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Chinese City Wants To Build a Censorship-Free Hub

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the welcome-to-the-free-zone dept.

Censorship 94

itwbennett writes "The city of Chongqing's proposed Cloud Computing Special Zone would be home to 'a handful of state-of-the-art data centers and is designed to attract investment from multinational companies and boost China's status as a center for cloud computing,' writes the IDG News Service's Michael Kan. The part that's drawing the ire of Chinese Internet users: This censorship-free hub would only be for foreign companies."

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Selective Communism (0)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 3 years ago | (#36620386)

Works a charm doesn't it?

Re:Selective Communism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36620422)

That's called socialism.

Re:Selective Communism (2)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 3 years ago | (#36620466)

More like an oligarchy. But then, most governments really are, despite ideological trappings suggesting otherwise.

Must be we humans are wired that way.

Re:Selective Communism (1)

DemonGenius (2247652) | more than 3 years ago | (#36623566)

Must be we humans are wired that way.

Most humans. There do exist some that can actually handle a true democracy. Unfortunately, these individuals lack the persuasive ability to promote this in any large scale. The majority of the human population just seems to be overly obsessed with trying to convince everyone else how special they are so they can monopolize authoritative influence over others.

Re:Selective Communism (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36620588)

Please do not panic as we remove your comment. Everything is still fine.

Re:Selective Communism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36620620)

More like a slow transition away from communism to a mix of systems.

Re:Selective Communism (3, Insightful)

lul_wat (1623489) | more than 3 years ago | (#36621000)

When will people finally understand that there's a difference between communism/socialism and fascism/dictatorship.

You can have a democratic socialist system, you can have a despot ruled capitalist system.

Mix and match, bitches.

Re:Selective Communism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36621034)

It's not their fault - that's what we're taught. It wasn't until college that the economics professor would insist "Communism is NOT an economic system; it's a political system!"

I guess it's from all that Cold War propaganda we received about "Capitalism vs. Communism". - at least in my generation. What do the kids have today? Oh yeah, "Fighting for Freedom" as an excuse for invading another country without invitation.

Re:Selective Communism (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36621838)

Why wait for an invitation when you can just crash the party? All during the cold war the "Capitalism vs. Communism" dichotomy was show cased openly for the world to see. The US/USSR, W.Germany/E.Germany and North Korea/South Korea exhibits were very effective.

Re:Selective Communism (1)

TangoMargarine (1617195) | more than 3 years ago | (#36622000)

How often do you get an invitation to invade somebody? "See, we're really bored, and our military is itching for some killin'..."

Re:Selective Communism (2)

Raenex (947668) | more than 3 years ago | (#36622148)

"Communism is NOT an economic system; it's a political system!" [..] propaganda we received about "Capitalism vs. Communism"

What bizarre statements. The whole point of communism is to describe how the economy should be structured, and yes, it is fundamentally the opposite of capitalism. Of course it is a political system, too. You can't dictate terms of the economy without involving politics.

That's a very sad college education you had.

Re:Selective Communism (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 3 years ago | (#36621084)

Communism can mean different things in different contexts. All attempts at implementing communism at the state level thus far have resulted in some sort of oppressive dictatorship or oligarchy. It's hard to fault people for using the term communism to describe this kind of government in informal speech.

Re:Selective Communism (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#36621186)

It's hard to fault people for using the term communism to describe this kind of government in informal speech.

Really? Even if they have failed thus far, that does not mean that they will always fail. And, considering that communism can mean different things in different contexts, as you said, I think it is rather foolish for someone to imply that all types of communism advocate this type of government and treat communism as some sort of "evil" (as some people seem to do).

Re:Selective Communism (2)

bonefry (979930) | more than 3 years ago | (#36621636)

"I think it is rather foolish for someone to imply that all types of communism advocate this type of government

Quite the contrary, communism is all about proletarian revolutions, power to the people and elections -- yes, elections. Dictators are getting elected. They are not really democratic elections, everything being directed with fake votes from a privileged minority, mechanical smiles and applauses and all that, but they are elections nonetheless.

However, you should go and learn some systems theory -- just because a trait of a system is not advocated, it doesn't mean that it isn't going to happen, regardless of any precautions you might take. Communism itself is really natural for dictatorships. And it is not only about its predilection for dictatorships; but it contains many flaws as an economic system too, like for example the notion that profits are only generated through surplus labor; not to mention that the working class is becoming more and more obsolete.

Its most important flaw however is that it fails to take into account human nature. People do not want to be equal, they do not want to share property and in general have a strong sense of ownership, not to mention selfishness. What happened instead is that in communist countries the higher you ended up in the political party, the more privileges you had, with corruption going rampant. Hence the phrase: in communism, some people are more equal than others.

Karl Marx used to say that capitalism leads to economic crisis, making them inevitable due to internal flaws. However, communism does not solve that. I lived in an European communist country - when the country had to pay its huge external debts, the austerity measures taken in the 80-ties (that lasted for 10 years) would make today's Greece look heaven-like.

