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September 12, 2006


sun bin

It seems such recent events indicate a few trends:

1) Since non-political protests are not punished, people are willing to take part in.
2) This serves as a trend in China's slow open up to "free speech" -- yes, still too slow, but the govt is just loosing ground inch by inch
3) such easing up is inevitable, as economic and information flow (internet!) opens china up, and as the rigidity of the top-down system could not address the issue of unfairness in society

finally, the SARS event was the turning point.


regarding dai haijing - what if the mobs are wrong? what if she did commit suicide? maybe the reason few media have reported on the death itself (as opposed to the wider issues of cover ups and mass incidents) is that it is a somewhat confusing and hard to crack story. this kind of rationale (mob rises, allegations must be true) is just as worrying as the continuing corruption and cover ups.

I am reminded of the chinese girl who set up an internet site defaming her father for having an affair. the online mob rose and her father was castigated by all. turned out he wasn't having an affair after all. did another mob rise to apologise to the father? of course not.

Feng 37

That's the point, isn't it? Allow these stories to be told so that people don't have to resort to street mobs just to get answers.


actually it happened. my beida friend told me that around 2001, a Arts student was raped and murdered in beida's Arts campus, which is at the outskirt of beijing city, the surrounding is like rural area. it happened around june 4, and there was a campus demonstration. but in the end, the university managed to pacify the students and promise to improve the security of the outskirt campus.

C. Brayton

On the financial news angle you note in passing, it's interesting to note that the Xinhua Financial Network is a Caymans corporation controlled by Nevada-incorporated holding company, listed on the OTCBB, with a share participation by the state-controlled Xinhua News Agency, that has agreed to apply China's new strictures on business reporting to its coverage.

It makes an interesting comparative case study with the flap over Google's, MSN's and Yahoo's business practices in China, I think.

At any rate, this deal should certainly give XFN a leg up over competitors like Reuters, Bloomberg and FT, which have all dispatched negotiators recently, I've noticed, to work out terms for doing their own business in the PRC, with its overheated markets and the demand for business data and information they generate.

Moral of the story: The Chinese seem to be very good at using economic pressure to keep a tight rein on foreign media operations.

It always strikes me as incredibly risky to invest in a "free market" reform in which state agencies control information flows. And yet Western firms are flocking to do just that. Go figure.

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