Thursday, December 12, 2013

Sunday Globe Special: Blogs Are For Blowing Off Steam

‘‘The unexpected growth has caught people by surprise....  microblogging, which has allowed users to share firsthand accounts and opinions with great speed....  online discourse.... a way for the public to let off steam. ‘‘If there’s no channel for the public to express themselves, they may take to the street’’

Like in Thailand?

Is that why I am allowed to continue and continue even as I have run out of steam (and the fact that it is a tool of surveillance) and there is no one to take to the streets with (as if anyone could or would for very long in this bone-chilling cold)?

"China claims victory in scrubbing Internet clean; Observers worry speech curtailed, criticism quieted" by Didi Tang |  Associated Press, December 01, 2013

BEIJING — The Chinese government has declared victory in cleaning up what it considers rumors, negativity, and unruliness from online discourse, while critics say the moves have suppressed criticism of the government and ruling Communist Party.

Beijing launched the campaign this summer, arresting dozens of people for spreading rumors, creating new penalties for people who post libelous information, and calling in the country’s top bloggers for talks urging them to guard the national interest and uphold social order.

At the same time, government agencies at all levels have boosted their online presence to control the message in cyberspace....

As they have in AmeriKa, going so far as to create fake profiles on line and such, as well as using controlled opposition and propaganda pre$$ presences. 

I've said it before, I'll say it one more time: I'm tired of agenda-pushing, pot-hollering kettle media. 

Observers say the crackdown has noticeably curtailed speech by suppressing voices and triggering self-censorship, with more liberal online voices being more reticent in their criticism and posting significantly less.

I must admit, after eight years I have also mellowed and am posting much less.

Even Zhu suggested the campaign might have gone too far. In one example, Web users refrained from reposting information and commenting on the government response to a severe flood in the eastern city of Yuyao in early October.

A year ago, they were garrulous in questioning Beijing’s drainage system when a rainstorm ravaged the city. ‘‘It is a reminder that we must strike a balance between crushing online rumors and ensuring information flow,’’ Zhu said.

Some critics say the moves may backfire by ending a way for the public to let off steam.

‘‘If there’s no channel for the public to express themselves, they may take to the street,’’ said historian and political analyst Zhang Lifan, whose online accounts were recently removed without warning — possibly because he had shared historic facts that the party did not find flattering.

I trust that won't happen in AmeriKa, and it probably will not. Ours is the reverse of China; rather than censor information, we flood you with it. Finding the truth is like finding a needle in a haystack.

The rise of the Internet in China has always been followed by Beijing’s efforts to rein it in, and the latest challenge has been the explosive growth in social media, particularly microblogging, which has allowed users to share firsthand accounts and opinions with great speed....

‘‘The unexpected growth has caught people by surprise,’’ said Ren Xianliang, vice minister of the State Internet Information Office, during a rare meeting last week with foreign journalists....

No wonder China always gets ripped in my pre$$.

Authorities in recent months have been arresting microbloggers on the charge of spreading rumors or disrupting the public order, including a teenage boy who raised some questions over a murder case online.

Many intellectuals, writers, and journalists have seen their blogging and microblogging accounts removed altogether. A Chinese-American businessman with a strong online following was arrested for soliciting prostitutes and paraded on state television in a campaign to discredit him.

Oh, that never happens here in AmeriKa! Let's face it, if you are in the media for that there is also a reason! Otherwise they ignore it, cover it up, and keep it quiet!

Chinese propaganda officials have always seen the media — new or old — as a crucial tool to support state rule and are wary of cacophony....

Can you understand why I'm so sour on this shit now?

‘They see critics as opponents,’’ Zhang said. ‘‘That’s a stupid thing to do.’’


Political analysts predict the heavy-handed control will continue....


"Chinese group protests loss of homes by drinking poison" by Gillian Wong |  Associated Press, December 12, 2013

BEIJING — A dozen residents of a central Chinese city protested the demolition of their homes by drinking pesticide in Beijing in a desperate bid for attention that underscores the failures of a decades-old petitioning system. 

AmeriKans can petition their government for all the good it will do. 

Also see: Globe Grab Bag: Indian Items

The 12 survived the protest Tuesday near a historic watchtower in the heart of China’s capital after police sent them to a hospital, where they were being treated Wednesday for poisoning, said Wang Yuping, one of the residents.

Chinese petitioners sometimes are driven to extreme measures as their frustration boils over after years of unresolved grievances and routine beatings by local authorities.

