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China Calls Out US On Internet Freedom

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the there-can-be-only-one dept.

The Internet 338

rsmiller510 writes "In an interesting case of the pot calling the kettle black, the Chinese government released a report criticizing the US government of being hypocrites where Internet freedom was concerned — criticizing others for cracking down, yet circling the wagons when it involves US internal security (WikiLeaks anyone?). And the Chinese might have a point."

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Do as we say, not as we do!! (2, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35794984)

If you keep saying the U.S. isn't all about freedom, we'll bomb the shit out of you!

Re:Do as we say, not as we do!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35795062)

And it's not only Wikileaks - US recently closed down hundreds of warez sites and counterfeit sites. Now laws about counterfeit items are more set in the world (while it still happens largely), but it's not like US can say those sites are breaking their laws so we take the domains, thank you very much. Even less standardized are the torrent sites.

Re:Do as we say, not as we do!! (2)

jd (1658) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795228)

Hmmm. If the US bombs the UN for saying the US isn't all about freedom, and the UN is on US soil, will the US have to retaliate against the US for bombing the US?

Re:Do as we say, not as we do!! (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795322)

Only if we can get a UN resolution saying it's okay.

Re:Do as we say, not as we do!! (2)

demonbug (309515) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795590)

Only if we can get a UN resolution saying it's okay.

The Chinese and Russians would veto any resolution authorizing force, so the US would have to take unilateral action against the US for bombing the UN in the US.

Meanwhile, Ban-ki Moon would shed many tears.

Re:Do as we say, not as we do!! (1)

anti-human 1 (911677) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795744)

Damned Scots, they've ruined Scotland!

Re:Do as we say, not as we do!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35795928)

You've just blown Xzibit's mind.

For a shame society (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35795036)

For a shame society, they really have none...

Hah! (2, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795054)

China shouldn't be calling anyone a hypocrite. As furious the barking in Washington has been there's no bite, and nothing compares to China's outright abuse of its people and efforts to censor the internet.

Re:Hah! (2, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795094)

That was my thought, as outraged as I am about the way Wikileaks has been handled, and that's quite a bit, it's a much less serious problem than what countries like China engage in.

Re:Hah! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35795182)

I honestly don't care what countries like China engage in. The US need to change their behavior NOW.
Either that, or I'm starting a world-wide movement to cut all internet connections with the USA. Because currently, internet traffic going through the USA is not secure.

A USA-free Internet is what the world needs since Americans can't stand up to their own government.

Re:Hah! (5, Insightful)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795206)

Wikileaks is being handled the way it is, not because its an internet security or censorship issue, but because it's a military security issue with diplomatic security tacked on.

What do you think the PLA would do to a Chinese Bradley Manning who copied hundreds of thousands of documents?

Really think he'd be in pre-trial confinement still?

Re:Hah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35795326)

Had it been the Chinese or Soviets, Manning would be dead, organs sold on the market. Sweden would be notified that they would be shutting down WL or else face destruction via ICBM strikes.

Yes, the US does stupid things. But they do give in to public pressure. The Chinese don't have that weakness, and their speciality is getting third parties to do their dirty work for them. (Think Vietnam and Korea.) A Chinese WL server would be utterly destroyed by PLA agents or people paid by them, regardless of where it is located.

Re:Hah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35795348)

If you count a pine box as "pre-trial confinement", then yes. :)

Re:Hah! (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795520)

'Bradley Manning' is a fictional character* designed to draw attention away from something else, namely the 'leaked' memos.

*an anonymous prisoner held as a placeholder.

Re:Hah! (3, Interesting)

darjen (879890) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795652)

They would have simply just killed Manning instead of torturing him indefinitely alone in a small cage 24/7. I guess China is more humane after all!

Re:Hah! (4, Insightful)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795948)

Exactly. Bradley Manning did something that would be illegal, no matter what his justification, if it happened how it is supposed to have gone down. He didn't have the right to release any of that material. If he did that in China, he'd be in pre-execution detention right now, if they even wait that long.

I don't know what people expect the military to do if someone just goes off and decides to release material, slap them on the wrist? He knew what he was doing, it's not like it was some sort of accidental release. Even if he did it out of conscience and perhaps rates a pardon or something, he still has to go through the process and no one with a clearance does not know what the process and penalties are.

I can buy that some people might consider his actions heroic. I don't, but that's mostly because I think how he went about it was reckless. Sure, people may not have died because of the release, but he did absolutely nothing to make sure that wasn't the case first. Without care being taken with actions like these, even the best of intentions can backfire into something that no one could ever dream of. I think his point could have easily been made with less material, more carefully selected.

It's not going to be up to me what happens to him, but I don't see any reason he shouldn't be in Ft. Leavenworth for a few years, unless the trial brings up information that I am not already aware of.

