I've had a programme sat waiting for me on my Sky+ for over a week - a feature length documentary made by Rex Bloomstein called An Independent Mind, which I finally got round to watching last night. It features 8 characters from across the globe, all with very different lives but each with their own story to tell in relation to freedom (or lack thereof) of speech. The one that is most relevant in the context of this blog has to be that of Chinese sex blogger, Mu Zimei. At it's height of popularity, her blog received 10m+ hits a day. It's no great surprise then, that she was approached to turn her blog into a book to be published (especially in the context of other notable sex bloggers who have had similar deals - "Abby Lee" etc). The difference there, of course, is that Abby (as she chose to be known) was in a country where censorship laws are actually far more relaxed than I'd say we give them credit for. Don't get me wrong; there are times when I feel various bodies overstep the line here too, but nothing NEAR what they did to Mu. The book was effectively banned, then she lost her job in journalism, hasn't been able to publish anything in mainland China since 2003, and was pressured to shut down her blog. There is still considerable moral outrage directed at Mu in China - people allegedly calling her the "town bike" and a "willing slut". Lets not forget, though, that historically speaking, China doesn't have the greatest track record in respect for human rights. In context, it's hardly a surprise that they took such issue with Mu. There are times when you realise how lucky you are to live here. It's easy to say the UK is a bad place to live, to point out it's failings and flaws... But all things considered it might not be such a terrible place. Vibrators and dildos are legal, for example (Unlike Texas) and we can blog about fucking all we want. A day to be glad of the freedoms we are granted, perhaps?