Can You Hear Me, Mao?: Say Protest in China and Your Call Drops

The government is cracking down hard in the wake of the Arab uprisings.

It might sound like something out of 1984 or a dystopian sci-fi film, but, according to citizen reports from China, the government there has begun immediately shutting down the phone service of anyone who dares utter the word "protest" into their receiver. It's happened to people who were speaking in both English and Chinese, and it suggests that the nation's communist government is cracking down hard on any hint of dissent while the Arab world struggles with massive upheavals.

"The hard-liners have won the field, and now we are seeing exactly how they want to run the place," said Russell Leigh Moses, a Beijing analyst of China’s leadership. "I think the gloves are coming off."


For the past few weeks, China has been imprisoning people accused of trying to stage peaceful protests. And Google recently said the Chinese government has been disrupting Gmail service in the country, a claim Chinese officials deny.

Regardless, that China continues to behave this way toward peaceful opponents again calls into question the ethics of the United States' open relationship with Hu Jintao's dictatorial regime. Before bombing Libya last week, Obama lashed out at Muammar Gaddafi, saying, "Instead of respecting the rights of his own people, Gaddafi chose the path of brutal suppression." Just what does the president think Jintao is doing?

photo (cc) via Flickr user RJL20