BEIJING – China has suspended plans to allow the domestic publication of foreign newspapers due to what officials are calling the threat of “color revolutions” backed by the West.
"When I think of the ‘color revolutions’, I feel afraid," Shi Zongyuan, head of the General Administration of Press and Publication, told the UK‘s Financial Times.
Shi was referring to the growth of opposition movements that have toppled regimes in Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, and the Ukraine. China’s leaders compare these "color revolutions" -so named because of the color and flower symbols adopted by protesters – to the uprisings that led in the late 1980s to the fall of Communist governments in Europe, and claim that Pres. George Bush’s repeated calls for the global promotion of democracy fuel such revolts.
China‘s People’s Daily recently railed against the U.S. media for shaking the "ideological mindsets and cultural foundations" of other countries by exporting U.S.-style values of "freedom and democracy." And a recent edition of the Communist party publication Foreign Theoretical Trends argues that the United States is using "street politics" to push western interests, warning that it employs the Central Intelligence Agency and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to promote revolutions throughout the world.
In August, the Communist party announced strict rules to defend "national cultural security" by limiting foreign involvement in the media market. In October, domestic media were ordered not to report on a visit by George Soros, the hedge-fund billionaire whose Open Society Institute and related foundations have made numerous grants to NGOs in eastern Europe and elsewhere.
An eight-year effort by the European Union (EU) to promote human rights through cash grants to NGOs in China has also hit a stumbling block. During October human rights talks between China and the EU, Chinese officials objected to almost every proposed grant, officials familiar with the talks told the Financial Times.
Despite such moves, China continues to pursue economic reform and open its economy. International financial exchanges are booming and officials are eager to stress that foreigners aren’t being completely excluded. "If we see kind-hearted and good people wanting to come in, then the more that comes, the better," said Shi.