I have watched with interest over the last three weeks or so the reaction of the Chinese relatives of those on board the missing Malaysian airliner. I’m sure everyone who has watched their grief unfold has been touched by the scenes of anguish as they inevitably came to terms with the death of a loved one. I’m certain, for the first few days at least, they were all hoping against hope that the plane, its passengers and crew would be found safe and well.
I have a problem now though with the protests taking place in Malaysia about the lack of information they were given on the days following the plane’s loss. Am I missing something or do these people not come from a country where information they could, some would say ‘should’, have is restricted on a daily basis by their own government?
Internet censorship in the People’s Republic of China is conducted under a myriad of laws and administrative regulations. Amnesty International once noted that China “has the largest recorded number of imprisoned journalists and cyber-dissidents in the world” and Paris-based Reporters Without Borders stated in 2010 and 2012 that “China is the world’s biggest prison for netizens.” (A new word for me but I can guess what it means!) The size of the Chinese Internet police in 2013 was reported to be 2 million.
How ironic is that?