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China Wants US-Owned Hotels to Censor Internet

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the because-china's-an-autocracy-that's-why dept.

Censorship 279

jp_papin writes "The Chinese government is demanding that US-owned hotels there filter Internet service during the upcoming Olympic Games in Beijing, US Senator Sam Brownback has alleged. The Chinese government is requiring US-owned hotels to install Internet filters to 'monitor and restrict information coming in and out of China,' Brownback said Thursday. 'This is an insult to the spirit of the games and an affront to American businesses,' he said. 'I call on China to immediately rescind this demand.' US State Department spokesman Tom Casey said he wasn't aware of those specific requests from the Chinese government, but Brownback said he got the information on Internet filtering from 'two different reliable but confidential sources.' The State Department is apparently continuing dialog with China about freedom of expression."

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I want a pony! (-1, Offtopic)

hostyle (773991) | more than 6 years ago | (#23298956)

First! Give me a pony and i'll give you your censorship.

"Reliable but confidential" sources? (5, Funny)

plover (150551) | more than 6 years ago | (#23298962)

A senator quoting "reliable but confidential" sources on the internet? It's most likely from his pal, the Nigerian Prince, and also that nice wife of Mbutu Seke-seke. I've gotten reliable but confidential email from them, too, but they asked me not to talk to anyone about it.

Re:"Reliable but confidential" sources? (1)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 6 years ago | (#23298968)

The summary would be slightly clarified by replacing "on" with "about":

Brownback said he got the information about Internet filtering from 'two different reliable but confidential sources.'

Re:"Reliable but confidential" sources? (4, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299710)

The summary would be slightly clarified by replacing "on" with "about":
I disagree:

The Chinese government is requiring US-owned hotels to install Internet filters to 'maboutitor and restrict informatiabout coming in and out of China,' Brownback said Thursday. 'This is an insult to the spirit of the games and an affraboutt to American businesses,' he said. 'I call about China to immediately rescind this demand.' US State Department spokesman Tom Casey said he wasn't aware of those specific requests from the Chinese government, but Brownback said he got the information about Internet filtering from 'two different reliable but caboutfidential sources.' The State Department is apparently cabouttinuing dialog with China about freedom of expression."

Re:"Reliable but confidential" sources? (3, Funny)

operagost (62405) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300068)

Ha ha! That's clbuttic!

Of course he got it from the Internet! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23298988)

In fact, I know the name of the source. He is none other tha#$^&@%^@

NO CARRIER

Don't forget ... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23298966)

... to pay your $699 cock-smoking fee you licensing tea-baggers [twofo.co.uk] .

China wants hotels in China to follow Chinese Law (4, Insightful)

samael (12612) | more than 6 years ago | (#23298990)

I'm failing to see why this is a shock.

Do these US senators expect Chinese hotels in the US to follow US law? If so, then why the shock?

Re:China wants hotels in China to follow Chinese L (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23299024)

The way I see it, someone didn't do a proper business risk review when they made an investment in China, and now they are seeking help because things are not working as they planned.

Re:China wants hotels in China to follow Chinese L (5, Interesting)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299118)

Do these US senators expect Chinese hotels in the US to follow US law? If so, then why the shock?


Hell, a lot of hotels in the U.S. aren't even owned by U.S. companies, their owned by the Japanese. That's true, at least, of every single hotel in Hawaii.

Of course we expect these hotels to operate in accordance with U.S. law. Of course, the thing is that the Japanese tend to always seek excellenece in their endeavors -- and, in their view, excellence includes strict compliance with the law.

OTOH, many hotels owned by American companies and individuals don't operate in accordance with U.S. law -- cleanliness standards that aren't up to state and federal health codes, employing undocumented workers as housekeeping staff.

So uhh...what is it they're screaming and handwaving about again?

Re:China wants hotels in China to follow Chinese L (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23299156)

-undocumented workers
+illegal immigrants

There, fixed your doublespeak for you.

Re:China wants hotels in China to follow Chinese L (5, Funny)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299268)

The shock comes from China's promise to bolster freedom of expression and human right during the Olympic Games when Beijing was chosen a few years ago.

Re:China wants hotels in China to follow Chinese L (2, Insightful)

lorenzo.boccaccia (1263310) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299308)

really, they broken a promise? I'm shocked! I tell you, SHOCKED!
As if those issue weren't know when the games were issued to China.
Now every person who voted for giving the games to China is hiding the head in the sand playing the "didn't know" game...

Re:China wants hotels in China to follow Chinese L (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299476)

Well, what is interesting is that sending US and EU athletes and officials to the Games is also just a promise...

Re:China wants hotels in China to follow Chinese L (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23299640)

Athletes should be allowed to compete in these games without the interference of political entities. These are the WORLD games. the Protests of Chinese issues that hindered the torch running are a discrace....go protest at the Chinese Embassy..not block the runners. Politics and sports should be like Church and State..keep them seperated.

Re:China wants hotels in China to follow Chinese L (5, Informative)

alan_dershowitz (586542) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299730)

Why is this marked funny? Back in 2001 during their Beijing hosting bid, China promised precisely NOT to do this. They also promised total freedom of movement and reporting for international press, which they have also broken (see: Tibet.) China is hoping you all have short memories, but I forget nothing. I wish I could link to a news article with all the stuff they promised, but going back that far most sites charge for access.

