Wednesday, January 21, 2009

China: Not Flat by Choice

An internet news clipping follows:

Chinese Translation Cuts Out Parts of Obama Inauguration Speech
: Obama's inauguration references to communism and dissent veered into politically sensitive territory for China's ruling Communist Party.

BEIJING - The official Chinese translation of President Barack Obama's inauguration speech was missing his references to communism and dissent, while a live broadcast on state television Wednesday quickly cut away to the anchor when the topic was mentioned.

The comments by the newly installed U.S. president veered into politically sensitive territory for China's ruling Communist Party, which maintains a tight grip over the Internet and the entirely state-run media. Beijing tolerates little dissent and frequently decries foreign interference in its internal affairs.

At one point, Obama said earlier generations "faced down communism and fascism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions." He later addressed "those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent know that you are on the wrong side of history."

The Chinese translation of the speech, credited to the Web site of the official China Daily newspaper, was missing the word "communism" in the first sentence. The paragraph with the sentence on dissent had been removed entirely.

The censored version was carried by the state-run Xinhua News Agency and posted on popular online portals Sina and Sohu. Another portal, Netease, used a version without the paragraph mentioning communism, but retaining the part about dissent....

The full translation of Obama's speech could be viewed on the Web site of Hong Kong-based broadcaster Phoenix Satellite Television, which has a reputation as a more independent news source. The China Daily Web site posted Obama's full remarks in English only.

China has previously altered the words of U.S. officials.... In 2003, the memoirs of then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton were pulled from publication in China after the government-backed publisher removed references to the 1989 Tiananmen Square democracy protests and altered Clinton's comments about human rights activist Harry Wu.


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