Down with censorship!

I just realized that WordPress is blocked in China, like so many other websites. See

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_websites_blocked_in_the_People’s_Republic_of_China

This is a shame. A government that does things like that cannot expect to see eye to eye with the rest of the world, no matter how mighty the state has become militarily, economically and politically. It’s a shame that the Chinese people still have to endure this regime. I know quite a number of highly intelligent and well-liked Chinese scientists, and they and their compatriots definitely deserve better! Let’s all hope that they manage a peaceful transition to a real democracy sometime in the coming decades.

By the way, here is a little anecdote regarding censorship: A few years ago I was at a workshop in Usbekistan, in the city of Tashkent. At the end of the workshop, there was a dinner in the conference hotel. As the evening progressed, local custom would have it that the visitors would bring toasts. Here is the toast that the well-known British physicist Sir Michael Berry dared to make, in the presence of the former Usbek minister of Science and Technology: “I have noticed that the website of the BBC is blocked. So, here is to the harmonious reconciliation between the government of Usbekistan and the British Broadcasting Corporation!” (or words to that effect)

(For the physicists, that’s the Berry of the “Berry phase”)

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