måndag, oktober 01, 2007

China and the internet media

The Chinese government have decided to exclude or ban the internet media in China during the Olympic Games in Beijing this summer.

All media should - according to official policies - be owned and controlled by the Chinese government. The internet media is privately owned and the government does not like them of course.
On the internet media any Chinese citizen can express their opinion concerning corruption or forced labour for example. However one also get a chance to talk about the latest tv-series and other more 'harmless' subjects.
From a formal standpoint The Constitution of the People's Republic of China states that the "fundamental rights" include freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to a fair trial, freedom of religion, universal suffrage and property rights.
How free are the citizens to exercise these human rights?

We can now see two contiguous examples of dictatorship and how the leaders of both China and Burma try to stay in power using every possible means. Nothing new in either case but however tragic.

In Western media when reporting from China one sometimes get the impression that the circumstances concerning the freedom of speech and democratic rights have improved radically since 1989 and the Tiananmen Square Massacres (video above).

Unfortunately I think that claiming this is more a way for the Western democracies to justify that they have been treating the Chinese dictators and leadership in a very mild way concerning human rights issues the last fifteen years. Since 1989 I would say that issues concerning the economic development have been predominant in the reports from China.
This of course only because of foreign trade policies considering the enormous market China constitute for business companies in the West.

Will there be any protests against this ban of the internet medias in China?
Probably a few - as now when it is highly topical - but when the Olympic games in Beijing starts there will be a focus on sports, not politics.

Now when the situation in Burma is more in focus, there will be very little debate concerning the human rights in China. Only perhaps when Chinas role in solving the situation in Burma is debated, one will also touch the question concerning the lack of freedom in this huge country.
In an international perspective we also have to consider the situation in Darfur (Sudan), Pakistan, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe and many other countries in the world - not mentioning the Middle East - and in these countries it seems to be a more acute need of help. At least according to the reports in different medias around the world.

The general opinion today seems to be that if we let China continue its economical development, doing commerce with them, the democratic and human rights will also increase.
This is surely to some degree correct but I don't think that only economic development per se leads to democracy.
It is however easier for the democracies in the world leaving China to solve their own problems without interfering to much.

The West already have access to this great financial market and for the pragmatic leaders in Europe and elsewhere this is the most important issue, from their standpoint.

(Photo Chinese police man and computers copied from: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-5BD6vtBZm68/Tez0Z9DK_OI/AAAAAAAAA80/Js_3B6KXpgE/s1600/2003-10-5-china_internet_police.jpg)

(Photo Burmese military leaders copied from: http://www.cambodia.org/blogs/editorials/uploaded_images/burma+generals+Than+Shwe,+Maung+Aye,+Thura+Shwe+Mann-720992.jpg)

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