Tuesday, June 26, 2007

China, the Internet, and Liberty

'Breitbart.com reports:
"Recognising the threat of China's growing online community, Chinese President Hu Jintao called in January for the Internet to be 'purified', and the government has since launched a number of online crackdowns.

'The department of propaganda has sent out regulations to try and control the opinions being spread on the Internet, but every citizen has the right to criticise or to take part in public affairs on the Internet,' said Zhu Dake, a professor at Shanghai Tongji University.

'The government has to accept the criticisms of the people, it can no longer react crudely like in the past.'"
This is a very interesting news story, and it's probably worth your time to read the entire piece. One thing the story suggests is that the internet is a fantastic technology for liberty, even in a system of political economy as politically repressive as China.

Can we imagine what the Chinese government might do in order to "purify" the internet?

Here at home, I'm hearing that many of our leaders in Washington are talking about a "fairness doctrine" because of their concerns about talk radio. It seems that the bottom line for such concerns is something like this: "We don't like what talk radio says about us." Maybe such talk by political leaders could also be described as efforts to "purify"? But, thank goodness, we have a First Amendment here at home that will allow us to continue to enjoy the liberty to speak our political minds, even through the means of talk radio. Or, am I too naive or optimistic with respect to our Constitution and the Supreme Court?

[HT Instapundit]

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