Thursday, December 02, 2010

WikiLeaks: The Chinese Shiver

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The Chinese authorities have told their people of the tsunami of documents of the US Government being flooded into the public domain by WikiLeaks. They are surprised that the US Government has not taken action to block its web site, which should be easy for it to do. The Chinese people are aware of WikiLeaks, but not of the contents. They have been denied access to the contents so far.

2. Their main concern is that WikiLeaks may not stop with leaking US Government documents. It may start acquiring and leaking the documents of other countries, including China. Political dissidents in China may be tempted to get hold of Government documents and pass them on to WikiLeaks. If this happens, the implications for China's political and social stability could be immense. How to prevent Chinese documents from reaching WikiLeaks? That is the question, that is urgently engaging the attention of the Chinese security agencies.

3. Some of the Chinese concerns are reflected in an editorial titled " Questions Linger Around WikiLeaks" carried by the party-controlled "Global Times" on December 2,2010. It says inter alia:" Once WikiLeaks sets its sights on other countries, the fallout could be drastic. Leaked information could severely damage the social stability of nations that are not able to handle the release of so much sensitive information. An information tsunami is flooding every country, but different countries have different abilities to control and absorb it.Developed countries, especially the US, dominate the global flow of information at the moment. Countries like China, despite their rising status in the information world, must have a line of defense against a hurtful information campaign. " ( 2-12-10)

The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai.

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