More to the point, his treatment does not even come close to making the US anything like China. I can buy that the US might be held more to account because it holds higher standards, but you have to disclose the fact that you really are using two different standards. Otherwise, you are perpetuating an inaccuracy. When you compare China the to US, you are comparing apples to oranges and you can't just make blanket statements that equate them.

Re:Hah! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35795156)

China isn't claiming that they dont censor, just that the US does it too.

At least they do it in an effort (however wrong and immoral) to protect their citizens.
The US does it over greed.

http://www.tgdaily.com/business-and-law-features/53884-us-doj-and-ice-seize-additional-domains [tgdaily.com]

Re:Hah! (5, Insightful)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795602)

Protecting citizens from dangerous ideas like democratic reform. It's a fairly simple dichotomy, the US censors to retain economic power, while China censors to retain political power. In the end it's always about power.

Re:Hah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35795198)

China shouldn't be calling anyone a hypocrite. As furious the barking in Washington has been there's no bite, and nothing compares to China's outright abuse of its people and efforts to censor the internet.

It doesn't matter.

If you're going to take the moral high ground, you better be clean, baby!

And Washington does have a bite. Echelon?!? Hear of it?!?!

And every other warrantless demands of ISPs and their records for "terrorism" or "War on Drugs" or "Child Pornography" or god knows what and then there's THE trump card - tax evasion!

Re:Hah! (2)

Ironchew (1069966) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795200)

Either that or the U.S. is just better at keeping secrets...
When powerful entities get mad at you (usually if they're embarrassed about something you've exposed) and the gloves come off, it really doesn't matter what country you live in. Your life is going to hell. Anything less and the constituents will think their representatives are "soft on crime".

Re:Hah! (3, Insightful)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795296)

China has never claimed to be anything but repressive, though. The U.S. has always claimed to fully support freedom of speech, yet is repressing speech. So, U.S. = hypocrites, China != hypocrites. This is not to say, however, that the U.S. suppression of speech is anywhere even close to the suppression in China.

Re:Hah! (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795354)

The U.S. has always claimed to fully support freedom of speech, yet is repressing speech.

But how have they suppressed speech with respect to this issue?

Re:Hah! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35795664)

An E.O. was signed that stated that public disclosure of classified information (e.g. Publishing a secret document in a news paper) no longer causes that disclosed information to be unclassified. To the average American this means absolutely nothing as they have not signed an NDA. If you have a clearance though, it means that VIEWING the publicly available wikileaks papers is a security breach and you could:

1) Lose your classification (and therefore job in most cases)
2) End up in Leavenworth.

I call that a fairly chilling effect.

I think it was this e.o. http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/pdf/E9-31418.pdf
Something about improperly declassified data may remain classified even in the face of FOIA requests.

Re:Hah! (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 3 years ago | (#35796028)

Maybe you could ask some people at Hillary Clinton's "internet freedom" speech: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=My29YT1T4R4 [youtube.com]

I guess the guy who got dragged out should have done his protest on the Internet rather than at the speech ;).

Re:Hah! (1)

cavreader (1903280) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795892)

And exactly what speech are they repressing? And remember angrily denouncing and making threating noises does not count as repression. Concerning Wikileaks, they made a big fuss but have did nothing except arrest Manning for violating military regulations. No sites have been closed down, Assange has not been renditioned, and it looks like the government is more than willing to let the entire matter quite down. The only long lasting effect of Wikileaks will be a tightening of security, less trust from those passing confidential information to the government, more compartmentalization, and a growing reluctance of our diplomats to put in writing any thing that could be considered controversial. The security level of the cables released so far has been at the low end of the security spectrum. Now, if these cables had been from the "eyes only" or "Top Secret" classification the government would have most likely done more than make a lot of noise and threats. And closing down counterfeit sites is not supressing freedom of speech.

So Imams calling for deaths of infidels (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35795942)

So Imams calling for deaths of infidels is A-OK because they've only killed some of the people they rail against.

Right.

Re:Hah! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35795358)

China isn't a hypocrite here, the U.S. actually is. China knows they censor, but they also don't crusade around the world telling other countries that it's bad to do. This is not the pot calling the kettle black here, this is more like the kid who got bullied finally standing up to the bully. This is China finally calling attention to the hypocrisy of the U.S., who have sat upon their high horse telling anyone else in the world that they shouldn't do bad things, all the while doing the same things themselves in the background.

I'll grant you that the U.S. censorship hasn't been anywhere near the level of China's, but for a country that screams about ANY censorship being bad elsewhere in the world, ANY amount of it here at home makes the U.S. a big hypocrite.

