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[This one is coming right back at your humble Letters Ed when he wrote a humorous piece about the Chinese government shutting down a dissident Web site. Not everyone thought it was funny.]

Your short article cited above was glib, arrogant, and provides little factual information. I am not at all in favour of censorship, nor of the government of the People's Republic of China. However, I loathe to hear and see the opinions of westerners, such as yourself, whose smug self-assurance is obviously blind to the realities of our own so-called democracies.

First of all, US, UK, Canadian, and the governments of (to my knowledge) all "free countries" censor their citizens. This happens in many ways, but undeniably it occurs with respect to internet sites. You make no mention of the censored site's content, only that it "...was 'too sharp and anti-government'." Does this sound like something the Home Office would say?

Speaking of the Home Office, you mention that "every country should have one" (a Ministry of State Security). Well, Britain certainly has her share, and cooperates with the CIA, FBI, NSA, and other US agencies to enforce its policy decisions across the globe... regardless of borders. You would do your readers a service to dump your arrogance and seriously compare Chinese censorship laws to Britain's own "anti-terrorist" bill.

I keep trying to understand how people such as yourselves get jobs in the media, and I can only conclude that, since writers as dull as yourself help to keep their readership misinformed, this just might be the reason.

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