So when will Americans boil over?

Wang, 40, and the others had traveled to Beijing from a district in Wuhan, the provincial capital of Hubei province, to draw attention to their complaints. Wang said the protest was a group suicide attempt.

‘‘We have been petitioning for so many years, but either we have been dragged back home or locked in secret jails and beaten, and no one has been willing to help us,’’ Wang said by telephone. ‘‘We felt like there was no hope left.’’

Each drank about 1.7 ounces of pesticide, Wang said. Police bundled them into vehicles and drove them to a hospital.

Wang said the petitioners have been unsuccessfully seeking redress since 2010 for the razing of their homes by local authorities who provided little or no compensation.

Now they know how a Palestinian feels.

Local government and police offices in Wuhan could not be reached by phone.


As for here, Amerikans just quietly commit suicide after fraudulent foreclosures. The connection is not made in my mouthpiece of a propaganda pre$$ and the issue is rarely focused upon, but it's there. 

Imagine the coverage if Americans did a mass suicide because of homelessness. Would there be any, or just applause from the elite? More useless eaters gone. 

I'm "lucky" I can "whistle" that, if you get my puns:

"Chinese professor fired over free speech" by Andrew Jacobs |  New York Times, December 11, 2013

BEIJING — Officials at one of China’s most respected universities have reportedly fired an outspoken legal scholar for advocating free speech and for repeatedly calling on the government to abide by its own constitution.

Zhang Xuezhong, who teaches at the East China University of Political Science and Law in Shanghai, said administrators had notified him Monday that he would be dismissed after he refused to apologize for writings that championed the protections guaranteed by China’s Constitution. Zhang’s teaching privileges were temporarily suspended in August after the publication of an article detailing the Communist Party’s growing hostility to the nation’s legal system.

“I told them I had made no mistakes whatsoever,” he said in a phone interview Tuesday. “I’m just a university faculty member who expresses his own opinions, thoughts, and proposals, which is absolutely my right. This is an out-and-out witch hunt.”

University officials did not respond to telephone calls seeking comment. But in an internal school memo that Zhang obtained and circulated online Tuesday, officials also cited an e-book he wrote this year called “New Common Sense: The Nature and Consequences of One-Party Dictatorship.” According to the notice, Zhang violated university rules by “forcibly disseminating his political views among the faculty and using his status as a teacher to spread his political views among students.”

The dismissal is sure to send a chill through Chinese academia, which has come under increasing pressure amid an ideological campaign that seeks to rein in liberalism and promote obedience to the ruling Communist Party.

AmeriKa's ideology is obedience to corporate authority and it's government servants.

Zhang, 47, has had run-ins with school administrators over his writings, but their unhappiness with him deepened in May after he publicized the contents of a secret document, produced by the central government, detailing seven subjects that are not allowed to be discussed in Chinese classrooms. The banned topics included democracy, freedom of speech, and past mistakes of the Communist Party.

That anything like George Carlin's seven words you can't say on television?

But it was his defense of China’s 1982 Constitution that ran head-on into a campaign by the Chinese leadership that seeks to bolster the supremacy of the party.

You defend the Constitution in AmeriKa and the government considers you a "terrorist."


Try questioning the received wisdom of 9/11 in a U.S. classroom and see how far you get. 

At least Joe Biden is fighting for free speech:

"Biden criticizes China for media crackdown" by David Nakamura |  Washington Post, December 06, 2013

BEIJING — Vice President Joe Biden forcefully complained to Chinese leaders about threats to expel US journalists as part of a government crackdown on foreign media organizations, officials said Thursday.

Because they are spies?

Biden met privately on Thursday with a group of foreign journalists who are being threatened with expulsion, and reporters were told that he brought up the issue at all three of his meetings with China’s top leaders, including President Xi Jinping.

Some of the affected journalists expressed hope that with Biden personally lending his weight and potential loss of face to their cause, the chances that their visas would be granted at the last minute would increase.

Biden reportedly registered his concerns directly with Xi during a wide-ranging bilateral meeting a day earlier, and he publicly denounced the practice of intimidating journalists in a speech to US business executives Thursday morning in Beijing.

The Chinese government has threatened not to issue or renew work visas for journalists from The New York Times, Bloomberg News, and other organizations in the wake of critical stories.


Well, a "free" pre$$ anyway. 

At least they didn't mention the island dispute.

Thanks for taking the time to read my "hot air," reader.