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Adam Supernant

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This is more dangerous than any aircraft carrier or missile. Now we become afraid of saying anything offensive, when sometimes we need to be extremely offensive.

Sure China is more open than that USSR, but this connectedness is a two way street. Hollywood, Bloomberg, and unis with China interests have already decided to self censor, and this trend looks certain to continue. Where are the red lines? Are there red lines?

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PRC government now owns the three largest book retailers in Hong Kong, and all the interesting books are indeed disappearing from the shelves. Hope Taiwan pays attention before it's too late.

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I'm disappointed that this level of absurdity doesn't get covered more in the West. Who comes up with this stuff?:

"Last week, authorities in Laskuy township, in Hotan (in Chinese, Hetian) prefecture’s Hotan county, issued an announcement in the town seat of Aktash village that 'all restaurants and supermarkets in our village should place five different brands of alcohol and cigarettes in their shops before [May 1, 2015].'

"Xinjiang may have stoked a deadly confrontation last year noted that one of many looped public announcements declared 'quitting drinking and smoking, or refusing to drink with friends' as a telltale mark of a religious extremist"

+Rob Kazmierski So, riots?

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I think Xi Jinping has officially lost it. Hacking Github was a poor decision and angered developers in China and abroad, but this latest story below makes zero sense. Some questions raised include:

1) Why needlessly bring attention to the fact that China censors the internet? Just gives the western media something else to write about.

2) Why warn Sina in public? Its shares, and those of other Chinese tech companies have crashed as a result. Is the idea to close foreign financial markets to these companies and make them more dependent on Chinese state banks for support?

2.1) It also says that all companies, domestic or foreign, are expected to be totally under the party's control.

2.2) It also emphasizes that individual companies are responsible for their own censorship. The government isn't content doing it itself.

2.3) And yet there is no list of approved or prohibited topics, no specific legal code to refer to. Its completely arbitrary. Makes the push for rule of law look very hollow.

3) Why warn Sina in English? Most of the time when they talk about kooky censorship rules, they only publish the story in Chinese.

4) Why Sina? If you want to scare some companies into compliance, why not pick a foreign one? The previous policy of closing doors for foreign web sites and promoting domestic ones was awful, but at least it was logical.

4.1) The former CEO of Sina is the former president's son in law. Yet another reason they could have picked a more politically neutral company to make an example of.

5) Why now? This comes right on the back of revelations that Baidu was used by the gov to hack Github, and also that the Chinese digital certificate issuing authority (CNNIC) was engaged in some suspicious behavior by issuing unrestricted sub-certificates. The international reputation of Chinese tech is not in a good place at the moment.

6) What's the message to Chinese tech entrepreneurs? It sure kills the mood. Would you want to take a crack at an internet service when the gov has this attitude?

7) Why so extreme? Sure, scold the company for not being more vigilant in censoring stuff. But to allude that the whole company could be shut down as a result is really extreme.

8) Generally speaking, what is the benefit? This hurts domestic Chinese firms, discourages local innovation, brings attention to an issue China doesn't like to talk about, and there's nothing urgent going on that would demand enhanced censorship. If anything, I'm more suspicious than I was yesterday that something is seriously amiss.

As you can tell, I think this story is very significant, more so than a lot of grander sounding pronouncements. It seems to be a needlessly heavy handed way to accomplish something that has been successfully handled discretely for decades. Xi really seems crazy about control. 

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This is good stuff for movies
Yipe too plausible!  And deeply scary. As China rises and Russia's population declines, will China cast its eye right next door… on Siberia?  "Siberia – the Asian part of Russia, east of the Ural Mountains – is immense. It takes up three-quarters of Russia's land mass, the equivalent of the entire U.S. and India put together. It's hard to imagine such a vast area changing hands. But like love, a border is real only if both sides believe in it. And on both sides of the Sino-Russian border, that belief is wavering." Indeed, increasingly, Chinese-owned factories in Siberia churn out finished goods, as if the region already were a part of the Middle Kingdom's economy.

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Doesn't Xi Jinping's daughter study at Harvard? Not to mention the kids of all the other elite.

Their alternative is to promote Marxist values, which is odd, because Marxism is certainly a Western idea. I guess it doesn't count?

#xijinping   #education  

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If you typed the word "civil rights" in WeChat, it would display a shower of American flags. I don't get what they are apologizing for, it was really funny. "Sorry for associating civil rights with the US" (??) #weixin   #humorlesscommunists   #tencent  

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In China, "rule of law" presumably means "arbitrarily arrest people who report on things we don't want people to know about." Yes, free speech is a crime here. #freemiao  
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