Cheat-Seeking Missles

Sunday, September 04, 2005

New Threat To Beijing: Super Girl

It came with the decidedly unpolished name, "The Mongolian Cow Sour Yogurt Super Girl Contest." But it caught the attention of China like nothing before ... and increased nervous fingernail-chewing by Beijing's ruling class.

A Chinese knock-off of American Idol, Super Girl did something unusual for China: It allowed people to vote their preference. And vote they did, 8 million strong, texting in their preference. More would have voted if there weren't a charge for the call.

Winner Li Yuchun, a scrappy young woman not in the plasticised tradition of China's government owned media, strayed farther from Beijing's comfort zone when she called herself an independent person.

Earlier this year, Chinese got a taste of street demonstrations, albiet against Japan, and now they have elected a favorite. Technology, increasing wealth and education, and increased exposure to the world outside are combining to create a considerable challege for the Chinese government.

Isn't it something that something as innocuous as the Mongolian Cow Sour Yogurt Super Girl Contest can be another major straw on the Communist camel's back?