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Toldjah: Don’t tell us “Oh, but that’s just China …” Listen.

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The long commentary in the overseas edition of the People’s Daily, the main newspaper of China’s ruling Communist Party, added to signs that Beijing, jolted by the growing audience and influence of Twitter-like microblogging websites, is weighing fresh ways to tame and channel online opinion.

The People’s Daily commentary did not single out the explosive growth of microblog, or “Weibo,” users, who reached 195 million by the end of June, an increase of 209 percent on the number at the end of 2010.

But a preface to the newspaper commentary singled out a recent string of public uproars that have spread through microblogs, especially the “Weibo” site of Sina Corp, which dominates the sector in China.

Those uproars included a bullet train crash in July that drew outrage aimed at government officials over evasive statements, safety failures and the feverish expansion of high-speed rail.

– “Paper urges China to crack down on Internet opinions: Communist party writers warn of online subversive elements” (MSNBC, September 2, 2011)

“That’s just China?” This is “just Canada.” This is just Quebec, Canada.

All that needs to happen anywhere is that a bunch of opinion leaders, angered by the effective competition from the “nobodies” who blog, bend the ear of government about the dangers of unregulated opinion. Ever heard of that before?

If your government starts to think that independent news providers are a problem: Either  think up a good Seinfeld quip for when it’s “just us”?  Or tell them that you don’t agree, that you learn from and enjoy your independent news – and feel that adult citizens are capable of judging for themselves.

See also: The criminal hyperlink, and how it affects you


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