Re:Hah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35795362)

So, are you saying that China is employing more effective means of controlling their people, or that Washington is better at hiding their abuses?

I'm confused.

Re:Hah! (1)

morgauxo (974071) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795434)

That only holds true if the Chinese government is claiming to be pro freedom themselves. Are they? If they don't make that claim, the US government does and the US government keeps working against freedom then yes the Chinese can say the US is being hypocritical. Actually... they can either way. It's just that if they claim to be for freedom then they are hypocrites too.

Re:Hah! (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35796022)

quite good assessment.

Re:Hah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35795448)

Hmm, last time I checked China wasn't shooting civilians from an Apache helicopter and celebrating after they got the 'hi-score'.

Re:Hah! (5, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795530)

nothing compares to China's outright abuse of its people

Ironically, the United States currently imprisons more people than China, and most of those prisoners are not violent offenders. Yes, the Chinese have a record of abuses, but that does not exonerate the United States.

Re:Hah! (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795548)

Doing something doesn't make you a hyprocrite. Doing something while advocating the opposite does.

China doesn't criticize others countries for restriciting "internet freedoms" and hence that they do so themselves isn't hyprocritical.

Completely missed the point. (5, Interesting)

beldraen (94534) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795552)

You have missed the point completely, like a typical American politician. Before you spout off, learn what the word hypocrite means: a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, especially a person whose actions belie stated beliefs.

The point: China doesn't act like they don't filter. China has quite clearly stated that they believe that press should be limited. China has quite clearly stated that the group has more importance than the individual. China has quite clearly stated that they want to do what's best for their economy only.

The problem is the U.S. THEY say they are for freedom of the people, and install dictators in countries. THEY say the are for freedom of the press, and limit war reporting, harass reporters, and go after people who expose government abuses. THEY are for capitalism, and then bail out the companies that should have been allowed to fail.

Re:Hah! (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795636)

China shouldn't be calling anyone a hypocrite. As furious the barking in Washington has been there's no bite, and nothing compares to China's outright abuse of its people and efforts to censor the internet.

But the difference being, China doesn't go around telling other countries how they should be doing it.

China says something to the effect of "this is what we do, it's the law, if you don't like it tough".

The US says something to the effect of "you shouldn't censor people, and that the internet is a tool for social change and freedom" -- but they're also saying they want to be able to access all of your email without a warrant, and some people are calling for Wikileaks to be treated like terrorism and espionage (though, that seems to have died down).

Sure, China has a bad record of freedom and the like. But, they're not hypocritically telling other countries they should be more free and open and stop blocking the internet and then going around and making things less free and open.

They have a point: this is an aspect where the US very much says one thing internationally, and admonishes other countries for not living up to what the US thinks is best ... and then they do it themselves and essentially do seem like hypocrites.

I mean, really, how many countries have been in the middle of civil war for a lot longer than Libyia, and a lot more severe ... do we see the US pushing for NATO to get in an intervene in those places? Some might say "only if there's oil", or a particularly annoying dictator we really want to get rid of.

Just because China isn't necessarily doing a better job of it doesn't mean that they can't point out that the US is acting like hypocrites.

Yes they should (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35795742)

China bans facebook and other sites for a reason - America cannot be trusted with peoples personal information. The big debacle by Google wifi sniffing is a case in point. Nothing compares to America's outright abuse of it's people, especially as they had all the money and power to treat their people with respect but instead chose to view them as fattenable pigs. In almost every way I find China to be more respectful of human rights than America. But Wall st. is vested in big Chinese banks so that could change too ...

Re:Hah! (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795762)

At risk of invoking Godwin's law, China criticising the USA for censorship today would be like Nazi Germany criticizing the UK for fascism during WWII.

Re:Hah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35795794)

China shouldn't be calling anyone a hypocrite. As furious the barking in Washington has been there's no bite, and nothing compares to China's outright abuse of its people and efforts to censor the internet.

Shows what you know! The Chinese government has made legal threats over exactly 0% of all the documents WikiLeaks has posted about it!

"there hasnt been any bite" ? (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35796006)

are you fucking kidding us ? tell that to the people whose accounts are subpoenaed and are going to be revealed to u.s. government soon. just for knowing people in wikileaks. only and only.

in communist China when you Google freedom you go (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35795058)

in communist China when you Google freedom you go to re education camp.

Re:in communist China when you Google freedom you (1)

O'Nazareth (1203258) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795218)

Well now, when you use Google, you go to re-education camp. There is no google.cn (Mainland), it redirects to google.com.hk (Honk Kong).

I think both sides should call each other out. (4, Interesting)

ron_ivi (607351) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795068)

Some keep saying:
  "China should look at their own track record before criticizing the US on freedom an human rights"
  and others keep saying:
  "The US should look at their own track record before criticizing the China on freedom an human rights",

IMHO it's good any time *either* country points out abuses in the other and they should each aggressively push each other to improve.

