China: March 30, 2002

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Unable to control the use of cell phones and pagers, the government has banned members of the military from using these devices without official permission. The government says they are doing to this to prevent military secrets being lost. But the real reason was to prevent any unhappy soldiers from sharing their gripes with each each other and, horror of horrors, getting organized and doing something about it. Civil disturbance from a growing number of unemployed Chinese leaves the government more dependent on the army. If riots and demonstrations get out of control, and the local police or riot police can no longer handle it, the army will have to be sent in. If the troops were able to call up and get other (than the official government) views on what was going on, the reliability of the troops might become questionable. The official reason for the cell phone ban was to prevent enemy spies from listening in on soldiers talking about military secrets.  

 

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