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Telling the Truth In Today's China

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the shame-about-the-government dept.

Censorship 157

eldavojohn writes "Inside the land of the Great Firewall censorship is rampant although rarely transparent. Foreign Policy has a lengthy but eyeopening recounting of what it's like being an editor for the only officially sanctioned English business publication inside the most populated country on Earth. Eveline Chao of the magazine 'China International Business' writes in her piece 'Me and My Censor' about her censor named Snow, the three taboo T's (Taiwan, Tibet, and Tiananmen), a bizarre government aversion to flags and how she was 'offered red envelopes stuffed with cash at press junkets, sometimes discovered footprints on the toilet seats at work, and had to explain to the Chinese assistants more than once that they could not turn in articles copied word for word from existing pieces they found online.' Anecdotes abound in this piece including the story of a photojournalist who 'once ran a picture he'd taken in Taiwan alongside an article, but had failed to notice a small Taiwanese flag in the background. As a result, the entire staff of his newspaper had been immediately fired and the office shut down.' " (Read more, below.)Eldavojohn continues: "From shoddy CYA maps to language misunderstandings to an elusive 'words group' faxed out by government censors, this article exposes a lot of the internal workings and responsibilities of a 'government censor' inside mainland China but also the ridiculous absurdity of government censorship: 'I was told that we could not title a coal piece "Power Failure" because the word "failure" in bold print so close to the Olympics would make people think of the Olympics being a failure. The title "The Agony and the Ecstasy" for a soccer piece was axed because agony was a negative word and we couldn't have negative words be associated with sports.' The magazine couldn't use images of an empty bowl for its restaurant pieces because it might remind readers of the Great Famine."

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157 comments

absurdity (5, Interesting)

HPHatecraft (2748003) | about 2 years ago | (#41817025)

All of this is absurd, like a Dada or Surrealist depiction of a repressive government. I'm thinking of the Marx Brother's "Duck Soup" or something similar. It would all be hilarious if it didn't have real, and possibly fatal, consequences. Good luck, people of China.

absurdity is everywhere (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41817385)

Not sure if you noticed, but the absurdity is global. The major difference is that the Chinese have no access to decent info through censorship, whereas the majority of Westerners have no access because the sheer flood of junk info that is coming our way.

The amount of people who choose not to consume any useful information is staggering.

Re:absurdity is everywhere (4, Insightful)

arpad1 (458649) | about 2 years ago | (#41818175)

Not sure if you noticed, but it's absurd to compare voluntary ignorance resulting from having too much information from which to choose to mandated ignorance that helps keep in power an authoritarian elite trying to hang onto that power a little longer even though their decrepit ideology has been repudiated everywhere people have the option to do so.

Re:absurdity is everywhere (0)

fredprado (2569351) | about 2 years ago | (#41818597)

No it is not, because in the end the results are very similar.

Re:absurdity is everywhere (1)

Millennium (2451) | about 2 years ago | (#41818661)

The outcome may be similar in some ways -though in truth, I think it's less so than you believe- but at least in the West it comes through a more just process. Outcome isn't everything.

Re:absurdity is everywhere (2)

fredprado (2569351) | about 2 years ago | (#41819867)

Outcome is actually everything. Allowing you a delusion of freedom is even more effective than controlling you by fear.

Re:absurdity (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 years ago | (#41818847)

I'm thinking of the Marx Brother's "Duck Soup" or something similar.

But the Chinese wouldn't understand it. They still believe the the Marx brothers' first names were Karl and Friedrich.

This is horrible (5, Interesting)

Quakeulf (2650167) | about 2 years ago | (#41817029)

Just think of all the man hours spent on keeping people stupid and the labour cheap so that we can all have it made in China.

Re:This is horrible (3, Insightful)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 2 years ago | (#41817249)

I know, right? Keeping everyone in that mindset so that the people on the top running everything and owning the biggest companies can continue to make gigantic profits while the rest of the workers remain non-disruptive and work for dirt cheap is textbook communism.
As they say on the internet, Hey China, ur doin it wrong!

Re:This is horrible (2, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | about 2 years ago | (#41817253)

Hi, what are you using to write and read these comments? Where is it made?

See also the Take Back types tweeting "Woo! Down with the corporations, man!" from their iPhones.

Re:This is horrible (1)

Quakeulf (2650167) | about 2 years ago | (#41817543)

This comment, and that comment, were written using a Dell which has parts assembled in China. Unless there is a worker revolution in China, which currently seems unlikely, it will continue to be like that until we have either fully automatic assembly plants or there is a genocide.

In no place in my comment did I allude to the hypocrite slactivist worker-solidary type, I just stated the obvious.

Re:This is horrible (4, Insightful)

Stiletto (12066) | about 2 years ago | (#41819613)

Ahh, the old, "If you've ever bought anything from a corporation, you can't criticize corporations" argument still gets modded up here.

Re:This is horrible (5, Insightful)

camperdave (969942) | about 2 years ago | (#41817513)

Just think of all the man hours spent on keeping people stupid and the labour cheap so that we can all have it made in China.

Well, if there's one thing China has in abundance, it's man-hours.

Re:This is horrible (4, Informative)

Kjella (173770) | about 2 years ago | (#41817781)

Some of the more expensive labor around is woefully ignorant of large parts of science like evolution and most things outside of North America, but it doesn't seem to significantly affect their work performance or salary requirements. China is no longer that cheap [economist.com] , it says "Labour costs have surged by 20% a year for the past four years" - pretty different from what most Americans have experienced the last four years I bet. China is rapidly becoming a modern country, compared to most other countries in South East Asia they are already rich. For example India is poor compared to China. Right now I'd hold Greece and Spain much more likely to have a revolution than China...

Re:This is horrible (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41818891)

Very loosely related. Unless things completely change in China, expect the growing middle class in China to completely implode.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbDeS_mXMnM

what do you mean "can not" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41817033)

"had to explain to the Chinese assistants more than once that they could not turn in articles copied word for word from existing pieces they found online"

sure you can in china, who cares there

Why bothering! (1, Insightful)

aglider (2435074) | about 2 years ago | (#41817097)

You cannot tell the truth (whatever this means) in a number of other countries .
I wonder whether adding all those population numbers up you'll go higher than China's.

