Friday 4 January 2008

Youtube To Be Censored In China

When asked what is was like to live in China I usually paint such a negative picture that a lot of people ask me why I lived in China so long - I mean, why spend five-plus years of your life in a place where you were often far from happy? I suppose I must sometimes be guilty of painting an overly negative picture, but the truth is that most of what was positive about my stay there flowed from the people, both ordinary and extra-ordinary, that I met whilst I lived there. The negative stuff, on the other hand, flowed mainly from the political situation there, either directly or indirectly the government is the prime cause of most of the bad things you come across. The constant and asinine 'hello-ing' of foreigners, the ignorant contempt that many Chinese have for people from other countries, the simple-minded parroting of slogans like 'we will certainly liberate Taiwan', the corruption, the dis-respect that people have for the rights and happiness of strangers.

Sure, some of this comes from traditional Chinese culture, but the majority of it is inspired by government propaganda and by the complete lack of easily-accessible information as a counter-balance to this. Government censorship acts almost like a vice holding the people in place whilst they receive their Clockwork Orange-style brainwashing. Well, the screw on this vice is set to turn a notch tighter as the government outlines plans for blocking of websites which, in a typically Orwellian turn of phrase, allow the "broadcast of degenerate thinking".

Strange, this past week I've been thinking about whether I should go back or not after I'm finished here in London, I guess they just added another reason why I should stay away.

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