shown.

        That royalty you've got is a joke. But at least they're not as ugly as their German cousins across the Channel. Maybe that's why they're on TV. Though why Catholics worship Protestant royalty is worthy of further explanation, even if not on Slashdot.
  • by Billosaur (927319) * <wgrother@NosPAm.optonline.net> on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @02:48PM (#14769783) Journal
    The chief editor stammered and rushed back to his office, witnesses recalled. But by then, Li's memo had leaked and was spreading across the Internet in countless e-mails and instant messages. Copies were posted on China's most popular Web forums, and within hours people across the country were sending Li messages of support.

    The government's Internet censors scrambled, ordering one Web site after another to delete the letter. But two days later, in an embarrassing retreat, the party bowed to public outrage and scrapped the editor in chief's plan to muzzle his reporters.

    This is a perfect example of both the promise and the peril of the Internet. The fact is Li, but moving quickly and quietly, was able to get his story out on the Web and probably global during the span of a 90-minute meeting. It took two days for the Communist Party in China to realize that the information had travelled beyong their reach and they had no choice but to back down.

    It would be interesting to know the speed of propogation of any piece of information on the Internet, in other words, given that a piece of information is placed somewhere (blog, news site, etc.), how long would it take that piece of information to travel globally? I suppose you could figure out a rough approximation by how many times the information is linked to and from where. But even with no hard data, it goes to show that any information, reliable (in this case) or erroneous (possibly) can travel so far afield that authorities can do little to stop it without advanced warning.

    • It took two days for the Communist Party in China to realize that the information had travelled beyong their reach and they had no choice but to back down.

      Back down? How about "bide their time". The journalist, Mr. Li, has already been reassigned to a "news research" department which apparantly does neither news nor research. Their policy will be quietly reintroduced after the furor has died down.

      Similar to the way things work in the U.S., when an unpopular bill gets defeated then all the nasty parts sho
    • It would be interesting to know the speed of propogation of any piece of information on the Internet, in other words, given that a piece of information is placed somewhere (blog, news site, etc.), how long would it take that piece of information to travel globally?

      It's called Fark.com, and I'd say about oh... 5 minutes?

  • pretty cool. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Phybersyk0 (513618) <phybersykoNO@SPAMstormdesign.org> on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @02:49PM (#14769790)
    If you RTFA it's pretty cool. Li attacks the Communist Party with real communism. Whodathunk?

    The core of these regulations is that the standards for appraising the performance of the newspapers will not be on the basis of the media role according to Marxism. It is not based upon the basic principles of the Chinese Communist Party. It is not based upon the spirit of President Hu Jintao about how power, rights and sentiments should be tied to the people. It is not based upon whether the masses of readers will be satisfied. Instead, the appraisal standard will depend upon whether a small number of senior organizations or officials like it or not.
  • by Ulf667 (227615) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @02:54PM (#14769842)
    Li Datong and his deputy were still fired, and as Li was the editorial heart of the China Youth Daily, even if the policy was not applied, censorship still won the day.

    This seems more of a loss than a victory to me.
    • just another hole in the damn, brother.
    • "...in January, propaganda officials finally shut down the section. Before doing so, they called executives from all the major Web sites to a special meeting and warned them not to allow any discussion of the action.

      The news spread quickly anyway. "


      I'm constantly impressed by the selflessness of Chinese people who risk their job and their freedom for the good of their country.
  • ... is change from within. This is wonderful news.
  • I bet he has a hard time existing on anything but the charity of others for a very long long time.

    So it was a Phyrric victory at best.

  • I wonder how the existance of a censored google would have effected the equation. Would it have made it easier for word to spread quickly?

    Notice how the government had the ability to censor any web page it wanted, but that even so, word spread faster than the governement could stop it.

    I'd say a general case was just made *for* the morality of companies offering censored internet services in China.

    If email services were not a prevalent as they were, censored or not, Li might not have gotten away with it.
  • Good for him! Although it makes me quite concerned what could happen to this guy for such a bold move. Can we follow up with him periodically to make sure he's safe?
  • by realmolo (574068) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @03:50PM (#14770316)
    Why haven't we stopped all diplomatic relations with China? Why haven't we imposed trade sanctions?