Re:Why bothering! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41818001)

Why bothering? You must be Chinese. Shitty English.

Re:Why bothering! (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | about 2 years ago | (#41819307)

Why bothering? You must be Chinese. Shitty English.

I believe the word is study.

The problem, of course, is religion (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41817129)

If the official religion of China was atheism instead of Christianity, none of this would be happening.

Re:The problem, of course, is religion (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41817219)

Uuuummmm..... what?

Christianity is in about 4% of the population; 42% of people in China define themselves as atheist or agnostic, and Buddhism and Daosim together make up another 48%.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_China

Re:The problem, of course, is religion (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41817305)

You missed the sarcasm tags

Re:The problem, of course, is religion (2, Funny)

boarder8925 (714555) | about 2 years ago | (#41817471)

The whoosh is deafening.

Re:The problem, of course, is religion (1)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | about 2 years ago | (#41818607)

The official religion of China is loyalty to the Party. Atheism isn't a religion, so yes, if China actually had no religion, none of this would be happening.

Re:The problem, of course, is religion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41818801)

Interesting how loyalty to the officially atheistic Communist Party of China constitutes "religion" while loyalty to atheism itself doesn't. We're talking about worldviews here, not some cherry-picked definition of religion that only includes those views which you disagree with. http://www.deccanherald.com/content/212827/no-religion-chinese-communist-party.html [deccanherald.com]

Re:The problem, of course, is religion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41818993)

Here's something I always wondered, and I think you can help; is it tiring being retarded?

Re:The problem, of course, is religion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41819075)

Imagine trying to figure something out and it takes you two to three times as long to figure it out than it currently does.

Yes, being retarded is indeed tiring. Well at least the act of thinking is tiring to a retard, not thinking is not tiring in the least, but the latter is true for non-retards also.

Re:The problem, of course, is religion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41819235)

Yes I can help since I know several mentally challenged individuals myself. It is often very tiring for them to try and have normal, rational conversations with others. Sometimes they give up tying and just resort to ad-hominem attacks and childish insults. In spite of this, we should not be angry with them because they really are trying hard and it's not their fault they can't rationally communicate their thoughts.

Re:The problem, of course, is religion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41819285)

Apparently China's religion is Notruescotsmanism.

*This* is what big governments *do* (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41817141)

How's this any different from banning Big Gulps?

Big overweening governments do things like this "for your own good".

Re:*This* is what big governments *do* (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41817269)

If you're referring to the NYC ban, 7-11, and therefore Big Gulps, are exempt.

No, It's Way Over the Line and Abusively Ambiguous (4, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 2 years ago | (#41817297)

How's this any different from banning Big Gulps?

Well, the ban on big gulps is not a ban on soda or even how much soda you can buy, it's a ban on the convenience of selling massive amounts of soda in the interest of public health. Also, the ban is clearly defined and written into law. If you read the article, you would get a taste of the ambiguity and the surprising way that censorship in China can bite you in the ass. It's neither codified nor tested in a court of law, it just happens.

Big overweening governments do things like this "for your own good".

Big overweening governments also require you to have car insurance and wear seat belts and now it's illegal to smoke in bars almost everywhere and dump your fecal matter in rivers -- on top of a number of other things that you're not bitching about. You are free not to live in NYC where Big Gulps are banned but if that experiment turns out to have a positive effect on health, you'll see a lot of other cities follow (similar to no smoking in public restaurants and dumping fecal matter in rivers). That fine line may be felt out by governments but at least it's well defined when they tell you what is and is not legal.

Are you really comparing your rights to buy soda in 64 oz containers with your right to free speech and free criticism of the government? Really? You see those as two equivocal "overweening" acts? Please.

Re:No, It's Way Over the Line and Abusively Ambigu (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#41818031)

Are you really comparing your rights to buy soda in 64 oz containers with your right to free speech and free criticism of the government? Really? You see those as two equivocal "overweening" acts? Please.

One step at a time. The argument is that it's good for public health for them to tell you what you're permitted to put into your body. Sound familiar? Maybe this is good for public health. It's still a real slippery slope based on the historical evidence. This might be an entirely benign attempt to improve life, but if history is any guide, it will have negative repercussions when others take advantage of the situation to push their own agendas for reasons which have nothing to do with public health.

Government's job in commerce should be to prevent fraud. If they want to ban substances for the good of public health, they should start with alcohol. We know how that went last time. Prohibition is essentially wrongheaded whether it's about alcohol, coca-cola, or cocaine.

Re:No, It's Way Over the Line and Abusively Ambigu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41818057)

The argument is that it's good for public health for them to tell you what you're permitted to put into your body.

It's not a ban on soda, it's a ban on the size of soda one can buy in one purchase. Like the ban on the number of bullets a gun can hold. Or the ban on the amount of alcohol you can drink before you get behind the wheel of a vehicle!

Re:No, It's Way Over the Line and Abusively Ambigu (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | about 2 years ago | (#41818573)

Unless someone is so fat they risk falling through the floor onto the person below them there is literally no harm they do which is not voluntarily taken on by society.

Drunk driving has a direct and likely INVOLUNTARY cost. You don't have to pay for obesity if you dont want to.

Re:No, It's Way Over the Line and Abusively Ambigu (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41818943)

You don't have to pay for obesity if you dont want to.

Ok, I don't want to pay for obesity, so let's see how we can make this work.

I've got it, we'll start by making a list of all the obese people in the country so we can be sure not to roll the ambulance when one of them has a heart attack or stroke. We'll also be able to check the list in the ER and be sure they only receive treatment to the limits of their own bank accounts. That should be a good start...

Anyone else see any problem with this line of thinking?

Re:No, It's Way Over the Line and Abusively Ambigu (1)

Loosifur (954968) | about 2 years ago | (#41819699)

Oh, lord, not this argument again. Ok, so you think that, because you pay taxes and/or a health insurance premium, you should be able to tell people that they can't engage in potentially risky behavior that could result in their taking advantage of any public services or insurance.

