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Censorship in the Chinese mass media

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It is well-known that there is a strict censorship in the mass media and the Internet in China. When I was staying in Beijing, I experienced an interesting and scary event.

I was staying at one of the most beautiful and gorgeous (probably) hotels towering in the Wangfujing area. Inside the hotel there were a number of foreign travelers, mostly from European countries and the US (probably). The lobby was beautiful, the swiming pool was beautiful, and the hotel staff was frank and polite. This was surely one of the best hotels I have stayed at up until present.

One afternoon I was watching TV in my room. It was surprising that I could see not only Chinese channels, but many foreign channels such as CNN, BBC, MTV, and Japanese NHK. And more surprising was that those programs were aired live. I could watch Japanese NHK news and weather report live. CNN and BBC were live too. What surprised me was that if we could watch foreign programs live, then we could also see, for example, another Tien An Men incident live in CNN or BBC without censorship. Wow, how thrilling!

I turned the channel to BBC. It was broadcasting a weather forecast. Then, a BBC reporter began a report from Beijing, China. He was talking to the camera with his laptop computer in a Chinese garden. His report was about the current situation about the Chinese media and the Internet. An interview with a Chinese girl started. She talked about her own blog. She said in English that it was very interesting to have communications with unknown people on the Internet. And then, another story began. A middle-aged man was riding on a train. He was a journalist of a Chinese newspaper, but he quit his job and became an independent journalist. He made his own website and continued to expose the dark side of Chinese society.

I came near to the TV set. The report went on. This man interviewed a Chinese woman whose husband had been physically abused by a member of the Communist Party. The woman appeared on the screen. After chatting with this woman, the Chinese journalist started to talk to the BBC camera about the background of the incident, and ....... suddenly the TV screen turned black and silent. I was shocked and changed the channel. CNN and other foreign channels were aired without problem. I returened to BBC. The TV screen still remained black. I was waiting in front of the silent TV set. Then suddenly the program resumed. The report from China had already ended, and another report from another country had begun.

I am worried that something unfortunate might have happened to the Chinese journalist and the interviewed woman.

Related article: Unit 731 and atrocities in China during World War II

Photo: Albany, NY, USA.

   --- M.Morioka www.lifestudies.org

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