The repression campaign?

“In a way that surprises even many experts, the repression campaign by the powerful Communist Party propaganda department here, including decade-long prison terms for Web bloggers - has again raised the image of China as seriously lagging in rights and liberal values that much of the world takes for granted. It has awakened a moral language of justice and condemnation, as seen last week on Capitol Hill when members of Congress berated Internet company officials for complicity with Chinese security police.”

Ok, my questions are:

What does “campaign” mean here?
What does this “it” refer to?

“Campaign” here means an organized course of action toward a goal. In this case, the goal is repressing information that the government doesn’t approve of. “It” refers to the repression campaign, I think.

Hi cooliegirly,

On reading the excerpt:


I was struck by one phrase;

lagging in rights and liberal values

Should this be lagging behind in or possibly lacking in?

Just a thought


I double-checked the origional wording, it is “lagging in”.
Here is the link: … s=itmthumb

I didn’t understand what “lagging in” meant, so I looked it up in a dictionary and it showed the phrase “lagging behind” so I just thought, oh maybe they are the same thing…Do you think it’s a mistake?

Hi cooliegirly,

I’m happier with lagging behind in suggesting that they are not so advanced or far forward in these rights as other countries. Lag behind is often used of athletes when they are running a long race and there are a number a long way behind the leaders and they are said to be lagging behind but lag in is new to me. I can only assume it’s a contraction and that behind is omitted but taken for granted.

Some thoughts


I see. Well, thank you, I’m learning new things.

Lagging in was definitely not a mistake, and it sounds quite normal to me. It’s just an alternative to lagging behind in. If you use “lagging in” as a search phrase in either Google or Yahoo, you get about 330,000 examples from both US and UK sites. Many of them are from newspapers.