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China Restricting Access to News of Egypt

January 31, 2011

Gee, I wonder why China would restrict access to news about Egypt? Could it be they too fear an uprising as they too are an authoritarian government with a terrible record of human rights violations?

Guardian UK reports today:

The Chinese authorities are censoring references to the protests in Egypt as some internet users draw comparisons with China, it emerged today.

Searches for the Chinese characters for Egypt on the popular Sina microblog service returned a message saying results were not being shown due to local regulations. But tactics such as employing the English word or characters sounding the same as the Chinese name – also “ai ji”, but this time meaning “sad and worried” – allowed internet users to discuss the situation.

Some people said they had also been able to post messages containing the characters for Egypt, although it was not clear how long they stayed up.

Although Beijing’s grip on power remains strong, the authorities are deeply aware of social tensions and are anxious to avoid mass unrest. There has been carefully controlled coverage of Egypt in the mainstream media, with newspapers and major news portals running short pieces from the Xinhua state news agency. They are often told to use only Xinhua articles on sensitive subjects.

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