May 7, 2017

"Life in China is saturated with pretense. People feign ignorance and speak in ambiguities."

"Everyone in China knows that a censorship system exists, but there is very little discussion of why it exists.... The most elegant way to adjust to censorship is to engage in self-censorship. It is the perfect method for allying with power and setting the stage for the mutual exchange of benefit. The act of kowtowing to power in order to receive small pleasures may seem minor; but without it, the brutal assault of the censorship system would not be possible. For people who accept this passive position toward authority, 'getting by' becomes the supreme value. They smile, bow and nod their heads, and such behavior usually leads to lifestyles that are comfortable, trouble free and even cushy.... That’s what we have here in China: The self-silenced majority, sycophants of a powerful regime, resentful of people like me who speak out, are doubly bitter because they know that their debasement comes by their own hand. Thus self-defense also becomes self-comfort...."

From "How Censorship Works," by the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei (in the NYT). Read the whole thing. It's great, and it's not just about China. The topic is self-censorship, done for comfort and self-interest, and I don't see how we in the United States can read this without thinking of ourselves and how pathetic our self-censorship is, since we have so much less reason to need to self-comfort.

86 comments:

Michael K said...

Sounds like a US college campus.

Sam L. said...

Michael K, that's because the PC Snowflakes will beat up those who don't conform.

mockturtle said...

I think that was his point, Sam.

Gahrie said...

The topic is self-censorship, done for comfort and self-interest, and I don't see how we in the United States can read this without thinking of ourselves and how pathetic our self-censorship is, since we have so much less reason to need to self-comfort.

Self censorship in the US is not really about comfort at all....it is almost entirely about self-interest...that is not attracting the attention of the perpetually outraged lynch mobs from the Left.

I trace the beginnings of this problem back to Al Campanis where the politically correct first tasted blood....

Gahrie said...

By the way...could someone point me to an example of self-censorship coming from the Left in the United States?

St. George said...

There were some sad stories about Richard Gere recently in which he told the press that never again would he star in a major motion picture. Too much funding is coming from China. Too many ticket buyers are in China.

The censorship exists not only among Chinese artists but also among American artists.

I'd love to interview Steven Spielberg and other Hollywood big hitters, such as Marvel's comic book movie producers, and ask them if they'd cast Gere.

BillyTalley said...

Halfway reading through Ann's post, I too thought of life here. The term samizdat came to mind. To Wikipedia: 'Vladimir Bukovsky summarized it as follows: "Samizdat: I write it myself, edit it myself, censor it myself, publish it myself, distribute it myself, and spend jail time for it myself."'

Jack Wayne said...

Kind of like the way you had to add actresses after you did the actors?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

'getting by' becomes the supreme value. They smile, bow and nod their heads, and such behavior usually leads to lifestyles that are comfortable, trouble free and even cushy..

Oh...you mean like a Republican or Conservative trying to live and work in the Bay Area of California?

MaxedOutMama said...

I'm so glad you saw the connection with our public life in the US (and the EU).

Express an unpopular viewpoint, or even one that offends a small minority, and a person in the US may lose his/her job and social standing. It' only different than in the US, the rules change so fast that the self-censorship is greatly extended by fear.

Robert Cook said...

"Self censorship in the US is not really about comfort at all....it is almost entirely about self-interest...that is not attracting the attention of the perpetually outraged lynch mobs from the Left."

1. Self-censorhip in service of self-interest is for one's self-comfort. Self-interest and self-comfort are inextricably entertwined.

2. It is illustrative of one who is self-satisfied to assume such realities of human nature and human behavior are to be found only among those one scorns or considers separate from oneself. Everyone engages in such self-serving behavior to greater or lesser degree, given the circumstances, and probably more often in personal or work rather than political contexts.

Also, self-censorship often is merely a matter of courtesy toward others.

Ann Althouse said...

"Kind of like the way you had to add actresses after you did the actors?"

I added the ugly after I did the beautiful.

I put the actors and actresses up at the same time. I'd watched the actresses one a couple days ago and YouTube suggested the actors one, so I put both up. In fact, I watched the actress one much more closely.

Ann Althouse said...

"By the way...could someone point me to an example of self-censorship coming from the Left in the United States?"

You want to hear the sound of silence?

rhhardin said...

If you don't self-censor, you don't get invited to the mandatory annual consciousness raising sessions. I found that out.

AReasonableMan said...

There seems to be some self-censorship going on here with respect to the AHCA.

