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Julian Assange on China

From an interview by Time managing editor Richard Stengel with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange:

In fact, we believe it is the most closed societies that have the most reform potential. The Chinese case is quite interesting. Aspects of the Chinese government, Chinese Public Security Service, appear to be terrified of free speech, and while one might say that means something awful is happening in the country, I actually think that is a very optimistic sign, because it means that speech can still cause reform and that the power structure is still inherently political, as opposed to fiscal. So journalism and writing are capable of achieving change, and that is why Chinese authorities are so scared of it. Whereas in the United States to a large degree, and in other Western countries, the basic elements of society have been so heavily fiscalized through contractual obligations that political change doesn't seem to result in economic change, which in other words means that political change doesn't result in change.

This doesn't quite make sense to me.

More about Assange's thinking and China:

• Gady Epstein on ForbesAssange slams China’s WikiLeaks copycat: ‘Very dangerous to do it wrong’; see also full transcript of interview with Assange by Andy Greenberg.

Julian Assange and the computer conspiracy; “To destroy this invisible government”: a blog post examining some of Assange's previous writings that explain his motivations.

There are currently 8 Comments for Julian Assange on China.

Comments on Julian Assange on China

Yeah, my first thought is 'why is this guy kissing China's butt?'

Can you imagine if he'd released Chinese party minutes/secrets to the public? He might have a different view of the MIddle Kingdom.

I guess he's saying China has 'potential' whereas the US is a lost cause because the media has been taken over by private interests (profit)..

What he doesn't know is the Chinese can't wait to make a buck, and will likely do the exact same thing as those American companies, given half a chance.

This is the most intelligent thing I've read about contemporary China in a long, long time.

@ J. Goldkorn -- Friendly tip: Read the first pages of A. Artaud, The Theatre and Its Double.

I think he's making an important point, but its something paradoxical. Censorship laws can indicate the power of a language. I mean, those laws are only needed where words have the power to alter institutional arrangements. The rulers of "free" societies have no use for censorship laws, since they have apparently neutralized the expressive powers of the language through public relations. It seems its only through living under censorship that people learn about the powers of democratic speech. The debate here is about the relative merits of PR vs censorship, and the liberal western consensus that favors PR is getting tired.

His views make perfect sense to me. Not to mention, responsible, unbiased and objective.

No wonder others are trying to do the same thing, and I can understand his concerns. Very predictable that obvious attempts to discredit him are being made.

Let the information speak for itself.

It's true that the US govt is able to take advantage of the increasing opacity of macroeconomic instruments to hoodwink lower class voters on a massive scale. Social legislation becomes just another tool in various plans to make the rich richer. Deficits are incurred apparently to benefit the poor, while the interest on them goes straight into the pockets of net positive worth individuals (the rich). I think it is naive to credit the Chinese Govt, composed of rich folks and their kids, of abstaining from such pickings through altruism. It's just that with their huge current account surplusses, running up deficits is not on the cards - for the moment.

A bit more in the same vein

The west has fiscalised its basic power relationships through a web of contracts, loans, shareholdings, bank holdings and so on. In such an environment it is easy for speech to be "free" because a change in political will rarely leads to any change in these basic instruments. Western speech, as something that rarely has any effect on power, is, like badgers and birds, free. In states like China, there is pervasive censorship, because speech still has power and power is scared of it. We should always look at censorship as an economic signal that reveals the potential power of speech in that jurisdiction. The attacks against us by the US point to a great hope, speech powerful enough to break the fiscal blockade.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/blog/2010/dec/03/julian-assange-wikileaks

Julian Assange (from the Guardian Q&A):

The west has fiscalised its basic power relationships through a web of contracts, loans, shareholdings, bank holdings and so on. In such an environment it is easy for speech to be "free" because a change in political will rarely leads to any change in these basic instruments. Western speech, as something that rarely has any effect on power, is, like badgers and birds, free. In states like China, there is pervasive censorship, because speech still has power and power is scared of it. We should always look at censorship as an economic signal that reveals the potential power of speech in that jurisdiction. The attacks against us by the US point to a great hope, speech powerful enough to break the fiscal blockade.

china needs a free market economy within a strictly controlled environement. the seeds of corruption and control are evident. in 5 years mininum china will join the putin brigade ,but with an ever increasing subsersive elements which will make russia and the criminal elite look like a tea party

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