Well, they also pay taxes, and may very well pay insurance premiums as well, but let's just set that aside.

You've convinced me. It's perfectly reasonable that, since I pay for a tiny, tiny fraction of the public services used by everyone, then I should have some say in personal behavior that could impact those services. Also, since I pay for health, car, and homeowner's insurance, the behavior of other people affects me within those contexts.

So, we'll go ahead and limit the amount of soda you can sell at once. Also, SUVs are top-heavy, so we'll ban those too; when people get into accidents, it affects my premiums. Ditto for people who live on the California coast, along the Gulf of Mexico, and Tornado Alley; not only do these people impact my homeowner's insurance, but federal money goes to bail those dopes out whenever weather happens. Since I'm paying for them, they shouldn't be allowed to live in dangerous places like Oklahoma.

Anyone else see any problem with this line of thinking?

Re:No, It's Way Over the Line and Abusively Ambigu (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41818279)

One step at a time. The argument is that it's good for public health for them to tell you what you're permitted to put into your body. Sound familiar?

Yeah like that time they wanted us to wear seat belts! Now we have to have airbags and we are chained to our seats in straight jackets with restraints on our foreheads and our eyes are peeled open so we're forced to watch the road and ... oh, wait, that didn't happen. I guess sometimes they can take little steps and never cross the line into absurdity.

Re:No, It's Way Over the Line and Abusively Ambigu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41818035)

and dump your fecal matter in rivers

Directly affects other people, and not just through mere tax dollars.

You are free not to live in NYC where Big Gulps are banned

You're also free not to live in the US. Doesn't make it right to infringe on people's rights.

Funny how some people are called whiners when they say that they don't want to pay more taxes, but when it comes to banning 'unhealthy' things in order to avoid paying more taxes, that's perfectly okay. I for one would be more than willing to pay more taxes if it meant not having a nanny state.

Re:No, It's Way Over the Line and Abusively Ambigu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41818179)

Funny how some people are called whiners when they say that they don't want to pay more taxes, but when it comes to banning 'unhealthy' things in order to avoid paying more taxes, that's perfectly okay.

Where in the post you replied to did the poster call people whiners for not paying taxes? Do you always win arguments by constructing straw men and then knocking them down with ease?

I for one would be more than willing to pay more taxes if it meant not having a nanny state.

Lookout everybody, Anonymous Coward is taking a stand!

Re:No, It's Way Over the Line and Abusively Ambigu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41819169)

Where in the post you replied to did the poster call people whiners for not paying taxes?

Where did I say he said that? Right back at you. I was speaking in general.

However, the 'health' argument makes no sense. Or rather, it's anti-freedom and is what enables the drug war to continue. If your only argument is that people shouldn't eat unhealthy things, you might as well just give up.

Re:No, It's Way Over the Line and Abusively Ambigu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41818827)

You're trying to make a nonpoint here. Any rights violation is bad. There doesn't need to be a contest. If anything, it just shows how petty the US has become when it comes to individual rights.

Re:No, It's Way Over the Line and Abusively Ambigu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41819263)

His name is
eldavojohn@gmail.com
eldavojohn@gmail.com
eldavojohn@gmail.com
eldavojohn@gmail.com

Re:No, It's Way Over the Line and Abusively Ambigu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41819273)

Where I live, you can buy 85 oz bottles of soda, cola, pepsi, whatever, also ... beer, though only some very cheap brands. It's been happening for so long, that I was really shocked to see foreign tourists taking pictures of themselves with those bottles.

As someone who knows he's drinking excessively soda, yeah, I can understand their concerns, I'm trying to stop myself too.

Back on topic, the chinese have bigger issues than freedom of speech. They have no real understanding of economy, they're going for a fast growth, and as any economist can tell you, after going up, you always go down. Also, their political model won't allow them to regulate the economy the right way, and when it happens, they'll have a completely different set of problems compared to Europe's deadbeats.

Re:No, It's Way Over the Line and Abusively Ambigu (1)

petermgreen (876956) | about 2 years ago | (#41819641)

Round here in the UK you see 2L bottles all the time and occasionally 3L ones. BUT they are clearly designed to be bottles you pour into cups for multiple people to drink, not bottles that are designed to be drunk from directly.

Are these 85 oz (that is roughtly 2.5L afaict) designed to be drunk from directly?

While I don't agree with China's censorship... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41817161)

One also has to take their culture into context. THis is not the US or anywhere in the "West" for that matter, where our stand is put out all information in whatever form you want, and leave it up to the individual to determine what they want to read and what interpretation of events is correct.

China's focus is more of an "internal harmony" approach, whereby maintaing social order is a higher priority than things such as freedom of the press. Many Chinese are perfectly ok with the government censoring certain things out of the media as it fits within their belief system of internal harmony (both Zen Buddhism and Daoism maintain this concept of balance) of both the self and society. But i think far more importantly is that here in the West we are taught shockingly little history of China, but if you have ever studied it you'll see that China has been beset 5 or 6 times by massive wars, several of whcih were huge revolutions against the existing regime, and during those wars millions of Chinese were killed. Most people are shocked to think of the destruction and loss of life during World War I and II; China has had several incidents in the past 2,000 years on that scale. The Chinese have a long memory, and they more than any other society are acutely aware of the dangers of revolution and challenges to the social order, and many are quite content to let things be if that means they don't have to go through another period like that.

Again, here in the West we idolize social disturbance, and in fact I think we've done a good job overall in allowing it to come out so when it does come out now in the 20th and 21st centuries, it typically results in a political revolution instead of a violent one, and my own opinion is the Chinese approach simply represses those feelings which ultimately magnifies them and when revolution comes it blows up harder than it would have otherwise. But that's my own opinion; the Chinese seem to think differently.

Re:While I don't agree with China's censorship... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41818195)

Many Chinese are perfectly ok with the government censoring

The trick here is it's not "many" but "most".

In a democracy, the majority wins. Even in China, the majority of people either: 1) support the current government, or 2) don't care enough to seek out change.
In my personal experience, there's a LOT more of #2, but that doesn't change the fact that opposition numbers are low.

Re:While I don't agree with China's censorship... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41818281)

This.

