Thursday, November 19, 2009

Obama Speaks Freely--Most Is Censored

The Red Chinese government may be on to something. President Obama, a great believer in free speech (except when it's criticism of his policies), lectured the People's Republic on the virtues of freedom of speech for Chinese TV. The Chinese authorities promptly censored most of the speech, leaving only a few abstract comments for a couple of sound bites. Too bad we can't do that here. Obama speaks endlessly and mindlessly on a daily basis for U.S. viewers, and nobody bothers to cut any of it.

One Chinese entrepreneur (pictured) found himself in trouble for making a little too much of Obama's visit. He had been warned not not to try to display or promote his "Oba Mao T-Shirts," but he did it anyway. And now he's not only being censored, but is also facing criminal prosecution. Free speech and free enterprise are not highlights of the communist Chinese government.

In the past, American Presidents were allowed a surprising amount of leeway to speak directly to the Chinese people. Clinton and Bush II were hardly censored at all. But they were both talking about "warming relations" between the two nations, neither spoke about the touchy topic of free speech, and neither was there on bended knee begging the Chinese dictators to purchase more United States bonds.

All major media outlets agree that the Chinese government strictly limited dissemination of video and transcripts of the President's remarks. Internet viewings were more problematic, but were quickly censored as well. The thorniest problem for the Chinese censors is that they generally do not censor the White House's own website, and let it slip longer than they would have liked. But, better late than never.

The Washington Post headlined: "Obama backs Non-censorship; Beijing, Apparently, Does Not." They went on to say: "Most Chinese never got to hear or read what Obama said, and his talk to the students was never mentioned on China's main official 7 PM news broadcast." The Christian Science Monitor was more specific: "After a string of softball questions from officially selected students, Ambassador Jon Huntsman read out a question that someone had sent in to the US Embassy website, asking bluntly what the president thought of Internet censorship in China" Obama replied appropriately (if not entirely honestly): "I have always been a strong supporter of open Internet use, and a big supporter of non-censorship." Brave words, which were never heard by most Chinese.

The AP, forever in the Obama tank, reported that Obama "may have been hoping to set a personal example for China's leaders when he said he believes that free discussion, including criticism that may be annoying to him, makes him 'a better leader because it forces me to hear opinions that I don't want to hear.'" And as we all know, Obama takes criticism very well, and goes out of his way to learn from it. Oh, and did you know that the moon is made out of green cheese?

Even the New York Times was honest enough to admit "that most of those who attended [the staged TV opportunity] turned out to be members of the Communist Youth League, an official organization that grooms obedient students for future leadership posts, and some Chinese bloggers whom the White House had tried to invite were barred from attending." Close enough for government work. And ABC World News accurately described the atmosphere in China prior to the event: "In anticipation of [Obama's] visit, the Chinese government rounded up and detained dozens of dissidents including human right activist Chiu Ju Yung who lost his leg 20 years ago during the crackdown on the Tiananmen Square democracy protests."

The only remaining question is, was this a lesson to the Chinese about censorship, or a lesson for ACORN, the SEIU, and the Holder Justice Department on how to handle potential dissidents against Obama policy decisions?

17 comments:

Joel Farnham said...

LawHawk,

If I were to bet, I bet that most of Obama's staff has tingles up and down their legs and drooling over China's censorship. I bet they were taking copious notes on how to shut up the opposition.

BevfromNYC said...

Did Obama seriously believe that the Chinese government was going to allow just anybody into a "townhall" meeting to ask questions? HE doesn't even do that!

AndrewPrice said...

His whole China trip has been an embarassment. He's the first President to go over there and be treated like some minor player come to worship his Chinese masters. They even rounded up dissents before he came, whereas usually they try to let some out of jail to show good faith. Pathetic.

Tam said...

I just want to know where I can get an Oba-mao shirt.

Writer X said...

Like the Joe Bidenisms, maybe we should start one for Obama. "I'm a big supporter of non-censorship"? That one is priceless.

Listening to him speak at that Chinese townhall was like listening to a breakfast cereal commercial. Completely uninspiring.

AndrewPrice said...

Writer X, I've actually been thinking about that! LOL! I've got about a dozen "Obama-Bidenism" already.

Writer X said...

Andrew, that is a Dilbert-like calendar idea waiting to happen. At least a t-shirt.

LawHawkSF said...

Joel: I'm sure they were doing exactly that.

LawHawkSF said...

Bev: The audience was no surprise to him. But I think he was a little surprised that the Chinese TV and press didn't print his every pearl of wisdom the way they do here.

StanH said...

Barry was taking notes, learning at the feet of the masters of censorship The Chinese Communist Party, Maoist utopia, Barry’s heroes.

LawHawkSF said...

Andrew: And that's the worst part of all. Obama has nobody's respect, and yet his whole gimmick during the election was that his administration would make everyone love us. They don't, and now they don't even respect us.

LawHawkSF said...

Tam: Just google Oba Mao T-Shirts and you can get them from several different sources online.

LawHawkSF said...

WriterX: It's not easy solving the problems of the world in 20 second soundbites.

Tennessee Jed said...

how right on point, Hawk. I particularly appreciated your comment about the A.P. To me, they more than any other news organization represent what is bad about modern "journalism." Another thought as I read your post is that Red China is the country which most reminds me of the Obama administration (Barrack Hussein Obama, hmm, hmm, hmm!)

LawHawkSF said...

Tennessee: I think you're right on the money about AP. They don't report news, they report administration propaganda and spin disguised as news.

DCAlleyKat said...

"After a string of softball questions from officially selected students, Ambassador Jon Huntsman read out a question that someone had sent in to the US Embassy website, asking bluntly what the president thought of Internet censorship in China" Obama replied appropriately....

Really, did he say something like, "Wow that sounds amazingly descriptive of my townhalls back home in the good old land of the free!"

LawHawkSF said...

DCAlleyKat: Unfortunately, the liberals can't see what's right in front of them. They threaten, they plan lawsuits, they shout down conservative speakers, and all in the name of free speech. You'll never get an admission of their attempts to subvert free speech, and they'll never see the parallel with China.

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