And make no mistake about it, China is communism with a twist, but their biggest source of income are external investors that come to them because of driving forces of capitalism. It also remains to be seen how China will evolve, but evolve they must, trust me ;-)

Re:Selective Communism (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#36621682)

However, you should go and learn some systems theory -- just because a trait of a system is not advocated, it doesn't mean that it isn't going to happen

Where in my post did I say that?

Communism itself is really natural for dictatorships.

From what we've observed so far, yes (and from the current implementations that were tried).

Its most important flaw however is that it fails to take into account human nature.

Not necessarily. However, even if so, that does not mean that it will always fail. I don't believe that communism will work exactly as intended, but I won't state that as an absolute fact.

Re:Selective Communism (2)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#36622270)

I will give this:

Communism works on a small scale. When people are known and reputations matter, communism works.

However, the system will completely break down when people start realizing that they can take more than they give and not suffer consequences for their action.

The history of the Internet shows this -- before the C&S USENET spam, people tended to behave because all it took was a call to their sysadmin and they would be tossed off the net. After C&S, where it was shown that people could get away with breaking traditions and mores to score some cash, it was only a matter of time before the system of "put a server up to help out, and other people do similar" went the way of the dodo, eclipsed by doing what it takes to earn cash.

Re:Selective Communism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36625902)

I will give this:

Communism works on a small scale. When people are known and reputations matter, communism works.

However, the system will completely break down when people start realizing that they can take more than they give and not suffer consequences for their action.

The history of the Internet shows this -- before the C&S USENET spam, people tended to behave because all it took was a call to their sysadmin and they would be tossed off the net. After C&S, where it was shown that people could get away with breaking traditions and mores to score some cash, it was only a matter of time before the system of "put a server up to help out, and other people do similar" went the way of the dodo, eclipsed by doing what it takes to earn cash.

One could argue that the first folks on USENET behaved not so much out of fear but because they had a different culture than the new crowd.

Re:Selective Communism (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626378)

Fear was one part of the equation.

The second part is that USENET was initially populated by professionals. Either college students, college professors, or people who worked at a "serious" job.

Also, reputation came into play. Relatively few people had anonymous handles, so if someone was jacking around, their name was on what they did.

I am showing my age, but I do miss the days before Eternal September.

Re:Selective Communism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36624184)

If communism turns into dictatorship, then it is not communism anymore. It is deeply flawed to draw an equal-sign between the two simply because humanity's prior experiments with communism has led to dictatorships. The idea itself is a benevolent one, but so far we've failed to implement it properly as we have not reached the benevolent society yet. By comparison, capitalism is the nature-state of things, the lowest denominator that works only because it can't fuck up and plays on feral emotions like greed and self-preservation. Just because it works doesn't mean it is the end all be all solution to the governmental conundrum; the inability, so far, to implement communism in a benign way says more about the quality of our species than the quality of governance.

Open Government, sharing of information (the undepletable resource), libraries, police and firebrigades, unemployment-checks, healthcare etc. I don't consider them a horrid thing, but they're certainly not capitalistic.

One thing is certain: People working together accomplish more than singular people working against each other. Capitalists would start arguing "market competition" as a driving force like it's an argument against communism, yet few innovations on "the market" is a result of singular individuals work; rather each company is a commune by itself working against competing communes, achieving more than singular individuals, but still orders of magnitudes less than what could be produced if we knew how to work together and harness the cooporation of everyone towards particular goals.

There is no sense in arguing capitalism against communism, because communism wins by merit of what is possible and what we want to achieve as a species, while capitalism "wins" by our admittance that we are yet too flawed to so.

Re:Selective Communism (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#36627412)

I would argue that the main reason why real-world Communist regimes tend toward dictatorship is that they have all sprang from the same Leninist root originating from Russia; and one key point of that particular variety is "democratic centralism" [wikipedia.org] - the idea being that leadership is elected democratically bottom up (via the council - "soviet" - system), but once elected, the decisions are to be unquestioningly obeyed top-down (i.e. if the supreme council decides something, it is fully binding on everyone underneath). It's easy to see that the system naturally tends towards oligarchy and then dictatorship, as those on top will tend to abuse their unrestricted power to root out any opposition and introduce roadblocks for the next "bottom up" cycle such that it becomes little more than sham.

To the best of my knowledge, there has been no attempt to implement communism anywhere in the world that wouldn't trace its lineage to Lenin, and therefore to the principle outlined above. Pol Pot, Mao, Hoxha, Castro, Tito - they all come from that same ideology.

Re:Selective Communism (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 3 years ago | (#36624536)

Really? Even if they have failed thus far, that does not mean that they will always fail.

