Last updated: April 28, 2011 - 8:27am
[Commentary] China is in the middle of its harshest crackdown on independent thought in two decades. The reason? Surprising as it may seem, the government is worried that China could become the next Egypt or Tunisia, unless security forces act early and ruthlessly.
“Of course, they’re scared that the same thing might happen here,” one Chinese friend with family and professional ties to top leaders told me. A family member of another Chinese leader put it this way: “They’re just terrified. That’s why they’re cracking down.” Yet another official says that the Politburo internalized a basic lesson from the Tiananmen movement: It’s crucial to suppress protests early, before they gain traction. He says that from China’s point of view, the mistake that autocrats in Egypt and Tunisia made was not cracking down earlier and harder. Still, the crackdown represents a great leap backward, and it is particularly nasty in two respects. First, the government is arresting not only dissidents and Christians but also their family members and even their lawyers. Second, after a long period in which police would torture working-class prisoners but usually not intellectuals, the authorities are again brutalizing white-collar dissidents.
- Freedom on the global Internet still a pipe dream
- 13 nations denounced for Web censorship
- Internet technology a tool for political change in Arab world
- Freedom of the Press 2012
- Twitter: It Won't Start a Revolution, But It Can Feed One
- You Say You Want a Revolution?
- US lodges China censorship complaint
- As world burns, G8 leaders fiddle ... with the Internet. Seriously?
- US Policy to Address Internet Freedom
- Web's Openness Is Tested in Tunisia
- Government of Tunisia Shuts Down Popular TV Channel
- Web 2.0 versus Control 2.0
- Online censorship more sophisticated, report finds
- Net Freedom Fighters and the Digital Age Revolution
- Press Freedom Index: Occupy Wall Street Journalist Arrests Cost U.S. Dearly In Latest Survey