Thursday, January 03, 2008

China: New year, new restrictions

The year 2008 is just starting. The Chinese knew that this year will bring some changes to their country: The year of the rat will be starting early on February. The Olympic games will be held this year in Beijing, and will attract millions of people to travel to China and spend money there, which will create an important revenue stream for the country. The Chinese car industry will potentially have a kickoff in NAFTA, with the introduction of some models in the Mexican market and the construction of an assembly plant as a joint venture with Mexican investors.

There will be, however, some other 'unpleasant' changes that the Chinese citizens will go through, and that they most likely didn't foresee. One of them is a further restriction of their freedom of speech. More precisely, these changes will be related to the information that Chinese surfers post on the net and download from it.

A newspaper reported today that the Chinese authorities decided to impose new regulations on internet videos, such as those found in pages like Youtube. Certain types of videos will be banned, for example those that show pornography or give a negative impression of China, damages its reputation, or reveals secrets. As in many other industries in China, the government will have its own video broadcasting website, which will be the only legal site of such type to be accessed from China. This new regulations will take effect on January 31.

Here we have another sad installment on China's record of violations to the rights of people. What I find funniest in this case, is that the videos 'hurting the reputation' of China are normally produced elsewhere, and displayed elsewhere. No matter how hard the Chinese government tries to clean their name, this type of actions only hurt them more in the eyes of the rest of the world, and makes us wonder whether China will indeed impose a new world order in the future.

With some information from The Globe and Mail


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