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Twitter, Flickr, Hotmail, Others Blocked In China

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the this-is-for-your-own-good dept.

Censorship 151

An anonymous reader writes "Two days ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square 'incident,' several high profile Internet sites have been blocked in mainland China. These include Twitter.com, Flickr.com, Live.com, and Bing.com. While Internet blocks are common enough in mainland China, blocking such high-profile sites is unusual. In addition, blog reports suggest even state-owned television broadcasts are suffering multiple instances of muting lasting several seconds (again, not unusual for some foreign stations broadcast over cable, but unusual for local state-owned media) suggesting state security, online or through other technology, has tightened significantly, perhaps in anticipation or discovery of protest plans."

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Like Facebook in Iran During Elections (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#28182215)

Sounds a lot like Facebook being blocked during the elections in Iran [bbc.co.uk] . I wonder if banning sites just long enough to restrict the flow of ideas for the season will become more popular/acceptable than perma-bans?

"Oops, I can't access social sites today ... must be a "democratic" election coming up!"

Re:Like Facebook in Iran During Elections (5, Interesting)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 5 years ago | (#28182245)

Yup. There are plenty of proxies out there too, so what exactly is this going to do? Not to mention every app just mentioned can easily be run on most china phones, so it's not like people have to be in net cafes in China to do said activities.

Re:Like Facebook in Iran During Elections (4, Insightful)

rob1980 (941751) | more than 5 years ago | (#28182411)

There are plenty of proxies out there too, so what exactly is this going to do?

Keep the mainstream folks who don't know what a proxy is (let alone how to use one) in check. For the rest, if they become an issue they'll just be labeled enemies of the state or whatever and dealt with accordingly.

Re:Like Facebook in Iran During Elections (0)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 5 years ago | (#28182527)

sadly true and agreed as a concept however how many people are really in the category of not knowing what a proxy is? China is an extremely tech savvy/tech friendly company, so wouldn't it be the minority who don't know what a proxy is? I could be completely wrong, just inquiring/rhetorically.

Re:Like Facebook in Iran During Elections (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28182787)

*country

Re:Like Facebook in Iran During Elections (3, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28182879)

The majority in China don't even have computers.

Re:Like Facebook in Iran During Elections (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28182835)

except by not blocking them regularly they make it just a minor annoyance for most people. Unless they can't get to it everyday they won't bother to seek out a proxy solution.

it's genius, really.

Re:Like Facebook in Iran During Elections (0)

patro (104336) | more than 5 years ago | (#28182981)

Yup. There are plenty of proxies out there too, so what exactly is this going to do?

This is only a half-hearted attempt, so they can say they prevent the flow of dangerous ideas. The real thing keeping people in check is their standard of living. In recent years lots of people have a better life in China. Especially people in cities. According to reports young Chinese don't really care about Tiananmen, because they can buy stuff which makes them happy.

The easiest way to control people is turning them into consumers. A consumer don't really care about anything until he can consume what he wants. It's a great way to keep people from thinking.

For those who haven't noticed: the same thing is happening in the West

Re:Like Facebook in Iran During Elections (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28183423)

This is only a half-hearted attempt, so they can say they prevent the flow of dangerous ideas. The real thing keeping people in check is their standard of living. In recent years lots of people have a better life in China. Especially people in cities. According to reports young Chinese don't really care about Tiananmen, because they can buy stuff which makes them happy.

The easiest way to control people is turning them into consumers. A consumer don't really care about anything until he can consume what he wants. It's a great way to keep people from thinking.

For those who haven't noticed: the same thing is happening in the West

I disagree. The rise of the middle class (ie, the class of consumers) is an important part of every modern democracy. I think the Chinese that don't really care about Tiananmen recognize the corruption of the communist party, but also value the stability (is any government more stable than an oligarchy?) the party brings. As China continues to develop, the rising middle class will focus more and more on political issues while the economic pressures on them lessen. We see the same thing in the US... once the economy goes, its hard to get people to care about Gay Marriage.

Re:Like Facebook in Iran During Elections (2, Informative)

koiransuklaa (1502579) | more than 5 years ago | (#28183579)

According to reports young Chinese don't really care about Tiananmen, because they can buy stuff which makes them happy.

Well, I've understood some young chinese don't even know that anything happened on June 4th and many others only know the cleaned up version: a small group of extremists tried to bring about civil unrest and the armed forces stopped these illegal activities with the least amount of violence possible. Why would anyone (consumer or not) object to that?

do u know why Amazon invented 1-click thingy (1)

Type-E (545257) | more than 5 years ago | (#28183399)

The fact is people are lazy, if they can't get to it on first attempt, they might just stop. The goal is not to stop all the internet users, but if it blocks a few, they have reached their goals. Same deal as iPhone firmware updates, ps2 revision updates, wii updates, psp firmware updates, they know there are still hackers, but the goal is make their life hard.

