China: June 8, 2002


The Internet is changing the way the Communist Party rules China. Even with all the government controls on the Internet, news now travels faster and more freely than in the past. Although the government can crack down on web site access and (less successfully) chat rooms, email is more difficult to monitor. Reports of major disasters, major crimes (serial killers, mass murders) and corruption by government officials, previously ignored by the state controlled media (lest it "upset public order) are now widely known, and quickly too. The government has had to react. The government now admits that there are safety problems in state controlled industrial plants and mines, that police are unable to catch major criminals and that there is a lot of government corruption. Once the government admits this stuff, it has to act or lose face. All of this is actually a good thing for the government, for it gives reform minded officials an excellent excuse to do what has to be done. And that is exactly what the government is doing, while continuing to clamp down in the Internet's breaking of the state media monopoly.


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