Clinton 'History' Doesn't Repeat Itself in China
September 24, 2003 12:57 AM   Subscribe

In her autobiography, "Living History," Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton recounts how China's imprisonment of a prominent human rights activist, Harry Wu, caused a sensation in the United States and nearly derailed her plans to attend a United Nations women's conference held in Beijing in 1995. In the officially licensed Chinese edition of Mrs. Clinton's book, though, Mr. Wu makes just a cameo appearance. While named, he is otherwise identified only as a person who was "prosecuted for espionage and detained awaiting trial." But nearly everything Mrs. Clinton had to say about China, including descriptions of her own visits here, former President Bill Clinton's meetings with Chinese leaders and her criticisms of Communist Party social controls and human rights policies, has been shortened or selectively excerpted to remove commentary deemed offensive by Beijing. My question: is anybody other than Hillary really suprised by this?
posted by RevGreg (14 comments total)
From MW :

hypocrisy , from Greek hypokrisis act of playing a part on the stage
1 : a feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not;
especially : the false assumption of an appearance of virtue or religion
2 : an act or instance of hypocrisy

a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion
posted by elpapacito at 2:23 AM on September 24, 2003

It was a nice little excuse to get Hillary Clinton some more press. Censorship in China? This isn't exactly "news". Notice the plug for Bill's book right at the end too.
posted by raaka at 2:57 AM on September 24, 2003

Talk about much ado about nothing.

No, I'm not referring to Hillary Clinton's actions, but to the posting of this thread.
posted by oaf at 3:03 AM on September 24, 2003

Am I surprised? No.

Oooo, a K-Mart talkback is next!
posted by graventy at 4:25 AM on September 24, 2003

Without any additional links at all, this post rather suspiciously resembles a small, gnarled creature, lurking beneath a bridge waiting to snare unsuspecting passersby... Why is this on the front page of MetaFilter?
posted by JollyWanker at 5:27 AM on September 24, 2003

I thought the most interesting point made in the article was this:

He said Mrs. Clinton's book had been translated hurriedly because Yilin as the official publisher had to compete against China's vigorous black market in unauthorized versions of best-selling books. As such, he said, Yilin had no time to discuss changes with Simon & Schuster.

I know there's a lot of pressure on China to deal more severely with the piracy issue on music, books, software, and pretty much anything else that can be effectively copied. At the same time, it seems likely that the pirated versions of western cultural and media products are far more likely to be complete, and avoid the kind of censorship described in the article. Perhaps in trying to protect copyright, the west is also shooting itself in its foot on censorship.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:43 AM on September 24, 2003

elpapacito, I can't tell who you're accusing of hypocrisy. Clinton? The publisher? China? RevGreg?
posted by MrMoonPie at 6:10 AM on September 24, 2003

At the risk of derailing, I'd just like to say that when people refer to Senator Clinton by her first name, it goes right up my spine. I understand the need to differentiate her from the other "Clinton", but whenever I hear "Hillary" I immediately assume that the speaker is condescending.

That is all.
posted by jpoulos at 7:13 AM on September 24, 2003

I was asked to go to a student rally/coffee thing with HILLARY when bill was running the first time around, i refused even then her slick behavior was known, of course she is a senator, albeit a carpetbagger one, she likes the Hillary persona, but, well maybe she likes the Senator title better now, perhaps it gives her credibility and stature.
kind of like staying with a man who has cheated on one over
and over and over again.
posted by clavdivs at 8:59 AM on September 24, 2003

My question: is anybody other than Hillary really suprised by this?

My question would have been: will Senator Clinton actually be able to get an uncensored version of her book published in China, and if so, won't that be a victory for freedom of information?
posted by Guy Smiley at 9:39 AM on September 24, 2003


My question: is anybody other than Hillary really suprised by this?

in the article, Kahn writes that:

"The heavy promotion of Mrs. Clinton's book initially seemed to signal new tolerance, given that the English version refers repeatedly, and in some cases pointedly, to Chinese political repression, the status of Tibet and other topics that are not generally discussed here."

by educated guess, i would say the answer to your question is "yes"; but then, cynicism is well supported with hindsight.
posted by moz at 9:55 AM on September 24, 2003

Why does Hillary care, she didn't write the book?
posted by Mick at 12:09 PM on September 24, 2003

A similar case.
"Murdoch has made careful steps towards winning favour with the Chinese government to establish a television business.
"This included dropping the BBC's world news service from Star TV's platform..."

"He argued that it was gratuitously attacking the regime, playing film of the massacre in Tiananmen Square over and over again... In 1998 he ordered his British publishing firm, HarperCollins, to drop the memoirs of Chris Patten, the last governor of Hong Kong and another fierce critic of Beijing. The reward came last December when Chinese President Jiang Zemin praised Murdoch for the "objective" way in which his papers and television covered China."
posted by philfromhavelock at 2:27 PM on September 24, 2003

Why does Hillary care, she didn't write the book?

I don't know if you read it but I can't see how you can say that. That book was boring. She can't seem to tell an anecdote without two dozen tangents about who worked where and how she met them, and then there is the name dropping. Constant non-stop name dropping. She wrote about a USO trip she and Chelsea took and she mentioned that Sinbad and Sheryl Crow came along 3 times in 4 paragraphs. Sinbad for christs sake! Is that supposed to impress us?

If somebody ghost wrote that piece of garbage he deserves to be horse whipped.
posted by Bonzai at 3:18 PM on September 24, 2003

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