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Monday 19 Feb 2018 | 14:54 | SYDNEY
Monday 19 Feb 2018 | 14:54 | SYDNEY

China's censors up against it



1 August 2008 11:05

Andrew Bolt deserves congratulations for reaching a blogging milestone, which he celebrates in his newspaper column today. It's encouraging for Australian political bloggers generally that he has built such a big audience, because it suggests there is potential for growth out there. (Though as this paper argues, there are a number or reasons to doubt our political blogosphere will ever be as influential as the American one.)

Bolt's other column today makes the case that China's thuggish and ham-fisted attempts to muzzle the international media are coming unstuck. As noted on this blog in April, it is simply impossible for Chinese authorities to keep a close watch not only on the thousands of journalists now arriving, but the athletes, spectators and officials too. With their phone cameras, blogs and Facebook pages, they are all potential citizen journalists, just waiting to witness any act of Chinese oppression, and then distribute the news to the world.

Chinese firewalls cannot stop that, and China's censors are not infallible either. As Eric Campbell showed on Tuesday's Foreign Correspondent, it is possible for intrepid journalists to break free of officialdom to file quality reports about China's many shortcomings. In short, these Olympics are proving to be a PR nightmare for China.

The close of Bolt's column is a little scarifying for my taste: it will be quite some time before China 'dominates' our century. And the description of the IOC as an institution 'we trust to spread Western values to a totalitarian regime' is pretty naive. When did we ever trust the IOC?

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