Please go read this fascinating post about the government’s digital sequestration of Xinjiang, a phenomenon that stands as a kind of case study of just how deeply the weak-kneed CCP fears any spark that might ignite the tinderbox of public opinion.
One snip about when it might end:
Here is the million-dollar question. If you ask 10 different people in Urumqi when the internet should turn back on you’re likely to get 10 different answers. The list ranges from the 1st of the year to somewhere in the middle of next year but everybody readily admits they’re not for sure.
Until a couple of weeks ago I would have been hesitant to answer this question, but a friend I trust passed along some interesting information that has given me the boldness to make my own predictions. According to some memos sent between the capital and the head office of our city’s main telecom provider, service is expected to open up during the May holiday of 2010.
There you have it. I’ve bet my money and made my prediction. This is just the halfway point…we have another 5 months to go. Of course, being wrong won’t make me sad if it’s sooner rather than later.
A sad situation, and a vivid reminder of how some things haven’t changed all that much. For all its enlightenment and reform, the party remains prickly and paranoid. Imagine any other great power blocking out the Internet in areas where there is turmoil….
And yes, I know, America has done bad things, too, and killed Indians. But I’m talking now about China. And for China, this is a sad episode, a sign of an inherent weakness and lack of confidence, despite the party’s strength and staying power, which I’ve also written about at length recently.
Update: Looking at this a day later, I think this was a pretty mediocre post. Apologies. I don’t mean to beat a dead horse about the CCP’s prickliness, and I’ve tried to make amply clear that that’s not all the party is about. But this episode just bugged me and raised all sorts of memories of bad experiences I had with censorship in China back in 2003.
Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.