China is not really ready for Barack Obama or that is what it would seem like from China’s covering of Obama’s inaugural speech. Not only did the live news broadcast cut away when Barack Obama mentioned dissent but parts of his speech were censored when published by the state-run Xinhua News Agency.
According to the Associated Press:
BEIJING – The official Chinese translation of President Barack Obama’s inauguration speech was missing his references to communism and dissent, while a live broadcast on state television Wednesday quickly cut away to the anchor when the topic was mentioned.
The comments by the newly installed U.S. president veered into politically sensitive territory for China’s ruling Communist Party, which maintains a tight grip over the Internet and the entirely state-run media. Beijing tolerates little dissent and frequently decries foreign interference in its internal affairs.
At one point, Obama said earlier generations “faced down communism and fascism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions.” He later addressed “those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent … know that you are on the wrong side of history.”
The Chinese translation of the speech, credited to the Web site of the official China Daily newspaper, was missing the word “communism” in the first sentence. The paragraph with the sentence on dissent had been removed entirely.
The censored version was carried by the state-run Xinhua News Agency and posted on popular online portals Sina and Sohu. Another portal, Netease, used a version without the paragraph mentioning communism, but retaining the part about dissent.
As much progress as China has made moving towards a “free-market” system, a lot of progress still needs to be made in terms of moving China toward the direction of freedom including the right to dissent. Free countries let people speak their minds China is clearly not one of them.
Link via Reason.com