2009-01-21

Obama's Speech Censored in China

See what China's citizens saw. President Barack Obama's inauguration speech is being broadcast live on CCTV. He mentions Americans who 'faced down fascism and communism.' The translation (woman's voice) renders his words in Mandarin. The translation audio is abruptly cut off and the volume for Obama's speech is muted. A studio reporter appears on-screen and hastily tosses a question to her unprepared colleague.

The CCTV video capture is posted on Taiwan YouTube.

BBC's Michael Bristow reports on the Chinese government's censorship of yesterday's speech:

In his inauguration address, President Obama said: "Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions."

That entire passage was retained for an English-language version of the speech that appeared on the website of state-run Xinhua news agency. But in the Chinese-language version, the word "communism" was taken out.

President Obama's comments addressed to world leaders who "blame their society's ills on the West" also fell foul of the censor's red pen. "To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history," the president said.

Once again, Xinhua included the passage in full in its English version, but the sentence was taken out of the Chinese translation.

Bristow's full report appears at the BBC site. James Reynolds, BBC's Beijing correspondent, offers additional comments in his blog.

Obama's complete statement, in each case:
Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions.
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To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West - know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.
In another development, a new law in the eastern Chinese city of Xuzhou attempts to crack down on a form of citizen vigilantism that exposes corrupt officials.

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