Chinese Censorship Story Of The Week A Hoax

from the western-perspectives dept

Recently, two Chinese bloggers found a clever way to capitalize on the recent firestorm about internet censorship there. They set up a hoax — shutting down their sites and posting a message about being forced down by government censors. Only after the story spread (it was picked up by the BBC and even the cover of Newsweek Asia), did they reveal that the joke was on the international press for demonstrating what kinds of stories from China they want to report on. Any reporter or news agency can fall for a hoax, but censorship stories, and censorship stories relating to bloggers in particular (like the recent BoingBoing dustup), are hot right now. While it can be debated whether it’s navel-gazing or not that the press (and in particular the online press) places such emphasis on online censorship, it shouldn’t be ignored that there are regular violent crackdowns on other rights that warrant attention as well.


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Comments on “Chinese Censorship Story Of The Week A Hoax”

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7 Comments
giafly says:

Shame on you, BBC

As I write, the BBCstill seems to be hosting the original story without any correction, or link to any correction.

This matters because the BBC still has a reputation for reasonably accurate reporting. It’s not yet another Faux News.

As for the “What big news story?” comments. You have a point. Unfortunately the proportion of overseas news reports seems to be falling in all countries, and much of the rest is political spin, or “if it bleeds it leads” photo journalism.

Here’s a current extract from the BBC page…

China shuts down outspoken blog

One of China’s most outspoken and widely read blogs has been closed down by the authorities.



A note on his site reads simply but pointedly: “Because of unavoidable reasons, this blog is now temporarily closed.”

The authorities exert even tighter control than usual on how Chinese citizens express themselves during the parliament’s session, particularly on the blogs that many of the country’s more than 100 million internet users have set up.”

Jon Boczkiewicz says:

Ass U Me

So even in reporting that it’s a hoax Techdirt made the same jump that “unavoidable circumstances” = “government”? I agree, the Chinese gov’t’s record makes this an easy jump, but that’s no excuse.

And the next time it happens, and it IS gov’t influence, there will be some hesitation–is it really true, or just someone crying “Wolf!”. There are things that shouldn’t be made into a joke, no matter how funny.

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