Monday, November 16, 2009

Obama Censored in China

Barack Obama's speech in China today had all the hallmarks of a typical Obama townhall meeting. Carefully selected questions and every aspect of the event staged beforehand. Obama laughably said he doesn't want to impose any style of government upon any country, which makes on wonder why he's trying to impose socialism upon the United States. Obama and company naively thought the speech would be seen throughout the country, but naturally it was censored by the Chinese government. That apparently was OK with him and his henchman David Axelrod.
Meeting with a carefully screened group of students at the marquee event of his Asia trip, President Obama on Monday sought to advance what he called America's "core principles" during his first public appearance in China. But the event itself -- billed as an opportunity for Obama to reach beyond Chinese officialdom -- illustrated the Chinese government's tight grip.

The "freedoms of expression and worship, of access to information and political participation, we believe are universal rights," Obama said at a town hall-style meeting in Shanghai, China's most modern and outward-looking metropolis. Liberty, the president told nearly 500 students bused to a science museum decked with U.S. and Chinese flags, should be "available to all people, including ethnic and religious minorities, whether they are in the United States, China or any other nation."

Virtually every aspect of the event was staged, and it was unclear how many Chinese citizens saw the hour-long exchange, which was not broadcast on national television. One of the most provocative statements Obama made -- about the importance of opening up the Internet -- was posted on Chinese news sites at first, but then was deleted.

Obama's audience, selected and coached beforehand by university officials, came from eight different Shanghai universities. A small, random sampling suggested the vast majority were members of the Communist Party. Many of the eight questions put to the president by students echoed Chinese government talking points.

Nonetheless, administration officials were satisfied with the outcome. "We understood the limitations," said senior White House adviser David M. Axelrod, who is traveling with the president. Regardless of how the questions were generated, Axelrod said, Obama's "answers were his own, and he got a chance to make them to a larger audience on local TV and over the Internet. That made it a very worthwhile event."
Nice to see Obama was allowed to give his own answers. Way to man up, Barry.
"I've always been a strong supporter of open Internet use. I'm a big supporter of non-censorship," Obama replied. "I recognize that different countries have different traditions. I can tell you that in the United States, the fact that we have free Internet -- or unrestricted Internet access -- is a source of strength, and I think should be encouraged."
He's a big supporter of non-censorship, except he doesn't want you watching Fox News.


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