No but it's a pretty bad track record. Currently they are synonyms in informal speech. It may very well happen that a successful large communist community is established, at which point the informal definition will have to change. That's the beauty (and frustration) of language - it constantly changes to fit the new conditions. It's frustrating because it makes digging through historical records difficult, as you need to be familiar with the contemporary usage of a word. Oh well, that's why we have historians!

And, considering that communism can mean different things in different contexts, as you said, I think it is rather foolish for someone to imply that all types of communism advocate this type of government and treat communism as some sort of "evil" (as some people seem to do).

But that didn't happen in this case - he was specifically referring to the Chinese brand of "communism". He wasn't painting it in a good or bad light - just pointing out that the Chinese are willing to relax their supposed ideology for a business opportunity. You could see this as a good thing (if you are pragmatic) or a hypocritical thing (if you are idealistic), or a complex issue that is difficult to describe in black and white terms :)

Re:Selective Communism (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36622132)

Lol. No all communist governments are doomed to be dictatorial because of central planning and lack of individual rights. Communism can not be otherwise.

Re:Selective Communism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36623598)

I think the point is that you can't call China a communist country anymore. They're more capitalistic than many "capitalist" countries.

I truly pity the Chinese people. They can't seem to catch a break.

its facist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36621090)

state doing things with business....facist ask musolini and hitler how that ended up working

Re:Selective Communism (2)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#36622002)

Yes. Very much like selective Capitalism.

Re:Selective Communism (1)

Cytotoxic (245301) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626560)

Actually, I'm liking this idea. Just one more camel's nose under the tent. Keep shoving noses under there and maybe the great firewall will come crashing down.

Cloud Zone? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36620448)

Looks like someones played Sonic the Hedgehog too much.

We promise we won't spy on your data... (5, Insightful)

Nutria (679911) | more than 3 years ago | (#36620456)

... unless you have secrets we really, really want.

Re:We promise we won't spy on your data... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36620682)

Of course, we cannot tell if we really want them until we look. So we do.

Re:We promise we won't spy on your data... (1)

internettoughguy (1478741) | more than 3 years ago | (#36620828)

How will they?

If the data is important enough, it will be secure. If the data is not secure, then they will have access to it regardless of it's real world location.

So this is a step in the right direction, if a somewhat pitiful one.

I'm guessing this is more about the use of cryptography, something that is already de-facto legal for foreigners.

Re:We promise we won't spy on your data... (2)

memyselfandeye (1849868) | more than 3 years ago | (#36620934)

Or more importantly, why would they? I hate the 'cloud' moniker, but I gotta be honest, after switching my dedicated box (vanity domain/email) to cloud services I'm basically about half for 2 servers instead of 1, hosted with different companies at different locations. So why would I ever want to host anything a zillion miles away in China if my clients (payed or otherwise) are located here in the U.S and the costs are next to 'nill. That doesn't even consider the privacy issues. I may be a fool to trust Cloud Company A with my data here in the U.S... but I'd be a damn fool to trust Cloud Company Z with my data over there in China.

Re:We promise we won't spy on your data... (1)

internettoughguy (1478741) | more than 3 years ago | (#36621032)

Perhaps it's for foreign businesses to target services to Chinese businesses or citizens. If I was running a multinational I would want to make sure that my servers in all countries were secure, and this requires cryptographic communications.

Re:We promise we won't spy on your data... (1)

memyselfandeye (1849868) | more than 3 years ago | (#36621492)

I agree, secure communications are secure communications. Either you are, or you aren't. Yet I don't really see the advantage of a censorship free city for business use as presumably the censorship still exists for Chinese citizens. Thus what's the point in mirroring super-cool-democracy.com (TM 20111) in China if the Chinese can't read it and the cost savings are 'nill compared to domestic options here in N. America. I suppose there could be a political reason to do so, perhaps in the hope that it would lead to broader strokes and all that.

And I can't forget to mention the security concerns of the virtualization layer. Who cares if your data is encrypted with the latest AES when anyone who has access to the I/O stack can read it. I have enough problems trusting domestic hosts with this stuff, let alone somebody I've never met in a nation that has been less than trustworthy in this respect.

No, I still have to say that for the true purpose of Cloud Servers (near instant instances that can easily share data across the cloud platform) this is a non-starter and will probably do more harm than good. For big multinationals looking into virtualization, it's still just a dedicated box under lock and key. You can do that anywhere in China. I used to work for a large multinational, well a subsidiary of one, and all communications go through the various master nodes via VPN. Thus censorship has never been a problem for companies that really do have a presence in China.

Re:We promise we won't spy on your data... (3, Insightful)

Nutria (679911) | more than 3 years ago | (#36620992)

How will they?

If you build all the components, assemble the computers and build the data centers, it's easy enough to build in side-channels and back doors.

I'm guessing this is more about the use of cryptography

Great in theory, but not so useful in the real world of non-geeks, where pass phrases are pathetically weak.

