Print no Evil

While I'll defend the future of China sourcing and the quality of the majority of China's export manufacturing operations until Lou Dobbs goes off the air for good, one thing you'll never catch me supporting China on is their lack of media freedom. Even though China really has turned into a capitalist society -- one with lower taxes for corporations and individuals than many Western nations -- it still lacks basic Democratic freedoms we take for granted. Like a free press, for example.

Consider that, according to an article on the AP wire, that China just announced that "it would carry out a wide-ranging crackdown on 'false news' and illegal publications ahead of the ruling Communist Party's most important meeting in five years." In China, crackdowns are serious. All you need to do is look at the case of our favorite journalist who cooked up some hot crossed Beijing buns. According to the AP, he's going to jail for faking his "television story about cardboard-filled meat buns -- a story that drew widespread attention to the country's poor food safety record."

Who will be subject to the media hunt? "The campaign against false news will target newspapers and magazines illegally published in China using overseas registrations, as well as illegal foreign-language media aimed at foreigners living in China, political media that fabricate rumors, and military media that leak state secrets." Scary stuff. At least in North America, our media essentially has open access to print whatever biased crap they want to. After all, on the national stage, we get to choose between having our news surreptitiously slanted around liberal agendas (i.e., CNN) or offered up with a more in your face conservative perspective (i.e., Fox). Personally, I'd take either approach over China's state-controlled and enforced model any day of the week.

Jason Busch

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