Did China learn from the GOP or vice versa?
CSM: In a move intended to muffle the voices of some of China's most prominent and independent scholars and activists, hard-line elements in the new Hu Jintao government are seeking to eradicate the concept of "public intellectuals" in China.See mediamatters.org for links to a rebuttal of Will's retreaded argument.
A new "gray list" has been created, sources say, of historians, economists, writers, environmentalists, and other Chinese who have offered a critical voice or been influential in recent years in Chinese society outside official circles, and who have started to be referred to as "public intellectuals." The term until now has connoted dignity and worth.
Public intellectuals in China are known for opposing brutal police practices; for promoting greater citizen participation, AIDS awareness, freer speech; and for advocating environmentally friendly policies.
Propaganda ministry officials are now seeking to eliminate the concept of public intellectuals, and to stop Chinese media from creating lists of such persons as a commercial enticement to buy their publications. In recent weeks, official warnings have gone out to state-run newspapers, magazines, and TV urging limits on the use of those who have been heard under the "public intellectual" moniker, and who often voice thought differing from China's party line.
"The attack is on the idea of independent thinking," says a Western scholar of China based in Beijing, who said the language of attack is "pretty hard."