Sometimes things do change, ever so slowly. And sometimes the signs are as simple as a movie being broadcast on television. Chinese state television aired V for Vendetta on Friday night.
It’s just a movie being broadcast on television, but it’s not just any movie, and it wasn’t done on accident or by some junior bureaucrat who’s going to get hung from the rafters next week as a consequence.
Sure, they changed the title from V for Vendetta to something like V Special Forces, but then only the most trivial of titles survive translation and then translation back without complete butchery. Not to mention that I’m not entirely sure how the idiom citing the first letter (“A is for Apple” etc.) can really function in a non-phonetic language anyway.
But the basic facts still hold. The authoritarian Chinese government allowed the airing on state television of an essentially unedited film of violent resistance against an authoritarian government, leaving unchanged even the most obvious of censor-provoking sentiments like the famous “people should not fear their governments, governments should fear their people.”
It’s not open elections, it’s not prison doors swinging open. But it might be the first sign of a crack in another door.