Random China Observation: Censorship!

I was in Shanghai when the news broke that Google had agreed to censor its web results in China. I had noticed already that the results I got doing Google searches seemed different in China; I still don't know if this was my imagination as I wasn't searching for information on how to hold a democracy rally in Tibet...but I was still curious. So when CNN International came on with a news story about the agreement, I turned it up. The anchor read the intro and then tossed to a reporter with two side-by-side computers, about to show concretely how the results differed between google.com and google.cn.

Then the screen went black.

I thought it might be overall technical difficulties, so I flipped around. All other channels were fully operational. I wondered whether I was witnessing censorship LIVE. I turned back to CNN--still black. 90 seconds or so later, the signal came back, as the anchor concluded the story. Very, very interesting. The report appeared again throughout the day, blacked out each time. I heard other news reports about Google's decision, reports that discussed the issues openly--these appeared in their entirety. I can only infer that the facts about the filtering were not the issue; it was the actual censored content "they" didn't want "us" to see.

On a side note, I'm not entirely sure how I feel about the whole issue. I'm all about the free flow of information, but this question just occurred to me: should people also be up in arms about how CNN allows its broadcast to be censored in China? Should we see CNN as evil because it didn't get high and mighty and demand "free press" conditions before accepting all those advertising dollars for that plump, irresistibly large Chinese market?


Unknown said...

Well, I know how I feel ------------- and furthermore-------------and if I ever hear about this again, ---------------ship. love, ----

Anonymous said...

Amazing, isn't it, that the U.S. press has no qualms about publishing criticisms of Google, when the press kowtows (appropriate word) to political forces around the globe?