Re:China wants hotels in China to follow Chinese L (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23299950)

You see, this could all have been avoided if the IOC had chosen Toronto for 2008 rather than Beijing. Then we could all have had a nice, predictable Olympics games.

Re:China wants hotels in China to follow Chinese L (2, Interesting)

Don_dumb (927108) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299796)

Because they are obliged to not censor during the Olympics. This would actually be one of the things that would get the EU and the US to reconsider their participation in the games, Tibet certainly won't. The Olympic committee (I believe it may be one of those preconditions of holding the games) is obliging China to not restrict (at least) journalists.
To be honest they should just wait until the games begin, then censor everyone themselves. Which they already can and do.

We'll censor our athletes, cause we're helpful like that. And we don't want any ungrateful comments about that smog, making us seem like bad losers. (Us being the UK)

Re:China wants hotels in China to follow Chinese L (2, Interesting)

clodney (778910) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300060)

ArsTechnica has an article on this topic, and they point out that the allegations don't make any sense - Internet access in China is already filtered at the ISP level.

Unless these hotels are buying direct connections to a provider outside of China (and why would they?), they are already behind the Chinese Great Firewall and subject to its filtering.

Conversely, for China to honor its agreement about allowing unfettered Internet access during the Olympics, they will need to open up the wall for these hotels.

Re:China wants hotels in China to follow Chinese L (1)

Icarium (1109647) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300064)

The whole story smells like fud.

Unless the hotels are bypassing Chinese infrastructure (direct satellite uplinks?), it's not like they have a choice as to whether their internet communications are filtered or not.

Following Chinese laws on Chinese soil? (2, Insightful)

ozamosi (615254) | more than 6 years ago | (#23298992)

So you're saying that the Chinese authorities wants the hotels that operate in China to follow Chinese laws and regulations? Shocking!

Next you're going to tell me that American citizens have their right to bear arms violated when they're in Europe.

Re:Following Chinese laws on Chinese soil? (4, Insightful)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299212)

I wouldn't worry about it too much. Senator Brownback just wants the internet requests from American hotels to move unimpeded through the NSA operated rooms at the telecoms.

(I'd be much less depressed if I were going for a funny mod...)

Re:Following Chinese laws on Chinese soil? (1)

marcello_dl (667940) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299256)

I agree with you. It's a peculiar POV the one asserting that someone's property overrides the land it's located in.

Nonetheless I recall local newspapers (Italy) covering the visit of the Dalai Lama, with local sponsors retiring at the last minute because they were pressured in doing so by the chinese. Making me decide that there are no 2008 olympic games for what I am concerned.

Re:Following Chinese laws on Chinese soil? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23299388)

Next you're going to tell me that American citizens have their right to bear arms violated when they're in Europe.

And surprise surprise, many of them bitch and moan about it. It's the entire "I know better than anyone else" mentality that seems to be so prevalent in America.

Re:Following Chinese laws on Chinese soil? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23299442)

Yes, I do find it somewhat shocking that Chinese authorities are enforcing Chinese law. It's not really their "thing".

Re:Following Chinese laws on Chinese soil? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23299460)

"Next you're going to tell me that American citizens have their right to bear arms violated when they're in Europe."

Correct - regardless of citizenship, humans have a natural right, obligation, and instinct to preserve their lives. IN WHATEVER WAY is necessary.

That natural right supercedes any idiot laws which were passed to protect the profits and safety of criminals. Ask your lawmakers why they think only murderers should be allowed to carry weapons.

Re:Following Chinese laws on Chinese soil? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23299586)

Correct - regardless of citizenship, humans have a natural right, obligation, and instinct to preserve their lives. IN WHATEVER WAY is necessary.

If that's the case then you should just stay in your basement clinging to your guns. Many others of us don't want to deal with such paranoid fools.

Re:Following Chinese laws on Chinese soil? (2, Interesting)

Zeinfeld (263942) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299612)

I am somewhat surprised that the US hotels would be required to enact censorship, the Chinese state is good enough at that itself. As far as stopping outbound communications goes, fat chance, no censorship filter can do anything with SSL trafic.

Next you're going to tell me that American citizens have their right to bear arms violated when they're in Europe.

You know, a guy called Timothy McVeigh spent three months complaining about that very issue across Usenet. See the thread 'No rights in the UK' on DejaNews. The thread only ended when he murdered two hundred people in the OKC bombing.

Yes, Americans do sometimes have some pretty weird ideas about foreign countries. China is no longer Maoist, arguably it is no longer communist according to any recognizable Marxist doctrine. But it is still a dictatorship. In political terms it is essentially on a par with Chile, the Philippines, or whathave you during the Nixon era military Juntas.

We now know that the US right greatly overestimated the threat from Communism. The communists never had the ability, still less the intention of expanding into Western Europe. The cold war was fought for domestic reasons, they had to have an enemy to point to. When the cold war ended they decided Islamic terror would be the next big thing. That is why they didn't want to eliminate Bin Laden, Regan made that mistake with the Communists. The invasion of Iraq was not a distraction from tackling Bin Laden, it was to cover up the fact that they want him alive and killing as long as possible.

In the process they made two major blunders. The first was that the invasion of Iraq led to the rise of Iran as the dominant regional superpower, a rise that was both predictable and predicted. The second that Bush turned out to have read Putin completely wrong.

Re:Following Chinese laws on Chinese soil? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23299712)

You're one of those conspiracy theorists aren't you?

