Here is a hitchhiker’s guide to communicating with China http://www.peaceintibet.com/
The article is posted on the front page of the website while there is no permanent link to it so that if you are reading this a few weeks from today, you may have to dig into the archive of that website.
The article mainly explains why the recent criticism levied against China is not well received by the ordinary Chinese people. Also, it provides some helpful suggestions to western friends who would like to offer constructive criticism, which I am sure would be appreciated.
Usually, the westerners would think that any criticism they throw at China would be highly appreciated by the Chinese because the Chinese don’t have the ability to speak for themselves. You probably are surprised to learn that such is not the case. I think many Americans still hold on to their belief that secret Chinese policemen are constantly listening to the private conversions of ordinary people in order to stop dissent opinions. Such fantasy is not reality even in the hay days of culture revolution as spying on over 1 billion people is a task too daunting for any government.
True, suppression of opinions exists in China and widespread. And it is sponsored and ordered by the Chinese government. Now, this is not something you should be surprised about. It is not right, of course. But it is widespread. Even in the United States, the government is spying on you, listening to your phone conversations, reading your emails, opening your letters, and perhaps searching your homes while you are away. Most people in United States are just comfortable enough to ignore these secret government activities since they mostly support and follow the direction of the US government. This is not true for a few people who had dared to challenge the US government. FBI has a big archive of things it is not proud of.
Freedom of speech is relative. In China, you can speak and talk all you want about how evil the government is as long as no one can hear you. After all, no one can stop how you think. In the United States, this is better. I can write on this blog on how stupid the US government is and not facing retaliation even when this blog is widely accessible though only read by a handful of people. This is the difference and pretty much it. US government is very clever in silencing dissent opinions. Its skills are far superior than the Chinese government’s because the latter can afford to use brute force approach to shut down TV programs or newspapers but the US government can’t do so directly. Instead, the US government can rely on indirect punishment to those who dare to speak against its core interests and causing material harm.
As we all know, the US media is mostly controlled by big corporations with broad business interests that need support from the government. So it is a given that rarely you see US media outlets go against the core interests of the US government. Small potatoes such as socialist or liberal websites can get away with most of the things because their voices are low and nobody can hear them. Still, every now and then, there will be someone foolish enough to do something and eventual cause its own demise. See this story for an example (short summary of the story is that the owner of a website was jailed for the trumped up charges while the real reason is for posting death images of the Iraq war sent back by the soldiers).