Even in China, the government, ostensibly so confident of the correctness of the path it has chosen, has been wary of the memories events in Cairo might evoke, and of the hopes it might rekindle.
China’s secret police are good at nipping political movements in the bud. But they missed the rise of the Falun Gong sect as a nationwide anti-government force. And despite their firewalls and armies of “harmonising” censors they might struggle to contain a microblog, text-message or social-network revolution.
Their efforts to filter news from the Middle East were only partially successful. That may be why they find the news is so unsettling—because the Chinese people might see it not as a recollection of a nightmarish past, but as a vision of a hopeful future. More at The Economist