China censors transcripts of Dick Cheney’s speech

Not surprising, of course:

Anyone who tuned into CCTV-4, China’s all-news television channel, at shortly after 10 a.m. last Thursday could have watched Mr. Cheney deliver an address to students at Fudan University in Shanghai. A State Department linguist provided simultaneous interpretation.

The broadcast, however, received no advance billing in the Chinese news media and was not repeated. And authorities promptly plastered leading web sites with a “full text” of the vice president’s remarks, including his answers to questions after the speech, that struck out references to political freedom, Taiwan, North Korea and other issues that propaganda officials considered sensitive.

The censorship showed that even a hopeful sign of political progress in China can be more like a mirage. Officials sought to convey a relaxed attitude about what Mr. Cheney might say in public even as they worked behind the scenes to alter the record, analysts say.

“What they do to control the media is sometimes surreal,” says Yu Maochun, a China expert at the United States Naval Academy who noticed discrepancies between Mr. Cheney’s speech and the Chinese transcript of the address. “Censorship is a habit they can’t kick.”

Check the article to see which phrases were excised, and how wishy-washy US officials were in their response.

The Discussion: 3 Comments

Putting the Fudan Uni speech/question and answer
session on “live” TV at 10 in the morning is exactly
what they did to Clinton a few years ago. Then they
edited the speech, cut out references to human rights
etc. and showed the China-friendly version on all the
regular news programmes.

I’m surprised that they cut huge chunks out of
Cheney’s comments about North Korea. I suppose they
don’t want to upset the Chinese masses who still see N
Korea as a solid ally.

I also think that they cut out references to the TRA
and Cheney’s comments about continued arms sales to
Taiwan because they want to make him out to be a
frightened puppy bending to the will of mighty China.
Such comments (made in Shanghai) about strong US
support for Taiwan are a bit of a slap in the face for
the Chinese govt.

I think the govt still likes to project an
image of foreigners coming to China and showing deep
respect and supplication to China. Cheney laying down
the law on Taiwan and the TRA is definitely not what they like to happen

April 20, 2004 @ 2:13 am | Comment

That’s odd, because I remember when Bush came to town (maybe in Shanghai) they gave true live coverage to him.

Or maybe it’s my flu-infected memory that’s at fault.

April 20, 2004 @ 12:21 pm | Comment

I can’t comment on whether Cheney was given a true live feed or not. TVB Pearl here in Hong Kong switches to CCTV9 coverage at 8am (after Peter Jennings’ ABC Evening News), but I usually have switched off the TV long before 10am. Not sure that there is ever program announcements for special events though. At least not here in Hong Kong, since I was upset CCTV9 switched to talking heads for three days during the last round of 6 party talks on N. Korea.

Yahoo News had a wire story yesterday on China’s response stating that they didn’t “censor” Cheney, but that things must have gotten lost in the translation/editing process at state media. *snicker*

And I never saw a text of Cheney’s speech ever posted on the english language versions of People’s Daily or China Daily web sites. And I was looking.

April 21, 2004 @ 6:54 pm | Comment

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