Trump ‘will tweet what he wants’ inside China’s Great Firewall

US President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump, center, are greeted as they arrive on Air Force One in Beijing, China, Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017. (Thomas Peter/Pool Photo via AP)
Updated 08 November 2017
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Trump ‘will tweet what he wants’ inside China’s Great Firewall

BEIJING: President Donald Trump will not curtail his notorious Twitter missives during his visit to China even though the social media platform is blocked by a “Great Firewall,” a US official said Wednesday.
“The president will tweet whatever he wants,” the senior White House official told reporters aboard Air Force One shortly before Trump landed in Beijing.
“That’s his way of communicating directly with the American people. Why not? So long as he can access his Twitter account, because Twitter is banned in China along with Facebook and most of the other social media.”
The official assured, “I’m sure we’ve got the gear aboard this airplane to make it happen.”
China monitors people’s Internet habits and blocks websites such as Twitter, Facebook and Google in the name of “protecting national security.”
Chinese nationals can face fines or even jail time for unfavorable social media posts. Authorities have further tightened Internet controls in recent months, shutting down celebrity gossip blogs and probing platforms for “obscenity.”
Web users can circumvent the firewall if they download a virtual private network (VPN) — software that allows people to surf the Internet as if they were using a server in another country.
Foreign visitors can also access banned websites with their phones if they are in roaming mode — but only because the authorities currently allow it, according to experts.
Weibo, a Twitter-like Chinese social media platform, was ablaze Wednesday with comments about what Trump would do without his most cherished form of communication.
Since Trump’s election in 2016, critics among Chinese Internet users have mockingly described American governance as “rule by Twitter.”
Some commenters feigned ignorance about the verboten site.
“Fake news. What’s Twitter? This website doesn’t exist,” one quipped.
Others appeared to be asking for explanations about Twitter in earnest, while still others called on Trump to create a Weibo account.
“In the three days that Trump’s off Twitter, someone else will surely seize the throne,” commented a user on Zhihu, a question-and-answer platform akin to Quora.


Biopic tribute to slain war reporter Marie Colvin as journalism comes ‘under attack’

Updated 22 October 2018
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Biopic tribute to slain war reporter Marie Colvin as journalism comes ‘under attack’

  • The movie, which got its world premiere in Toronto last month, hits screens as reporters face ever more threats
  • American war correspondent Marie Colvin died in an alleged government bombardment of a media center in the war-ravaged Syrian city of Homs

LONDON: A biopic of war correspondent Marie Colvin, who died in Syria in 2012, is a celebration of journalism as it increasingly comes “under attack,” according to the film-makers.
“A Private War,” released in US cinemas next month, chronicles the harrowing career of Colvin — played by “Gone Girl” star Rosamund Pike — who was an award-winning journalist for Britain’s The Sunday Times.
The feature film debut of director Matthew Heineman — an Oscar nominee in 2016 for his documentary “Cartel Land” — shows the reporter’s struggles to cope with the impact of reporting from the world’s conflict zones.
For Heineman, whose mother was a journalist, it is a “homage” to both Colvin and an increasingly besieged profession.
“It’s so important right now in this world of fake news and soundbites, where journalists are under attack, to celebrate journalism and to celebrate people like Marie,” he said at a London Film Festival screening Saturday.
The movie, which got its world premiere in Toronto last month, hits screens as reporters face ever more threats.
Actor Jamie Dornan — of the “Fifty Shades” franchise — who plays freelance photographer and longtime Colvin colleague Paul Conroy, said the work felt “timely.”
“This is a film about telling the truth,” he said on the red carpet. “Anything that can try to show true journalism in its finest light — the people who will go to these places to risk everything to tell us the truth — that’s a good thing.”
American Colvin died aged 56, alongside French photographer Remi Ochlik, in an alleged government bombardment of a media center in the war-ravaged Syrian city of Homs.
“A Private War,” adapted from a Vanity Fair article following her death, depicts her decades-spanning career and the psychological and physical toll it took on her.
It captures Colvin losing the sight of one eye — leading to her wearing a signature eyepatch — while covering Sri Lanka’s civil war, and interviewing former Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi shortly before his death in 2011.
The film also shows her retreating into heavy drinking and battling likely post-traumatic stress disorder in between assignments.
Oscar-nominated Pike said she was attracted to the part by Colvin’s complexity.
“I wanted to put a woman out there on the screen who is admirable but not every quality she has is admirable,” she said.
“There was something about... the fierceness of passion in what she did that I related to.”
Photographer Conroy, who was injured by the bombing that killed Colvin but made a full recovery, said he was eager to advise on the film in part because of Heineman’s background in documentaries.
“His idea of the truth carried through from that — it wasn’t just ‘let’s make this frothy Hollywood film’,” he said at the screening. “The attention to detail is extraordinary.”
Heineman said he spent months researching the story, including watching practically every war film ever made.
He also enlisted locals rather than actors to play the parts of extras in the war zones portrayed.
“Those are real Syrian women shedding real tears and telling real stories,” he explained of scenes showing Colvin interviewing civilians in Syria.
“That was really important to me to try to bring an authenticity to this experience.”
The director said making “City of Ghosts,” a 2017 non-fiction film about a Syrian media activist group in Raqqa, and other conflict-driven documentaries helped him empathize with Colvin.
“I just felt enormous kinship with her, and also her desire to put a human face to poor innocent civilians who are caught in the crossfire of these geo-political conflicts,” he added.