South Korean oppression of Internet writer

The more I hear about the arrest of Minerva, the more I feel the stupidity reeking from the part of the South Korean government. Minerva is the handle of a user who writes on the Daum Agora website, a South Korean public discussion site, who had gained a reputation as a financial pundit with his predictions of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy and the declining value of the South Korean currency. The arrest is based on Minerva supposedly posting two posts with false information out of the hundreds that he had made.

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A downward trend for free speech

From the First Amendment of the United States Constitution:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The entire First Amendment has been increasingly ignored in recent history, and things have become especially worse during the Bush administration. This is no surprise, considering what President Bush himself blatantly revealed of what he thought about the Constitution of the United States:

Stop throwing the Constitution in my face! It’s just a goddamned piece of paper!

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China censoring iTunes

China is blocking access to the iTunes Store, apparently because of the sale of pro-Tibet songs. I wonder if my own blog is censored in China? Most probably not despite my great dislike for several of China's policies, but it would be cool if it were: it would be an honor to be considered politically important enough to censor.

I wonder if there is a public list of blogs that are blocked in China? They might be good ones to subscribe to ...

China confiscating Bibles

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, China has confiscated more than 300 Bibles from American Christians that arrived at Kunming Airport. While the title "China confiscates Bibles from American Christians" initially outraged me, thinking that the Chinese government had confiscated personal copies of the Bible (despite what some people might think of atheists, I'm a big believer in freedom of and from religion), it turns out that the Christians brought along a boatload of Bibles to use for proselytizing. This considerably weakens the sympathy I have for the Christians.

Still, I'm unhappy with the way China suppresses religion, where they do things like confiscating Bibles. (I'm not outraged, since it's the kind of thing I've come to expect from them.) While I would like to see more atheists among the populace, I want this to be because they reasoned it out and rejected extraordinary claims with little to no evidence. Incidentally, I'd also like to see more skeptics for the same reason. I absolutely abhor the use of force to coerce people to abandon beliefs; this would just be replacing one arbitrary authority with another arbitrary authority.

For that matter, I don't like all of the censorship that China enforces. People shouldn't have to continuously worry whether what they think or say will be suppressed by the state. They should be able to freely think wherever their thoughts take them. The fact that the Chinese government feels the need for an oppressive degree of censorship might be an indication of what they think of their own system of government.