Monday, May 19, 2008

Moments of Silence

Today the news media was full of accounts of the three minutes of silence observed in China for the thousands of victims of last week's catastrophic earthquake. The official government website of the country, which was once famed for its stoic online rhetoric characterized by large scale bureaucracy seemingly incapable of empathy or sensitivity, now shows a number of commemorative and humanitarian efforts associated with the disaster.

Although it also included depictions of the day's memorials, it is striking to see how different the content of the English version of the website is from the one intended for Chinese citizens. The image on the page for "Adopting Children" strangely featured male rather than female offspring.

A number of websites within the country have begun to appeal to Westerners for donations for earthquake aid. Academic listservs note considerable leeriness about solicitations for donations from an e-mail associated with The New Legalist.

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