Re:Following Chinese laws on Chinese soil? (-1, Troll)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299732)

Wow, an old-style Usenet kook! Here on Slashdot! Take a picture, quickly! See how he starts by rationally discussing the subject at hand in the first paragraph, before introducing an unrelated issue in the second that refers to a shared experience that nobody else had. The last three paragraphs are a great display of the Usenet kook in his natural environment. Just look at that plumage!

Re:Following Chinese laws on Chinese soil? (3, Informative)

Nocturnal Deviant (974688) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299810)

actually theres a section in the foreign policy act that pretty much says "if you fuck up in other countries your at their mercy" its honestly something like "all americans are required to follow the country they are visiting's laws and if they commit a crime they are subject to their laws and regulations" which of course means if we try to bring a gun into another country and they have anti gun laws your either going to get turned away at the border or arrested within the border then the only right you have is to alert the US embassy that your stuck there a lot of countries don't even afford Americans the right to an attorney. I've been arrested and released in Canada and Russia for crimes i didn't do, in Canada it took them a week to realize it was somebody else so i was put on immigration hold(aka i was almost deported), as for russia they locked me up for a month for a parking ticket, saying that i had violated some statute till the embassy got its act together and pretty much told them to fuck off and let me out...that was fun...i have to say american prison's are butterflies and bubblegum compared to russian ones...

Re:Following Chinese laws on Chinese soil? (1)

Nocturnal Deviant (974688) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299830)

Sorry for the grammar, apparently /. wants me to use HTML in a comment..

skeptical (4, Insightful)

quenda (644621) | more than 6 years ago | (#23298998)

This is a bit hard to believe. How could the hotels possibly censor any better than the gov't backbones?

And the Chinese have never really worried about foreigners with VPNs. Its the locals that need to be kept in control.

I think this senator got his information from the same reliable sources that found proof for Iraqi WMDs.

Re:skeptical (4, Informative)

spooje (582773) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299142)

Most filtering isn't done at the backbone level, it's done at the small ISPs that are located in the major apartment complexes. The government gives them directives and it's up to them to impliment them. This is why some complexes will have access to sites (like wikipedia) while others in the same city won't.

Re:skeptical (1)

Bios_Hakr (68586) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299198)

My guess is that they aren't filtering backbones. The equipment you'd need to filter at the OC levels would just be too expensive. They probably mandate that all ISPs install local filters. Probably at their own cost. Then, they have a political officer who comes around to check things every now and then.

Also, since the filtering is happening at lower levels, the elite can get unfiltered connections straight from the telecoms without rousing suspicion for demanding filer removal.

Re:skeptical (1)

Gerzel (240421) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299228)

Oh I have no surprise in that China would indeed officially have such a law requiring the censorship, it just makes sense, and that some official did indeed make an attempt, but I don't think they'd push the issue as it would only hurt them more than it would ever help.

If the opposite were true I'd not be surprised either.

Re:skeptical (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299414)

I believe this is just Brownback doing the usual politician thing. Olympics time + Evil China = political mileage.

Hotel internet access in china has been censored and _logged_ for a long time already. It's been the law and requirement there. It's not just because it's the Olympics.

I know this because the company I work for does internet access for hotels. Some countries (Singapore, China, Italy) logging is mandatory, seems in other countries logging is illegal (Taiwan?). So we try to comply to each country's laws the best that we can. And even if you don't, they mess with some dns packets anyway, so you always get a particular IP when doing dns lookups for some sites.

You can use a VPN if you want to bypass all that, but be careful if you use your Employer's VPN, your employer could be logging your internet access too.

If you're surfing the web in a 5 star hotel in China, who should you be more afraid of - China or your Employer?

You should probably use your own VPN where possible if you're doing non-work related stuff.

Re:skeptical (5, Interesting)

audunr (906697) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299608)

While visiting an Internet cafe in China, a friend of mine used her university VPN connection to be able to browse sites that her university has subscription access to. Some time later, a guy comes into the cafe and asks her to leave. Politely, but still, if the reason was her VPN use then that's really, really scary. And probably happens every day...

seriously... (5, Insightful)

night_flyer (453866) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299000)

what did the US (and any other freedom loving person) expect when giving the Communist Chinese the Olympics?

Re:seriously... (2, Informative)

Ngarrang (1023425) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299020)

Yeah, I have to wonder, as well. Maybe the world was so naive as to believe the Olympics would change China's way? China doesn't care what the world thinks and has proven this time and time again. What political expediency was hoped to be gained from this move has failed.

Re:seriously... (-1, Flamebait)

ozamosi (615254) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299232)

They do care. They have improved.

They've removed lot's of sites from the Great Firewall of China, for instance the English Wikipedia, after western politicians said that a change like that would reflect well upon China. They've let western journalists go to many places they can't normally go to. Today, many European countries (including mine, Sweden) have governmentally blessed internet blocklists that are far longer than the Chinese one.

But after the western media told the world that the Chinese people are pigs for not invading other sovereign countries randomly (Myanmar) or defending it's people from ethnic cleansing [economist.com] by the Tibet people against the Han-Chinese population (link goes to a report by the only western journalist who was actually there - all other reports are just quoting the exile government in India), they are quite a bit suspicious towards us and our so-called free and just media, and rightly so. Us Westeners sabotaging the path of the eternal fire, or not preventing Tibet terrorists from doing so, on it's way to Beijing as a way to get back at them for stopping ethnic cleansing isn't exactly helping matters - especially not when it's done by traveling across the world, just to beat up a girl in a wheelchair [wikipedia.org] - because that's usually the best way to get sympathies.

