Thursday, August 14, 2008

Everywhere In The World Is Just Like China

China got the Olympics because they promised to treat members of the media just like every other country in the world treats journalists. Did they mention that they are operating under the presumption that every other country in the world silences reporters?

Sure the reporters can report, the Chinese said, and that little girl you saw at the opening ceremony was really singing live and in person.

John Ray is a correspondent for England's Independent Television News, and he was doing his job on Wednesday, reporting the news as it happened. Unfortunately, the news that he was covering just happened to be a pro-Tibet protest staged by American activists, who didn't happen to have the proper approval for their banner unfurling ceremony.

For his troubles, Mr. Ray was forcibly removed from the protest site, about half a mile from the Bird's Nest Stadium, and detained. The Chinese police then continued to allow Mr. Ray free and unrestricted coverage by sitting on his arms, confiscating his equipment bag, and holding him for twenty minutes.

As further evidence that the Chinese are not restricting members of the media, they opened up access to the country outside of Beijing and let the reporters in. A pair of Japanese journalists who were reporting on an attack in northwest China, where the Uighur minority has been restless, were detained and beaten bloody by the local police.

The British Embassy is strongly concerned, but is it the fault of the Chinese when they don't know the difference between a fake and the real thing? In a land that produces knock-off Prada handbags by the boat load, would anyone expect them to be honest about anything?

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