Gahrie said...

Everyone engages in such self-serving behavior to greater or lesser degree, given the circumstances, and probably more often in personal or work rather than political contexts.

Really? Tell that to Colbert.

Or all the assholes attacking Trump's kids and grand kids.

Or all the professors teaching about the problem of Whiteness.

Or all the protesters chanting about killing cops.

Yell it to the "ladies" of The View.

Tell it to Al Sharpton.

Gahrie said...

There seems to be some self-censorship going on here with respect to the AHCA.

Don't look now...your OCD has kicked in again. At least you've managed to move on from Milo......

Gahrie said...

You want to hear the sound of silence?

It would be a nice change from the temper tantrums and constant attacks.

rhhardin said...

It's just politeness to pack "he or she" into your sentences, not censorship.

Pianoman said...


He stepped across the room. There was a memory hole in the opposite wall. O'Brien lifted the grating. Unseen, the frail slip of paper was whirling away on the current of warm air; it was vanishing in a flash of flame. O'Brien turned away from the wall.

'Ashes,' he said. 'Not even identifiable ashes. Dust. It does not exist. It never existed.'

'But it did exist! It does exist! It exists in memory. I remember it. You remember it.'

'I do not remember it,' said O'Brien.

Winston's heart sank. That was doublethink. He had a feeling of deadly helplessness. If he could have been certain that O'Brien was lying, it would not have seemed to matter. But it was perfectly possible that O'Brien had really forgotten the photograph. And if so, then already he would have forgotten his denial of remembering it, and forgotten the act of forgetting. How could one be sure that it was simple trickery? Perhaps that lunatic dislocation in the mind could really happen: that was the thought that defeated him.

rhhardin said...

The health care thing is headed towards a VA system for everybody and a parallel private system if you want to pay yourself. The problem is the the wording calling it all insurance and a single system.

AReasonableMan said...

Speaking of censorship, what ever happened to Milo's keynote speaking gig at CPAC, his job at Breitbart or his ever presence on right wing media. I miss that guy. I wonder what he thinks about the AHCA?

tcrosse said...

A fine job of threadjacking, doing a segue from censorship to the healthcare bill.
Let's not panic until it becomes a law.

Gahrie said...

Speaking of censorship, what ever happened to Milo's

Could someone please tell the ward nurse he's off his meds again.......

buwaya said...

Sounds like most of California.
This place is the future.

Angel-Dyne said...

I was looking forward to reading the comments from all the NYT faithful opining "OMG just like Trump's Amerika!". Alas for the Sunday morning mirth quotient there were no comments to this article.

Mary Beth said...

Public school students should self-censor and stay off Instagram. First there was that post where kids got in trouble for liking racist posts, now there's a kid who got suspended for liking a photo of an airsoft gun.

There's probably been a lot more and I'm just noticing the Instagram aspect now because of the recent post here. In both cases it's come to the school's attention because other students told teachers/authorities about the students liking the photos. It seems like it could be a great way to cause problems for someone you don't like.

traditionalguy said...

The American FBI self censors about all matters related to Clintons. They have to or the Clinton 20 year crime spree inside and outside the White House would take another 10,000 agents working 24/7 for years, even if a Grand Jury and subpoena powers were allowed for the first time. So it is just a pragmatic matter.

Oso Negro said...

For several years I taught a leadership and communications class to Chinese executives. They were some very sharp people, and taught me a thing or two about "free speech". One day we were having a discussion about acceptable topics to discuss in Chinese workplace versus the USA. In China, you can't talk bad about the big bosses, but everything else is fair game. In the USA you cannot talk about sex, religion, how much money people make, racial differences, gender differences, and a good long list of other topics. They had a good point.

buwaya said...

As I have said often, around here the only people with free speech are billionaires, and not all of them, and those with nothing to lose. The personal is the political, and there is no possibility of politics without career or business retaliation.

There is no way for, for instance, to recreate the San Francisco small business Republican coalition, as it once existed and served (the Barbagelata small real estate business family for instance), because it is simply too dangerous to the viability of the business. Even people who are, personally, inclined to your way of thinking will boycott, so as to be seen boycotting.

You are a kid out of college here and want employment, they will search for any social media or web mentions, and if they find a conservative political or social tendency you are simply off the resume pile. All quiet like.

Free men who are employed are, ironically, union workers. They can speak. At this point, perhaps the only way out of this political oppression is to unionize.

