From the AP, via the International Herald Tribune:
China’s sentencing of a Hong Kong reporter to five years in prison on a charge of spying this week reflects a mounting conflict for the communist government: how to tighten control over information in an increasingly open, Internet-savvy society.
Dozens of journalists and Internet essayists have been jailed as Beijing tries to rein in a freewheeling press. But a wider campaign to extend government control also reaches out to legal activists, charities and even mapmakers, who were accused this week by a state agency of threatening national security through unauthorized surveying. [Full text]
The effort highlights the communist leadership’s desire to put the brakes on a process unleashed when economic reforms started 25 years ago. In exchange for a more vibrant economy, the government has been forced to ease social controls, giving Chinese the freedom to live where they want, travel or study abroad and post their opinions on the Internet.
A result is that while much of Chinese society is hurtling forward to catch up with the West, the leadership is trying to claw them back. [Full text]