On Newsweek.com, Melinda Liu summarizes the recent government crackdown on free expression in China:
For a while many foreign correspondents thought authorities were “killing the chicken to scare the monkey.” That’s a Chinese proverb meaning one target is attacked in order to intimidate another. When we saw our Chinese contacts harassed, detained, physically assaulted and sentenced to prison over the past year, it was tempting to assume they’d been “soft targets” for a regime intent on warning us, the international media, to stop sticking our noses into sensitive topics.
But we were being naive. Beijing’s goals are far more sweeping than the chicken-and-monkey metaphor could encompass. Today’s targets are not just domestic media and foreign correspondents, not just our Chinese sources and local assistants. Less than two years before Beijing hosts the 2008 Summer Olympics, authorities are in the midst of a concerted”and disturbing”effort to slam stricter controls on what Chinese know and how they know it. [Full text]