In today's tour of state-sponsored propaganda: Chinese media blackout coverage of activist Chen Guangcheng, Cuba throws a party for May Day and Mali's junta retakes control of state TV. We begin in China.
Blind Activist Blackout
A blind Chinese activist may have escaped his well-guarded home and thwarted Chinese authorities, but you won't hear a gripping story like that in Chinese state media, reports the Sydney Morning Herald. "China's tightly controlled state media has remained silent over the blind human rights advocate Chen Guangcheng, who is believed to have sought sanctuary in the US embassy, despite debate raging across the nation's microblogs," reports Philip Wen. Not only that but the Associated Press reports that authorities have begun scrubbing the Internet of Chen's name and other names associated with him on social media networks and blogs. "As word of Chen Guangcheng's flight surfaced and spread last Friday, admirers rushed to popular Chinese social media to cheer him on — and the censors swung into action to block key phrases," writes AP's Didi Tang. Banned phrases include the name of Chen's home villages and surrounding villages, "Bing" a popular blind folk musician who admirers were using for Chen until censors caught on, "Blind Man," "American Embassy," "Great Escape" and others. (The full list of banned words is here.) It's not clear how long China plans to keep up this game of whack-a-mole but you can guarantee clever activists will continue to find a way to talk about him.
Who Says May Day Demands a Protest?
For capitalist countries around the world today, May Day or International Workers' Day, is about protesting capitalism. But if you live in a Communist country, it's a state-sanctioned celebration! Take the homepage of the Cuban News Agency today. It's all about "hundreds of thousands" rallying in May Day celebrations.