Re:Like Facebook in Iran During Elections (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 5 years ago | (#28184581)

Right, because they didn't think to do any blocking on the back hauls that feed phone networks, nor do they have any way to track those users since you know, theres no way they can figure out who used a particular cell phone or anything. Its not like they were smart enough to do the filtering on the connections that leave the country, they just did it at each individual ISP cause that would be way easier to implement and maintain.

You just found an awesome loophole.

Not.

Rice-Niggers Hate Freedom (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28182247)

We've long known that rice-niggers hate freedom.

We just let it slide because they fund the wars that secure access to our oil.

thanks, rice-niggers!

Retaliation (5, Funny)

siloko (1133863) | more than 5 years ago | (#28182251)

That's it, I'm going to block China

Re:Retaliation (2, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#28182367)

That's it, I'm going to block China

I don't know if you're joking or not but if you're not here you go [okean.com] (and other formats [okean.com] )!

Here's a brief explanation on how to do it in Apache [parkansky.com] with Russian and Nigerian IP ranges also. You may be tempted to do what many other people are already doing but remember that language barrier aside, you're blocking your website from 1/6th of the Earth's population.

Re:Retaliation (2, Interesting)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 5 years ago | (#28182471)

Makes sense - the amount of intrusion attempts and spam coming from Chinese servers may make it worth it.

Re:Retaliation (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 5 years ago | (#28183845)

back when I ran my own port25 mailserver, I DID block china. every damned bit of it. every netblock I could find. and even ones I discovered.

discovered? yes, when I got spam (my username base was very tiny and so any dictionary attack was a clear 'hello' from a spam ip addr) I would file that netblock away and block the whole thing. if I felt really mean that day, I'd increase the netblock by a bit to include more and more ;)

soon I got a nice listing of all the overseas spam ip blocks. I mapped out all of china, this way; along with other asian countries that sent me non-ascii spam (like, I'd be able to read that stuff anyway).

so yes, I did block china. I didn't care one bit, either. one chance - you blow it - you get blocked.

enough of this shit from china. not once have I ever had a REAL email from .cn. not once.

More widespread? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28182287)

I am in the UK but currently experiencing disruption to some HTTPS sites. I wonder there is something more widespread going on?

Re:More widespread? (2, Funny)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 5 years ago | (#28183713)

It's just your government 1984'ing your ISP. Don't worry about it.

Re:More widespread? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28183903)

Sorry, I'll shut that trojan down. I thought you weren't home.

Re:More widespread? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28183969)

That's probably just the government testing out a man in the middle attack, to increase the effectiveness of their electronic snooping.

and nothing of value was lost (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28182309)

I wish the US would block Twitter too.

Re:and nothing of value was lost (4, Funny)

gnick (1211984) | more than 5 years ago | (#28182785)

I don't know about blocking Twitter, but my faith in humanity would take a big step up if it went under because everyone decided to ignore it.

In fact, I'm so frustrated over the matter that I'm going to go blog about it on my MySpace and Facebook profiles!

Re:and nothing of value was lost (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28183357)

Mod parent funny, it was good for a chuckle.

Re:and nothing of value was lost (2)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 5 years ago | (#28182953)

Twitter, like any communications medium, is what you make of it. You could start a blog and write about nothing other than the cute things your cat did today, you could write about topics of earth-shattering importance, or your blog could fall somewhere in the middle. You could Twitter about nothing other than the inane details of your life (cue link to the Penny Arcade strip) or you could use Twitter to connect to and keep in touch with a group of people online. E-mail, web pages, television, etc. They can all be used for the inane and valueless or for the interesting and full-of-meaning.

In addition, what is value-less and what is full-of-meaning can vary from person to person. You might think that your post comparing the captaining styles of "Classic Kirk" vs Picard vs "New Movie Kirk" is great, but others might find it to be a fluff piece written by a fan with nothing better to do. Someone else might write a post detailing the pros and cons of a new fashion trend and, while they might think it is a valuable thing you share, you might find it meaningless. One person's trash is another person's treasure.

writing about nothing? (1)

airdrummer (547536) | more than 5 years ago | (#28183071)

doesn't seinfeld have a patent on that or something?

Re:and nothing of value was lost (1)

rynthetyn (618982) | more than 5 years ago | (#28183157)

In a country like China, where everybody has mobile phones but not everyone has computers, a service like Twitter can be immensely useful in helping the free-flow of information. For me, Twitter is a way for me to let friends and family know what I'm up to while I'm living halfway around the world from them, and it's a handy way to keep up with breaking news, but not having it isn't a big deal, I've got plenty of other sources of information. For my friends in China, losing Twitter is losing an important connection to the outside world.

Re:and nothing of value was lost (0, Troll)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#28183191)

witter, like any communications medium, is what you make of it.

Twitter isn't a communications medium. The Web is the communications medium. Twitter just prepackages it for you, and you can have any color you want so long as that color is black (i.e. like the first cars).