The real problem has little to do with violent protesters or getting beaten up or social media pile-ons.

traditionalguy said...

Mark Green, the Secy of Army nominee just discovered the limits on Christian Speech. It is illegal.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

The reason that "the left" isn't doing self censorship is directly in line with the idea of diversity or lack of diversity. When everyone IS just like you, thinks like you, acts like you, is a mirror image of you.....you don't need to censor yourself or accommodate others....because you are all cast in the same mold.

The left lives in its own protective comfortable bubble. The rage we see on the left is that they have not developed any coping mechanisms, like conservatives who are trying to just live,work and get along inside the bubble have done. So....when the protective cushion begins to thin and the bubble is about to pop, they don't know what to do or how to 'self censor'.

Like toddlers who are suddenly confronted with the reality of not being the center of the universe, the leftists throw giant tantrum.

AReasonableMan said...

buwaya said...
You are a kid out of college here and want employment, they will search for any social media or web mentions, and if they find a conservative political or social tendency you are simply off the resume pile.


Doesn't this imply that all the job creators are liberals? At least all the good job creators.

AReasonableMan said...

buwaya said...
At this point, perhaps the only way out of this political oppression is to unionize.


On rare occasions your paranoia leads you to the correct conclusion.

buwaya said...

It means that the businesses that operate here cannot take a chance; it also means that they are devoted to self-censorship or just plain censorship. HR departments are also liberal to an extreme, no matter the state of the rest of the company.

And yes, the only check on HR is the union hiring hall.

buwaya said...

And if you aren't paranoid you aren't paying attention, especially in California.

EDH said...

Doesn't this imply that all the job creators are liberals? At least all the good job creators.

No, just the witch burners.

Michael K said...

Doesn't this imply that all the job creators are liberals? At least all the good job creators.

I never knew that HR types are job creators. I thought it was the COO or equivalent.

Expat(ish) said...

@ARM - I have worked for both very liberal and moderately conservative majority companies, and the HR people in both were pretty much the same. Until you asked that question, I hadn't thought about that.

I will say that I've never had a candidate "fail" a background check and I'm also pretty sure that they aren't pre-screened by anyone doing deep-googling.

So I personally think the "watch your social media" thing is over-wrought. But I also suspect that someday that will be an issue, so I have cautioned my kids.

-XC

Michael K said...

The American FBI self censors about all matters related to Clintons.

My daughter, who has been an agent almost 20 years, told me she would not vote for Clinton last September in the one discussion we had about the election. She has been a lefty since law school but made it very clear she would NOT vote for Clinton.

I think Comey was having an agent revolt last fall. He was afraid of major leaks.

mockturtle said...

DBQ observes: The rage we see on the left is that they have not developed any coping mechanisms

Bingo! One seldom develops coping skills when raised in an 'everybody gets a trophy' environment.

Sebastian said...

"doubly bitter because they know that their debasement comes by their own hand. Thus self-defense also becomes self-comfort...." It was ever thus. All communist regimes depended on luring the oppressed into silent collaboration, debasing their souls by living the lie, thereby paralyzing potential opposition.

"The topic is self-censorship, done for comfort and self-interest, and I don't see how we in the United States can read this without thinking of ourselves and how pathetic our self-censorship is, since we have so much less reason to need to self-comfort." We do have much reason: because our self-comfort is so great, we have much to lose. Which is not to say that such reason is good enough. I'm with Ai.

Owen said...

Ai Weiwei has written a very powerful essay. It goes far beyond art in China and turns the mirror on each of us. The simple and unanswerable psychological truth reminds me of Eric Hoffer's "The True Believer." As for the self-comfort that comes from attacking those who have been Otherized, who dared to speak out, I think the rage and righteous indignation are exactly proportional to the sense of shame and self-reproach. By destroying the scapegoat, one's own failings and vulnerabilities are obscured and expunged.

It's full of a quasi-religious quality that reinforces its coercive power.

The Progs love this stuff because it prevents or weakens competing bases of power. Everything for the State, everything inside the State, nothing outside the State.

Crazy Jane said...

I've pretty much stopped talking about government or politics, except with a few close friends. Not everyone is so quiet. Many people, mostly on the left but plenty on the right as well, assume that you agree with every idiotic platitude they spout. I'm talking real idiocy here, like saying on a network television program that a president is Vladimir Putin's c--k h-----r or calling Democrats Communists.

