The Chinese government, apparantly still operating from a standpoint that what their people don’t know can’t hurt the CCP, has blocked YouTube following the posting of a video purporting to show the beating of unarmed tibetan protestors. In so doing, the government has successfully created yet another fracas where it didn’t have to: doubts about the video’s veracity are already widespread among a populace famously willing to indulge in nationalist furor over even relatively minor incidents, descending on anything perceived as so much as breathing on China’s olympic moment. However, this is also a population that also has a large segment that has grown up with the middle class, and whereas a simple explanation of the video’s doubtful accuracy on Xinhua would’ve caused 99% of the population to enthusiastically fall in line, the ban has people pissed off that they can’t watch cats make idiots out of themselves. In addition, the chinese blogosphere has exploded in recent years, and while the content of these sites might be made unavailable as the government goes about weeding out undesireables, the fact of their banning is now itself considered news and can spread rapidly. Sites like YouTube and WordPress (plug!) are widely utilized for entertainment and communication, and unceremoniously blocking them is now likely to raise the hackles out of people who regularly (and generally unsubversively) enjoy using their services.

In short, the CCP needs to learn how to talk to its citizens like adults, as opposed to treating them like children and taking their toys away. Otherwise there’s inevitably going to be a temper tantrum, by which I of course mean another Tiananmen Square.