    Oh, right, China supplies us with cheap manufactured goods, and makes various U.S. companies richer.

    Apparently, being a totalitarian, human-rights-suppressing government is *perfectly fine* with the United States as long as you supply us with lots of cheap goods. Oh, and buy up our debt so we can continue our fiscally irresponsible ways.
     
    • If we cut ourselves off from China, they will stop buying up our debt. If they stop buying our debt, America will meltdown overnight. As is, it's a live and let live situation: They keep buying our debt, we keep buying their products. Until we stop diving into debt, we will be forced to keep playing with nasty governments.

      Goddamnit, WHY doesn't Congress UNDERSTAND this! We HAVE to stop running up debt. Just like a stereotypical American, Congress is living beyond it's means, is buried up to it's eyes in
    • While Chinese made goods have saved American consumers billions of dollars a year, trade with China has also helped to bring 100 million Chinese out of absolute poverty (under $1 per day).

      Certainly China is doing much better these days than back when Mao starved 20 million Chinese to death with farm collectivism!
  • by acoustix (123925) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @04:22PM (#14770613) Homepage
    Google knows that censoring the Internet is impossible. China's government still doesn't understand that it's impossible. Li proved that it's impossible. This is one reason why Google needs to succeed in China. The Chinese will use Google to find what they're looking for, regardless of what the Government tries to do. I believe this will slowly lead to the uncensoring of China.

    Of course, I could be dead wrong.

    -Nick
  • by RomulusNR (29439) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @04:23PM (#14770618) Homepage
    Clearly China does not do a good enough job of discrediting and ostracizing its critics in the public sphere. And clearly it has not done a good job at making the Chinese people self-centered and aloof from each other.

    Play the same scenario in the story out in the US in your head, and imagine what would happen. Major media would ignore it. Mass populace would ignore it, writing it off as crackpottery, bolstered by the lack of media coverage. Most people would delete the message as an "obvious spam" or "liberal bullshit" or some such. Result effect: zero.

    The Chinese people actually *care about* and *believe* these sorts of things. That's where the PRC has clearly failed. They have not properly desensitized and disinterested their public. They need a heavy dose of selfishness injected into their population. Then they could get away with an awful lot more.

    Screwing US tech and CRM workers with offshoring? Who cares? Screwing the working poor with no benefits? Who cares? Screwing the poor with social service cuts? Who cares? Screwing the economy, international affairs, and budget with a poorly defensible war? Who cares?

    Clearly, the Chinese people care far too much.
  • Beijing tried to make a journalist's pay at one newspaper depend on official reactions to their stories

    Am I the only one getting tired of seeing China copy all of our ideas? This is just getting out of control. Next thing you know, they'll be spying on their citizenry. Look, China: You guys need to become a democracy if you want to use our ideas. You're only allowed to quash minority opinion when it's done through an electorate.
  • Do you cretins actually think that you are *free* because you get to criticize President dubuya on the internet? Our country is being sold out wholesale from under our noses. We go $200 billion a year deeper in debt to China alone. Money we have no way of paying back. The Federal government has a debt in the trillions, going up at half-a-trillion per year. The federal deficit now is money that we are BORROWING to pay the INTEREST on outstanding debt. As a nation, we are charging our mastercard bill on our
    • but your children will be trying to sneak onto fishing boats headed for china to try to get work so they can send a few yen back to feed their starving families.

      Yuan (RMB), not yen. Yen is Japan.

    • btw what is most of americas national debt denominated in?

      if its denominated in foriegn currency then they are pretty much stuck with it but if its denominated in dollars then hyperinflation will effectively wipe it out.

      • Most of the Federal debt is in T-bills and other negotiable instruments that are redeemed after a fairly short period and have to be re-issued. If investors lose confidence in the dollar, the Government will have to finance its debt in other currencies - if it can borrow money at all. Hyperinflation happens when the government defaults on its debts, can't borrow any more, and just starts printing money to cover its expenses. Germany did this just before WWII. They got to the point where they were devaluing

Prediction is very difficult, especially of the future. - Niels Bohr

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