Monday, January 31, 2011
As the unrest in Egypt stretches on, China has blocked the country's name from micro-blogs and is scrubbing related comments from the web. Has all this talk of freedom got them on edge?
Yes, but that's hardly news. The Chinese Communist Party keeps a close eye on the Internet and blocks any content that could constitute a threat. Typically, that means no references to the 'three Ts' (Tibet, Taiwan, Tiananmen) or criticism of one-party rule. Censors also crack down ahead of a special events, such as the 2008 Beijing Olympics, or after a political crisis, like the 2009 riots in Xinjiang.
What's more interesting is what they have said about the protests. On January 30, Global Times, a state-run newspaper, published an editorial warning, essentially, that democracy would fail in Tunisia and Egypt. An excerpt:
"In general, democracy has a strong appeal because of the successful models in the West. But whether the system is applicable in other countries is in question, as more and more unsuccessful examples arise.
In the West, democracy is not only a political system, but a way of life. Yet some emerging democracies in Asia and Africa are taking hit after hit from street-level clamor
Democracy is still far away for Tunisia and Egypt. The success of a democracy takes concrete foundations in economy, education and social issues."
In other words, revolution won't bring democracy. So don't even try."