China’s Self-Defeating Censorship

International Herald Tribune op-ed article by Paul Mozar about the Chinese government blocking internet access to Xinjiang:

To pull the plug on the Internet for 20 million of its citizens is not simply bad policy, it’s a violation of human rights. And although for now China is unlikely to change its heavy-handed approach to Internet censorship, it is appropriate to remind the Chinese government that persistence in these policies will result in the same phenomenon happening in Xinjiang — exodus.

According to a recent study sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, 92 percent of Chinese graduate students who received doctorates in the United States in 2002 were still in the U.S. five years later. Although freedom of information is just one factor for these academics, it is significant. Tearing down the walls China has built to cut itself off from the world would be a step to wooing back some of these future lights… The Chinese government’s current policies not only fly in the face of that tradition but also buck the modern trends of information exchange that have helped lift millions out of poverty over the past 30 years. Imagine how much culturally poorer China would be if a great firewall blocked Xuanzang on his return home.

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