John Taylor, The World Today - Friday, 18 March , 2005 12:50:00
TANYA NOLAN: Now to the latest of our letters from ABC correspondents living and working around the world. This week China passed its controversial anti-secession law, aimed at stopping any independence move by Taiwan.
But it was also the week that Chinese journalists showed themselves to be anything but impartial, as China Correspondent John Taylor writes in his letter from Beijing.
JOHN TAYLOR: China is a country where ordinary people can be abused and locked up just because they hold political or religious opinions counter to the Government.
Yet to the casual observer or tourist, the country looks free. People are busy doing their own thing, and appear content to be enjoying an improving standard of living. But the chains of control are strong; it's just that they're mostly hidden. One obvious area where they aren't, is the media. In 1989, during the Tiananmen protests in Beijing, a column of journalists from the Communist Party's official newspaper marched into the crowds at Tiananmen Square. They held a banner 25-feet wide bearing the words, "Don't force us to lie". It remains a telling insight, despite the passage of 16 years. Communist control in China is inseparable from media control. In my office, broadcasts of the BBC and CNN regularly go black when stories appear that the censors don't like.--------------