Re:We promise we won't spy on your data... (1)

internettoughguy (1478741) | more than 3 years ago | (#36621024)

If all servers have to be assembled by the ministry of supervision, foreign businesses might be a bit suspicious.

Re:We promise we won't spy on your data... (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 3 years ago | (#36621560)

assembled by the ministry of supervision

Big Business (usually owned by some PLA General or another) is deeply in bed with the PRC. Much deeper even than, for example, ATT when it willingly acquiesced to the NSA's request to tap into overseas fiber.

Re:We promise we won't spy on your data... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36621808)

I'm guessing this is more about the use of cryptography, something that is already de-facto legal for foreigners.

Yes, you are correct. In my experience, China can be quite free if you have white skin and round eyes.

Re:We promise we won't spy on your data... (2)

pinkushun (1467193) | more than 3 years ago | (#36621974)

Don't count on the "de-facto", if FBI affiliates don't even practice good security measures: [thepiratebay.org]

While not very many logins (around 180), we'd like to take the time to point out that all
of them are affiliated with the FBI in some way. Most of them reuse their passwords in other places,
which is heavily frowned upon in the FBI/Infragard handbook and generally everywhere else too.

One of them ... used his Infragard password for his personal gmail, and the gmail of
the company he owns
. "Unveillance", a whitehat company that specializes in data breaches and botnets,
was compromised because of Karim's incompetence. We stole all of his personal emails and his company
emails. We also briefly took over, among other things, their servers and their botnet control panel.
 

Re:We promise we won't spy on your data... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36621170)

It's no secret, AT&T already does it [blogspot.com] .

um are companies really this dumb? (2)

arbiter1 (1204146) | more than 3 years ago | (#36620460)

Looking at China's track record of handing the internet inside their country why would any company want to run servers in that country?

Re:um are companies really this dumb? (2)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#36620486)

Many are still willing to believe anything to get a bigger bottom line in their next SEC reports.

Re:um are companies really this dumb? (4, Insightful)

fabioalcor (1663783) | more than 3 years ago | (#36620990)

Realy low cost service. There are lots of companies that don't give a shit about privacy, they only care about budget cuts. Especialy those companies who deal with other people data, not theirs.

Re:um are companies really this dumb? (1)

228e2 (934443) | more than 3 years ago | (#36621418)

Mod this up.

Its more about companies being budget smart, if anything.

Re:um are companies really this dumb? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36621050)

Hmmm tricky, why would some nasty mega-corp, with no morals or scrupples, want to set up shop in one of the fastest growing economy's in the world?

Answers on a postcard please!

Re:um are companies really this dumb? (3, Interesting)

biodata (1981610) | more than 3 years ago | (#36621086)

What's dumb about this? Host your data in China, risk the government spying on you and giving secrets to their friends in industry, risk the government censoring and filtering your access to data arbitrarily, risk your employees being arrested for storing the 'wrong' kinds of data. Or - host your data in the US, ditto. Hosting data in thhe US would be dumb. The third option is just starting to emerge where smart people can see the huge gaping gap in the market - host your data in a country with decent laws. Iceland are making moves in the right direction by setting up the right legal framework for data storage free of government interference.

Re:um are companies really this dumb? (1)

Techie_79 (2287884) | more than 3 years ago | (#36621424)

Yeah, Hosting in the US has a great recent track record. How many server and/or domain seizures have we had recently?

Re:um are companies really this dumb? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#36622192)

Companies selling TO China, of course, would be interested in a DC there for their local presence. Or if all the data you're storing is encrypted, it could be a useful place to put a backup server.

Sensationalist title? (1)

metalmaster (1005171) | more than 3 years ago | (#36620464)

I clicked here from a newsfeed thinking "wtf?" but after reading the summary it sounds just like something China would do to bring in business.

"one of"? (1)

dwater (72834) | more than 3 years ago | (#36620480)

largest city in China...(Administrative Area Population)...quite a significant city, I would say

I say let them build the damn thing (1)

conscarcdr (1429747) | more than 3 years ago | (#36620512)

So that all netizens in China will come to realize what they're being denied to all those years.

Re:I say let them build the damn thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36620844)

They are all very well aware of what they are denied to. Many of them are using proxy.

Reminds me of Intershop (4, Insightful)

cpghost (719344) | more than 3 years ago | (#36620514)

In former Eastern Germany, their communist regime provided retail stores only for foreigners [wikipedia.org] (or specially privileged East Germans with western money). This made people there very resentful of their government... and eventually, they got rid of it. China's communists should be careful not to rise the ire of their citizens too much if they want to remain in power. Then again, why not? China could really need a breath of fresh air, at least politically.

Re:Reminds me of Intershop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36620594)

Same thing happened all over the former Soviet Block , Romania too.
Foreigners on the seaside could buy anything they liked , good smokes , coffee , jeans while the locals where stuck smoking second rate tobacco and drinking cereal based coffee replacement powder.
This didn't change until Gorbachev happend , i don't see any Chinese equivalent appearing any-time soon.

