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Fri, Aug 29, 2014

BURRISS: China enlists cabs, pigeons to fight speech

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The election is finally over, and many people are cheering the end of campaign ads, slogans, banners, posters and other election paraphernalia.

But in two years it will be time for another round of Congressional elections and all that entails.

But you know what, maybe all of the time and money spent on election posturing isn’t so bad, especially compared with restrictions in place in China in the face of this week’s upcoming party congress.

Here are some of the restrictions the government has put in place to prevent any unauthorized political messages from getting to the public:

Taxi drivers have been ordered to remove rear window handles so passengers can’t roll down the windows and throw out illegal messages.

Taxi drivers have also been told to be especially vigilant and watch for passengers who might throw ping pong balls carrying reactionary messages from cabs.

Television stations have been told not to broadcast songs containing the words “die” or “down” because the words are considered inauspicious.

Pigeon owners have been told to keep their birds, well, cooped up, I guess so they don’t drop subversive messages.

Sales of pencil sharpeners have been curtailed, presumably to keep dissidents from sharpening pencils they need to write reactionary messages.

The government routinely blocks internet sites that contain words the leaders find offensive or subversive.

But now they are also blocking mention of the 18th Party Congress itself.

Of course, party officials have also announced the Internet will soon undergo “routine maintenance” to make sure the Congress can carry out its business.

So let’s think about this for a moment: an overabundance of attack and negative political ads, or restrictions on sales of pencil sharpeners.

I think I’ll take the ads.
Read more from:
Media Matters
Tags: 
Campaigning, China, Elections, Free Speech, Larry Burriss, Media, Media Matters, Politics
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