You could start a blog and write about nothing other than the cute things your cat did today, you could write about topics of earth-shattering importance, or your blog could fall somewhere in the middle. You could Twitter about nothing other than the inane details of your life (cue link to the Penny Arcade strip) or you could use Twitter to connect to and keep in touch with a group of people online. E-mail, web pages, television, etc. They can all be used for the inane and valueless or for the interesting and full-of-meaning.

You can do all of that without Twitter. Again you are describing the Web. Twitter just provides a one-size-fits-all way to go about it. That, and only that, is what some people dislike about it.

The rest of your post is more of the "all things are equal and just a matter of taste, even if they're not" that someone chimes in and rewrites in one form or another anytime there is any sort of discussion where someone actually stands up and says "no, I think this sucks." It's cute and all but it's not terribly productive. It is just a way of saying "people have different preferences" and since we knew that already, it doesn't really contribute anything. What it does do is make you look like a nice person who just wants to get along, which is cool, but nice people don't have to be so atrociously bland; they can have opinions too.

Re:and nothing of value was lost (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 5 years ago | (#28184579)

Twitter isn't a communications medium. The Web is the communications medium. Twitter just prepackages it for you, and you can have any color you want so long as that color is black (i.e. like the first cars).

By that reasoning, this Slashdot discussion isn't a communications medium either. For that matter, the Web isn't actually a communications medium, since it is built upon The Internet in general. In addition, Twitter encompasses more than just the Web. Some people (like myself) tweet using a desktop client, some tweet using Twitter.com, but many tweet (and get tweets) using text messages from cell phones. This means you can select the client/tool that you prefer to use (car color in your analogy).

You can do all of that without Twitter. Again you are describing the Web. Twitter just provides a one-size-fits-all way to go about it. That, and only that, is what some people dislike about it.

It is hardly one-size-fits-all. Sure, they provide the service (complete with service limitations like 140 characters), but you can choose the client/tool you use, you can choose whose tweets you read, you can choose what you use it for (company announcements/PR, talking with friends, etc). Just because another method of communicating is similar to previously developed methods doesn't discount the new method as useless?

To use China as the example, were Twitter allowed in China, people could potentially tweet information from breaking events to people inside of and outside of China. This could serve to let people outside of China know if another Tienanmen Square was happening in real-time and it could be used to prevent the Chinese government from being able to cover up the new Tienanmen Square incident from their own populace. Add in services like TwitPic and you can get real-time information and photos from breaking events.

Most times, I've found that people who are criticizing Twitter don't do so because of something intrinsic about the service, but because they never used it and only know about it from stereotypes. The stereotypical Twitter user is someone who posts little snippets of their life that no one else is interested in. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of those people, but it's quite easy to filter them out. Just don't follow them (or, if a useful Twitter user becomes an inane one, unfollow them). There are actually plenty of people posting on Twitter that provide interesting information/news. Some examples are donttrythis (Adam from Mythbusters), grantimahara, BadAstronomer, GregGrunberg (from Heroes), wendilynnmakeup (makeup artist on Heroes), and others. (I listed the famous ones or ones with famous connections, but there are plenty of non-famous people I follow also.) If the poster has used Twitter and decided it's not for him, fine. If he's never used Twitter at all and has decided that it's worthless because he's heard that it's worthless, that just annoys me.

Re:and nothing of value was lost (2, Interesting)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 5 years ago | (#28183737)

In case you haven't been following it, Brent Spiner is telling a short story through his Twitter account, one sentence at a time. (Or so says my wife; I don't use those newfangled interwebs 2.0 things.)

that's unfair (1)

BitterAndDrunk (799378) | more than 5 years ago | (#28183889)

My kitty update posts are the most popular on my blog, sometimes even garnering a comment!

Re:and nothing of value was lost (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28183633)

I think Fred should take priority over Twitter

Internet blocks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28182347)

"While Internet blocks in mainland China, blocking such high profile sites is unusual" seems rather incomprehensible. Maybe it was an attempt at In Soviet Russia...

Re:Internet blocks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28182495)

"While Internet blocks in mainland China, blocking such high profile sites is unusual" seems rather incomprehensible. Maybe it was an attempt at In Soviet Russia...

nah, it's just more proof that the so-called "editors" don't even read over their god damned material before they post it to a high-traffic site. shit like that is why I don't subscribe. soon as they show they give a rat's ass, which they can show by either doing some proofreading once in a while, or no longer calling themselves editors, then i might show i am willing to pay money.

People must notice the block. (1)

Script Cat (832717) | more than 5 years ago | (#28182349)

Doesn't it draw more attention to it when these sites are blocked. The imagination usually fills a vacuum with a bigger more damning picture than reality. If they did nothing it would likely be ignored.

Re:People must notice the block. (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#28182377)

Well for twitter they just redirect to a fail whale and no one will notice.

