China’s Local Censors Muffle an Explosion – Edward Cody

Ph2007073101787 From The Washington Post:

By 9 p.m., the Tianying karaoke bar was jumping. Two co-ed parties were underway, with celebrants drinking and singing. In the bathhouse section, men were soaking in hot tubs and enjoying the company of prostitutes, while other customers tried their luck in a pocket-size gambling den.

That is when the blast went off.

In Beijing, officials in the central government of President Hu Jintao have suggested repeatedly that a more open attitude is necessary in the age of cellphones and the Internet. Wang Guoqing, vice minister of the government’s national Information Office, told China Central Television last month that local attempts to block coverage of negative news are “naive” given the new technology.

Whether Wang was sincere or not in his call for more openness, the message has not gotten through in China’s provincial propaganda offices. At those levels, senior propaganda officials often are on close terms with local newspaper and television editors; they attend the same party meetings and follow similar career paths. Coverage of Tian Shifu’s explosion was a case in point. [Full Text]

[Image source: Washington Post, Courtesy of Wu Peng]

August 1, 2007 5:54 AM
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