walter russell mead peter berger lilia shevtsova adam garfinkle andrew a. michta
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Were China’s Censors Just Caught Napping?

That’s our best explanation for this surprising fare from China’s state-run television network:

Television audiences across China watched an anarchist antihero rebel against a totalitarian government and persuade the people to rule themselves. Soon the Internet was crackling with quotes of “V for Vendetta’s” famous line: “People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.”

The airing of the movie Friday night on China Central Television stunned viewers and raised hopes that China is loosening censorship.

Was somebody asleep at the switch, or is this a signal that under Xi Jinping things in China will be a little more open? “Wait and see” seems to be the consensus—but in the meantime, Guy Fawkes masks are popping up across China.

This could be the shape of things to come, but if there was no explicit decision to showcase such a politically sensitive film, someone in a CCTV office in Beijing is having a very, very bad day.

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