Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Pravda, PRC-style

Three weeks in Asia. I’ll have more to say about that. But the reason the blog went dark for the last week is that I was in Beijing, where Blogger (among many blog-related sites) is currently blocked. I also got the distinct impression that email traffic takes a detour through Chinese filters. So I spent yesterday soaking my laptop in Clorox, as it were, in the hopes of removing any spyware that may have been installed.

The newspaper delivered to our hotel room was the English-language China Daily. While the paper comes closer than it once did to the ideal of an independent journalistic enterprise, a close reading brings to mind the Soviet-era Pravda. During the Cold War, it was said that ordinary Russians were adept at reading between the lines to divine the actual news (as opposed to what was printed in the paper).

China Daily, because it is printed in English, is not accessible to most Chinese. But for those who do read English, reading it between the lines might shed more light on current events than would otherwise be visible.

Sometimes you can convey more by what you don’t say than by what you do say.

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