First, there's this gem that reminds us that China is not a country that shares our touchy-feely democratic values and free speech. In Tibet, for example, they are cracking down on photocopier stores in a bid to squelch dangerous speech:
The authorities have identified a new threat to political stability in the restive region of Tibet: photocopiers. Fearful that Tibetans might mass-copy incendiary material, public security officials intend to more tightly control printing and photocopying shops, according to reports from the Tibetan capital, Lhasa.To be fair, South Korea has had rules in place aimed at doing the same thing with pro-North propaganda, though the obvious difference is that China is an occupying force in Tibet while South Korea was a victim of North Korean aggression.
A regulation now in the works will require the operators of printing and photocopying shops to obtain a new permit from the government, the Lhasa Evening News reported this month. They will also be required to take down identifying information about their clients and the specific documents printed or copied, the newspaper said.
A public security official in Lhasa, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the regulation “is being implemented right now,” but on a preliminary basis. The official hung up the phone without providing further details.
Tibetan activists said the new controls were part of a broader effort to constrain Tibetan intellectuals after a March 2008 uprising that led to scores of deaths.
The second story deals with the delicate issue of eminent domain, which is a touchy subject even in the US and South Korea. In glorious-to-be-rich China, it is alleged that extralegal methods are commonplace when it comes to the well-connected wealthy trying to get peasants and commoners off land they've decided they want to develop. This NYT video (embedding not allowed, sorry) addresses that issue, depicting angry residents who are about to lose their homes and their livelihoods.
Though this eventually ended in the New York Times, it's chilling that the journalists who were there were pushed to stop reporting on it. For cases such as these, the authorities rely on such tactics to prevent the public from getting wind of wrongdoing.
I'd like to think that China is getting better in this regard, but when the rulers have no direct accountability to the people, it's a situation fraught with the potential for abuse.