Re:I think both sides should call each other out. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35795128)

+ insightful..

Re:I think both sides should call each other out. (1)

O'Nazareth (1203258) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795276)

[...] they should each aggressively push each other to improve.

I do not think this is the kind of settlement for which China is aiming.

Re:I think both sides should call each other out. (2)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795290)

Unless aggressively pushing means using bombs to push, then it's not such a good thing.

Re:I think both sides should call each other out. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35795614)

Balancing freedom and secrecy will always be a hot-button topic. And it should be. There are no easy answers there, so we need constant internal conflict to keep us somewhere in the middle.

But comparing the US to China when talking about internet censorship is at best totally absurd, and at worst downright disingenuous.

tldr; No. They are not "on to something".

Re:I think both sides should call each other out. (2)

jfengel (409917) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795822)

It's good any time either country actually does something about its human rights record. When it's simply pointing out other abuses to distract attention from its own failures, it's a waste of time.

In this case, I think it's clearly the latter. The US record is far from perfect, but the Chinese record is abominable. There will always be a conflict between national security and free speech; there will always be an opportunity to point out when the US has veered too far towards the former. But it's a hell of a lot closer than China, whose record on free speech matters is abysmal, and the only reason they would point out the US's relatively few (if deplorable) excesses is to distract from their own.

If they want to criticize the US, it's not on free speech grounds, but on crime: the US has a higher number of prisoners than China (with four times the population). They throw their activists in jail, but we seem to be beating our poor until morale improves.

pot/kettle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35795080)

is it really the pot calling the kettle black when said pot is accusing said kettle of hypocrisy and might have a point?

Re:pot/kettle? (1)

Stargoat (658863) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795352)

Yes. You cannot appreciate the forced slavery, the lack of property laws, the disappearances, the forced abortions, the starvation that takes place in China unless you have been there. (And I'm not talking about Beijing or Shanghai, you lazy CNN hacks.)

Re:pot/kettle? (2)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795626)

Gee sounds just like the US oh, 100 or so years ago.

Re:pot/kettle? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795812)

That doesn't change the fact that Chinese people are pressed into forced labor on bullshit offenses and made to assemble cheap plastic shit that we buy for low, low prices at big-name chains.

Re:pot/kettle? (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795888)

By no means am I advocating China's behavior here, but the US has a rather lengthly track record of similar nasty abuses.

Take for instance, the Tuskegee syphilis study. [wikipedia.org]

Or, if that isnt your cup of tea, and you want 1:1 correlations-- How about the US's forced sterilization procedures it enacted for awhile? [about.com]

Then you have the whole government neglect in the Monsanto chemical contamination horror-fest... [sourcewatch.org]

The real difference between the US and China, is that in the US there is government interest in keeping up appearances. Not so in China.

Is this really a pot/kettle thing? (2)

Millennium (2451) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795140)

One country criminalizes speech. The other country criminalizes theft. Forgive me if I see enough of a difference as to not only rule out hypocrisy, but make China's argument look ridiculous.

Re:Is this really a pot/kettle thing? (1)

Mikkeles (698461) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795236)

But which is which?

Re:Is this really a pot/kettle thing? (1)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795426)

1. Senior government official gives a talk about oppression of free speech
2. Elderly man stands up and turns his back in silent protest
3. Plain-clothes officers beat the old man to the ground and drag him out and throw him in jail

Guess which country I'm talking about.

Re:Is this really a pot/kettle thing? (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795768)

Guess which country I'm talking about.

Is this the same country which has "designated free speech zones" so they can keep dissenting opinions in fenced off areas away from everyone else?

Or the one that allows your laptop to be arbitrarily seized at the border?

Or how about keeping prisoners without trial or recourese in a foreign country using a ginned up judicial system so they can get around their own laws and procedures?

How about one whose Attorney General posited that things like Habeus Corpus don't apply to people who aren't citizens?

Sadly, over the last bunch of years, there have been a fair few instances of America having a "do as I say, not as I do" attitude.

Re:Is this really a pot/kettle thing? (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795826)

The United States also criminalizes the following:
  • Possession of certain herbs
  • Use of certain computer software
  • Boycotting products made in certain countries
  • Buying products from certain countries in countries where it is otherwise legal

Additionally, the US government has been known to selectively apply obscure or overly broad laws to persecute minority groups, including black people and Muslims, and to harass adherents to certain social movements (hippies, hackers, socialists, anarchists, populists, etc.).

Is China worse? Maybe. The Chinese government has certain engaged in many questionable practices, including many of the things I listed above. That does not exonerate the United States, nor does it mean that it is absurd for the Chinese to claim that the United States is being hypocritical.

