Tiananmen Square

Teach Your Censors Well

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Here's something I learned working under a military dictatorship: In suppressing discussion of major historical events, the appearance of widespread ignorance requires everyone's knowing participation. Otherwise, this happens:

A young clerk with no knowledge of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown allowed a tribute to victims slip into the classified ads page of a newspaper in southwest China, a Hong Kong daily reported on Wednesday.

The tiny ad in the lower right corner of page 14 of the Chengdu Evening News on Monday night, read: "Paying tribute to the strong(-willed) mothers of June 4 victims".

Hong Kong's South China Morning Post said a young woman on the Chengdu Evening News classified section had allowed the ad to be published because she'd never heard of the June 4 crackdown.

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  1. Silly Chinese. Here we proudly display our misinformation in Swiftboat ads and Michael Moore movies. You don’t have to be tyrannical to control the govenment, just repetative.

  2. Kerry,

    You worked for a military dictatorship?

    I bet that clerk is in a heap of trouble. Hope the Chinese don’t go and toss her in jail or something. Not to suggest that China isn’t a glowing paean to liberty.

  3. ProGLib,

    I checked her bio. She worked for a privately owned paper in Myanmar. Wow. That had to be a scary gig.

  4. I’m disappointed. I was hoping that she was Burma’s Minister of the Interior or something. In juxtaposition with her current role at a libertarian magazine and as libertarian pin-up girl (not for me; I’ve got Mrs. Libertate who is plenty hot, if not exactly libertarian), that would be truly ironic.

  5. Silly Chinese. Here we proudly display our misinformation in Swiftboat ads and Michael Moore movies. You don’t have to be tyrannical to control the govenment, just repetative.

    Swiftboat ads and Michael Moore movies are private… they are not government funded propoganda.

  6. “…they are not government funded propoganda.”

    That was kind of my point. If composition has failed me, I take full responsibility.

  7. I have a family friend that sells fireman equipment and supplies (hoses, helmets, etc).

    He once told me that he had made sales calls to some Chinese corporations, who responded that China has never had a fire in the history of the country. Apparently, the Chinese corp. representative was able to tell him later that it’s really gub’ment policy in China that fires never happen.

    Somewhat relevant, somewhat more interesting…

  8. She worked for a privately owned paper in Myanmar. Wow. That had to be a scary gig.

    I would LOVE to read what that was like. Kerry, were you able to cover actual news, or did all your stories have to be feel-good things about blood drives and schoolchildren doing well and the like? And how did you end up there in the first place? Were you born in Myanmar?
    Not trying to be creepy here; I’m genuinely curious.

  9. I checked her bio. She worked for a privately owned paper in Myanmar. Wow. That had to be a scary gig.

    I bet she thought so at the time. But then she came to Reason and started reading some of the comment threads for her articles and, well, encountered a whole new level of scary.

  10. Yes, but she’ll give it all up when she has her first kid. Or something.

  11. These problems wouldn’t arise if the Chinese had an open-source database available like, say, Wokipedia.

  12. See, if they’d just hired Jennifer as spiked-collared censor-in-chief, nothing like this would ever have happened.

  13. Jennifer as spiked-collared censor-in-chief

    mRRRRRRRaw

  14. mRRRRRRRaw

    FROM THE LATIN: “TAKE OFF YOUR SHIRT.”

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