Re:People must notice the block. (3, Insightful)

SchizoStatic (1413201) | more than 5 years ago | (#28182403)

But alas remember this is the instant information age now. A few days after the anniversary no one will care about it and move onto the next funny video on youtube of cats stuck in a bag.

Re:People must notice the block. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28182613)

...and move onto the next funny video on youtube...

Until they block youtube

Re:People must notice the block. (4, Informative)

rynthetyn (618982) | more than 5 years ago | (#28183299)

Youtube is already blocked

Re:People must notice the block. (0, Troll)

siloko (1133863) | more than 5 years ago | (#28182943)

remember this is the instant information age now . . .

I suppose by that you mean "don't give a fuck about anyone else but myself" age.

Re:People must notice the block. (1)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#28182975)

remember this is the instant information age now . . .

I suppose by that you mean "don't give a fuck about anyone else but myself" age.

A lot of times they don't do a very good job of looking out for their own interests either.

Re:People must notice the block. (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#28182553)

Sure, but theres two things that they would mostly think. Either A) Stupid computer, why won't you work or B) Well, I guess Twitter is down.

People, especially computer illiterate people are more apt to believe that their ISP sucks, the sites down or they need to upgrade their computer rather then their malevolent communist overlords are trying to block them.

Re:People must notice the block. (2, Informative)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | more than 5 years ago | (#28182781)

They assume the government knows best and it's for their own good, for the most part.

Re:People must notice the block. (1)

SailorSpork (1080153) | more than 5 years ago | (#28184035)

Doesn't it draw more attention to it when these sites are blocked.

You're right! Since when is Bing.com a high-profile website that someone will notice if it's blocked? Microsoft PR strikes again! ;P

Psychics? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28182375)

Two days ahead of the Tiananmen Square 'incident'

Glad we can reliably see into the future now ;)

Re:Psychics? (3, Funny)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 5 years ago | (#28182541)

Yeah, there are multiple editorial failures in this summary. And in honour of the story being about China, I vote that the punishment be summary excecution!

Re:Psychics? (2, Funny)

teh kurisu (701097) | more than 5 years ago | (#28182701)

I was wondering how the Chinese had the foresight to block Twitter back in 1989.

What are we doing? (4, Insightful)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 5 years ago | (#28182381)

Why are we buying the products of these fascist dictatorships? Why do we continue to support reigimes of tyrrany?

Oh yeah, because they make shit on the cheap and we're a nation of greedy slobs with a humane streak which lasts up until that $5 is taken from your pay cheque to buy your "morality token" for the month.

Flamebait or not, if you buy Chinese goods, you support oppression.

Re:What are we doing? (4, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#28182483)

Because if no one buys Chinese products the people magically become not oppressed? Just look at the Cuban embargo, didn't do a stupid thing to strike down communism in fact by isolating themselves they haven't been exposed to non-communist ideas.

All that would happen if we embargoed China is that the people who live in oppression now will live in oppression while starving.

Re:What are we doing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28183123)

Remember, Slashdot does not have a -1 disagree moderation, and no, troll, flamebait, and overrated are not substitutes.

you could have fooled me

Re:What are we doing? (1)

jack2000 (1178961) | more than 5 years ago | (#28183497)

Starving? No. I think china has enough man power to sustain itself...

Re:What are we doing? (2, Interesting)

Weezul (52464) | more than 5 years ago | (#28184159)

Nobody will starve. In fact, drastically slowing Chinas economic expansion will prevent them from causing starvation in other poorer countries like Bangladesh & India. Well, the U.S. doesn't have the moral standing for such action, but it'd definitely help poorer people if China slows down.

Actually, slapping a 100% "trade rebalancing" tariff on Chinese products may be quite sound & legal; well there is a WTO framework for ensuring that your trade is balanced. But most countries first just want to stop China's currency manipulation. Of course, China can likely still fight these actions by tariffing U.S. goods, dumping dollars, etc. But I don't think those are such major problems really.

I'd be more worried that such drastic action shows weakness, leading to long term loss of confidence in the dollar. To avoid that, you need some political cover like : a lunatic like Ron Paul gets elected, China invades Taiwan, etc.

Oh, yeah, embargoes are alway bad, you want trade balance through tariffs, and natural currency revaluations.

Re:What are we doing? (2, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#28182637)

Why are we buying the products of these fascist dictatorships? Why do we continue to support reigimes of tyrrany? Oh yeah, because they make shit on the cheap and we're a nation of greedy slobs with a humane streak which lasts up until that $5 is taken from your pay cheque to buy your "morality token" for the month. Flamebait or not, if you buy Chinese goods, you support oppression.

There's things which are "Flamebait" because they're blatantly false and often deliberate distortions of reality.