To make matters worse, I know the largest Swedish newspapers publish Photoshop jobs (publishing photos of a large group of Chinese polices - but failing to include the even larger group of angry activists next to them) and pure lies (pictures of Nepalese officials treating activists badly, and claiming that they're Chinese) as proof of how evil the Chinese government is.

After this, I have no problems seeing why one would try to limit the access for one's people to these lies - the only thing it would result in is civil war, something that is never good, and would hurt the Chinese process towards giving the people a decent standard of living, freedom of speech, and, eventually, democracy.

Re:seriously... (3, Interesting)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299384)

There is no need to lump the hundreds of millions of people who don't care about the Olympic torch in with the few thousand who caused a ruckus.

Re:seriously... (5, Insightful)

Serious Callers Only (1022605) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299506)

They've removed lot's[sic] of sites from the Great Firewall of China, for instance the English Wikipedia, after western politicians said that a change like that would reflect well upon China.
This is perhaps true, but seems unlikely frankly. Blacklists in western countries tend to be for hate speech or child pornography, which I find reasonable (though some may not). They are not comparable in scale or subject matter to those in China.

Defending it's people from ethnic cleansing [economist.com] by the Tibet people against the Han-Chinese population
While preventing race riots is an admirable goal, looking at the deeper causes of this conflict is in order. Tibet has been flooded by Han in the last decade as part of a pacification project by the central government. That has understandably lead to widespread resentment there. We'll probably never know the true story because no journalists are allowed to report from that area, I wonder why?

Us Westeners sabotaging the path of the eternal fire, or not preventing Tibet terrorists from doing so, on it's way to Beijing as a way to get back at them for stopping ethnic cleansing isn't exactly helping matters - especially not when it's done by traveling across the world, just to beat up a girl in a wheelchair [wikipedia.org] - because that's usually the best way to get sympathies.
'Westerners' are not some monolithic block to be denounced as ox ghosts and snake demons, and your treatment of the subject doesn't do it justice. There have been no Tibetan terrorists active in the west (taking terrorism to mean violent action against civilians), only peaceful protest - maybe some of that got out of hand, but it's hardly more than rowdy protests. Frankly given your ill-informed comments I doubt you're from Sweden, or you'd know better. Are there even Tibetan terrorists (Race riots are not terrorism)?

To make matters worse, I know the largest Swedish newspapers publish Photoshop jobs (publishing photos of a large group of Chinese polices - but failing to include the even larger group of angry activists next to them) and pure lies (pictures of Nepalese officials treating activists badly, and claiming that they're Chinese) as proof of how evil the Chinese government is.
These are not photoshop jobs, they're unwarranted editorialising (i.e. cropping out protesters) and incompetence (protests in Nepal misused), not evidence of a global conspiracy. If the Chinese government was interested in the truth, they'd open up the province to reporters and allow them to report. I find that far more interesting than any bad reporting in the west (of which there is plenty, along with the good;learn to discriminate).

After this, I have no problems seeing why one would try to limit the access for one's people to these lies - the only thing it would result in is civil war, something that is never good, and would hurt the Chinese process towards giving the people a decent standard of living, freedom of speech, and, eventually, democracy.
While the Chinese people's destiny is their own problem, and I agree this intervention by US Senators is hypocritical given the problems with democratic process and a free press in that country, the Chinese government is not shielding their people from lies, and is actively encouraging xenophobia and stoking nationalism by producing some of the broad caricatures you have so ably aped in your post. The cultural revolution is not so long ago, and we're seeing the same sort of tactics again, but directed outwards toward other nations. If you believe everything you just said I'm afraid you're a pawn in a game between governments.

Re:seriously... (1)

ozamosi (615254) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299822)

This is perhaps true, but seems unlikely frankly. Blacklists in western countries tend to be for hate speech or child pornography, which I find reasonable (though some may not). They are not comparable in scale or subject matter to those in China.
The Pirate Bay cannot be accessed through the largest Danish ISP. When the Swedish filter was leaked, it was shown that the sites there almost never contains actual children in sexual situations - there's some clothed child modeling, there's some regular porn, and there's some lolicon. Oh, and http://www.koreabonsai.com/ [koreabonsai.com]

While preventing race riots is an admirable goal, looking at the deeper causes of this conflict is in order. Tibet has been flooded by Han in the last decade as part of a pacification project by the central government. That has understandably lead to widespread resentment there. We'll probably never know the true story because no journalists are allowed to report from that area, I wonder why?
But James Miles was there, could report, and he had a permit. Apparently, openness is increasing!

'Westerners' are not some monolithic block to be denounced as ox ghosts and snake demons, and your treatment of the subject doesn't do it justice.
But we treat China that way. How can we say that Myanmar is China's problem?

Hell, a lot of the time, Americans treat Europe that way. I see no reason why the Chinese people wouldn't see us that way.

Re:seriously... (1)

Shajenko42 (627901) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299242)

I suppose Brownback won't lose any political points by railing against the freedom-suppressing Chinese government.

