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Censors Have A WTF Moment
by James Dunnigan
May 20, 2012

The fallout from the removal from office of popular politician Bo Xilai continues with aggressive efforts to remove any mention of Bo from the public record. Bo was an aggressive self-promoter and left monuments to his achievements all over the center of his power, the southwestern city of Chongqing (population 28 million). Bo's demise was embarrassing for the senior leadership of China because the incident put the spotlight on corruption and misbehavior at the highest levels of government. The Bo situation was also another reminder that the government no longer has complete control over national media. Communists, first a century ago in Russia then in China, used complete control of the media to operate a very effective police state. The Internet and cell phones have changed that. Despite an enormous and very expensive effort, China has been able to exercise some, but not complete, control over the Internet. With the proliferation of more powerful cell phones (especially smart phones, which are basically hand held PCs) the efforts at media control grow even more useless. The word still gets around and all most Chinese have to do is make a little extra effort to find out the latest tricks needed to circumvent the "Great Firewall of China." Bo was not only bad but now everyone knows it and more details are coming out. Nearly all the senior Chinese officials are, well, "dirty," as are many of their kin, and the Bo situation led to more Chinese discussing, on the Internet, details of many other dirty leaders. Whatever the solution to this problem (the corruption and the censorship) is, it won't be easy to implement.

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