Tuesday, April 17, 2012

China: Where Supression of Infomation makesThings Worse for the Government and the People

In China, which has autocratic rule, you can shut down the channels of information available in most countries. In the Middle Kingdom, you can pretty much say what you want in an e-mail to one other person. The problem comes when you try to make a statement to multiple people. Your Internet provider will have to quickly step in and make sure this e-mail won't make political waves. China used to be very good at shutting down the flow of information, but just lately a crash of a new high-speed train got wider notice than party leaders expected.
The New York Times and Wall Street Journal have very good coverage of China and the Wall Street Journal translates its stories into Chinese and posts them on a website. I read both papers, and from conversations with Chinese friends on the Mainland, seem to know more than they do about what's going on with Bo Xilai and the death of a British citizen.
It has all the ingredients of Greek Tragedy. An ambitious wife with a lust for power and money, combined with the death of a British citizen who was apparently helping the party leader of Chongqing get money out of the country to foreign bank accounts. However, when you listen to the stories many Chinese immigrants pass from person to person, you hear about sexual activities by both Bo and his wife, multiple murders and vast amounts of money. The stories defy credibility.
This is all because China has worked so hard to keep information from its people. Rumors abound when there is a lack of freedom of information. Whatever strange things happened in Chongqing, the rumors have taken over. Suppressing information only makes people want to know more. And in a country in which gossip is on a world class level, the most lurid is bound to get the most attention. At a crucial moment of change in the leadership of China, rumors only fuel an instability where citizens imagine the worst

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