June 4 news coverage update

As many people have reported, Twitter has been blacked out in China for the past few days (also, I hear, Flickr and Hotmail), apparently for June 4-related reasons.

BBC TV, weirdly and perhaps temporarily, is being let through loud and clear with quite startling and gruesome footage of tanks rolling into Tiananmen Square 20 years ago this evening, plus an interview with one family whose child was shot dead that day, plus with the photographer who took the immortal "tank man" picture.

CNN, on the other hand, goes black-screen for several-minute periods, starting a few seconds after the words "In Beijing twenty years ago..." or "At Tianan...."  The censors are just fast enough, or slow enough, to reveal what they are doing -- very much like last year, during the violence in Tibet, when you'd see an opening shot of Lhasa followed by black screen.

As nearly always in Chinese government management of the media, the apparent logic of these steps is hard to figure out. (a) Why hard-line on CNN and tolerance for BBC, which is one click away via the TV remote? (b) Why bother with English-language foreign media at all, since 99% of anyone who might be watching them already knows what happened 20 years ago? Memory-control has worked remarkably well inside China with Chinese language media. I have no explanation for the censors' decisions, just reporting the situation as of early June 3 in Beijing.