Re:Reminds me of Intershop (2)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 3 years ago | (#36621016)

Obviously you've had your head in the sand for a few decades. China's already had its Gorby, and that was Deng Xiaoping. Difference being that his reforms didn't lead to the collapse of the state. There is no longer a second rate economy in China, anybody who has the money can buy or go where they please. There are not 'foreign only' shops or businesses like other ostensibly communist nations (such as Cuba).

China's tiers are no longer (artificially) economic, but political. China's broader citizenry are second class to those of the SARs like HK. HK people are able to access a less filtered internet and are less likely to be censored themselves if they start saying things the government doesn't like. The CCP has largely succeeded so far in keeping these compartmentalizations viable, but in the long term the Chinese people will eventually start questioning more and more why the controls on their expression are so necessary in the mainland to keep 'harmony' but somehow HK SAR and others do fine without it.

Re:Reminds me of Intershop (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 3 years ago | (#36621078)

The Deng Xiaoping that ordered the Tiananmen Square massacre?

Re:Reminds me of Intershop (1)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 3 years ago | (#36621908)

Bad political/social acts do not erase good ones, nor vice versa. It is necessary to face the reality that Deng Xiaoping both raised the quality of life for many Chinese and killed thousands of protesters, both through the instrument of the state. One is good and the other is bad, but they are both real products of the same leadership.

Re:Reminds me of Intershop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36622260)

[citation needed]

The guy who was used as the national punching bag, from 1966 (the cultural revolution) to 1976, and had his son thrown from the 4th floor of a building, because he kept trying to reform things, yes, that Deng Xiaoping.

He is often said to have ordered the troops in, but there's no real records. Maybe it was him. Maybe it was the hardliners who declared marital law. Deng's allies certainly seemed to side with the demonstrators. Perhaps Deng could have prevented the troops from moving it, but the whole thing was already cost him 3 years - from 1989 to 1992 he had to sit in the sidelines, denouncing the demonstrators as US-backed subversives.

If he politically threw himself in front of the tanks, then he might not have been in a position to take his Southern Tour (in 1992). His reforms (undertaken from 1980 to 1989) might have been rolled back in the backlash, had he (and his allies) not been there to protect them. And he might not have stopped the tanks anyway.

Re:Reminds me of Intershop (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#36627552)

The Deng Xiaoping that ordered the Tiananmen Square massacre?

Yes, not unlike Gorbachev that ordered suppression of separatist movements in Azerbaijan and Baltic republics in the last stages of USSR collapse.

The difference between Deng and Gorbachev was that the latter didn't realize what's going on until it was way too late, and his ability to maintain control was severely restricted. Well, that, and the fact that Gorbachev's economic reforms resulted in a significant drop in quality of life for most citizens of the country.

Re:Reminds me of Intershop (2)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 3 years ago | (#36620648)

As someone who visited East Germany a *lot* between 1984 and 1990, I can safely say that most Western visitors were not going to East Germany to shop at Intershop, they were going for the excellent exchange rates on cut glass crystal sets, wooden goods, dolls houses and associated furniture etc etc, all of which was pennies to the mark.

My family now has about $40,000 worth of cut glass crystal sets (wine goblets, decanters, cheese boards etc), top quality figurines etc etc, and my parents would have paid less than $1,000 for it. It was that cheap to shop there.

Yes, you couldn't get the Western technology, but you could get high quality hand made stuff at knock down prices.

Re:Reminds me of Intershop (1)

wisty (1335733) | more than 3 years ago | (#36620702)

In former Eastern Germany, their communist regime provided retail stores only for foreigners [wikipedia.org] (or specially privileged East Germans with western money). This made people there very resentful of their government... and eventually, they got rid of it. China's communists should be careful not to rise the ire of their citizens too much if they want to remain in power. Then again, why not? China could really need a breath of fresh air, at least politically.

What makes you think it's not a deliberate step? China is not a monolith. There is a large and powerful free speech lobby, Wen Jiabao (the Premier - head of the government, but not the military; which is under party rule) is a big backer (but he gets censored himself). However, I guess consensus is that free speech is a genie you can't put back in the bottle, so the conservatives can buy time. Incremental reform, though, is certainly on the agenda.

Re:Reminds me of Intershop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36620886)

I think wisty knows a lot about China. In fact, I believe he/she has spoken the mind of most educated people in China.

Re:Reminds me of Intershop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36620906)

"However, I guess consensus is that free speech is a genie you can't put back in the bottle"

Except of course in those countries that had free speech, then had a communist revolution happen that took it away.

Re:Reminds me of Intershop (1)

biodata (1981610) | more than 3 years ago | (#36621218)

"However, I guess consensus is that free speech is a genie you can't put back in the bottle" Unless you are a country which doesn't trust its citizens so starts banning free speech on the grounds of national security and patriotism.