Re:seriously... (0, Troll)

jimthehorsegod (1210220) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299182)

I don't think it was a consideration tbh - the IOC has been shown time and time again to be utterly corrupt, the reason China has these 2008 Olympics is down mainly to the fact that the envelopes of cash they slipped under the African nations representatives hotel room doors was of higher value than those from other nations.

Re:seriously... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23299294)

Yeah, I have known US for a while and I can vouch for what a fine freedom loving chap he is!!

IOC is not US or "any other freedom loving person" (5, Interesting)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299456)

IOC doesn't even pretend to care about freedom. All they care about is money, while pretending to care about sport. [ Quite unlike the US, which only cares about money, while pretending to care about freedom. ]

Re:seriously... (2, Insightful)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299474)

Lots of questions, no answers. How ar ethese "US Hotels"? They're on the other side of the globe from the US!

I wish we were as intolerant of the multinational corporations as the Chineese. But then again, Sony and BP and the like all run the US's goivernment anyway, so it's not surprising.

But I wish we, the people still had control of our government. I'd sutre like to see more factories here.

What would be cool is (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299002)

...seeing stegonographic and other kinds of tools proliferate in China so that the whole censorship policy is rendered completely moot.
If they had some kind of translator to take a message and encode it in a Chinese version of rhyming slang [cockneyrhy...lang.co.uk] , how nifty would that be?
Particularly if the product could appear pro-Communist. I guess pictograms would render such a project "non-trivial".
Loyal to the Group of 17 [urth.net] would be so proud of the Chinese government.

Re:What would be cool is (4, Informative)

Phybersyk0 (513618) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299472)

This isn't too likely as many Chinese still do not own personal computers. Many obtain their access to the net via internet cafes. If you get your access at a cafe it kinds sucks because you are required to prove that you're 18 or older, which means you must present identification, which is recorded with the workstation you use and subsequently the IP address and time in which you used it.

For home access in larger cities like Shanghai, adsl is the way to go, and you purchase time, and you get a static IP. Also traceable to you.

I was in China for a couple of weeks immediately following the recent Tibet fracas (which is quite perplexing if you listen to all 3 sides of the discussion).

Based on my personal observation, The "Great Firewall" isn't so much a firewall (which in my eyes connotes address/port blocking) but it's more the corporate content filter. Too many keywords and your transmission gets squelched.

Example: The first day I tried to use myspace.com and I couldn't get a single word to load. The next day, Myspace would load, I could log in, but when I selected the option to update my personal Blog, I got half a page of unrendered HTML code. I didn't even bother after that.

On the other hand. (4, Insightful)

deniable (76198) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299010)

I'm sure the American government has never asked foreign owned businesses to do anything they wouldn't like. I love the smell of politics in the morning. It smells like hypocrisy.

Re:On the other hand. (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299210)

It smells like hypocrisy.

Hypocrisy doesn't smell anywhere near as good as napalm. Say, that gives me an idea...

Their country (3, Insightful)

nighty5 (615965) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299026)

Their rules.

If you don't like it, then leave.

If you want somebody to blame, then direct it to the International Olympic Committee. Each country took a vote and China was selected.

Like or not....

Re:Their country (3, Insightful)

Eravnrekaree (467752) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299778)

Not a good argument. For many chinese trapped in china, leaving is not an option. Free speech is a universal and inalienable right of all human beings no matter in which country they live. It is our responsibility, and that of the UN and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,to pressure their government through diplomatic means to make reforms to guarantee, the people free speech and that they will not be punished by the government for what they say.

Actually, there is another choice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23299854)

The west could boycott THIS. While I did not like the idea of boycotting over Tibet (that is a LONG standing issue and really the west should not interfer in it), this is a different matter. When China was awarded the Oylpmics, there was no censoring going on. More importantly, it appeared to many in the west that China would continue to open up. Now they pop this in over the last few years.

I do have to say, that I am not a fan of boycotts. We use them far too often.

Why not pull out our athletes until... (4, Interesting)

mikelieman (35628) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299028)

Why not pull out our athletes out of the games until China adopts a default policy of Freedom and Liberty?

Fuck that Censorshit!

I'll take good old US Style Blanket Surveillance any-day!

Thanks AT&T! For keeping us safe by spying on us for the Bush Gang -- even if it is completely unlawful to do so!

Re:Why not pull out our athletes until... (2, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299176)

Because that would be counter productive.

This story wouldn't have come up at all if China wasn't hosting the Olympics. Pulling American athletes out of the games isn't going to harm China, and will make the US look petty.

Many nations boycotted the Moscow Olympics in 1980. This had absolutely no effect on the USSR's invasion of Afghanistan. It's better to find another way to protest against China that would actually cause some sort of harm.

Re:Why not pull out our athletes until... (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299760)

"Why not pull out our athletes out of the games until China adopts a default policy of Freedom and Liberty?"

Why do you hate Krustry the clown?

Happening already. (4, Informative)

martin-k (99343) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299038)

How is that different from what's happening now? I stayed at the Hilton in Beijing (supposedly property of an American company) last year, and they of course filtered the net connection. No boobie pages, some political pages didn't work; even SSH connections were impossible for one whole day during my stay.

Re:Happening already. (2, Informative)

Stephan202 (1003355) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299338)

If they only filter by port, you could open up port 443 (HTTPS) for SSH, in addition to port 22. It is unlikely that they block that port. I did this once for a friend who was in Armenia at the time. Worked for him.

