CHENEY SPEECH CENSORED IN CHINA�S OFFICIAL MEDIA


2004.04.21

A keynote speech given at Shanghai�s prestigious Fudan University by U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney has been censored for publication by China�s official media to omit comments about freedom, democracy, and Taiwan, RFA�s Mandarin service reports.

Crucial passages in the Chinese translation of Cheney�s speech were deleted or watered down, according to China scholar Yu Maochun of the U.S. Naval Academy. However, the Web site of the Communist Party mouthpiece, The People�s Daily , presented the Chinese version of the text as the full transcript of the Cheney speech.

At the speech in honor of Fudan�s 100th anniversary this year, Cheney spoke of �rising prosperity and expanding political freedom�� across Asia, according to the transcript on the U.S. Embassy Web site. But the Chinese transcript refers only to �rising prosperity.�� The U.S. text also quotes Cheney as saying that when people experience economic liberty they �desire greater freedom in expressing their views and choosing their leaders���comments that failed to appear in the Chinese version.

The Chinese transcript also excluded Cheney�s support for the Taiwan Relations Act, a U.S. law that requires Washington to supply the island with defensive weapons. China insists Taiwan is part of Chinese territory and has called on the United States to stop arming it. Indeed, Cheney even took a question from the floor about Taiwan and Beijing�s insistence that it reunify with the mainland.

China�s Foreign Ministry dismissed the censorship claims, saying his remarks had been subject to editing by the media, which is almost totally state-controlled. Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said Tuesday he had no knowledge of the edited transcript. �I don�t know where you got this information,�� he said, adding that Cheney�s speech was broadcast live and �correspondents may have edited the remarks�� after it was finished.

China�s Communist Party traditionally tightens up security and official control of the media at this time of year, when a series of politically sensitive anniversaries occur, culminating in the 15th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown on June 4. Tighter security measures have already been set in place around the square in case of any protest or commemorative activity, RFA�s Mandarin service reported.

Cheney�s repeated use of the word �freedom� appears to have been more rigorously censored than the word �democracy,� which is allowed to stand in several places, as it is already frequently used by the Party to describe its attempts at a more consultative style of government.

But the more emotional term �freedom� evokes the demands and tenor of the 1989 protests. When protesters set up their now-famous goddess statue in Tiananmen Square, the name was translated into English as the Goddess of Democracy, but was also referred to as the Goddess of Freedom in Chinese. ###

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