In a move of utmost secrecy foreign to most of us TMI-lovers in the West, China has managed to keep the apparent death of an important public figure a mystery. Last night rumors abounded that the ex-leader of the People's Republic, Jiang Zemin, had died. But Chinese citizens searching for confirmation on the internet only found this message: “According to relevant policies and laws, the search results are not shown below.” In fact, even searches that contained the word death or it's variants resulted in the denial. Amidst rumors that his health was on the decline, Zemin didn't make it to the ninetieth anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party on July 1st, so it's been widely reported that he was nearing the end.
It's interesting to see the speed and power of China's censorship even in the digital age. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Google are all blocked, and although the savvy of users has grown, the strong arm of China's restriction has been pretty tough to override. Zemin has been out of power for more than a decade, so even if he has passed away, it won't have any huge effect on the current regime, anyway. Is this censorship of something we're all going to find out about sooner or later overzealous? Is this as upsetting as that horrible internet rumor that Jeff Goldblum was dead?