Re:Happening already. (1)

martin-k (99343) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299394)

Thanks. Added to my road warrior toolchest...

Re:Happening already. (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299508)

supposedly property of an American company

Unless it's privately onwed (and I don't know if it is or not) it's not an American company, it's an international company. If a single foreigner owns a single share of stock, it's a multinational corporation and has no right to call itself an "American" company.

Just who exactly expected anything less? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23299044)

We're talking about China here. The Great Firewall of China. Ring any bells? Here, how about this one. Chinas first name: Communist. Anything? Still nothing?

When in Rome... (2, Insightful)

flajann (658201) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299062)

When in China, do as the Chinese wants you to.
Don't like it? Then don't do business there.

While I don't like censorship in the least, I also don't like US hegemony either -- either by the government or the businesses. China -- its people and its government -- need to work out their own issues with regards to privacy and censorship and freedom of access to information.

Oh well -- China has the US by its financial balls, so all I see coming out of this is a bunch of whining on the US part with little to no real action.

And of course, the question of what form any possible "action" would take, anyway? Pulling out of the Olympics? That's not fair to all those athletes who devoted a good portion of their lives preparing for this event.

Gotta love geo-politics.

Re:When in Rome... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23299368)

"Oh well -- China has the US by its financial balls..."

One could easily swap "China" and "US" in the above statement, and it would still be true. If the American economy collapses, then China will lose their biggest customer. Consider it a form of mutually-assured financial destruction.

Re:When in Rome... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23299752)

And attending the Olympics isn't fair to the 1.3 billion Chinese living under an oppressive government which is legitimised beyond measure by the Olympics.

Great firewall of China (2, Insightful)

weave (48069) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299106)

Aren't all of these hotels behind the Great Firewall of China anyway? How are they getting their Internet connections if not? Something doesn't sound quite right about this. I don't see how they can NOT be filtered, even if they didn't want it.

Re:Great firewall of China (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299134)

I'm just guessing but maybe it has something to do with using VPN tunnelling to connect to other networks outside of China?

Re:Great firewall of China (1)

weave (48069) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299218)

Good guess, but I find it hard to believe a hotel there would go to that trouble myself.

Re:Great firewall of China (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299618)

Just think of the Chinese Internet as "Broken.' If I was running a hotel for foreign businessman, I would do my damndest to ensure that the internet was secure and reliable. If my guests can't be assured that they'll be able to communicate without fear of corporate espionage, my internet would be nothing more than a toy.
But, I'm not a hotelier.

Re:Great firewall of China (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299642)

It's conceivable some could have satellite connections. Granted, China could just shoot those down though.

Let's work on freedom of expression here (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23299110)

Let's work on freedom of expression in the USA before we go telling China how to run their country. It's sick in this day and age that you can get arrested for flag burning, protesting outside of a "free speech zone", or because you criticize the rulers a little too loudly. Until we fix these things, I think a little Internet filtering in another country is the least of our worries.

The Original Press Release (2, Informative)

value_added (719364) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299126)

The press release can be read in its entirety on the official Sam Brownback [senate.gov] site.

Seems a fair enough position for a politician to take, given that he sits on one or more subcomittees that are involved with international/human rights types of issues.

On the other hand, he is a Republican.

And he's from Kansas.

If you're not prepared to fill in your own joke, the Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] on him should give you some ideas.

Re:The Original Press Release (4, Informative)

OS24Ever (245667) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299258)

Having grown up in Kansas and voted against him every chance I had I don't like the guy, and the company he keeps.

That being said..

one of his children is adopted from China. he puts his money where his mouth is sometimes, and I respect him for that sometimes.

But ...

Just look at his voting record. He's voted to force the installation of the same software China wants to use. It seems extremely hypocritical and headline grabbing move to me, instead of something true.

We are no longer the land of the free and the home of the brave, and that's the way it is and we like it apparently, because no one will make any effort. We like being the land of the monitored and home of the scared. It's not a big deal, and it's to stop the terrorists.

China's doing it because they're mean. We're doing it to protect you, so we're ok. That's the politicians logic for you.

Re:The Original Press Release (1)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299342)

Also, remember [youtube.com] that Sam Brownback was one of three repbublican presidential candidates who does not believe in evolution. That tells me he is either a liar or stupid. Either way you can't trust him. My guess he feels the Latino xenophobia is wearing out so now he thinks the Chinese would make a better target.

Re:The Original Press Release (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23299882)

you are a fucking intolerants troll. You make me almost as sick at racist and homo-hatters.

Re:The Original Press Release (0, Offtopic)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299592)

Sam Brownback doesn't exist. If he did, there would be an uncyclopedia article about him.

Oh wait, he does exist, here [uncyclopedia.org] is the entry on the honorable Senator Browbakc from Kansas [uncyclopedia.org]

Approved by the Kansas State Board of Education.
This page meets all criteria and requirements for use as teaching material within the State of Kansas public school system. It consists of facts, not of theories, and students are encouraged to believe it uncritically, and to approach alternatives critically.

