China, the Earthquake, and Freedom of Speech
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After the massive earthquake struck central China, the demand for information overwhelmed government censorship. Is the open window about to be closed? The death toll, the damage and the continuing risk to five million homeless refugees. Has open criticism shaken an authoritarian regime already coping with Tibet while it's promoting the summer Olympics? Also, General Petraeus says Iraq troop reductions are likely later this year, and Christian pastors recruited by John McCain denounce the Catholic Church and Islam and call Hitler the Biblical "hunter" sent by God to create Israel.
Photo: Paula Bronstein/Getty Images
Political Aftershocks of the Earthquake in China ()
Three days of mourning are over and the Olympic torch relay has resumed, but the earthquake aftermath will trouble China for years to come. More than 51,000 have died and 29,000 are missing. Five million are homeless and 300,000 are injured. Officials in Beijing say hundreds of dams have been damaged, and that landslides have created 30 new lakes behind fragile mud flows. The UN has praised China for unprecedented openness since the quake struck a week and a half ago, but a return to restrictions on news coverage seems to be under way. We update the damage and the risks to come. Can an authoritarian government survive the free flow of information?
- Mark Magnier: Beijing Bureau Chief, Los Angeles Times
- Orville Schell: Director, Asia Society's Center on US-China Relations, @orvilleschell
- Qiang Xiao: Professor of Journalism, University of California-Berkeley
- Daniel Bell: Professor of Political Philosophy, Tsinghua University
McCain and the Christian Right ()
This weekend, John McCain will be at his ranch, meeting with three possible vice presidential nominees: Governors Charlie Crist of Florida and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. McCain has repeatedly called for winning "the hearts and minds of the Islamic world," but a minister he recruited for his campaign says Islam is "anti-Christian," and calls the prophet Mohammed "the mouthpiece of a conspiracy of spiritual evil." That's according to ABC's Good Morning America, reporting on Pastor Rod Parsley of the World Harvest Church of Columbus, Ohio. Dan Gilgoff is politics editor at Beliefnet.com.
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