After seeing the ANSWER anti-war protest on Saturday and the pro-war rally on Sunday C-SPAN as well as the myriad of authors and historians who appeared at National Book Festival on C-SPAN2, it makes me happy to live in a nation that embraces freedom of speech, thought and opinion. Unfortunately, the people of China don't have such freedoms under their Communist masters in Beijing. Take a look at what the Financial Times has to report on an ever increasing crackdown on the press, blogs, INTERNET News-sites, text messaging and various other communications that express views or news that differs from the PRC's line:
Earlier this month, Shi Tao, a Chinese journalist, was jailed for 10 years after sending out a government memo about the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre to foreign websites.And folks of the left keep on trying to pin such actions on the breast pocket of President Bush. Maybe they need to take a strong look at the 21st Century version of a book-burning that the tyrants in Beijing are doing with the recent crackdown.
According to Reporters Without Borders, the international watchdog, Yahoo had co-operated with the Chinese authorities by providing information that linked his personal email account with the memo, leading to his conviction.
The state council information office on Sunday explained the reason for introducing these measures. "We need to better regulate the online news services with the emergence of so many unhealthy news stories that will easily mislead the public."
A number of domestic and foreign news providers already practice self-censorship by blocking sites and not allowing message postings on sensitive topics.
Under these regulations, news organisations need to get approval from the state council information office for publishing not only their own content but also the sites by other organisations featuring news stories.
Services that provide online news stories, feature bulletin board systems or send news updates in text messages are subject to the regulation.
Media groups attached to the central government or under provincial governments have to seek approval before providing any stories to other online news sites.