"Kansas. All it is is dust in the wind." ~ Oscar Wilde on Kansas

In 1865 it was discovered that there was in fact, a single hill in the entire state. The legislature determined that this hill (for reasons unknown but entirely unrelated to altitude referred to as Mount Oread) was the ideal location to send its best and brightest, and founded the University of Kansas on the hill. The primary subjects taught were post-hole digging, wheat planting, and the concept of the "hill," previously unfamiliar to most Kansans. It is said that the original building on campus was blown down seven times before designers realized that the wind from the west came straight from the Rocky Mountains without any obstructions. Their response was to built a concrete monstrosity, known as Wescoe Hall. The building stood for 120 years before sliding down the hill and collapsing, killing seventy cattle and one freshman philosophy major. This disaster (the hall, not the collapse) spurred the creation of a School of Architecture at the University. The university mascot is the Jayhawk, a bird native to Kansas that inexplicably killed hundreds of people in neighboring Missouri during the American Civil War.
"I don't think we're in Kansas anymore." ~ Dorothy on noticing a school teaching actual science

isn't there a precedent? (1)

tommeke100 (755660) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299154)

what about Yahoo! a couple of years ago? isn't that a "US-owned" company?

Newsflash! (4, Interesting)

johannesg (664142) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299166)

In China, even *Americans* must obey Chinese law! Gee, who would have thought?

Don't like it? Your options are:

1. Don't do business there.
2. Ask them to change their laws. Good luck with that.
3. The Iraq thing. Good luck with that too.

A hotel is not an embassy; Chinese law applies within its walls.

Re:Newsflash! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23299484)

4) funnel big $$$ to support potential/current Chinese government officials friendly to the corporate illuminati.

Satelite dish (1)

Adeptus_Luminati (634274) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299844)

Or just bring your own satellite dish, Chinese firewalls can't block that ;-)
Looking forward to the day that public spectrum wireless technologies can be propogated for 10's or 100's of miles. Then China's boarders will have Internet leaking in from every corner. They're facing a losing, not to mention, stupid and expensive battle. Only a question of time.. tick, tock, tick, tock.

And trying ot hack other countries? That is seriously stupid. Wait till the Russians and Israilies get wind of that, j00'll be begging for mercy.

welcome to the multi-valued world (4, Insightful)

Tom (822) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299168)

No matter how much you dislike the chinese government's position, what this is nevertheless is enforcing rules on them, in their own country. Who cares if the hotels in question are "US-owned"? Would you accept that "chinese-owned" factories in, say, Texas, operate according to chinese rules?

If you start a hotel in China, you know that you're in China, and that chinese laws and customs apply to you. You may not like them, for whatever reason. You may think they are inhuman and evil, but they are the law of the land.

If you don't like it, there's a simple solution: Don't do business there!.

But no, our corporate masters want to have it both ways. None of the large international corporations would want to leave the huge chinese market to the competitors.

I don't support the chinese government in their position on censorship, oppression or the liberal application of the death penalty, but I do support them on their strong stand towards international corporations and anyone else messing with their internal politics. I think right now China is the only government not falling over backwards when some RIAA or Microsoft comes calling, and instead reminding them just who owns the land and the tanks.

Re:welcome to the multi-valued world (1)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299524)

But no, our corporate masters want to have it both ways.
To be honest, they want to have it one way only - they don't give a flying duck about human rights or freedom of speech, in China or otherwise.

Re:welcome to the multi-valued world (-1, Offtopic)

querist (97166) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299564)

Tom,

You are right on target. What we are seeing is the typical US Government arrogance. They expect to be able to require everyone for conform to the USA's rules. They try to force DMCA and RIAA/MIAA-approved copyright laws down the WTO's collective throat. They try to force their own version of "religious freedom" (which is not really religious freedom if you really look at it*) down every other country's throat. This is just another example of the US Government's arrogance.

*religious freedom: yes, in theory people in the USA have "freedom of religion", but in how many ways does that actually mean "freedom to attend any Christian denomination that is considered acceptable."? Why did they make such a big deal on the news when that congressperson or senator from Hawai'i was elected? The news did not discuss the person's qualifications. The big news item was that he or she (i don't remember) was the first Buddhist elected to a federal office. That's pathetic! Why should it matter if the person is a Buddhist? From what I know about Buddhism, I'd much rather a Buddhist president than someone from most other religions.

When was the last time a Muslim was elected to a federal office? How about someone who practices Shintoism? If I remember correctly, it was the intent of the Founding Fathers that the "freedom of religion" only applied to "Christian" beliefs. Granted, you cannot completely fault them for that because they were acting in accordance with their religious beliefs, but in this supposedly more enlightened age one would like to think that we could do better now.

In other news... (1)

TheRedSeven (1234758) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299184)

China sweeps the Olympics. In an unprecedented turn of events, Chinese athletes have won every event in which they have participated...

At least that will be the case according to the official news sources.

And in related news.... (3, Insightful)

r_jensen11 (598210) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299202)

Dutch MP's are demanding that the US lifts its ban on prostitutes, calling it an affront to capitalism's oldest profession. Film at 11

Re:And in related news.... (1)

johannesg (664142) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299522)

Also, Dutch-owned coffee shops in the US should legally be able to sell weed. It is, after all, legal in the Netherlands...

I do realize that this will get a lot of "hell yeah!" reactions though ;-)

What about the censorship right here in the US? (4, Insightful)

Eravnrekaree (467752) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299230)

It seems rather hypocritical for US politicians to criticize censorship in China when they refuse to do anything to stop censorshop right here in the US and often support it. I am referring to the lack of action being taken on net neutrality and prohibuting corporations from censoring the internet. People think that because its a corporation its not a real threat, but it is. These corporations become de facto governments when they can control so many resources, such as major communications infrastructure, these corporations through their policies can have the same effect as government in effectively limiting free speech.This is why ISPs must be common carriers and required to carry all information over them verbatim.

