Thursday, November 14, 2019

So let's talk about keyboard skills in China


Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Concert Orchestra are the latest classical ensembles to tour China. Classical musicians have an admirable record of speaking out about human rights, with Sir Simon being just one of the many voices criticising the anticipated impact of Brexit on freedom of movement. So I must assume that he and others among classical music's great and good have not read the latest report by respected independent watchdog Freedom House on China's online censorship.

Even for a social media hawk like me the Freedom House report makes chilling reading. Freedom House scores online freedom on a number of parameters and use these scores to produce a country ranking. China is at the bottom of this global ranking of freedom on the net and is categorised as 'not free'. With a score of only 10 out of 100 China is worse than Iran (15 points), Syria (17 points), Cuba (22 points), Vietnam (24 points), Egypt (26 points), Ethiopia (28 points), Bahrain (29 points), Venezuela (30 points), and Russia (31 points). The whole report needs to be read to understand the enormity of China's online censorship, but here are just a few headlines quotes:

China was the world’s worst abuser of internet freedom in Freedom on the Net for the fourth consecutive year. The level of internet freedom in the country declined due to the new cybersecurity law, which strengthened repressive restrictions on online activities and placed onerous financial burdens on technology companies, independent media, and bloggers....

New regulations requiring online publishers to register for permits led to the closure of dozens of social media accounts that disseminated celebrity gossip or other entertainment news, signaling an expansion of censorship to a news sector that had been considered relatively free...Known dissidents received heavy penalties for their online activities in the past year, while religious and ethnic minorities continued to be heavily surveilled and persecuted for their spiritual and cultural expression or for criticizing and exposing rights violations against their communities.
As seen in the header graphic Simon Rattle has effusively praised the keyboard skills of China's young piano players. But the keyboard skills of China's internet users - young and old - are the most constrained in the whole world. It is time that classical music woke up and realised this instead of cosying up to a regime that ranks far below the country that everyone loves to vilify for interfering in democratic freedom - Russia.

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4 comments:

The Wound Dresser said...

I know its all about, ALL about , money. American companies make a mess of themselves by bowing and scraping to the Chinese. Half a billion slaves jump starts an economy.Ask Apple. Or Amazon.(To begin with) Shoddy business, less than shoddy goods,but CHEAP prices!!!!! It make you sick. Bob, you are not alone in your contempt for this hypocrisy. Simply, others may not be as vocal. Or Eloquent

DLW said...

I'd hardly call opposing Brexit, "speaking out about human rights." It's a simply policy matter whether one's nation joins - or remains a member of - a particular international political organization, not a matter of fundamental human rights.

Western companies and organizations kowtowing to Chinese communist oppression of genuine fundamental human rights (see NBA, most Silicon Valley companies, US and European orchestras, etc.) in order to line their pockets with filthy lucre, is another matter.

Pliable said...

"Brexit Poses Five ‘Serious’ Human Rights Threats – Amnesty International" - https://rightsinfo.org/amnesty-5-human-rights-concerns-posed-brexit/

"We take our human rights for granted in the UK - Brexit could quickly undo them" - https://www.theneweuropean.co.uk/top-stories/lgbt-and-human-rights-in-the-event-of-brexit-1-6248213

"Whether you voted to leave or remain in the European Union, you didn't vote for fewer rights " - https://www.libertyhumanrights.org.uk/human-rights/human-rights-uk-after-brexit

etc, etc, etc

Pliable said...

Oh dear, anything that mentions Brexit brings out the worst in the internet. So rants about "left-wing activist rags" and "routine leftist policy groups" are now arriving. So no more comments about Brexit and human rights will be approved. But more comments about China, classical music and human rights - which is what the post was actually about - are welcome.