As one of the somewhat rare caucasian Americans who actually studied Mandarin for 5 years (during which included historical and cultural studies of predominantly mainland China but also Taiwan -- my focus was on the Han dynasty but was seconded by a fairly lengthy study of the Tiananmen incident), and for 6 months lived with a Chinese family state-side who had immigrated to the US, I'm often left shaking my head when reading highly opinionated or "dramatic" articles about China.

In no way shape or form do I agree with the government's stance or behaviour on most things (especially their approach to handling certain media-oriented items), however stories like the above often seem to lack cultural context. I'm not trying to justify the government's behaviour, I'm saying if you understand the culture, the history, and the thought process that exists in China (both amongst people and government), much of what's considered "shocking and appalling" to the average American no longer applies. For example, the above article made me nod and think "still the same as it was 20 years ago", rather than read in disbelief.

I can assure readers that there are much more nefarious and awful things that go on in China, just as there are equally horrible things that go on here in the United States.

TL;DR -- it's important to understand the history, culture, and overall "societal demographic" of any foreign country, no matter if communist or otherwise. Before jumping on the stereotypic anti-communist bandwagon, it helps to get some context first, *then* draw a conclusion.

Re:While I don't agree with China's censorship... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41818709)

One also has to take their culture into context...

And Muslims have a culture of abusing women, so we must tolerate that as well!

Just because "its tradition", doesn't make it right.

Re:While I don't agree with China's censorship... (5, Interesting)

poity (465672) | about 2 years ago | (#41818755)

I hate when bullshit like this gets modded up.
Do you also take the Religious Right's culture into context, and implore others to sympathize?
Do you also take the racist rural white culture into context, and implore others to sympathize?
When confronted with domestic abuse, do you say "well maybe she likes it, who are we to judge?"
When conservatives say "don't disturb the social order" do you pipe up in their defense, because they too have a culture of their own?

In your over-enthusiasm to be tolerant, you've embraced a type of paternalistic prejudice. You judge, albeit with a well-meaning heart, an entire nation of people with broad assumptions and meaningless generalizations. I find posts like yours only slightly less intolerable than overt racism.

I'll tell you this as a Chinese person: The majority of Chinese aren't followers of the same organic vegan yoga-studio interpretation of Buddhism that you might be enamored with -- they follow a mixture of traditional local paganism that has been intertwined with figments of Buddhism over hundreds of years. They are not "ok" with government censorship, but through years of being powerless in the face of the government, the majority have taken on the attitude of "there's nothing to be done, so just cope."

As you say, China has indeed been the geopolitical victim for much of its modern life, but having been bullied by foreign nations is not a argument for or a rational explanation of Chinese apathy. In fact, the government and nationalist groups/individuals have consistently relied on China's history of victimhood as a rallying cry for activism, though always for rights of the state and respect for the country, yet rarely if ever for rights of the people. There's a sentiment common among majority of Chinese internet users which I've noticed, and can be summarized as "no matter who's in charge [Imperial/foreign/GMD/CPC] we're always the downtrodden rabble." They're are not content, they merely deal with it the best they can since business, marriage, and finding a house they can afford are far more urgent matters. But that doesn't mean accept censorship, or embrace it as you imply.

And no, people in the West don't "idolize social disturbance" either. In every nation there are conservatives who want stability above all. In the US, we have at least half who are adamantly conservative, and half again more who are nominally liberal but don't dare rock the boat. Your propensity to generalize the unfamiliar I've seen in friends and family back in China. When they ask me "Do Americans really do/believe/think this?" I have to explain to them "No, American attitudes are diverse, just like Chinese attitudes here are diverse."

Re:While I don't agree with China's censorship... (1, Insightful)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | about 2 years ago | (#41819525)

Ahem - for someone whose sig is "your thin skin doesn't make me a troll", you have remarkably thin skin yourself. The OPs post wasn't about tolerance, it was about context. The context here is that freedom of speech isn't nearly as important a concept to the Chinese as to us, and that the context in China therefore isn't "we like to be evil, therefore we censor", but rather "we value stability over free speech, therefore we censor".

Now, is free speech more important stability? That's an entirely different question, as is whether free speech is a similar right as no being abused.

Finally, you also have remarkably thin skin when it comes to generalizations. They're called generalizations for a reason, and they're a fine way to operate in this world - as long as you are aware that you are making generalizations. Not every posts needs to delve deeply into the subtleties of Chinese thought. Otherwise, every post would be about 200 pages long.

I appreciate the context that you bring - but geez, lay off the hyperbole.

@article (0)

Ruede (824831) | about 2 years ago | (#41817183)

well that sounds like any other press room on this planet where the journalists are questioning the official and signed off "truth". but why again is it bad in china and necessary in our homelands?

No Innovation (1)

shawnhcorey (1315781) | about 2 years ago | (#41817189)

China's censorship will suppress ideas and reduce innovation. They are currently enjoying an economic boom but that will slow down as wages increase (and they will). How does China expect people to innovate when they're afraid of collaborating? Censorship never helps an economy.

Re:No Innovation (3, Insightful)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about 2 years ago | (#41817421)

Censorship never helps an economy.

It's not designed to. It's only desinged to do one thing: protect those in power. Those in power would gladly trade off a little economic growth for more government stability. History has shown that the PRC government fears 2 things: looking bad and dissent. You could see this during the Olympics, and you can really see it right now with the upcoming power transition. Just like the USSR before it, they have to maintain the illusion of power and superiority. By maintaining control on certain things such as the media, it indoctrinates the people to accept government control in other parts of their life, whether the government actually has control or not. From the view of an authoritiarian government, the illusion of control is jsut as good, if not better, than actual control, because people and society eventually start controlling themselves, reducing the burden of control on the state.

What's ironic is that communism is supposed to be about the power of the people, how the people govern themselves. Yet the actions of the PRC government, and indeed the actions of most Communist governments, show through the fear they have of their own people how strong teh people really are, and how weak the system is. They are like a house of cards that they claim is glued together but are afraid people will realize how easy it is to remove a card. If they start removing those cards eventually they will remove the wrong one and the whole house will come crashing down.

