PRC VERSUS DA VINCI CODE. Here's a fascinating tale. Some time ago, the Chinese government created something called the Catholic Patriotic Association, designed to run the Catholic Church in China. The Vatican, naturally, has long objected to that, insisting that the Catholic Church should run the Catholic Church in China. This medieval-style political controversy was bopping along in obscurity until the release of The Da Vinci Code in China, which both the Vatican and the CPA found objectionable. And now, at the CPA's behest, China's Propaganda Department has ordered China Film (a state-owned company) to yank the film from Chinese cinemas.

Obviously, only in an authoritarian state are you going to see something like that. On the other hand, the fact that this whole tussle took place between two state-controlled entities -- the CPA and China Film -- only to be eventually resolved by a third state entity indicates the evolution of a kinda sorta pluralism in the People's Republic.

--Matthew Yglesias

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