James Fallows, who writes for The Atlantic magazine, reports that China has imposed, as it appears, a nationwide ban on the New York Times's website, though he says that he "cannot be absolutely certain that this is a purposeful, country-wide blackout. Conceivably there is some other technological or accidental explanation. I consider this extremely unlikely....But logically, we cannot exclude the possibility that it's all an accident".

In an earlier issue, he argued that "China's official PR machinery often succeeds mainly in making the country seem far more closed-off, impenetrable, defensive, and difficult to deal with than it actually is most places most of the time"

Now he asks: "By that logic, what exactly will China gain through this episode?... how confident, open-minded, rules-abiding, modern and so on will the episode make the Chinese government look in other countries' eyes? Governments everywhere are annoyed by the press, but a mark of being in the big leagues is viewing press criticism as a necessary annoyance. This just is strange."

Clearly, Mr Fallows may be IN China, but he does not understand what is going on.

It is simply another sign of China beginning to turn in on itself.

Professor Prabhu Guptara