Re:No Innovation (4, Informative)

shawnhcorey (1315781) | about 2 years ago | (#41817643)

What's ironic is that communism is supposed to be about the power of the people...

Communism has become Newspeak [wikipedia.org] for totalitarianism. Just like the National Socialist German Workers' Party [wikipedia.org] . Bad governments can change the meaning of words faster than you can think.

Re:No Innovation (5, Insightful)

Guppy (12314) | about 2 years ago | (#41818461)

Communism has become Newspeak [wikipedia.org] for totalitarianism.

And the Newspeak was right in the names of the countries; the more often you saw "Democratic" and "People's" on the label, the more oppressive you could bet the country would turn out to be:

West Germany: "Federal Republic of Germany" vs. East Germany: "German Democratic Republic"
Taiwan: "Republic of China" vs. Mainland China: "People's Republic of China"
South Korea: "Republic of Korea" vs. North Korea: "Democratic People's Republic of Korea"

"When the people are being beaten with a stick, they are not much happier if it is called 'The People's Stick.'" --Mikhail Bakunin

But capitalism sucks... (-1, Redundant)

dywolf (2673597) | about 2 years ago | (#41817195)

But capitalism sucks and socialism is the way to go!

Re:But capitalism sucks... (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 2 years ago | (#41817411)

But capitalism sucks and socialism is the way to go!

What part of the article indicated or led you to believe that this is a problem of socialism or capitalism and not one of basic human rights and government corruption?

Also, can you tell me which country is more socialist and which is more capitalist, USA or China? Both are working hard to meet each other in the middle.

Representation can be achieved in capitalism as well as socialism. Ethical versus morally corrupt politicians can arise in either system with ease. Why do you change the focus from one of criticism of abuse of universal human rights to some bullshit political thing?

Re:But capitalism sucks... (1)

Loosifur (954968) | about 2 years ago | (#41819567)

Right on, eldavojohn. Capitalism and socialism are economic models. You can have a totalitarian state that allows the private ownership of capital, and you can have a democratic system with state ownership of capital. And certainly capitalism has never been a proof against corruption.

Granted, capitalism tends to go well with an open society and individual liberties simply because it's tough to keep a system going over the long run where citizens have economic freedom without political freedom, and because the success of a capitalist system depends on a legal system that protects private ownership, which is undermined when a government can seize property by fiat. And on the other side of the coin, socialist systems lend themselves to greater government involvement in daily life if for no other reason than that societies which see government involvement in ownership as appropriate, they also tend to find government involvement in other aspects of life as perfectly acceptable. But you don't have to look any further than the UK or Sweden for a good example of socialist economies with democratic systems, or China for something pretty close to a capitalist dictatorship.

Corrupt Cronyism's the future! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41817569)

If you've done business in China, all of these low level censorship things, they're just garbage. If you wanted to print that empty bowl picture, you would just hand him 100 yuan and 'Snow' would suddenly change his opinion.

I had an official at immigration raise all sorts of problems, she was highlighting a paper in front of me and I could see a list of foreigners names and how much they'd paid (the stamp I was after is normally only a few $). She would carefully highlight the price paid with the currency, one after the next, all big numbers. Eventually I suggested a 100 yuan, it was accepted and all the problems mentioned just went away.

It's an interesting bargaining position, the numbers she was highlighting was ridiculous, like equivalent to $800. I don't think anyone actually paid that, it's just to push the price up you offer as the bribe to make the problems go away. Of course you could argue and argue, and maybe get it for the real price, in a month or two.

Oh, but you wanted to make a political point. China sucks, I'm glad to be out of it, and it is not communism or socialism, it's corrupt DICTATORSHIP run by self serving greedy cronies. 'Romneys' if you want a label for them, they're Romneys, and they have their propaganda very similar to Fox News.

Re:But capitalism sucks... (2)

houghi (78078) | about 2 years ago | (#41817799)

Socialism and capitalism are not exclusive. Where capitalism talks about private ownership socialism talks about ownership of a group.
This means that it can even be a private group.

Where they differ is where the profits go to. Capitalism is more directed to the individuals, like the CEO. Socialism is more for the people, by the people (See what I did there?)

And no system by itself will be good without at least a bit of the others. For all systems there can be failures found. The reason is that people will go overboard in one direction, no matter what that direction is.

Re:But capitalism sucks... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41819687)

that's endearingly naive. i can see why someone with little experience in reality would feel that way. it's easy to hate the big bad CEO when you don't truly understand how things work.

"footprints on the seats" = "Chinese hillbillies" (5, Informative)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about 2 years ago | (#41817215)

>> sometimes discovered footprints on the toilet seats at work

Some context here - "normal" toilets in China don't have anything to sit on, so you squat over the hole or bowl, depending on your location. I believe this phrase was meant to indicate that this woman had to work in the same office as some unsophisticated Chinese citizens.

Re:"footprints on the seats" = "Chinese hillbillie (3, Insightful)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 2 years ago | (#41817277)

My first thought was that she meant there were people hiding in stalls to spy on people, as in listening to people talk in the bathroom. But your comment makes more sense. I guess I'm just paranoid.

Re:"footprints on the seats" = "Chinese hillbillie (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41817293)

Quite common to see instructions on how to use a western toilet in western companies who expect to get chinese visitors from time to time.

Re:"footprints on the seats" = "Chinese hillbillie (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41817333)

I was wondering about that... was she saying they didn't know to keep their legs wide? I would think any female adult would learn that pretty quickly (men not needing to worry about that specific issue)

If i stand up here, i'm a whole 2" higher!!! Noone will EVER see me...

Re:"footprints on the seats" = "Chinese hillbillie (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41817795)

i don't find this unsophisticated. i pee the same way to avoid germs and bacteria. it only makes sense to avoid contact with the shit bowl....

Re:"footprints on the seats" = "Chinese hillbillie (2)

jgtg32a (1173373) | about 2 years ago | (#41817955)

True but the toilets she mentioned obviously had seats, because she told us they did.