Theoretically it would be better if people talked about contentious matters. As a practical matter, it's not worth the effort.

Owen said...

"All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state." - Benito Mussolini.

Apologies for earlier paraphrase.

Robert Cook said...

"She has been a lefty since law school but made it very clear she would NOT vote for Clinton."

Your phrasing suggests you think a lefty would vote for Clinton. Clinton herself is in no way a lefty, so this does not follow. Most Dems are not lefties, either. They're "liberals," to one degree or other, something else altogether. Chris Hedges provided a lacerating critique of liberals in his book, THE DEATH OF THE LIBERAL CLASS.

Perhaps some lefties did vote for Clinton in order to vote against Trump, but no one with a brain and left politics would vote for Clinton under the impression she would enact any semblance of a left program.

n.n said...

Go along to get along.

Gahrie said...

Remember...Comrade Cookie considers Pol Pot to be a moderate.

Diogenes of Sinope said...

"By the way...could someone point me to an example of self-censorship coming from the Left in the United States?"

The US Left is self-censoring all the time. The extreme Left's unspoken actual beliefs are horrifying.


Michael K said...

no one with a brain and left politics would vote for Clinton under the impression she would enact any semblance of a left program.

You are a good comedian, Cookie.

All those Democrats that voted for her have no brain ?

If you say so.....

You may be saying that only Bernie voters are true lefties and I might agree with you there. Democrats are mostly into identity politics these days. If you are a black lesbian female, you have it made.

The trouble is that lefty politics, really lefty economics, don't work. You keep getting Venezuelas.

It's not a problem as long as you have conservative/libertarian types making sure the place runs.

campy said...

Diogenes of Sinope beat me to it.

Lefties actually hate us a lot more than they're willing to admit.

Simon Kenton said...

Two examples. A friend is one of the most effective real estate agents in Boulder. She is also quite conservative, and she never lets any client in on her politics. She says it would ruin her; they are incapable of recognizing her talents separate from her politics, and they would cast her out.

Other side. Our local fire department is near but not in Boulder. One of the guys put Glock's blue line special on the department list. They offer first responders - police, fire, medical - a very good deal on their prices, through selected dealers. One of the non-firefighters - auxiliary, Board of Directors, something of that sort - responded immediately to state that she hardly thought this appropriate for the department list. She missed her audience - mistook the department for standard Bouldroids who would respond to a tribal correction. An immediate torrent of replies: "Thanks for supporting for the second amendment." "Hell of a deal. I want the 23." "Such a good deal I bought two." "I want the 19 Gen 4, for concealed carry." "Why is firefighters protecting themselves and their families inappropriate?"

Robert Cook said...

"All those Democrats that voted for her have no brain?"

They're mostly not lefties, as I pointed out.

Paddy O said...

"no one with a brain and left politics would vote for Clinton under the impression she would enact any semblance of a left program."

Maybe not, but it was widely assumed she would appoint/nominate judges who would enact every semblance of a left program.

It's naive to think that politicians enact anything these days other than put judges into protected positions where a chosen ideology can be advanced.

mockturtle said...

They're mostly not lefties, as I pointed out.

Cookie, please name a few 'real' lefties, just to set us straight.

tcrosse said...

They're mostly not lefties, as I pointed out.

I agree. They're the Economic Royalists and the Gentry who suck up to them. They sacrificed the Progressive agenda on the altar of Hillary's personal sense of entitlement. And they might just do it again.

mockturtle said...

Simon, it's nice to know there are at least a few conservatives in Boulder.

Owen said...

Simon: what mockturtle said. Love the comments by the firefighters.

Michael K said...

"Cookie, please name a few 'real' lefties, just to set us straight."

I could help but they are mostly dead. Che Guevara, Hugo Chavez, Joseph Stalin, Pol Pot.

You get the idea.

Then there is Mao Zedong

Sammy Finkelman said...

Everybody in China, but not everybody outside of China understands this, and some people have jobs that make it almost their duty not to understand.

Sammy Finkelman said...

I see that today maybe self-censorship on the part of the left was broken. In the same section of the New York Times.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/06/opinion/two-presidential-candidates-stuck-in-time.html

That was then. Six months on, both Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton are still waging last year’s campaign, undermining their promises to help America heal.

This editorial today is very critical of Hillary Clinton, and links her with and criticizes her almost as much as it does Donald Trump. It also, obvously, implicitly comes out against the concept of a “resistance”

I think what it is they think she won’t run again so they can safely lambast her without damaging Democratic Party prosspects = she’s reduced to the status of a Cuomo or a de Blasio, and maybe even they might go to a Sheldon Silver.