Then there's things which are "Flamebait" because they're completely true and people can't accept that due to a number of character flaws and other shortcomings that render them unable to call things what they are or otherwise to deal with reality. The funny thing is, people get a lot more pissy and upset about this one, and try much harder to shut it down or to shout it down (like the pleasant individuals who can avoid inflicting their personal problems on others that they are) than the first category.

Which one this is should be an exericise to the reader.

you're right and wrong (2, Interesting)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 5 years ago | (#28182721)

Why are we buying the products of these fascist dictatorships?

Part of the answer to your first question is also availability. There are some markets where the Chinese goods have such a lock on production that it is nearly impossible to not buy something made in China.

Sure, you can buy a Chinese made widget for less than an American made widget almost without exception. However, there are times when no amount of money will buy a non-Chinese widget because no such item exists.

Furthermore, your statement

products of these fascist dictatoriships

Is itself an absurd over-simplification of the situation. Just because a product is made in China does not mean it inherently supports the Chinese government. Sure, taxes are (generally) paid but your $.99 widget almost certainly profits a greedy western capitalist much more than the Chinese government.

if you buy Chinese goods, you support oppression

Not always true. As I said, there are times that you don't have a choice in the matter. Sometimes the only way to purchase the item you need for whatever task is at hand is to purchase a Chinese made version of it. If you don't believe me then take a look through the tool section of your favorite home improvement / hardware / discount / general merchandise store. There are some items that if you need them today, you have no choice but to buy Chinese - and if your choice is to buy Chinese or allow your basement to flood with water, I have a suspicion on which way you will likely choose.

Re:you're right and wrong (1)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#28183059)

Not always true. As I said, there are times that you don't have a choice in the matter. Sometimes the only way to purchase the item you need for whatever task is at hand is to purchase a Chinese made version of it. If you don't believe me then take a look through the tool section of your favorite home improvement / hardware / discount / general merchandise store. There are some items that if you need them today, you have no choice but to buy Chinese - and if your choice is to buy Chinese or allow your basement to flood with water, I have a suspicion on which way you will likely choose.

There was a time when that wasn't true at all, when the USA was significantly more self-sufficient than it is today (please understand the difference between "totally self-sufficient in every way" and "more self-sufficient than today"). It took some time, several generations, for it to become this way. It isn't going to instantly change back because it didn't instantly change in the first place. No, it took a long string of decisions, most of which could probably be described as "favoring short term gain over long term viability." I'm betting that there are a lot of potential expressions of "globalism" and that "competing with someone overseas who will work for near-slave wages" is only one of them.

Re:you're right and wrong (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 5 years ago | (#28184383)

If you want a positive spin on outsourcing think of it this way.

We decided instead of using up our limited resources we would concentrate on using up china's first. Steel,copper,even oil. We are using up the world's resources shipping them here and eventually storing them in easy to access locations(landfills). So whenthe time comes that we need more resources wehave already hogged the important ones, and stored them for future generations.

So I say buy from china. All your resources belong to us!

Re:What are we doing? (3, Insightful)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 5 years ago | (#28182999)

Apparently, after the bankruptcy, GM will be making cars in China... [ceoworld.biz]

I'm not really looking forward to that, I'm not sure why the government decided to waste all our taxpayer money on GM if they knew they were just planning to send most of the jobs to China. But I guess some extremely rich people won't lose as much money as they were going to originally, which makes me feel just swell.

I guess the people in charge of this, like our car czar, figured that that was what people were concerned about, that some well-heeled bondholders would have to take a haircut. Otherwise, it's kind of baffling from a political standpoint.

Except in the "after we retire from politics we'll all be rich, rich, rich! And what are you going to do about it, vote Republican, mwahahahaha!"

Re:What are we doing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28183253)

Thay already make cars in China. They sell a shitload of Buick minivans over there.

If GM were smart (Yeah, I know - Crazy talk.), they would have exited the US 10 years ago.

Bad Logic (1)

Rocketship Underpant (804162) | more than 5 years ago | (#28183007)

"We" are not buying products from "fascist dictatorships". Regular businessmen -- Americans, Canadians, Japanese, Germans, etc. -- are buying products from (and selling products to) regular Chinese businessmen. They're not buying from the Chinese state, and they generally don't care what any of this world's authoritarian regimes -- whether Obama's, Jintao's, or someone else's -- are up to so long as they can make an honest living.

It's highly disingenuous of you to suggest that the Cantonese factories my clients hire to make their products have anything to do with the shmucks in Beijing who are banning Flickr. People are individuals and ought to be treated as such.

Re:What are we doing? (2, Interesting)

gnick (1211984) | more than 5 years ago | (#28183109)

...if you buy Chinese goods, you support oppression.

Yeah, but where do you think we get the $$ to buy that Chinese crap? Take a look at our national debt and the debt-holders. We're buying Chinese crap using $$ borrowed from the Chinese. It's a very dysfunctional, but symbiotic, relationship. Look up codependency. And our financial overlords (with whom I do not necessarily agree) seem to think that we need to keep buying this crap to sustain our culture.

