Saturday, December 20, 2008

The New York Times Banned in China

I could be wrong.

I can also imagine China's leaders breathing a sigh as relief as the 2008 Olympics fade into the past, and they can get back to business as usual.

The Chinese government announced that it has the right to block sites that it thinks are inappropriate. Like ones that don't agree with the Beijing official assumptions about Taiwan.

Now, people in China can't get at The New York Times online edition: unless they risk using an unapproved server.

The New York Times is in good company. China's 'don't read' list includes
  • Chinese-language versions of the BBC
  • Voice of America
  • Hong Kong media
    • Ming Pao News
    • Asiaweek
    (Reuters (December 20, 2008)
As Reuters put it, "China regularly blocks sites it finds unsavoury, particularly those related to Tibet or critical of the Communist Party."

I've said this before: be careful what you wish for. People who want 'hate speech' or anti-American opinions banned or blocked, or who are trying to 'save the children' from the Internet may have reason to be concerned.

But I think there's a very real danger in having someone decide for us what we are and are not allowed to see. And China's an example of a place where people are very 'protected' from things they're not supposed to know.

Some related posts: (There's more: type China into the search box at the top of this blog.)

In the news: Related posts, on censorship, propaganda, and freedom of speech.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.