Re:"footprints on the seats" = "Chinese hillbillie (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | about 2 years ago | (#41817989)

I'm a moron, I misunderstood what you were getting at. The experiment to cut back on caffeine is looking to be a failure. BRB getting more coffee.

Re:"footprints on the seats" = "Chinese hillbillie (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41818019)

They use squat toilets a lot in Taiwan and China and Asian countries.

They're great for public toilets because you don't have to touch anything.

Sometimes people are a bit retarded and stand/squat on the sit-down toilets... in Taiwan it's like 50/50 squat/sit, so anyone that isn't fucking dumb should know not to stand on the goddamned toilet, but people do, because they are idiots.

Re:"footprints on the seats" = "Chinese hillbillie (1)

Stiletto (12066) | about 2 years ago | (#41819659)

Bingo, I work for an American company that is mostly Chinese, and always has tons of Chinese visitors, and all the bathrooms used to have signs that say "Please do not stand on the toilets". It's a Chinese thing, nothing weird.

The next article on China needs a positive spin (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#41817233)

"How to Circumvent Censorship and live to tell about it"

And then spread the word globally.

Flags (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41817319)

The aversion to flags is understandable if you remember that, according to the PRC government, Taiwan is a rogue province and not a separate country. Taiwan is part of the PRC (according to Beijing). Sovereign nations have flags, provinces don't. Showing a Taiwanese flag reminds people that there is a government in Taiwan that does not recognize that Taiwan is part of the PRC, and that government has enough control so that those flags are flown throughout the province of Taiwan.

I'm posting as an AC because I don't want to be slammed because someone didn't bother to read my post carefully. I am neither agreeing nor disagreeing with the PRCs or Taiwan's stance on this issue. I'm simply stating the situation as someone who has spent a considerable amount of time in the PRC and has discussed the whole Taiwan issue with numerous PRC citizens.

Re:Flags (1)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 2 years ago | (#41817517)

The aversion to flags is understandable if you remember that, according to the PRC government, Taiwan is a rogue province and not a separate country. Taiwan is part of the PRC (according to Beijing). Sovereign nations have flags, provinces don't. Showing a Taiwanese flag reminds people that there is a government in Taiwan that does not recognize that Taiwan is part of the PRC, and that government has enough control so that those flags are flown throughout the province of Taiwan.

I'm posting as an AC because I don't want to be slammed because someone didn't bother to read my post carefully. I am neither agreeing nor disagreeing with the PRCs or Taiwan's stance on this issue. I'm simply stating the situation as someone who has spent a considerable amount of time in the PRC and has discussed the whole Taiwan issue with numerous PRC citizens.

I'm not going to slam you for talking about Taiwan, I'm going to slam you for not reading the article. From the article:

In addition to the uptick in phone calls, her emails, too, grew more expansive and personal. She had told me once that we couldn't put a Chinese flag on the cover (I still don't understand why), and so I wrote her to ask if we could run a cover image that suggested a flag more abstractly, with yellow stars against a wash of red. She wrote back in Chinese:

Dear Little One,

Stars are definitely not okay either, please please do not take the risk.

I once published, in a newspaper, a picture of a book put out by the German embassy, introducing China and Germany's investment cooperation. The book's cover had a big stream on it, half of it the colors of the German flag, half of it red with yellow stars. I decided since it wasn't a flag it was okay, and sent it to print. Our newspaper office was slapped with a fine of 180,000 yuan [today, around $28,000] and I had to write a self-criticism and take a big salary cut.

Quite a lesson, yes? Sigh -- we must remember it well.

Could you please explain to me why the Chinese flag couldn't be on the cover? Or why some elements of the German flag cost them around $28,000 in fines? Are they not recognized governments by the Chinese governments?

Re:Flags (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#41818059)

Could you please explain to me why the Chinese flag couldn't be on the cover? Or why some elements of the German flag cost them around $28,000 in fines? Are they not recognized governments by the Chinese governments?

The Chinese flag is the property of the Chinese government, in the name of The People. They decide how, when, and where it shall be used, like the federal seal. Using elements of the German flag might imply Germanization of China, or even that Germany is an equal to China, either of which would clearly be unacceptable as China always has been, is, and always will be the greatest nation on Earth, etc etc.

Re:Flags (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41818129)

Using elements of the German flag might imply Germanization of China, or even that Germany is an equal to China

What? Okay, now you're just making crap up. A story about German companies in a magazine on business showing a landscape of Germany with elements of the Germany flag surrounding it is worthy of a $28k fine because ... you claim the Chinese government thinks it implies Germanization of China? Uhhhhhhhh right ....

Re:Flags (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41818829)

The Chinese flag is the property of the Chinese government, in the name of The People. They decide how, when, and where it shall be used, like the federal seal.

So it's owned "by the people" yet the people can't use it as they see fit? Instead a central authority has to grant permission in order for you to use it? My oh my how public domain has become twisted in China!

Re:Flags (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41818269)

Eldavojohn,

No, I can't explain that. The only remotely reasonable explanation would be that having elements of the Chinese flag would be interpreted as the publication being official from the government, but I doubt that's the reason, so no, I can't explain it. It makes no sense. I was only trying to explain the problem with the photo that contained the Taiwan flag. You're right. It makes no sense.

And you're also right - I did not read the article.

Re:Flags (1)

sapphire wyvern (1153271) | about 2 years ago | (#41818297)

All Australian states have their own flags. China should just create provincial flags and stop worrying about it. :)

Of course, Australia is a federation, like the US... And China certainly doesn't want its provinces to start thinking secessionally. (Do Autonomous Regions get flags?)

Re:Flags (2)

Stormy Dragon (800799) | about 2 years ago | (#41818627)

Sovereign nations have flags, provinces don't.

You should see some of the flag poles around here. Besides the US flag, you often see the flags for Pennsylvania and Montgomery County as well. I never knew we were such a hotbed of secessionism.

Read TFA! (1)

bobetov (448774) | about 2 years ago | (#41817541)

Most of the stuff that gets posted to SlashDot these days is blogspam, advertisements... junk in other words. This is not. It's an excellent read that offers a real picture of life in the new China.

RTFA is kind of a joke, but in this case you won't regret it.

