Just because Communist China wants to look good during pre-Olympics days, Beijing has come up with new gag orders effective immediately. To include Hong Kong and Macau in that deal only shows how far the dictators are willing to go to maintain control and to protect their public image. The question is-who will have the guts to defy Beijing’s orders? Paging Reporters without borders...
The censorship law is the latest move in China's broad clampdown on the media and runs counter to official pledges to allow unimpeded foreign media access during the 2008 Olympic Games in the country.
The new measures, which took effect as soon as they were issued, are aimed at "regulating...in a sound and orderly manner" the news and information that foreign agencies broadcast in China as well as access to it by Chinese subscribers, Xinhua said.
News that "endanger(s) China's national security, reputation and interests" as well as any information that "disrupt(s) China's economic and social order, or undermine(s) China's social stability" are forbidden.
The limitations are to apply even in the former British colony of Hong Kong and the former Portuguese enclave of Macao, Xinhua said. (more)
"But why muscle in now? Perhaps Beijing's political elite feel threatened.
Freedom of information is unsettling to any authoritarian state. In recent years Beijing has alternatively creaked opened, then slammed shut, the television industry and lifestyle magazines. In recent months, the Communist government has also floated new rules restricting reporting of natural disasters and riots; increased oversight of local television broadcasters; convicted New York Times news assistant Zhao Yan and Singapore's Straits Times reporter Ching Cheong, and so on.
Xinhua is the Communist Party's mouthpiece, a symbol of what China really is. The reformers among Beijing's elites need to explain to their colleagues that returning to old habits of censorship won't protect their future." (more)
Is China taking human rights for granted? This piece conveys some of my very own concerns…
Here Traub's work is again insightful. While he provides an historical interpretation that centers on the "Century of Humiliation" and China's determination to safeguard its sovereignty, he more persuasively suggests that the PRC has adopted a completely realist approach to international relations, wherein national interests count for all. For the leadership of the PRC, the importance that the U.N. founders assigned to human rights is, in Traub's apt phrase, "little more than a Western hobbyhorse." This very well may be why Beijing so casually and completely discards its responsibilities under the U.N. Charter. (more)
So what do you think about China's rule of law? The guy replies: It's a great idea--they should try it sometimes!