It is being reported over at The Blog Herald that China has begun aggressively blocking mainstream western Internet sites, including Twitter, Hotmail, YouTube, WordPress.com, and Bing among others. Apparently all in anticipation of the Tianamen Square Massacre on June 4.
What this tells us is that the word is more powerful than any act by repressive authoritarian functionaries or politically appointed stooges, any tanks, or any central government that rules by fiat. Just the idea that the public might freely exchange information and opinion, might express an alternative view of historic events, or might discuss current events, has a repressive, totalitarian government figuratively, if not literally, shaking in its boots. Speaking truth to power has that effect.
Regardless of what efforts the Chinese government might undertake in order to maintain the status quo by suppressing the free expression of thought and free exchange of information among the Chinese population, they cannot prevent their own citizens from figuring out ways around the roadblocks, acquiring the knowledge that might contradict history dictated by party line. The repressive Chinese government cannot prevent the free expression of news and opinion generated outside of their national borders, nor can they prevent an intelligent, resourceful citizenry from finding ways to access the words and information available across the entire Internet.
It is up to us, who are fortunate to reside outside of any political boundaries controlled by a repressive regime that rules by dictat to stand-in for those who cannot freely express themselves, to tell the stories that need to be told, to conduct the dialog that allows the free exchange of opinion, no matter how differing, no matter the political, ethical or moral values held. If we do that, even those who may behind the curtain of government censorship, will find a way to see the information and discourse, find a way to share it with their peers, and ultimately use it acquiring the same privileges of full freedom that are enjoyed by those of us who are fortunate to live in a free society.
June 4th is the twentieth anniversary of the Tianamen Square Massacre when, depending on whether you believe the Chinese government or independent sources, somewhere between 241 and 2,600 citizens were killed by government forces, responding to peaceful demonstrations by the citizens. The Chinese goverment, despite all their efforts, cannot bury this story, not when there are those of us beyond their reach who have the ability to speak truth to power.
More on the Tianamen Square Massacre can be found at: