China: December 13, 2004

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Police arrested three prominent critics of government policies, the latest in a new crackdown. With over 300 cell phone users, and nearly 100 million Internet users, the government has seen any convincing criticism of its actions spread rapidly. The government fears that a number of government mistakes (corruption, industrial accident, police misconduct) could spread widely all at once and trigger widespread street demonstrations. This, in turn, could turn violent and lead to an overthrow of the government. It's happened before in Chinese history, but the widespread availability of electronics communications could make it happen a lot faster. 

 

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