Also they really, really, really do not want her to run for president again.

They never were afraid. They were afraid of helping a (bad) Republican candidate win.

tcrosse said...

Also they really, really, really do not want her to run for president again.

That's what Chelsea's for.

eric said...

I've stopped discussing politics on Facebook. Clearly a form of self censorship.

For a very long time I've been outspoken about my political beliefs. Now I have teenage children. Two of whom have a very liberal coach who follows me on Facebook. This year I discovered that it's not just me that can be hurt by those who disagree with me.

I've now completely stopped discussing politics on Facebook.

Sammy Finkelman said...

@ Oso Negro 5/7/17, 9:44 AM

They had a good point.

Because in China ony the opiniopn of the big bosses counts. But actually big bosses or future big bosses might turn against anybody for anything, and they don't like duiscussion of sex or religion. On the other hnd, it only matters if it gets to their ears.

Racial differences and gender differences are perfectly acceptable subjects, but democracy and systems of government and law are not.



Zach said...

setting the stage for the mutual exchange of benefit. The act of kowtowing to power in order to receive small pleasures may seem minor; but without it, the brutal assault of the censorship system would not be possible.

Having lived in Berkeley, the idea that all of this leads to small pleasures is interesting, because I don't think the Berkeley folks are having fun (Boulderites actually are having fun, which is a big difference).

It's closer to a colonial outpost where everybody knows the natives don't like them. So it becomes really important to talk about how terrible the natives are at all times, and how horrible things were before the current regime took over.

Zach said...

Since we're in the age of Trump now, I'll sharpen that last metaphor by noting that a lot of those colonial societies didn't fare very well once the colonialists left. The right to choose for yourself and the ability to make good choices can often diverge.

Tyrone Workman said...

Totalitarianism is not possible without self-imposed censorship, the "sine qua non" of it, as it were. ChiComs, NorKs, Soviets and Nazi Germany, in their day. And it's implicit in Orwell's themes.

mockturtle said...

Zach contends: Since we're in the age of Trump now, I'll sharpen that last metaphor by noting that a lot of those colonial societies didn't fare very well once the colonialists left. The right to choose for yourself and the ability to make good choices can often diverge.

Most, I would argue, with a few notable exceptions.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Eric, yes, unfortunately the Left does believe the "sins" of the father should be visited on the children. For generations, if need be. As many have noted, Leftism in many respects a twisted perversion of Christianity. It promises "the last shall be first and the first shall be last" and has its own saints and demons. One thing it does not have: forgiveness. The apologies and groveling of those who offend are not adequate. heretics must be destroyed.

Paul said...

With Communist spies on all blocks, I'd be talking in general terms and feigning ignorance to.

Remember folks, China IS COMMUNIST. Never has changed. Beware working with them.

Owen said...

Tyrone Workman: "Totalitarianism is not possible without self-imposed censorship." Exactly. Tyrants need to leverage their power by teaching the people to internalize the controls. The occasional public hanging, coupled with random disappearances and "accidents," plus a network of neighborhood and workplace informers, will work wonders.

The doctrine and architecture of this kind of totalitarian system are well described in Havel's essay, "The Power of the Powerless."

mockturtle said...

A Russian physicist I used to work with explained to me why the Russian populace would not/could not revolt. It was because there was no one whom you could trust in a discussion. Not family, friends, neighbors or co-workers.

Today in the US we are much more circumspect in our speech than in times past because of possible repercussions. If not from government, then from employers and even friends and family.

madAsHell said...

So I personally think the "watch your social media" thing is over-wrought.

My daughter posted pictures of us at the rifle range. I had a great interview with a potential employer, and assumed that I had a job. The HR person found the photos. I didn't get the job.

John said...

How about here on Althouse?

Most people post under fake names. Scared of potential hassles big and small if identified I would guess. So use anonymity to hide behind and speak freely.

Pro tip you aren't really anonymous. It wouldn't be hard to find real names and addresses with no more than 30 minutes and a search engine.

John Henry

Njall said...

Because no matter what failing is being discussed, Americans somehow always have it worse.

Richard Dillman said...