The only solution I see is a huge culture change (but that's terribly difficult to effect - If you can figure it out, please do.)

Back on-topic, this sucks. I've got a lot of respect for the Chinese people, but their government is miserable. And they seem to be too big and disconnected to really shake things up. Events like Tiananmen Square make big news and show the world that they're trying, but don't really seems to affect the way things run day-to-day. I'd love to drop some pamphlets instructing citizens on methods for proxying out through the great Chinese firewall...

Re:What are we doing? (0)

jcr (53032) | more than 5 years ago | (#28183519)

Why are we buying the products of these fascist dictatorships?

We aren't. We're buying products made by businesses in China, which are not the government of China.

Embargoes strengthen criminal regimes. Trade reduces their power.

-jcr

Re:What are we doing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28184241)

Actually just because people from outside of world buying things from China that makes the difference from korean

Re:What are we doing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28184243)

and you never buy anything from china....

Re:What are we doing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28184647)

Dude, the fucking computer you're typing on is manufactured in China. Just like the clothes on your back and the fork you used to shovel lunch into your mouth today. Get over yourself.

Unintended consequences (5, Insightful)

harmonise (1484057) | more than 5 years ago | (#28182395)

I suspect that this will have unintended consequences like a Streisand effect. Some people who might not think about the Tiananmen Square incident might wonder why they can't get to certain sites. They'll ask a friend about it who will respond "Maybe because it's the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square incident." The listener's memory will be refreshed and the chance of people forgetting about Tiananmen Square and the date the incident occurred will be lessened.

Re:Unintended consequences (2, Interesting)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 5 years ago | (#28182927)

In 2006, the American PBS program "Frontline" broadcast a segment filmed at Peking University, many of whose students participated in the 1989 protests. Four students were shown a picture of the Tank Man, but none of them could identify what was happening in the photo. Some responded that it was a military parade, or an artwork.

From Wikipedia, but still illustrates the point, young people in China don't know much about the Tienanmen Square incident unless they get it from hearsay or from people abroad. How often does the Kent State incident come up in day to day conversation for you? Would you even know about it if you weren't taught about it in a Modern US History class? How many Americans would look at you confused if you started talking about an incident where the US military shot and killed unarmed US civilians?

Re:Unintended consequences (1)

just_another_sean (919159) | more than 5 years ago | (#28183173)

Well another stark difference is that in China no one gets a song about Tienanmen up on the Top 40 charts either. Sure it's not popular now but I didn't learn about Kent State in a history class, I heard about in that song Ohio by Crosby, Stills and Nash and then read about it later.

Re:Unintended consequences (3, Informative)

kohaku (797652) | more than 5 years ago | (#28183247)

There were 13 casualties in the Kent State shootings, 4 of which were fatal. The Tiananmen square numbers are (officially) 241 deaths, which is probably far smaller than the real number (There have been reports of up to 2400 deaths). I think it's disingenuous to compare Tiananmen and Kent State. Perhaps 9/11 would be a closer analogue? In any case, there was lots of media created about Kent State, and it _IS_ taught in schools.

Seriously. (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 5 years ago | (#28182429)

Freedom of expression on the net is a very dangerous thing. If you don't tighly rein in and control social websites, your population starts getting the impression that they don't need a benevolent communist overlord to tighly rein in and control them. We can't have that now, can we?

Is this done manually or automated? (1)

fprintf (82740) | more than 5 years ago | (#28182435)

Is this blocking/unblocking done manually or is it based on an automated set of rules? I suppose it might be a state secret how the blocking actually works, but I picture a few people sitting in a room updating some configuration files that says "block the following IP address or domain names". Is that how it works?

Re:Is this done manually or automated? (2, Funny)

machine321 (458769) | more than 5 years ago | (#28183265)

Configuration files? This is China, where labor is cheap. They have people manually inspect every request as it goes past the firewall.

Communism... (0)

vigmeister (1112659) | more than 5 years ago | (#28182487)

God help us! Now their productivity will double and everything will become cheaper as China takes over the world!

One a more serious note, I'd think that in a communist framework, it would be reasonable to restrict sites that drain significant amounts of time from your life. The Chinese govt. simply thinks that the benefits are outweighed by the drop in productivity due to social networking sites.

Although I am against censorship, this is a cultural thing. I can imagine how shocked people in some societies would be to find out that pornography is covered by free speech in the USA.

Cheers!

Re:Communism... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28182941)

"in a communist framework"

Except that the situation in China has nothing to do with communism.
Communism = stateless, classless society - see the Communist Manifesto.

"Although I am against censorship, this is a cultural thing."

It's a cultural thing only among politicians/big business, not among (Chineese) people.

unusual, maybe... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28182545)

Surprising.. no.

Editors, please! (5, Insightful)

curmudgeous (710771) | more than 5 years ago | (#28182583)

"Two days ahead of the Tiananmen Square 'incident'...