Re:Read TFA! (1)

Quakeulf (2650167) | about 2 years ago | (#41817597)

I read TFA. Now where is my diploma? You said there would be a diploma!

Just think (1, Troll)

AntiBasic (83586) | about 2 years ago | (#41817593)

Just think that Krugman and Friedman want America to be more like China.

Re:Just think (1, Insightful)

saihung (19097) | about 2 years ago | (#41817957)

Is that a comment you can explain, or does your mommy not know you're using her ./ account again?

Sweden (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41817603)

In sweden the 3rd largest political party still get bullied by the mainstream media.
Their main message is to stop immigration until we solve the problems we have with the immigrants who have not been properly integrated with swedish society yet. Also to avoid rising unemployment rates due to importing unemployable (illiterates) people by the truckload.

Complaints by smaller counties who get overrun by immigrants they can not take care of get silenced.
Police does not give a description of a criminal if it is an immigrant.
Any offence against an immigrant get blown out of proportion, recently a somalian woman claimed some kids had poured a glass of milk on her kid. Media covered it for 2 weeks, a rally supporting the somalians in the tiny community which had had 200 somalians to take care of. After all this, turns out noone had poured a glass of milk on her kid and all of a sudden all was silent again.
Meanwhile, gangrape at gunpoint of a swedish girl by 3 immigrants gets silenced for a year.

Until censorship in my own country gets taken care of, I don't think I am in any position to judge china.

As a sidenote, censorship in china is probably a bit complex, I am here right now and every day there is some controversal news with quite graphical material being shown, yesterday there was a big piece about teachers for 4-8 year olds who abused their students. One clip showed a teacher slapping a kid 10 times in a row, another a teacher throwing a kid around and 3rd some photos of a girl whose ear was cut off by her teacher, yes they showed the cut off ear too. I am fairly certain that would not have been shown at home, and I could see from the faces of the 100 people in the restaurant everyone was pissed off.

Plagiarism in China? SHOCKER!!! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41817875)

And had to explain to the Chinese assistants more than once that they could not turn in articles copied word for word from existing pieces they found online.

Oh God, it's like grad school all over again.

But seriously, what do you expect? It's a culture built on shameless plagiarism and copyright abuse. You need look no further than the huge Cisco parts scandal to see my point in all this.

Re:Plagiarism in China? SHOCKER!!! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41817943)

And had to explain to the Chinese assistants more than once that they could not turn in articles copied word for word from existing pieces they found online.

Oh God, it's like grad school all over again.

But seriously, what do you expect? It's a culture built on shameless plagiarism and copyright abuse. You need look no further than the huge Cisco parts scandal to see my point in all this.

(made in china)

Re:Plagiarism in China? SHOCKER!!! (1)

firewrought (36952) | about 2 years ago | (#41819359)

It's a culture built on shameless plagiarism and copyright abuse.

Um, I think the usual explanation is that, in China, knowledge is seen as something that is received from an authority, and the goal of an educational exercise is to regurgitate that knowledge faithfully. Wheras, in the West, knowledge is a skill that is built by personal practice (like sports). Or something like that...

However, copyright abuse is not necessarily an outgrowth of this: it seems more like the logical consequence of everyone being able to forge a "currency".

moral equivalence (0)

argStyopa (232550) | about 2 years ago | (#41818085)

For those that love to play the moral equivalence card, please keep this in mind when equating the US and China over whatever whine you have today.

The US has MANY, many things wrong with it; some are things it neglects to do, some are things it does or has done (there seems to be no statute of limitations on historical grievances against the US); some things it's responsible for that are downright morally repugnant.

But without a doubt, the US is nowhere in the same league as China on pretty much any moral scale you care to measure. (I'd have thought that was clear since the revelation that China sells felons' body parts, but hey...)

Re:moral equivalence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41818569)

I agree with the difference- it really is far worse in China than it is here.

What I disagree with is the way your post comes off- "shut up and eat your gruel and be thankful for it."

The reason the USA is better off than China is because we can fight when things are bad. NOT because things aren't bad here- they are.

What is great about our country is that we can and do criticize our government, corporations, religions, and culture.

No idea (1)

axehind (518047) | about 2 years ago | (#41818201)

After reading the article, I have to admit, I had no idea it was that censored in China. I had heard about it, but did not know it was that extensive.

Three T's my ass (5, Interesting)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 2 years ago | (#41818491)

Jeez, not a mention of what China actually censors. Did she actually run a magazine? I ran an English magazine in China. Here's what my censor told me:

The forbidden topics are in three categories, color-coded for your convenience. The colors have cultural significance, if you're in to that sort of thing. The first, YELLOW. Yellow is pornography (think of "blue movies" and you'll get the color reference). Don't print anything too sexy. This one's pretty easy. Moving on: RED. Anti-government activity. Falun Gong, Tibetan separatists, Xinjiang separatists, talking about local unrest, protests, etc. Anything that makes the government look bad, basically. BLACK, mafia and crime. As the mafia competes with the government for authority and taxes, this one seems a no-brainer as well. Don't report about the gambling den that takes up an entire floor of a local 5-star hotel and you'll be fine.

For all other topics not covered above, follow the lead of Xinhua News.

I know I'm going to get some dumbass in here saying something like "but Chinese publications break these rules all the time!" Yes. Chinese publications. Foreigners in China, especially those in communications, have this obsession with overthrowing the system...in English. Basically, nobody cares about what's written in English, and few people read it. Even foreigners don't usually read English magazines. The Chinese government doesn't care too much about what happens in foreign languages. In fact, they're more worried about foreign influence spoiling Chinese culture than any revolution sparked by an angry ABC managing editor. "Zhong shang Ying xia" was how they put it, "Chinese up and English down" literally, or in the American vernacular "G's up and hoes down". And you ain't the G's.