Re:Reminds me of Intershop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36631500)

Yes finally! Someone on /. who actually knows something about China.

Re:Reminds me of Intershop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36620962)

Wasn't jsut East Germany. I lived in Poland before the fall of communism, we had those retail stores too. They took only US dollars. I used to go there to buy Legos.

Re:Reminds me of Intershop (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 3 years ago | (#36621096)

On the other hand, the Bahamas - which are fairly democratic - only allow gambling for non-citizens.

Same reason: to bring in business - in this case tourism. Not all of the locals agree, but it doesn't necessarily mean oppression.

Re:Reminds me of Intershop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36621786)

"China's communists should be careful not to rise the ire of their citizens too much if they want to remain in power."

Why should they care? The last time their people demanded change they ran them over with tanks. That apparently solved the problem, so why would they bother listening to their people?

and nazi Germany put peopel in camps for religion (1, Interesting)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 3 years ago | (#36621832)

Just like how china does with Falun Gong and they put in to death / prison camps for being part of Falun Gong.

Re:Reminds me of Intershop (1)

hackingbear (988354) | more than 3 years ago | (#36623552)

The same kind stores, known as the Friendship Store, existed in China back in 1970s and 1980s. These stores sold things like imported TV sets. In fact, the stores only accepted a special form of currency known as the Dui Huan Quan which could only be acquired by foreigners with foreign currencies. Local people could not even enter high-class hotels unless accompanied by foreigners. These might create some ire but more of ASPIRATIONS.

Today, all of these are history. China becomes the leading suppliers of TV sets among many other things. They build some of most luxurious hotels that everyone can stay as long as one can pay. Thousands of Chinese tourists go visit abroad and stay in our 5-star hotels. Rich Chinese investors are buying high-end properties in Manhattan, silicon valley and Vancouver as well as other investment assets.

While their political system still looks oppressive today. It is a probably ten thousand times better than in Mao's era. It will not surprise me that 20 or 30 years later, we may envy at their social and political progress too.

Re:Reminds me of Intershop (1)

thoughtsatthemoment (1687848) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625810)

These might create some ire but more of ASPIRATIONS.

The political system in China has always been oppressive and people actually think that's the norm. In China being an official is regarded as an privilege. This has changed a lot since the last dynasty but a change at a cultural level has not happen. Today people in China still don't believe in equals rights for all. So powerful people in China can safely create such discriminating systems and actually use that as a demonstration of their power.

It will not surprise me that 20 or 30 years later, we may envy at their social and political progress too.

I am not quite optimistic here. In an equal society you would want others to be rich so that you can be rich too. In an oppressive you would want to others to live in a certain way so that you can use them. There has been reports that Bush told Jiang (then Chinese President), maybe jokingly, that it's so easy to wield power in China than in America. You see, the influence is mutual.

I hope westerners would refuse to participate in any discriminating systems. But the history the Friendship Stores indicates that it's hard to refuse an good offer because of principles. And the name of the stores is also interesting. Now I think about it, it served it's dual purpose quite well. It does promote friendship. But it also reinforces inequality.

Re:Reminds me of Intershop (1)

hackingbear (988354) | more than 3 years ago | (#36627108)

There are no real equal rights for everyone everywhere. There are plenty of talks of such, including in China. If people in the US have more rights, like the rights to education, that's result of our impressive prior economic development and the current massive public debt. A lot more Chinese can now travel to Hong Kong, Taiwan, US, Japan, Australia, or Europe today, not because the governments of their destinations become kinder and respect people's rights to travel, but because Chinese people are richer and fewer of them end up being illegal immigrants.

As you said the Friendship Store was probably for reinforcing inequality, in fact the stores were for attracting foreigners and oversea Chinese to work and invest in China back then, but now these stores are gone and everyone can walk into any high-class department stores in China. Wouldn't that be a progress in your eyes? Now ordinary Chinese can live in any city they can afford to; you may have to pay higher school fees etc., but back then you were not even allow to travel to the city if you were not a resident. Wouldn't that be progress in freedom? (And such freedom still carries high costs, look at the property price and traffic in major cities in China.) You would still live miserably in China if you are poor, but you wouldn't be much better off in most other places; or otherwise the government is racking up huge debt to pay for the direct or indirect well-fare. China is moving to that direction too as now they have enforced their labor laws a lot more strictly, kicked start their healthcare reform while we were still bickering on the issue, built more subsidize housing to combat high property price, etc. I just wish they would rack up huge debts as we do, but I'm pessimistic about that.

Same for politics, today jailed dissidents may be numbered in the hundreds, but in Mao's era, that were numbered in tens of millions. There are plenty of criticism everyday on their websites, so long as you don't try to organize a movement.

I have trouble trusting the US government (1)

MeNeXT (200840) | more than 3 years ago | (#36620544)

and they think I would trust them?

