During 48+ hours on US soil during this visit, I've had several flashes of the realization that I have been more affected by the preceding 2.5 years in China than I thought. For instance: if I were still sitting watching CCTV in Beijing, I would have taken it for granted if certain live dispatches from the US or Europe suddenly disappeared from the screen, because an interviewee had unexpectedly made a "sensitive" point.

But from within the US on this trip, I realize that it's actually quite incredible that Chinese broadcast authorities-- representing the world's most populous nation, the one whose relations with the U.S. will make a huge difference to the entire world's future, the country that presented itself to all other countries as a full, major, mature power with its Olympic games -- would pull the plug on live coverage of Barack Obama's inaugural address just because Obama began talking about the virtues of dissent.

Obama apparently also erred by mentioning America's struggle against communism -- sensitive because, even though much of China seems more openly market-minded than the United States, it is still officially ruled by the Chinese Communist Party.

Account from Danwei.org here. My first reaction is, Jeeesh!! Can a big country really act in this tinhorn way? And my second reaction is the depressing realization that I would barely have noticed if I were still on scene.

More on the nuances of this shortly. In the meantime, this is connected to the phenomenon I discussed here. Also, read the comments on that Danwei site. (Plus this.) They bring it all back!