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News Blackouts

Q. I couldn't sleep the other night and turned on late evening news on Bloomberg. I was shocked to see reports from Korea of upheavals, rioting and social unrest in China - going on right now. Why aren't we hearing about this on regular broadcasts or radio news?


Isn't this shocking? We American citizens assume we live in a country where the press is free to air or print whatever they want and that we will hear complete news coverage of all that is happening. But, do we? Do we really hear all the news and the truth about what is happening worldwide?

Although Chinese media policies have always required censorship of the press China seemed to come out in full force against media coverage in April of 2008.

Reporters without Borders

At this time Reporters Without Borders noted: "The news blackout facilitates the work of the government's propaganda machine…We appeal to the European Union and the United Nations to try to get the government to allow foreign reporters to travel freely in Tibet and the neighbouring regions…To prevent the Tibetan population from getting access to uncensored news reports, the authorities have stepped up the jamming of international radio stations that broadcast in Tibetan such as Voice of Tibet and Radio Free Asia." (Reporters Without Borders, April 23, 2008).

Did you ever hear the reasons why there was social unrest in Tibet?

Feared Riots as Boom Busts

In January of 2009 The Observer reported that at least 500 were involved in smashing cars and looting as factories closed and unpaid workers were left in the lurch.

Money Talks

From an investing point-of-view Americans hear encouragement to put their money in emerging markets and Chinese stock funds because of the phenomenal growth. 6.8% growth sounds pretty good to us. But, we forget that China was growing in double-digits and high expectations in the years prior to that. Millions left the Asian countryside to find new fortunes in the cities such as the Pearl River Delta region.

American Consumerism Drying-Up

The financial downfall of American consumers has a direct effect upon China's economy. It means that you and I don't buy as many cheap foreign goods from Wal-Mart or the Dollar Store or other discount markets. That means thousands of Chinese workers are laid-off, many without pay or assistance of any kind.

Eventually the rising middle-class of China, India and other emerging areas will fill the gap where Americans and Europeans have stopped buying stuff. But, meanwhile Asian and Indian workers must struggle to achieve their middle-class goals.

Outlook Magazine

The state-run magazine Outlook warns,

"Without doubt, now we're entering a peak period for mass incidents…In 2009, Chinese society may face even more conflicts and clashes that will test even more the governing abilities of the party and government at all levels…"

The Guardian UK

Continuing, "According to officials, more than 15, 500 businesses in Guangdong province shut in the first 10 months of 2008. More than half of those went under in October. Many more are teetering. Thousands packed workers home without pay months ahead of the holiday (Guardian 2009, 2).

Victor Shih, assistant professor of political science at Northwestern University in Chicago says "unemployment could easily reach 50 million. Migrant workers are younger and more volatile than those laid off in the 1990s. News spreads faster thanks to mobile phones and the internet" (Guardian 2009, 3).


Newsweek notes that China's government has learned to shut off the Internet and mobile phones. "Mobile signals and texting services are intermittent. Twitter has been blocked, too" (Newsweek 2009).

Amnesty International

Amesty International warns that even Chinese lawyers are threatened not to take on any human rights cases. Those who have already done so must report their work to judicial authorities (Amnesty 2009).

Why the Blackouts?

It is clear there is rioting, looting and social unrest in China. So the question is why don't we hear much about it? Why don't local radio stations, broadcast television and others report it?

We don't know the answer. We can only offer suggestions or conjecture.

Wall Street

Perhaps it has to do with Wall Street. After all, would you put your funds into Chinese ETFs and mutual funds if you knew there were uprisings currently going on in that area of the world? Would you have faith in the newly-found successful "capitalistic" ventures of Hong Kong and other cities - if you knew?

Prince of the Power of the Air

Perhaps it has to do with Satan. Ephesians 2:2 reveals Satan as the "prince of the power of the air." Maybe that means he controls the air waves and all that occurs in the atmosphere above the earth - including planes being flown into buildings. Maybe the agenda is making atheistic communism look good and successful to outsiders.

A Virtual Reality

Whatever the answer, it is clear that we are not the free-press country we thought we were. Our "reality" is a virtual one formed and shaped by those who want to mold us into pliable, cooperative drones who only hear what they want us to hear.

Get Wired

Christians need to do due-diligence in searching for and finding the truth. We can read The Economist or other foreign news sources. We can go on internet searches for alternative news reporting and try to reach beyond local news, radio, and traditional television.

Get wired! But, do it with intelligence and determination to find the truth.

"For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:3-5, NASB).


Alert: Radio stations jammed, websites hacked, media restrained as news blackout continues. Reporters Without Borders. April 24, 2008. Available from: http://www.ifex.org/china/2008/04/24/fadio_stations-jammed_websites/ (accessed 9/22/2009).

Branigan, Tania. China fears riots will spread as boom goes sour. The Observer. January 25, 2009). Available from: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jan/25/china-globaleconomy/print]. (accessed September 22, 2009).

China: Authorities Widen Crackdown After Xinjiang Riots. Amnesty International. July 10, 2009. Available from: http://www.amnesty.org/en/for-media/press-releases/china-ahthorities-wide3n-crackdown-after-xinj… (accessed September 21, 2009).

Hennock, Mary. Bad Press. Newsweek. July 7, 2009. Available from: http://www.newsweek.com/id/205628/output/print.

Suggested News Sources:

BBC News. www.bbc.co.uk.

CNN News - www.cnn.com.

Amnesty International - www.amnestyusa.org.

The U.S. State Dept. - www.state.gov/www.global/human_rights/

CIA, The World Factbook - https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html

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