So, slashdot is predicting incidents now? Or should that read, "Two days ahead of the anniversary of..."?

Yes, I'm picking nits, but the overall quality of journalism seems to be declining on a daily basis. Despite what some here may think, accuracy IS important.

Re:Editors, please! (1)

happy_place (632005) | more than 5 years ago | (#28182707)

With all the bannings perhaps it will spark an social uprising. After all, how can you live life without Twitter?

Re:Editors, please! (1)

Kozz (7764) | more than 5 years ago | (#28183177)

Yes, I'm picking nits, but the overall quality of journalism seems to be declining on a daily basis. Despite what some here may think, accuracy IS important.

And quite frankly, this website is part of new media, and the creators/owners/editors are not trained journalists (if any are, someone please correct me). What's most disgusting is the tripe generated by so many local television newscasters, people who we used to expect brought some kind of journalistic integrity, a reasonable command of their native language, and could avoid the kind of writing that makes us slap our foreheads. Yes, it's true, many tv newscasters in my area probably hate me for my emails.

Re:Editors, please! (0)

Rick Bentley (988595) | more than 5 years ago | (#28184011)

actually, the summary is good, your post isn't (unless the summary has been changed)

"Two days ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square 'incident,"

.
"anniversary" IS included in the summary, you edited it out in your false quote above. "Incident" is also in quotes, drawing question to the word.

I'll take new stream media over the old any day.

Re:Editors, please! (1)

EkriirkE (1075937) | more than 5 years ago | (#28184403)

I was going to say something about kdawson, but I guess I can't just yet....

Request (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28182647)

Please block twitter here in the US too.

The Ministry of Silly Names (1)

someyob (1062238) | more than 5 years ago | (#28182661)

has decided China doesn't need any stinking imperialist silly names.

Blogspot has been blocked for 2 weeks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28182875)

My folks are over there for a year and haven't been able to post on their blog the last 2 weeks. I think they said that YouTube has been blocked since March.

Re:Blogspot has been blocked for 2 weeks (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28183307)

I'll just post it here for them.

"Today we went to see a 2000 year old log that Confucius pissed on! The Chinese people are so nice! I can't believe they would poison our children and pets. Tomorrow we're going to watch some people get thrown out of their houses so they can build a fingernail clipper factory. LOL"

Gmail's still OK (1)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 5 years ago | (#28183045)

As many have pointed out on TFA, Gmail is still OK for the moment and it can be set to collect your Hotmail.

Re:Gmail's still OK (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 5 years ago | (#28183945)

I'm pretty sure the Hotmail block is just an extension of the Live/Bing block, which is itself an extension of the YouTube block.

China doesn't care about free email clients, just YouTube.

Not High Profile in China.... (5, Informative)

vampire_baozi (1270720) | more than 5 years ago | (#28183245)

Seriously, almost no Chinese use those sites. Twitter doesn't even have a Chinese language version, and has barely begun to grow in China (though it may, there are already several Chinese clonewares out). Nobody ANYWHERE in the world uses Bing, and the Chinese use QQ, Sohu, Xinlang, or other IM/Portal/Blogging services instead of Live/Blogspot. Flickr is the only one Chinese might even notice, and there are plenty of alternatives.

The only Chinese that use these (now blocked) services are educated, and probably have decent English, and know how to get around these blocks. The vast majority of Chinese users use other websites, or have alternatives. The contrversial stuff has always been hosted on non-Chinese websites for obvious reasons, and people who want to see it are well aware of how to get around the blocks.

Far more telling was the 7 hours of downtime Xiaonei went through yesterday for maintanence. They've already been shutting down certain Xiaonei groups and blocking users for doing political stuff, I wonder if the maintanence included any updates to help with censorship?

Good thing the olympics made them promise! (2, Insightful)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#28183397)

Probably "off topic," but it's interesting that they promised quite a bit in order to be allowed to have the Olympics. Makes me wonder about other promises. Makes me glad to live in the US. :)

Re:Good thing the olympics made them promise! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28183619)

Makes me glad to live in the US. :)

LOL

Re:Good thing the olympics made them promise! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28184055)

Oddly, I feel a lot less opressed in China. When I come back to the USA, I suddenly feel like I'm entering a police state. When I'm in China, they don't seem to take too much seriously, as long as you aren't causing a scene. Heck, I even saw someone take a crocodile dundee style knife through airport security. The screeners just snickered and waved it through.

They may be a lot more restricted about certain subjects, but it just doesn't come across that way. Foreigners need to also keep in mind, that in chinese culture, embarassing the government is sometimes taken as an insult to China, and even as an insult to your own family (which is considered very offensive).