Riiiiight ... (1)

wgkylep (880269) | more than 3 years ago | (#36620566)

I want to put my confidential data in China ... and then I'm going to open a bikini factory in Saudi Arabia ....

Clouds you say? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36620596)

If only they could harness the ones floating over their cities. They would own that shit.~

Also, lions to start a vegan club for deer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36620600)

Censorship free for foreign companies? Does that include their Chinese employees who want to bad-mouth the People's Congress? Or indeed the corporate officials themselves wanting to bad-mouth Beijing?

Or does it simply mean that those foreign companies will simply be @ liberty to support terrorism, which is the only activity that would land them in trouble back home, or at least put them under close observation by the DHS. B'cos that's the only censorship-free activity that foreign companies or individuals would have trouble doing in their home countries. Other things, such as announcing their quarterly earnings b4 the embargo dates are things that those companies are banned from doing period, regardless of where it is.

Reminds me of the Cold War era joke of the Russian who told the American that we too are free to criticize the US president.

Oh Pulleeeez (1)

spaceman375 (780812) | more than 3 years ago | (#36620602)

All they want is more international traffic to cross thru china so they can eavesdrop. They've been trying to do this for years already by mucking with BGP and other routing tricks. The international community should use it solely for honeypots and as a base from which to probe chinese computers. We really should be pushing for ways to route ALL internet traffic around china and other repressive governments. Not to get the packets into the country past their censors, but to close off all business and governmental organisations from access. Or at least to protect our datastreams from their snooping and possible manipulation. Moving any form of resources, especially compute resources, into chine for any reason other than to serve the chinese is foolhardy at best.

Re:Oh Pulleeeez (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36620706)

Oh great, route the internet round repressive governments to leave their citizens trapped in the dark, and helpless - way to go.

Re:Oh Pulleeeez (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36620750)

you mean that they don't like BUSINESS so that they would have money for food and cars?

Re:Oh Pulleeeez (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 3 years ago | (#36621678)

We really should be pushing for ways to route ALL internet traffic around china and other repressive governments.

Yeah, maybe the main international routers should be moved to neutral countries such as Switzerland or the Netherlands. But then, what if the "repressive country" convinces us to let them listen in via a monitoring port of that giant router [dw-world.de] anyways?

All the hassle and costs to move the routers out of the repressive country for ... exactly what?

Re:Oh Pulleeeez (1)

morgauxo (974071) | more than 3 years ago | (#36623574)

"route ALL internet traffic around china and other repressive governments."

And just what will you do with your new internet route that only connects Antarctica to the northern polar ice sheet.

Give us your data; you can trust us (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36621154)

If you fall for that one you're more stupid than you look. Once they have your data on their computers they can do what they want with it.

The 'Cloud' is just a fancy name for someone else's computers. Don't be a sucker.

Re:Give us your data; you can trust us (1)

biodata (1981610) | more than 3 years ago | (#36621242)

Sounds just like the Patriot Act.

Political Theory (2)

retroworks (652802) | more than 3 years ago | (#36621224)

* Ahem * As a degree holder in Political Science with a minor in International Relations, ,i>kaff-kaff,/i>, I may be able to contribute here. The suspicions above are not without foundation. However, historically whenever a totalitarian regime has tried to espouse free and independent thought in a "contained" place, they often wind up growing free thinkers that they cannot later control. Hitler tried coddling his engineers, but they wound up sending secrets to the English and Americans. Stalin tried pampering Sakarov. So while I wouldn't drop my drawers in Chongqing's proposed Cloud Computing Special Zone, but I would applaud and encourage it. It could become an incubator for a representative there who actually believes what he's promising and would be frustrated to learn he's a front... a breeding ground for future Nobel Peace Prize nominees. So polite hurrahs are warranted.

Re:Political Theory (1)

pushf popf (741049) | more than 3 years ago | (#36622046)

* Ahem * As a degree holder in Political Science with a minor in International Relations, ,i>kaff-kaff,/i>, I may be able to contribute here. The suspicions above are not without foundation. However, historically whenever a totalitarian regime has tried to espouse free and independent thought in a "contained" place, they often wind up growing free thinkers that they cannot later control. Hitler tried coddling his engineers, but they wound up sending secrets to the English and Americans. Stalin tried pampering Sakarov. So while I wouldn't drop my drawers in Chongqing's proposed Cloud Computing Special Zone, but I would applaud and encourage it. It could become an incubator for a representative there who actually believes what he's promising and would be frustrated to learn he's a front... a breeding ground for future Nobel Peace Prize nominees. So polite hurrahs are warranted.

Oddly enough, the Chinese government isn't stupid and takes a very long-term view of things.

This could be exactly what they're planning and want this to happen so they can have the benefits and freedom due to the "changing times" without having to embarrass themselves by back-peddling with their current policy. It also lets them selectively enforce "who has freedom" by allowing the access policy to the area be "leaky".