I was more disturbed by the article and how the lady was just determined to hate her censor. Why? Her Western mindset, of course, and the ingrained "hero journalists vs. mustache-twirling government villains" mentality. Censors aren't evil. They're just government workers, that's all. Actually, having a censor is GOOD because if anything goes wrong, you can point to her and say, "but she APPROVED it!" Trying to dehumanize such a person as "teh CoMM13z"...well, it's just not what I would expect from a journalist. And the part at the end where she thinks the lady is looking for a "lifeline"...bah. I've done the exact same thing before, I call it "planting the seed." You see someone who's obviously going on to bigger and better things in life and you give them a nod and say, "call if you need anyone like me." Hey, it could work, right? I've had some longshots pay off before. But this journalist is so eager to be utterly depressed by seeing her tormentor exposed with feet of clay, she never bothers to question her preconceptions.

Re:Three T's my ass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41818883)

You said:
Actually, having a censor is GOOD because if anything goes wrong, you can point to her and say, "but she APPROVED it!"

That is a lazy, uncaring, and morally bankrupt statement. You think having a state-appointed fall-man is desirable? You think that pointing fingers and shifting blame are good things? Not to mention, you completely gloss over the vital issue of your whole premise when you say "if anything goes wrong". What, specifically, might "go wrong"? Are you talking about publishing the truth, is that what you mean by "goes wrong"? You twist the words around very skillfully, but your statement boils down to "censorship is good because it keeps the peace". From what I just read, you are either evil, willfully ignorant, duped, or a troll.

Re:Three T's my ass (4, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 2 years ago | (#41819227)

I was more disturbed by the article and how the lady was just determined to hate her censor. Why?

Did you miss this part of the article:

This was not the relationship I wanted to have with Snow. I believed in free speech. I‘d spent a summer interning at the ACLU. I was beginning to question the morality of my paycheck, of playing any part, no matter how incidental, in a system of which I disapproved. Thinking of her as my adversary allowed me to feel I was fighting the system. But my adversary wanted to be friends.

I don't think the ACLU cares if you have a Western mindset or Eastern mindset, I think they see their values like freedom of the press as a universal human right (as I happen to as well). And when you start to challenge universal human rights, that's the point in time where I throw your politics and socialism/capitalism crap right out the window and tell you you're wrong.

Also, you might have glossed over the context this piece was written in:

This was easier back then; the August 2008 Beijing Olympics were a year-and-a-half away, and it behooved China to demonstrate that it was an open country.

So perhaps back then your color coding system was subdued to make Beijing look more appealing to the west and they concentrated on the merely the three T's. Do you mind revealing when (I don't want anyone losing their job) you ran an English magazine in China? Or where you operated? I'd imagine Beijing would be harder to operate in. If you're not afraid of releasing more details and proof, I'm almost certain the Foreign Policy magazine would be interested in talking to you -- I fine censorship around the world very interesting so you can spot it and reference ailments in other nations before it happens to your own.

But this journalist is so eager to be utterly depressed by seeing her tormentor exposed with feet of clay, she never bothers to question her preconceptions.

Odd, I read this whole piece as willful exposure of her preconceptions. She chose to keep those parts, you know. I think she disclosed all of this in an effort to be transparent. This wasn't written in an a absolutist "I'm 100% right and they're 100% wrong" way although that seems to be how you read it ... It is what it is, it happened how it happened. She's not going to make herself look 100% righteous in this piece because there are things she can't rectify in here. A good person can work for a really shitty government. A bad person can work for a really good government. Etc etc etc, this is the spice of life and makes things interesting and worthy of discussion.

Re:Three T's my ass (1)

w_dragon (1802458) | about 2 years ago | (#41819265)

I was more disturbed by the article and how the lady was just determined to hate her censor.

I didn't get that out of it at all. What I read was that she didn't want to be buddies with her censor. She understood that she would want to push back against the censorship at times, and that's a hell of a lot easier to do if you aren't going to meet up for dinner after work. You see the same thing in most companies. Development and QA aren't generally too close, or QA starts ignoring minor bugs rather than pestering Dev. Sales can cause huge problems if whoever is in charge of product requirements doesn't feel like they can say no to requests because they go golfing with the sales guy. That's not to say there isn't mutual respect and a common goal, just that the individual people need some professional detachment in order to do their jobs to the best of their abilities.

Re: (1)

davide marney (231845) | about 2 years ago | (#41819413)

She didn't hate her censor, she was tired and disgusted with the system, and decided to not support it in any way. I've changed several jobs in my career for the same reason. For example, I wrote tax software for a decade, but eventually became tired and disgusted with how rigged "the system" is, and found work for a better cause. Perfectly understandable.

US Parallels (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41818793)

In the US the only difference is that most censorship is not dictated by government powers. However, self-censorship in the media and the use of self-imposed "speech codes" in various organizations is quite prevalent. Witness the exclusion of the "jumpers" from the September 11 media coverage. Witness the automatic rejection of any topics critical toward feminism or homosexuality. Witness the mandatory replacements of the pronoun "he" by "he or she." There is no doubt that censorship has become deeply ingrained in our cultural fabric and this condition is perhaps far more dangerous than any government imposition. If the people themselves are not willing to exercise freedom, then there is no need for any forced repression.

Re:US Parallels (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41819011)

Um...you are missing the point.
No one is stopping anyone from covering those things. If you think that it is important to show people leaping off buildings, or to criticize homosexuals, or use profanity, there is every opportunity for you to do so. You might have a little bit of trouble getting a business to publish/broadcast your work if it offends them or if they think their customers would be offended, but again, there is nothing to stop you from forming your own company and doing it yourself...in the US.

You can criticize the US for some prudish attitudes in our mainstream culture, but if you look deeper I think there are enough objectionable and hateful things being said, that your point falls flat.

Re:US Parallels (1)

RobinH (124750) | about 2 years ago | (#41819171)

That's because US new organizations are only interested in profit. Those things make viewers yell at them, stomp around with signs in front of their building calling for a boycott, etc. It's bad for business, so they don't do it. On the other hand, sensationalism sells, so that's what they print.

Re:US Parallels (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41819709)

>
> Those things make viewers yell at them, stomp around with signs in front of their building calling for a boycott, etc.
>

In a truly free society, such protests would not ever happen because all the people would recognize and accept that free expression requires toleration of differing points of view. The fact that such intolerance is so prevalent supports my original point. The people are not willing to exercise freedom and this fact poses more danger than any government impositions.

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