Internet restrictions imposed by the Chinese authorities over the weekend were lifted Tuesday but the crackdown was a reminder to netizens that Beijing is ready to pull the plug when it sees things it does not like.
In this latest case it was rumors about a supposed coup the drew the authorities ire. What Beijing seems unable to grasp is that cutting off the flow of information only gives credence to such claims not matter how flimsy or fantastic.
But when your only tool is a hammer then every problem starts to look like a nail. A far more effective response would have been an open and frank discussion. Honesty and the truth tend to kill rumors as fast as they start. It is only when people behave as if they have something to hide that things get out of control.