Sometimes it seems the real reason the politicians criticize china is to cover up the fact that they allow censorship right here, and are representatives of the corporations that carry out this censorship. Politicians in the US take campaign donations from corporations, essentially the corporations elect them and they represent the corporations interest. Whoever has the best funding has the best chance of winning so corporations can control elections through who they give donations to. Add to that most of the US media is controlled by a few large corporate conglomerates who basically can filter and conspire to propogandise the ignorant and gullible public. People are not really the ones making the decisions anymore, the process is controlled by corporations and special interests, the american people are brainwashed into thinking they have a choice, when they really do not. You have a media which basically controls most of their information, and can tell them who to vote for, by excluding or including information you can control the available information they have to work with and thus their decision making. The way you make people think they have a choice is by giving them options, but controlling those options. A politicians campaign can easily be destroyed if their funding is withdrawn and the corporation and establishment can weed out those it does not like (like Kucinich, Paul, etc). The media simply ignores them or gives them a fraction of the attention of other preferred candidates.

Re:What about the censorship right here in the US? (1)

masonc (125950) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299322)

Doesn't the FBI/CIA/NSA requiring all ISPs to install listening feeds connecting their main switches to government listening posts?
The NSA, whose charters only allows for foreign monitoring, has been involved in domestic spying since 911 and there is no end in sight as the US Government uses fake terror threats to justify all manner of invasions of American civil liberties and the rights of nationals of other nations. I hate going to the US, I feel unwelcome.

Re:What about the censorship right here in the US? (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299376)

It seems rather hypocritical for US politicians to criticize censorship in China when they refuse to do anything to stop censorshop right here in the US and often support it. I am referring to the lack of action being taken on net neutrality and prohibuting corporations from censoring the internet. People think that because its a corporation its not a real threat, but it is.
The United States is governed by corporate bodies as we have seen countless time in the past.

Leave China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23299244)

We should walk out of China and not look back. All of this complaining by money making ventures will do no good.

Re:Leave China (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299628)

We should walk out of China and not look back. All of this complaining by money making ventures will do no good

"We?" Who is "we"? The US government is wholly owned by the "money making ventures".

Why is this only a big deal now? (4, Insightful)

forgotten_my_nick (802929) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299264)

News flash for those that don't know. This is old news.

The "westerners" only hotels in China are censored. It is a little less lax then normal Chinese hotels (for example you can watch BBC). But there is censorship and even other rules, for example the only chinese allowed on the hotels premises when I was there had to be working in the hotel.

The censorship is more directed at the population though rather then to external sources.

Lastly it is their country, even if like me you don't agree with this. If you don't like, then don't go to the country.

Who wants to bet? (1)

ShiNoKaze (1097629) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299290)

That's how we all start speaking chinese Firefly style. We say we aren't gonna obey censorship and fight to get the games somewhere else. They tell the Chinese public we hate all that is good(they won't even come into our wonderful country), they invade with the love and support of those they subjugate. That's how these things work.

Wow, this is hypocritical! (4, Informative)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299386)

In February 2006, the Hotel Maria Isabel Sheraton hotel (a franchise of the Sheraton group) in Mexico City was ordered by the US Treasury Department to throw out a group of Cuban officials who were staying there, because their presence violated US law and the Sheraton Group was an American company. In complying with the requirement, the hotel broke local law and faced $500,000 fines before the situation was smoothed over.

Re:Wow, this is hypocritical! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23299940)

That's a very interesting situation and I would love to learn more.

I imagine there are a number of times such as that one, where a business is subject to two sets of laws that come in to conflict. What was the right and law-abiding thing for the hotel to do in that situation? To avoid the situation in the first place, I suppose. Turn away Cuban guests and reserve the right to remove those, upon discovery, who haven't disclosed their true nationality.

This situation is likely to come up again in the future, especially considering how data protection laws and surveilance laws are often in conflict. Either way the business chooses to go, it's screwed.

Is there filtering? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23299410)

I am reading from China, from a Chinese owned hotel and wonder how well that censorship is working...

I have but one question... (2, Funny)

boneclinkz (1284458) | more than 6 years ago | (#23299606)

Would the USA have allowed Nazi Germany to host the Olympic games? I DON'T THINK SO.

âoeThe Connection Has Been Resetâ (3, Informative)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300098)

From the March 2008 Atlantic Monthly [theatlantic.com]

In reality, what the Olympic-era visitors will be discovering is not the absence of China's electronic control but its new refinement--and a special Potemkin-style unfettered access that will be set up just for them, and just for the length of their stay. According to engineers I have spoken with at two tech organizations in China, the government bodies in charge of censoring the Internet have told them to get ready to unblock access from a list of specific Internet Protocol (IP) addresses--certain Internet cafes, access jacks in hotel rooms and conference centers where foreigners are expected to work or stay during the Olympic Games. (I am not giving names or identifying details of any Chinese citizens with whom I have discussed this topic, because they risk financial or criminal punishment for criticizing the system or even disclosing how it works. Also, I have not gone to Chinese government agencies for their side of the story, because the very existence of Internet controls is almost never discussed in public here, apart from vague statements about the importance of keeping online information "wholesome.")


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