After teaching English for 38 years in a large state university in the Midwest, I can attest to the validity of the artist's analysis. Somewhere around the late 80's, I stopped teaching "Huckleberry Finn" and other so called controversial works to avoid potential problems with the campus left. However, I still assigned works that subtly subverted the left's agenda. I have a long list of such works. I wondered if even "the
Canterbury Tales" might be found objectionable because of its blatant sexuality and the ease with which many of the tales could be misunderstood. Not a problem because very few leftists really understand the C. Tales, and my students loved Chaucer' s tales.

Owen said...

Richard Dillman: I remember reading Chaucer realizing how wise and skillful he was. How sly he was: why, butter wouldn't melt in his narrator's mouth as he brought the company of characters to life, and let them reveal themselves. Great strategy on your part.

Douglas said...

It's so striking to read a Chinese author write about the many sins of censorship from the perspective of someone who has experienced it, and to contrast that with the views of the academic left in the US on the benefits of censorship, who are fat and happy in the belief that only their enemies on the right and never they themselves will ever be subject to it.

Gospace said...

If you don't self censor, and I don't, you find out very quickly how many of your liberal friends are closed minded non-thinking bigots who can't engage in discussions that disagree with them. I have been defriended on Facebook by all the homosexuals, male and female, that I know of, because I won't come out in support of SSM, because I don't support it. Been defriended by a feminist PhD I went to HS with after she lamented about her soon to graduate daughter with an engineering degree was going to face all kinds of discrimination trying to get a job, when all I did was point out that when my son graduated right around at the border between top third and second third in his EE class, along with another white male veteran, they were the last two in the class hired. Every female and minority was hired ahead of them, regardless of class rank. And I added as an Oh, BTW, of the 11 females from his class he's kept in touch with, 6 years later only 2 were still working as EEs. She couldn't handle reality. I's say about half my facebook friends post conservative stuff, half religious stuff (some overlap), half no political stuff, and I'm down to ONE posting constant liberal memes. I've never defriended anyone.

Big Mike said...

Oh, and before it's time to knock it off for the night, I just want to say:

@Althouse, your comment at 9:10 was perfect.

Nyamujal said...

The Chinese can leave behind all that oppression and move to the US on a EB-5 visa all for a single easy donation/bribe/investment of $500,000 to the Kushner family.

David Docetad said...

I'm surprised this little tidbit at the end of the link was not noted in the post:

This article is adapted from an essay in the forthcoming “Rules for Resistance: Advice From Around the Globe for the Age of Trump.”

Shouldn't this post get some kind of Trump tag as well?

Saint Croix said...

could someone point me to an example of self-censorship coming from the Left in the United States?

Abortion is an obvious example.

Our media has been censoring abortion photographs for 40 years. In every news article about abortion, they refuse to show us an abortion.



Saint Croix said...

Speaking of China, The New York Times has run editorials about the forced abortions that took place there.

For two days she writhed on the table, her hands and feet still bound with rope, waiting for her body to eject the murdered baby. In the final stage of labor, a male doctor yanked the dead fetus out by the foot, then dropped it into a garbage can. She had no money for a cab. She had to hobble home, blood dripping down her legs and staining her white sandals red.

Why is the pro-choice NYT running editorials about the evil of abortion? And allowing phrases like "murdered baby"?

1. Takes place in China, not here. It's always okay to talk about the evil of other people.

2. This is a forced abortion, akin to a rape. It's violence against a baby, yes, but also violence against a woman. To describe the violence against the woman accurately (she wanted the baby, she loved the baby) you have to recognize the baby.

Or check out the liberal The New Yorker, running a story about the forced abortion of Feng Jianmei.

(Note that the New Yorker article does not run a photograph of the aborted infant, in yet another story about abortion. But they do link to the photograph).

Afterward, while she lay on a metal-framed hospital bed, her sister took a devastating (and, be warned, graphic) photo: mother, beside the bloodied remains of her daughter. It electrified the country.

Althouse blogged on it here.

Note that the officials were punished, and China (without admitting error) would in a year or two relax the one child policy.

The lesson for us in dealing with our authoritarians here at home?

Censorship, including self-censorship, keeps the evil from being seen. The only way to combat this evil is to be honest and open.

Publishing photographs of atrocities affects public opinion. This is why we quit fighting the war in Vietnam.

Gahrie said...

Abortion is an obvious example.

Abortion is not self-censorship by the Left...it is censorship of the Right by the Left.

Richard said...

I would like to talk frankly about race. A whole entire national conversation, if you will. Yet I censor myself in order to draw Muhammed in private.