When a Sky News reporter broadcasting live from Tiananmen Square mentioned the 1989 protests, Chinese
secret police swooped down on his and hustled him and his cameraman into the back of a van, and kidnapped them to a distant park where they were polite but Orwellian in their explanation for their deeds (they didn't realize he was still broadcasting, and thought it was all going to disc or tape whence it could be scrubbed):
At this point, the police do something Orwellian in its brilliance. An officer who speaks English informs Stone that they have to stop filming because they don’t have official permission. Stone disagrees, saying that they sought and received permission to film in Tiananmen Square. But the officer counters that they’re not in Tiananmen anymore. They’re in a park where the police have brought Stone against his will, and he doesn’t have permission to record in that park, so regrettably the police have no choice but to insist the camera be switched off. Who could have possibly foreseen that little complication?
The officer then takes the Orwellianism to the next level by explaining that Stone and his team are neither being detained nor are they free to go. They can do whatever they like, except that they must go sit in an empty classroom and wait for some unnamed officials to show up.
This reminds me of nothing so much as the DHS checkpoint officials who won't tell you if you're being detained, won't tell you if you're legally required to answer their questions about your citizenship, but also won't let you go.
Video: Chinese police detain British reporter, unaware he’s broadcasting live throughout [Max Fisher/Washington Post]
I don’t think Stewart’s ever been in finer form, and his “I’ve been living in a cave”/Transmet schtick plays well with Colbert’s own persona.
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