President Obama criticized China for blocking its citizens from using Twitter and Facebook, saying, "I'm a big supporter of non-censorship." But few Chinese heard the remarks, which Obama made at a town-hall-style meeting Monday in Shanghai. Chinese censors blocked Obama's comments online, and only one local TV station aired them. Will censors prevent Obama from reaching the people of China on his first visit to their country? (Watch Obama field a question about Twitter and China's "firewall")
China blocked out Obama's charm: China's censorship has made it hard for President Obama "to bring his trademark charisma to bear," say Ian Johnson and Jonathan Weisman in The Wall Street Journal. The town-hall meeting was a "tightly scripted affair," and Obama's televised remarks after his Tuesday meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao will be his only chance to address the public directly. "The net effect is that the trip, which isn't expected to yield major substantive agreements, isn't likely to give Mr. Obama much of a symbolic victory either."
"Beijing limits Obama's exposure"
Obama did what he could: Give President Obama credit, says Robert Mackey in The New York Times. Sure, many people in China weren't able to see him take on China's Twitter ban. But he at least tried to "push at the boundaries of the Chinese system of state censorship of the Internet." China Digital Times, which monitors the Chinese Web from the U.S., "reported that some Chinese bloggers saluted" Obama for bringing up an issue that, in the words of one Twitter user, "only a foreign leader can discuss."
"Obama walks China’s ‘Great Firewall’"
China won the battle but will lose the war: China can block Twitter -- and President Obama's remarks -- in the short term, says Isaac Mao in Britain's Guardian. But the Beijing government will learn that containing the Chinese blogosphere isn't as easy as locking up dissidents. "The booming Internet cannot be controlled for much longer."
"Obama takes on the China firewall"