Partners in crime: China, Cuba, Burma censoring news from Iran

In China, political commentators tinted their blogs and Twitters green to show their support for Iranians disputing President Ahmoud Ahmadinejad’s reelection. The deaths of at least 20 people in violent clashes in Tehran have drawn comparisons online to “June 4,” the date of the Tiananmen Square crackdown in Beijing in 1989. And a pointed joke about how Iranians are luckier than Chinese because sham elections are better than no elections made the rounds on the country’s vast network of Internet bulletin boards.

“The Iranian people face the same problems as us: news censorship and no freedom to have their own voices,” 28-year-old blogger Zhou Shuguang said in a telephone interview from the inland province of Hunan. Zhou said he and several friends were among those who had colored their online pictures green, the signature color of the Iranian opposition…

In China, the Communist Party’s propaganda machine has worked furiously to portray the protests in Iran — already being dubbed the Green Revolution, after the Rose and Orange revolutions earlier this decade in Georgia and Ukraine — as orchestrated by the United States and other Western powers, not a grass-roots movement. Unlike Western leaders, who have avoided acknowledging Ahmadinejad’s claims of victory, President Hu Jintao joined Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev in meeting with and congratulating the Iranian president.

On online discussion boards this week, tens of thousands of comments about Iran were shown as deleted; most of those allowed to remain took the official party line on the elections.