Well, yes and no. (1)

jd (1658) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795170)

Yes in that if the US can't (and won't) live up to the standards it claims to set, then other governments are entitled to ask if those standards are achievable or even desirable.

No in that if the front-runner drops out of the race, you still won't win by joining them.

The US is no better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35795174)

The US has become a police state with significantly less "freedom" than most European countries and most Americans are too stupid or ambivalent to either know nor care. I could never understand why so many become irate when they perceive that their 2nd amendment rights are being infringed, yet those same people couldn't care less about what happens to their 1st and 4th amendment rights.

Amen! (1)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795346)

The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. Many Americans will not pay attention to issues until they are directly affected, or "I have nothing to hide" until it directly affects them.

They forget their history.

First They came... - Pastor Martin Niemoller
First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

kettle calls us potted over black hole building (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35795194)

more exterminations are planned. freedumb is, as always, the ruling class chosen ones positions

Woah woah waoh (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795212)

So you're saying the Chinese are accusing the U.S. government of preaching one thing and doing another? That's ... inconceivable!!

Re:Woah woah waoh (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795568)

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

It's not China or the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35795246)

It's POLITICIANS, both Chinese and American.

What do you expect from a bunch of scum sucking pig-dogs ?

It's about time. (1)

martinux (1742570) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795250)

The US heralds itself as an example of what the rest of the world should strive for and, in theory, this may be true. The US has failed however to ensure that it's actually striving for the same goals whilst preaching to everyone else.

It's about time that they were called out on this.

Re:It's about time. (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795766)

in theory, this may be true.

Hilarious. You can keep it.

China is doing with the Soviets did (4, Insightful)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795286)

During the Cold War, the Soviet Union pointed to the civil rights issues, the freedom rides, the riots, excess of authority to argue that the US had no place in criticizing the Soviet Union for invading Hungary, Czechoslovakia or pushing the crack down on Poland.

Because racial tensions are equal to invading other countries.

China is just pointing at the US to justify it's own censorship.

Re:China is doing with the Soviets did (1)

Ogive17 (691899) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795678)

It's a game China likes to play. For example, they are using the Fukashima Reactor problems to take cheap shots at Japan in general since those two countries have had a strained relationship for a long time. Smoke and mirrors, point out someone else's flaw to get them to overlook your own. It's how people with fragile egos act.

Re:China is doing with the Soviets did (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795814)

Smoke and mirrors, point out someone else's flaw to get them to overlook your own. It's how people with fragile egos act.

Sounds like my ex-wife actually... "Do you remember what you said last time?" "Four years ago, seriously?"

The appropriate response (4, Insightful)

Atmchicago (555403) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795724)

And the appropriate response to the Soviet Union would be "You're right, we have civil rights issues. Racism is terrible, and we'll try to fix these issues." And to our credit, we have come a long way. In addition, we should respond "Hey guys, quit invading other countries!" (never mind the fact that the US continues to invade countries to this day...)

In this case, again, we should take a good look at the criticisms and not ignore them because of the messenger. Maybe we are doing a bad job of preserving internet freedoms, and should work to fix them. Maybe China is also doing a bad job.

Re:China is doing with the Soviets did (2)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795778)

China is just pointing at the US to justify it's own censorship.

I'm no fan of the U.S. foreign policy or recent regressions in civil rights but China is comparing apples with oranges here. The very idea that you can compare a country that imprisons or dissapears anyone who actually speaks out against repression with the U.S. is shameful.

That doesn't mean the U.S. can't do better... putting Bush and Cheney up on warcrimes charges would be a good start.

Re:China is doing with the Soviets did (2)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795920)

While I don't like singling out Bush and Cheney when other Presidents (Clinton, Bush 41, Nixon, LBJ) are just as guilty, I think Presidents should go on trial after their term is over, just like how the Athenians did it to Tyrants after their one year term was over.

No kidding (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795820)

I mean let's not give the US a free pass, they are not perfect. However it is not even the same kind of shit China is pulling. Just because the US should be better does not mean they can't point out people who are much, much, worse.

The US has some problems balancing the right to free speech against other needs (you find that rights can almost never be unlimited, as it'll lead to trampling on the rights of others) and some problems with corporations using their influence with government to their own ends. China outright blocks and modified things they don't like, and will lock up or kill people for dissent.

The US isn't perfect, and only an idiot would say it is but it is way, WAY better than China in the freedom department.

Re:China is doing with the Soviets did (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35796032)

Not to justify it - not even to put it in perspective (as they would still come out looking bad) - merely to show the hypocrisy of the argument and the rhetoric.

