Surfing Through China

How an idea spread and grew on the Internet.
July 4 1998 3:30 AM

Surfing Through China

The Clinton trip, reflected by the Web.

Advertisement

Nobody invited me to tag along on the 1,000-person entourage. I didn't spend my Friday afternoon ogling ancient terra cotta warriors or my Sunday gallivanting around Beijing's Forbidden City. But inspired by the grand tradition of foreign correspondent hackery, I won't be stopped from reporting on Clinton's trip to China. Here's the first of a series of Internet dispatches--on Internet coverage--of the China story.

The weekend's attention was fixed on Clinton's controversial official welcome in Tiananmen Square. While the Web address www.tiananmensquare.com has not yet been claimed, other sites chronicle the massacre with bloody photos and interactive tours. Coverage of the event by the People's Daily, the Chinese Communist Party's voice, stresses "bilateral" cooperation without delving into Tiananmen's human rights issues: "To accelerate their move toward the goal of establishing a constructive strategic partnership between the two countries, they [Clinton and Jiang] decided that they would refrain from targeting their strategic nuclear weapons against each other." Whew!

Clinton roused Peking University with a speech advocating human rights and did a Q & A with its students. The university's Web site is a bit of a disappointment, being more obsessed with the school's 1998 centennial than with the real world.

Who's ever heard of human rights? Well, the Chinese Embassy has--there's a whole page of links to government propaganda on the subject, including a diatribe titled "A Look at the U.S. Human Rights Record."

Anumber of human rights organizations paint the real, less rosy picture. Human Rights in China, a New York-based group started by Chinese academics, offers a comprehensive site with links to a site for Wang Dan, the Tiananmen Square activist who was released from a long stint in prison only this spring. The site links to his speeches and the petition that helped set him free, as well as to his June 4 statement on the ninth anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. For a daily critique of China's media coverage, turn to the independent media watchdog section of Inside China Today.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Irritating Confidante

John Dickerson on Ben Bradlee’s fascinating relationship with John F. Kennedy.

My Father Invented Social Networking at a Girls’ Reform School in the 1930s

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

The All The President’s Men Scene That Captured Ben Bradlee

Medical Examiner

Is It Better to Be a Hero Like Batman?

Or an altruist like Bruce Wayne?

Technology

Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

The World’s Human Rights Violators Are Signatories on the World’s Human Rights Treaties

How Punctual Are Germans?

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 22 2014 12:44 AM We Need More Ben Bradlees His relationship with John F. Kennedy shows what’s missing from today’s Washington journalism.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
  Life
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 3:03 PM Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 9:42 PM The All The President’s Men Scene That Perfectly Captured Ben Bradlee’s Genius
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 21 2014 11:44 PM Driving in Circles The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.