Chinese Censorship and "Opinion Guidance" Update: The Shakespeare Example
The New York Times is reporting that Chinese censors are increasing the strength of the Great Firewall and offers the country's citizens more "opinion guidance." For example, censors have blocked Google searches for the word "freedom" for the past six months. The Times also offers this telling example of the depth of censorship being suffered by the Chinese people:
If anyone wonders whether the Chinese government has tightened its grip on electronic communications since protests began engulfing the Arab world, Shakespeare may prove instructive.
A Beijing entrepreneur, discussing restaurant choices with his fiancée over their cellphones last week, quoted Queen Gertrude's response to Hamlet: "The lady doth protest too much, methinks." The second time he said the word "protest," her phone cut off.
He spoke English, but another caller, repeating the same phrase on Monday in Chinese over a different phone, was also cut off in midsentence.
China has fueled its remarkable economic growth by investing vast amounts in tangible capital, e.g., factories, roads, powerplants, housing, etc. In the next couple of decades, the development of intangible capital will be necessary to sustain economic growth. Intangible capital includes respect for property rights, higher education of its people, and the free flow of information. By the end of this decade, China's leaders will learn that the choice will be censorship or economic growth; they cannot have both.