By all means call out China on every abuse and assault on liberty they commit. But for the sake of all humanity, please have the integrity to realise when your own house is not in order. I hear the American flavour of Christian philosophy is highly based on Jesus and what he said - do the words "let he who has not sinned cast the first stone..." not resonate within your predominantly religious politicians at all?

It means little to me - I know I'm far from perfect and yet have no problems calling out those who commit heinous crimes - but then I don't espouse a philosophy that I can't live up to, I don't pretend their sins lessen mine and I don't hold myself to be the paragon of anything good or true. Can you say the same about your representatives or even yourselves?

Nobody knows blackness like the pot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35795302)

... and it's only the kettle that claims to be another color.

Might? (1)

thestudio_bob (894258) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795308)

And the Chinese might have a point.

There's no "might" about it. They do have a point and they are correct to point it out.

Re:Might? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35795832)

And the Chinese might have a point.

There's no "might" about it. They do have a point and they are correct to point it out.

They're not interested in being correct. It's just propaganda to mask their own abuses. It's like a mass murderer pointing at someone else and shouting "jaywalker" to cover their own crimes. Disgusting, but judging by the response they get on sites like this, effective.

Bullshit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35795316)

These are completely different issues. China may try to conflate the two issues, but they're wrong.

China actively censors people who express dissent. They are concerned with ideas Want to speak your mind? Want to promote a religion like Falun Gong? They might have a problem with that. In the US, you can speak your mind on just about anything without fear of the government coming to get you. The one big exception in the US would be obscenity. If you want to write a manual on having a sexual relationship with a child, you might end up in trouble. But China isn't talking about that.

The Wikileaks situation is different. The US is trying to keep specific classified documents under wraps. If a journalist figured out this stuff on their own, the US government wouldn't be going after them. The US government isn't going after ideas or even facts. They're concerned about specific documents that weren't supposed to be leaked.

And yes, I think the US government's reaction to wikileaks has been bullshit. But let's not conflate that with restrictions on freedom of expression.

Read the whole report. (5, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795360)

The entire report, "Full Text of Human Rights Record of the United States in 2010" [xinhuanet.com] , is worth reading. Most of the items on the list are well known, and have even come up on Slashdot.

  • "The United States reports the world's highest incidence of violent crimes ...
  • "According to figures released by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in September 2010, more than 6,600 travelers had been subject to electronic device searches between October 1, 2008 and June 2, 2010, nearly half of them American citizens. A report on The Wall Street Journal on September 7, 2010, said the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was sued over its policies that allegedly authorize the search and seizure of laptops, cellphones and other electronic devices without a reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing. The policies were claimed to leave no limit on how long the DHS can keep a traveler' s devices or on the scope of private information that can be searched, copied or detained. There is no provision for judicial approval or supervision."
  • "According to a report on Chicago Tribune on May 12, 2010, Chicago Police was charged with arresting people without warrants, shackling them to the wall or metal benches, feeding them infrequently and holding them without bathroom breaks and giving them no bedding, which were deemed consistent with tactics of "soft torture" used to extract involuntary confessions."
  • "The United States has always called itself "land of freedom," but the number of inmates in the country is the world' s largest. "
  • "The U.S. regards itself as "the beacon of democracy." However, its democracy is largely based on money. According to a report from The Washington Post on October 26, 2010, U.S. House and Senate candidates shattered fundraising records for a midterm election, taking in more than 1.5 billion U.S. dollars as of October 24. The midterm election, held in November 2010, finally cost 3.98 billion U.S. dollars, the most expensive in the U.S. history. "
  • "While advocating Internet freedom, the U.S. in fact imposes fairly strict restriction on cyberspace. On June 24, 2010, the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs approved the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act, which will give the federal government "absolute power" to shut down the Internet under a declared national emergency. Handing government the power to control the Internet will only be the first step towards a greatly restricted Internet system, whereby individual IDs and government permission would be required to operate a website. "
  • "Unemployment rate in the United States has been stubbornly high. From December 2007 to October 2010, a total of 7.5 million jobs were lost in the country " ... "The share of residents in poverty climbed to 14.3 percent in 2009, the highest level recorded since 1994 " ... . "A report issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in November 2010 showed that 14.7 percent of U.S. households were food insecure in 2009 (www.ers.usda.gov), an increase of almost 30 percent since 2006" ... "According to a report by USA Today on June 16, 2010, the number of families in homeless shelters increased 7 percent to 170,129 from fiscal year 2008 through fiscal year 2009."
  • "The number of American people without health insurance increased progressively every year. "
  • "The New York Times reported on May 13, 2010, that in 2009, African Americans and Latinos were 9 times more likely to be stopped by the police to receive stop-and-frisk searches than white people. "
  • "So far, a total of 193 countries have joined the Convention on the Rights of the Child as states parties, but the United States is among the very few countries that have not ratified it."

