But then, there is Weibo. That's what they call the mini-online sites that operate much like Twitter. And they are talking. About everything and anything. Scandals are the badminton players, whether certain medal seekers are gay (an unusual discussion, considering that discussion of homosexuality is relatively taboo in China), what they thing of the scoring system and much more.
What's clear is that the truism "people will talk" has never been more apparent. You can censor speech, you can outlaw proclamations of one kind or another, but somehow people will talk.
And with the web in our lives, that is unmistakenly the case. It's a borderless world.
The irony of this for me is that the Olympics are the epitome of nationalism. We're rarely so American as when we watch our Team USA in an Olympic match. So too the French become fever pitch shrill at the thought of a French citizen winning Olympic gold.
In some ways, we are living in the most borderless global community ever. But something about the Olympics makes us cling to our respective flags, symbols and language. A marvelous picture on the first page of today's New York Times shows it in action: a group of flag waving Brits--all members of the military--rowdily cheering on their fellow Brit rower Captain Heather Stanning, their colleague and a rower as she won the first gold medal for Britain in the coxless pairs event.
It's nation-focused conversation gone global. Enough to make Americans want to celebrate Fourth of July all over again as we cheer on our Yanks.