January 01, 2006
The strike at the Beijing News could well turn the newspaper brand into a beacon of Chinese freedom. Covered yesterday at this blog, the Taipei Times sheds more light on the matter today:
The good news to come out of this is that Chinese readers are becoming more conscious of—and dissatisﬁed with—the way that their rights are being trampled on by their government. It takes guts to go on strike over such matters in China—where police can throw people in jail on groundless charges of threatening the national security, and all in the absence of due process.
The reason cited by the government for the personnel change at the Beijing News was “political security”—a typically lame excuse used to arrest people or suppress opponents or perceived irritants. …
The popularity of newspapers known for publishing critiques of social issues and coverage of social discontent suggests that there is strong demand for knowledge among average Chinese. Beijing News itself is very popular among intellectuals and white-collar workers.
If those oppressed Chinese people living under the Politburo’s control do desire freedom, then the Beijing News might become as grand a symbol as the student in front of the tank at Tiananmen Square in 1989. In which case this incident could backﬁre on the Politburo, which really needs to live by the Confucian values that have worked in China (well, at least till the Sung Dynasty) and successful modern Asian economies (e.g. Singapore).
But, according to the Reds, Tiananmen never happened (at least not ofﬁcially and publicly). (It seems hypocritical to attack Japan for ignoring its atrocities during World War II. Even if I believe Japan needs to admit to the deaths of 32 million Chinese and its war role, but that is another story.)
It also seems hypocritical to block certain web sites to the Chinese people, including sites from the Republic of China, if indeed it believes in a “one China” ideal.
Before any Communists come and attack me, as they had done after an earlier blog post, let me say this: show me why your oppression is better and I will consider it.
But I believe in the freedom of all Chinese people, not just those who have free elections in the Republic. And that freedom can only mean success for the Chinese brand, raising it from having the image of a mere manufacturing base to a grander, richer one where its history and culture are universally admired.
Till then, the Chinese brand remains cluttered, with questionable brand equity, and with fear surrounding just what its vision is when it comes to international commerce. permalink
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Not an awful lot of news coming out of Red China by way of updates as of today, though the News’s web site continues to be updated. Had an extra thought: what if the strike was staged by the Communists to boost circulation? Call me a conspiracy theorist.
Latest news is mainly op–ed: from the Christian Science Monitor (on Red China curbing dissent), and The Daily Telegraph. Both speak of other journalists held without trial.
Today’s update on this story: Media Channel has some news. One quote: ‘An editor of a section covering national and social affairs said, “Most of the editors caught a cold yesterday. Today, surprisingly, most of them recovered, though a few of them are still sick.”’
The most promising section in this story is that Chinese bloggers living under the Politburo’s shadows have been brave enough to speak out. ‘One Beijing News editor wrote on his Web log, “There is no way to retreat. The butcher has lifted a knife … so let's just die in a beautiful way.” That posting later was taken down by its host, Sina.com, but other bloggers reposted the comments by displaying an image of the original posting.’ Bravo!
A few more updates here via Reporters without Borders at this link at IFEX.Post a Comment
Two quotes here, which are promising, show some people are willing to risk their lives for freedom: ‘Despite the censorship, there have been rumblings of discontent in blogs and chat rooms frequented by Xin Jing Bao journalists. “When a newspaper’s editor is an imbecile, his staff will also be stupid,” said one journalist using “House of the North” as his pseudonym. “There will be self-censorship at all levels. Our newspaper will have no more decent articles.”’ And: ‘one of the dismissed deputy editors, Li Duoyu, wrote[,] “Once the storm has passed, will calm return? Will the journalists again dare to develop their ideas as freely and sincerely as in the past?”’
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