These are problems the US has that aren't being fixed.

Re:Read the whole report. (1)

Doctor_Jest (688315) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795486)

Now some of them are systemic to the US, but most of them are not unique. They are facets of a flawed, human endeavor. Even with those (the "strict on cyberspace" is a bit of a stretch... it's not law yet... it just passed committee), I choose the US over China in terms of a "good place to live" any day of the week. I'm sure people love to live in China, but if we compare the balance sheets... I rather like the US side better.

China's unemployment rate (or rather underemployment rate) would make our numbers sparkle in comparison... :) (Just off the top of my head...)

Re:Read the whole report. (1)

Korveck (1145695) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795758)

Some of them have a point, others not so much.

"The United States reports the world's highest incidence of violent crimes"

- More than Mexico where thousands are dying in drug gang violence? Besides, US has a large population, if you use violent crimes per capita as a measure, you should find US quite low in the table, although not as good as most other developed countries.

"The U.S. regards itself as "the beacon of democracy. However, its democracy is largely based on money. "

- Not that I like the big spending on elections, but is fund raising not part of the democracy? I highly doubt if fund raising for a political party is allowed in China.

"While advocating Internet freedom, the U.S. in fact imposes fairly strict restriction on cyberspace. On June 24, 2010, the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs approved the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act, which will give the federal government "absolute power" to shut down the Internet under a declared national emergency. Handing government the power to control the Internet will only be the first step towards a greatly restricted Internet system, whereby individual IDs and government permission would be required to operate a website."

- Power to shut down the internet is just granting legal power for government to stop a serious cyber war. It's hard to see the US government getting away with shutting down the internet for stopping protests like the dictators do in Middle East. The last sentence is merely China assuming US will follow its footsteps. It has not happened and will not happen in near future.

"Unemployment rate in the United States has been stubbornly high. From December 2007 to October 2010, a total of 7.5 million jobs were lost in the country " ...

- What does a severe financial meltdown has to do with human rights? Oh right, in China human rights mean having rice to eat.

Meanwhile in Workers Paradise (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 3 years ago | (#35796038)

Let's look at the commensurate Chinese data...I'm sure it must be here...umm....hmm. I'll go look under the couch. BRB.

transparency vs censorship (1)

Twillerror (536681) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795372)

Some would say they are the same thing, but I think that is a bit of stretch. We all say crap about our families behind their backs, that isn't censorship.

China is blocking the names of the kids that died in the earthquake and then jailing those who put them out. That is a huge difference then not releasing private conversations concerning foreign relations.

Their word is less than nothing on this. (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795400)

I can still access wikileaks anytime I want to. Can the Chinese say that about the majority of the western based web that they block?

Re:Their word is less than nothing on this. (3, Interesting)

Ironchew (1069966) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795542)

I can still access wikileaks anytime I want to.

Can you?
213.251.145.96 is taking too long to respond on my end. (Qwest)
The fact that no publicly accessible DNS server resolves it further weakens your case.

Re:Their word is less than nothing on this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35796004)

wikileaks.ch

Re:Their word is less than nothing on this. (1)

xednieht (1117791) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795676)

That is only because the Wikileaks people were able to move fast enough to ensure that you could still read it. It was not the US government that facilitated your ability to view it. In fact they tried all the tricks they could to silence the site.

Society cannot advance until perception is aligned with reality. America has become the mother of all lies. More and more it seems that our Constitution is an hurdle to those who would seek to govern us rather than the guiding principles.

At least ... (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795422)

... our government leaves commercial censorship in the hands of private corporations. What with Congress bitch-slapping the FCC over net neutrality rules.

In either country, the people are peasants. And in both cases, we can't control our masters with the ballot box.

Re:At least ... (1)

Doctor_Jest (688315) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795556)

The difference between our ballot boxes is that we COULD control the government with the ballot box, but we CHOOSE not to. The Chinese can't. They want to, but they can't. We are squandering an opportunity that people in China have died trying to get, yet we still send the same gimpy ass-sucking motherfuckers to Washington year in and year out and wonder why the fuck nothing changes. I mean, we have no one to blame but ourselves...

But your first comment would be wiped clean if we would only STOP listening to the "ooh shiny" bullshit and started voting for a REAL third party... Instead, we follow the herd into the slaughterhouse and are surprised when the hammer to the head hurts.

Re:At least ... (1)

blackbeak (1227080) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795692)

And in both cases, the few that run these countries have far more in common with each other than they do with their own citizens. It's like two wealthy plantation owners quarreling over different farming techniques.

