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Guest Thinkers

China: Foolishly Earnest About Its Media Control

Nobody likes a showoff, China, and now that you’re rising like the sea level during a tsunami, the world’s nations are trying to put you down. Will the world ever understand you?

Take, for example, the recent release of a secret recording made during the final hours of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference where you stonewalled Western nations who were bargaining for COemissions reductions, or your recent plans to curtail online anonymity or your new law meant to force telecommunications companies and media outlets to protect “state secrets”.

You’re reckless, the people say. You let poison slip onto the production line of toothpastes and children’s toys. No legal system, they say. No government accountability or recourse for victims of injustice. Then you try to please them by making a law: telecommunications and media companies must help you protect state secrets. And no sooner have you made a law than the Committee to Protect Journalists cries afoul.

And no doubt the New York Times will get you on this one for your exceptional ability to quiet dissent in what would otherwise be a lovely democratic country. You know, a lovely democratic country like the U.S. of A. You see, China, your mistake has been your earnestness in an increasingly ironic world. You’re falling behind the Zeitgeist. For every law that restricts the freedom of the Chinese people, you should be making an announcement about how committed you are to unrestricting freedom. Take a lesson from us: President Obama might as well be glass sculpture of himself, a naked glass sculpture—that is how transparent his government is. Unless, of course, something is deemed…wait for it…a state secret!

You’ll never get the respect you deserve from the International Community, China, until you start lying to everyone about your intentions and creating a consumer culture too immature and preoccupied to take what you do seriously. The development of an independent press is a good and necessary first step. It is the first step to feeding the press state-biased information and eventually new media will stretch responsible reporting so thin that news producers take your word as gospel, or red booklet as the case may be.


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