China in reality is one step from anarchy. People generally do what they feel like, and disregard the police. There are some things you can't do, but in general, people ignore the law, whether there are police present or not. As long as nothing really bad is happening, the police do not generally get involved. My favorite time was when two schoolgirls were beating the crap out of each other and ripping each other's clothes off. There was a crowd standing around watching, including a policeman, but he didn't step in since nobody seriously got hurt, and apparently he thought it was as entertaining as everyone else.

But but but... (1)

ChienAndalu (1293930) | more than 5 years ago | (#28183599)

... I thought they were the interweb socialism?

Don't Worry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28183601)

The Party probably just doesn't want the people to hear what the rest of the world thinks about what ( US government bonds ) their money is invested in. Geitner has the Party line.

a nusiance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28183617)

Politics aside, the blocks being imposed are somewhat irritating to those who live and work here (I do). For example, blogspot.com has been blocked for the last few days. I have memory of other examples of say, all wordpress sites seeming to become inaccessible. We don't use proxies at work, so it means being unable to share news with all colleagues who don't have their own proxy setup. As a topical example, that puts the google keynote out the window. You'd be surprised how much business related knowledge ends up getting blocked. Most irritating is the 'google sin bin'. Try and use a cached link, and google is blocked from your IP address for around 5 minutes. For a company with a shared proxy server, that gets old, very quickly.

Of course, there is a big commercial incentive to keep the blocks coming. Effectively it provides protectionist support for the Chinese alternatives on the internet[1]. That part I find more concerning, I think. If people here wanted to bypass the great firewall to read no blocked information, they can do so - I get the impression most people aren't really so interested in doing so though. The commercial aspects, however, would seem more sustainable.

[1] http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2006/05/12/a_new_form_of_protectionism [foreignpolicy.com]

In other news... (1)

Becausegodhasmademe (861067) | more than 5 years ago | (#28183641)

In a completely unrelated incident, a report published today claims to observe an 80% rise in productivity of Chinese office workers. Here's Jill with the weather.

most college students dont care about Tiananmen (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 5 years ago | (#28183691)

It isnt in the Chinese history books and frowned upon talking about. Now there are good jobs, the internet (censored) and pop culture, to occupy students. These werent really around in China 20 years ago.

Not so much different in the USA. A couple weeks ago was the 40th anniversary the USA Tianamen- Kent State- when the US military shot college rioters dead. It was barely mentioned in the news and most young people hadnt heard of it.

Both incidents have iconic images: The civilian blocking the row of tanks; the hippie girl putting a flower in the barrel of the soldier's gun.

BT throttles entire Internet worldwide (0, Offtopic)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#28183739)

GRASS MUD HORSE, Tiananmen, Tuesday (NNN) — BT, Britain's biggest broadband supplier, has thoughtfully averted complete congestion of the Internet by throttling all use of the Internet [today.com] on its cheapest broadband package.

Customers on the I Can't Believe It's Eight Megabits package have all Internet data flow cut off entirely under its "fair use" clause during "peak periods," defined as being between the hours of 12:00 midnight and 11:59pm. "However," said a customer service telephone voice menu, "the connection itself runs at the full eight megabits. That we guarantee absolutely."

BT has recently sold the technology to China, where it was put into operation toda, blocking Twitter, Blogger, Microsoft Bob Hope and the live webcam of the coffee pot at Cambridge University. "We will not put up with the drop in productivity social networking sites cause," said a spokesrivercrab. "After the terrible onslaught of blue screens at the Olympics, we will stop at nothing to protect patriotic citizens from the influence of Microsoft. And they love us for it. Just find one who doesn't!"

"Besides," said the BT phone menu, "we're still better than Virgin. A high bar to aim for, I know. You get so much better fail whales over a phone line than a cable."

Selective Memories (3, Insightful)

VShael (62735) | more than 5 years ago | (#28183803)

Yes, we all think it's terrible that the majority of the youth in China don't even know about the Tianamen Square "incident"

But within America itself, how many of you know of, or recognise the following incidents?

1) US Government (ATF/FBI) burns to death 76 people in their homes, and the FBI lies about it for six years, when it finally comes clean. No one is ever held accountable.

2) 4 plain-clothed officers shoot an unarmed man standing in his doorway. They shoot a total of 41 times. He is hit 19 times. After the officers are convicted, the court orders them re-tried, and the second time around they are all acquitted.

3) Unarmed students at an anti-war protest, are shot at by the National Guard. 4 die, 9 are injured. Again, no accountability. No convictions.

Re:Selective Memories (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28184213)

The youths in china do know about the Tianamen Square incident, but its considered taboo to talk about it publicly. It's referred to as the '1989 revolution'. People think it was unfortunate, but little more than a failed attempt at revolution. What they are not aware of, is how publicly it is talked about outside their country.

Naah, you Capitalist dogs never understand us. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28183899)

I have always feared that someday /. may end up victim of our censorship too.
But of course I paean the omnipotent Party, Sir!

Cowardly Yours
Lt. Anonymous

/MARE (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28184559)

Member. GNNA (GAY
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