In the US, there's nothing like Freedom. (1)

unil_1005 (1790334) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795550)

Yes, and less every day....

proportionality (1, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795576)

scale

context

some of the mental concepts you will find missing from those in the west who draw a false equivalency between the usa's crimes concerning internet freedom and the chinese

but most importantly, you will find them, freely and openly criticising their government, without fear of reprisal. unlike in china

so if listening to mentally subpar cranks on the internet equate china and the usa in illogical ways, i accept that as a price to pay for freedom of political expression

US mad, bro? (1)

degeneratemonkey (1405019) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795606)

China be trollin' hard. This is obviously a vain attempt to pressure the US government into releasing all of its military secrets so China can has them.

Business as usual in US politics (2)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795622)

US politicians have a rather nasty habit. (No, not chasing people around in cloak rooms or playing footsie in bathroom stalls, but they seem into that too)

Namely, they like to straddle the fence, and are very bad at doing so.

Take for instance, the media spectacle of the Egypt and subsequent middle-eastern revolts. The talking heads on capital hill squirmed and looked at each other for DAYS before finally resolving on an official position---AFTER the brave people in Egypt forced their hands. You see, they had been caught with their knickers down. On one side, you had "Heroic efforts to bring real democracy and freedom by the populace"-- which is the anodyne that they spew here in the states (Even though the body politic has rendered most of these so called freedoms that we are supposed to enjoy inert, or highly restricted with red tape and restriction) and on the other, there was Hosni Mubarak-- "Our Man" who "Helped us" with some rather "Nasty Renditions"--and more importantly, the diplomatic bargaining power he brought to the table in middle eastern affairs. (Namely, their dirty underhanded dealings) Having to pick a side and stick with it seems to have ruffled more than just a few feathers up there in washington--- the concept of lasting consequences and of having the onus of that kind of choice on them makes them squirm like worms under the light of a Fresnel lens. Back-troll through the media coverage prior to the deposal of Mubarak, with emphasis on the position from capital hill--- and you will find lots and lots of deflectionary statements.

Same kind of thing with this "Pot calling kettle black" issue with China, and censorship. The US government, like *ALL* Governments, is addicted to power; namely, the power to control its citizens-- (But the US is more aggressive, in that it likes to control OTHER nation's citizens as well. Extra-ordinary rendition, et. al.) As such, it innately LIKES the idea of a serious crackdown on free information exchange. You can go just about anyplace in government where there is "Enforcement" of any sort, be it military to as mundane as city police departments, and you will find a highly prevalent bias toward wanting to control or at least obsessively monitor/record pretty much every kind of correspondence. Constitutionally protected rights to personal papers and effects be damned.

Take for instance, the rather nasty provisions in the US patriot act, which has come up for review TWICE now, and somehow (rolls eyes) keeps getting new lease on life-- specifically, the data retention policies it enforces on public internet providers. (like internet cafes and libraries) Handing over lending histories was only ONE of the provisions; Another that was discretely added was the requirement to provide, on demand, complete packet logs of persons of interest, without oversight. If Government Man wants, it, Government Man gets it, basically.

No wonder then, that libraries and such were up in arms over it. [chronicle.com]

Essentially, the US wants to maintain the *illusion* that there is freedom and privacy in people's day to day correspondences, while secretly spying on, sanitizing, and orchestrating "enforcements" on "undesirable" communications. Wikileaks being just one high profile example. Philosophically, how is this any better than China's approach? If anything, the US approach to censorship is more obscene and insideous, because it promotes false senses of security in the citizens impacted--- China at least doesnt deny that it uses strongarm tactics; the US on the other hand, does gymnastics to validate why it purpetually authorizes warrantless searches, siezures, and interrogations at places like airports.

Basically, the US is JUST like China, just in a velvet glove instead of a cold steel one.

The United States has perfect net freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35795732)

and I expect they'll quash this story quickly, removing all traces and fill the holes with ads for facebook.

Chinese gov'ts argument: US not perfect (1)

guanxi (216397) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795746)

Yes, the U.S. is not perfect and I would like to see improvements. But neither is it remotely comparable to the Chinese government's ongoing campaigns of repression and censorship.

Let's just start with voting rights (i.e., self-determination): In the U.S., some groups' ballot box power is reduced by gerrymandering and polling place restrictions (IDs, etc.). In comparison, in China there is no ballot box.

The list of similarly absurd comparisons is long. I look forward to the day when the people of China control their own fate.

Fuck You CmdrTaco (0)

z-j-y (1056250) | more than 3 years ago | (#35795924)

Liberal always side with dictators. Retards.

So the US sucks in regard to internet-freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35795962)

Tell me something new.

Both countries should amend their transgressions or GTFO. I couldn't care less for what one country "yo momma"'ing the other.

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