Wednesday, January 21, 2009

China Censors Part of Obama Inaugural Speech

from the New York Times

President Obama’s 18-minute inauguration speech on Tuesday was generally lauded by Americans for its candor and conviction. But the Chinese Communist Party apparently thought the new American president’s gilded words were a little too direct.

China Central Television, or CCTV, the main state-run network, broadcast the speech live until the moment President Obama mentioned “communism” in a line about the defeat of ideologies considered anathema to Americans. After the off-screen translator said “communism” in Chinese, the audio faded out even as Mr. Obama’s lips continued to move.
CCTV then showed an anchor asking an analyst about the economic challenges that President Obama’s faces. The analyst was clearly caught off guard by the sudden question.

The offending line in the president’s speech was this: “Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions.”

Later, the president went on to say: “To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”
Chinese translations of the speech published Wednesday by state-run news organizations here and on prominent Web portals omitted that line and the word “communism” in the earlier line. The government, however, has allowed the full English text of the speech to be published.
But the censorship might actually have drawn more attention to the speech.

Read the rest...

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