Re:Political Theory (1)

SheeEttin (899897) | more than 3 years ago | (#36624216)

,i>kaff-kaff,/i>

You should probably see a doctor about that cough. You're coughing up HTML.

Uh, Slashvertisement anyone? (0)

justsayin (2246634) | more than 3 years ago | (#36621378)

Ok, read the article and the comments. Me thinks this is simply a way to drive traffic over to IT World. The comments are way better than the article. Maybe I wont waste time RTA-ing anymore.

Differences in attitudes... (1)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 3 years ago | (#36621382)

I have a number of friends who do business in China and know a bit about the economic and social environment there. Communism generally only exists in name only and I'm generally convinced it persists to keep the current leadership in power. But then, with a few exceptions, people there are generally satisfied with things. It's difficult to complain about consistent 8% economic growth. And the fact is that most Chinese agree with government policies. Where Americans value free speech at all costs, for example, Chinese value stability more highly.

The interesting is that at the family Chinese, and Asians in general, have embraced communistic ideas. Families pool resources; it's one of the reasons they can come to the US and be so successful. On the other hand, on a larger scale their mindset is very free market. The fact is that economically China, and other successful Asian nations, are considerably more free market than the US. Or more specifically, they've struck a better balance between free market and control than either the US or Europe.

This is not to say that China doesn't have some serious problems; oppression aside I continue to think they've got a fairly good bubble going. But then again, I thought there was there was a real estate bubble in Taiwan 10 years ago and property values continue to rise unabated. But I suppose the people buying property there actually had the money for it.

Every time I talk to a friend of mine currently looking to expand further in China I'm left with the same impression: everything that the United States, with a weak economy, should be doing, China, with a strong economy, IS doing. It's extremely frustrating and makes me constantly question my decision not to partner with my friend in China.

Re:Differences in attitudes... (1)

hayagriva (1260388) | more than 3 years ago | (#36622186)

I have a number of friends who do business in China and know a bit about the economic and social environment there. Communism generally only exists in name only and I'm generally convinced it persists to keep the current leadership in power. But then, with a few exceptions, people there are generally satisfied with things. It's difficult to complain about consistent 8% economic growth. And the fact is that most Chinese agree with government policies. Where Americans value free speech at all costs, for example, Chinese value stability more highly.

I don't agree with all of the parent's ideas, but this bit, very much so. People tend to forget what recent history means in China: a large number of people *remember* the Great Leap Forward, and the Cultural Revolution. My friend's parents watched people starve in 1960, and had to deal with the Cultural Revolution in the late 60s. And they've watched their children go to university (which they couldn't do), get decent jobs (which weren't available, or reserved for those with connections), and have discretionary income (which didn't exist). Is this true for everyone? Of course not. But, as the parent said, are people "generally satisfied with things," and "agree with government policy?" Seems that way, because things are measurable better for most people here, compared to 50 years ago.

Re:Differences in attitudes... (1)

poity (465672) | more than 3 years ago | (#36623324)

Really? People I know are always complaining. Housing prices, food prices, import duties where you'd pay 2x what people of other countries pay when they import. And then there's the constant strife between gov officials and public, disharmony between migrants and locals, increasing labor and civil rights disputes year after year, a handful I know even openly worry that there'll be civil war in their lifetimes (and they're 40+ year old businessmen who should be the most reassured).

Re:Differences in attitudes... (1)

poity (465672) | more than 3 years ago | (#36623400)

everything that the United States, with a weak economy, should be doing, China, with a strong economy, IS doing

Trouble is, if you actually enumerate these things in a list and publicly support them on Slashdot, you'll be called a right-wing corporatism-supporting fascist who wants to rob from entitlements to subsidize business.

It's a TRAP! (1)

varmittang (849469) | more than 3 years ago | (#36622228)

They might not censor what is in that data center, but they sure as hell will monitor what goes in and out of it. If you think its a cheap way to out source your cloud computing you better be ready to have some of your info stolen by the Chinese Gov't as all wires in and out will be tapped.

Tech Concentration Camp in China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36622618)

This cloud zone sounds like a 21st century concentration camp of tech companies within China borders. Those who enter just don't know it and are just waiting to be gassed or gunned down at the command of the government at anytime. In other words, an easy target for stealing IP property.. think Google past problems with China. China is just making it easier for tech companies to sit within their target range.

Foreign companies... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36622686)

Send us all your data.

Bad Idea W/o Rule Of Law (1)

cmholm (69081) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625996)

Hosting any foreign-sourced mission-critical data/logic or trade secrets within this hub would be a bad idea until the PRC gets better acquainted to the rule of law concept.

While members of the OECD have and will periodically invoke "novel" interpretations of their laws and legal precedents, law w/in China is still utterly secondary to the opinions of the whim of local officials and the CCP as a whole. So, for example, hosting a node of the Wikipedia or buying cycles to design the next Boeing or Airbus at a site w/in the zone would be asking for trouble.

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