The Chinese blogger Zhang Jialong (you've probably never heard of him) was dismissed from shady Chinese tech company Tencent on May 23rd. This comes a little over three months since he delivered critical comments about digital censorship to John Kerry. The US Embassy had requested him and three other "young blogger representatives" to speak with John Kerry in a discussion moderated by Jen Psaki.
He called on the United States to tear down the Great Firewall of China, sanction the creators of the firewall, including its 'father' Fang Bingxing, who allegedly received shoe therapy at a Chinese university, and for Kerry to visit the wife of one of China's myriad political prisoners.
Because his firing was initiated by a government censor, he is effectively banned from working in any mainland publication, according to his post-employment missive.
The State Department's response:
We are deeply concerned by reports that one of the bloggers who met with the Secretary has been fired from his job after meeting with Secretary Kerry and publicly expressing his views. If the reports are true, we would be very troubled that a private company employee would be fired for expressing his or her views...
Here I was going to write about how maudlin it is for the State Department to concern itself over the firing of an admittedly-private employee, especially when his globalist ideas on web traffic could hurt his employers business. But then I realized Tencent held out and kept him on past his expiration date, although he had to blog 'underground' under the byline of colleagues, and really Jialong really has balls of brass for sticking his neck out. Plaudits for Tencent and Zhang Jialong. Chloeface.jpg for the State Department, and fuckyocouch.gif for the Chinese government.
The mutual policing of digital communications and censorship on behalf of these two countries is heartwarming in a way. It's jocular, it's business. The scale of domestic American censorship would be a cup of water in China's ocean, but the trends in free speech reflect each other. Jialong says Xi Jinping's has clamped down on digital speech since taking office; Jill Abramson said Obama presides over the "most secretive White House" she's ever covered.
This comes after China (that tremendous, linguistically and ethnically diverse nation we love reducing to a two-syllable approximation) released a report, America's Global Surveillance Record, saying the United States engaged in surveillance of Chinese industry. In turn for the earlier indictment of five Chinese hackers for the same thing. Time is a flat circle. When the director of one of China's many censorship offices fell to his death (¿however did he fall?), the news of his death was initially censored as well.