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China Erases New Internet Rumors, Shuts Down Sites

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the so-much-for-all-that-ipad-3-news dept.

China 146

itwbennett writes "Chinese officials said Thursday that 210,000 online posts and 42 websites have been taken down since mid-March in a government crackdown on rumors. In addition, 6 people were detained for allegedly fabricating rumors saying that military vehicles were in Beijing and that the city was in trouble."

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Ching Chong Chang (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39677893)

Gong dong bong ching chai chau au wu auaw wong bong dong!

Do Chinese leaders feel no guilt? (2, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39677907)

They are blocking free speech by users. Surely there must be some "twinge" in their brains that says, "This is wrong to take down people's posts."

I find it a bit disturbing that EU and US leaders are saying China is a good model to follow.

Re:Do Chinese leaders feel no guilt? (1, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#39677953)

I'm in two minds, because the rumours highlighted in the summary specifically seem orientated toward creating panic and unrest within a large population - how do you deal with that while maintaining free speech?

Re:Do Chinese leaders feel no guilt? (4, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39678067)

Don't censor free speech. The adult citizens should be intelligent enough to realize the rumors are just lies, and develop skepticism about the things they read.

Re:Do Chinese leaders feel no guilt? (5, Funny)

trum4n (982031) | more than 2 years ago | (#39678187)

Except the average person is a complete moron. Remember that.

Re:Do Chinese leaders feel no guilt? (2)

LoyalOpposition (168041) | more than 2 years ago | (#39678315)

Except the average person is a complete moron. Remember that.

Except that the average bureaucrat is a complete moron. Remember that.

~Loyal

Re:Do Chinese leaders feel no guilt? (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39679531)

Education of the populace is the responsibility of government. If your people aren't educated enough to fight speech with speech, educate them more. Curtailing free speech is never an option.

Re:Do Chinese leaders feel no guilt? (1, Insightful)

rednip (186217) | more than 2 years ago | (#39678399)

The adult citizens should be intelligent enough to realize the rumors are just lies, and develop skepticism about the things they read.

After a while one would think that people would stop watching fictionalized reports, but Fox News and talk radio proves that there will always be a market for yellow journalism no matter how discredited they may become. However the Chinese leaders should understand that one of the reasons why rumors spread so intensely is a serious lack of objective non-government infotainment that would keep the public informed if/when the people again try to rise up for democracy. The quick spread of such rumors might even show that it's expected, if not hoped.

Re:Do Chinese leaders feel no guilt? (0, Troll)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 2 years ago | (#39678571)

I am sure that only Fox has problems with "coloring" the news.
It shows that you are nothing but a partisan shill.
I really think that people like you should just tattoo your forehead with "I believe only in what MSNBC tells me."
It is not just Fox and "Talk Radio". It is all of them dipshit.
Did you not notice that just last week MSNBC purposefully edited a 911 tape so that it would say what they wanted it to say?
You are useless at best.

Re:Do Chinese leaders feel no guilt? (3, Insightful)

brit74 (831798) | more than 2 years ago | (#39679055)

To be fair, when it comes to distorting and spinning the news, FOX News and Talk Radio are the most obvious examples. A few months back, I heard one right-wing talk radio host go on for quite a while about how there will be no 2012 election because Obama is going to declare himself dictator over the United States and rule for the next forty years. (No, I'm seriously not making that up. And people think right-wing distortions of reality are no worse what happens on the left.) True, the MSNBC tape was edited and the producer was fired. The most unfortunate thing about that incident is that now the right-wing media gets to pretend that they're no worse than anyone else and that they don't distort the news worse than anyone else. Heck, even Newt Gingritch and Rick Santorum have said that FOX News has a bias (http://reallyfoxnews.tumblr.com/post/20975850816/i-assume-its-because-rupert-murdoch-at-some):

"In our experience, Callista and I both believe CNN is less biased than Fox this year. We are more likely to get neutral coverage out of CNN than we are of Fox, and we’re more likely to get distortion out of Fox. That’s just a fact." - Newt Gingritch

It seems to me that Rupert Murdoch longs for the days when News Agencies can throw around their weight as kingmakers in political races.

Re:Do Chinese leaders feel no guilt? (0)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 2 years ago | (#39680137)

Chills down my leg.
Are you really suggesting that we can only come up with a few left wing distortions?
Do you really think that the left gives more of a shit about you than the right?
Politicians only want more power.

Re:Do Chinese leaders feel no guilt? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39679389)

It was actually NBC not MSNBC, and yes I know they are owned by the same people. But they are not the same thing. NBC at least normally pretends to be non biased. MSNBC makes no such attempt. So if your going to call people dipshits for not understanding the news at least try and understand the news, DIPSHIT.

Re:Do Chinese leaders feel no guilt? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39678777)

Don't censor free speech. The adult citizens should be intelligent enough to realize the rumors are just lies, and develop skepticism about the things they read.

While common sense might dictate this, US Supreme Court does not agree with this and "free speech" that incites a rebellion is not protected even in US of A.

Re:Do Chinese leaders feel no guilt? (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#39679237)

The adult citizens should be intelligent enough to realize the rumors are just lies, and develop skepticism about the things they read.

I don't know - the average American doesn't seem to inspire much confidence about that. Isn't that how we get the birther movement or that Obama is Muslim?

Hell, there are probably people who believe that cigarettes don't cause cancer and are perfectly safe, too.

Or take a look what happens when some blog or website posts some news or rumors about a company - it can send the stock price soaring or falling. Pump and dump scams are common, as are most other forms of mail fraud. Hell, people keep falling for 419 scams.

China only gets singled out because they call out that fact. Do it in the free world and you're called a lunatic.

Re:Do Chinese leaders feel no guilt? (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39679555)

I don't know - the average American doesn't seem to inspire much confidence about that. Isn't that how we get the birther movement or that Obama is Muslim?

This is the government's fault for not making critical thinking an educational priority.

Re:Do Chinese leaders feel no guilt? (1)

RussR42 (779993) | more than 2 years ago | (#39679959)

They don't want critical thinkers. They ask hard questions when you try to lie to them repeatedly.

Re:Do Chinese leaders feel no guilt? (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39679417)

Provided they are lies. It's hard to tell when everything's censored.

Re:Do Chinese leaders feel no guilt? (2)

HapSlappy_2222 (1089149) | more than 2 years ago | (#39680071)

Right. Because if I yell "fire!" in a movie theater, adult citizens should be intelligent enough to realize I'm screwing with them. No, there are exceptions to free speech for some pretty good reasons. This may originally have been one of them, although I doubt it; 210,000 posts is a lot of "fire!" yells.

The bigger issue here is that China is in a state where it's easy to believe these types of rumors. This free speech crackdown wouldn't be necessary in the first place if weren't so busy doing things like.... cracking down on free speech. Circular logic leads to circular logic.

Re:Do Chinese leaders feel no guilt? (2)

doston (2372830) | more than 2 years ago | (#39678407)

I'm in two minds, because the rumours highlighted in the summary specifically seem orientated toward creating panic and unrest within a large population - how do you deal with that while maintaining free speech?

What does a large population especially have to do with anything? I always hear that excuse for everything China does and it really doesn't mean anything. Most of them don't even have Internet access. It's just another power system trying to control thought. They'd do the same here, if we let them. And China would do the same if they had 1/4 the people they have now. Look what's going on in Hungary. Is that because of the population of 10,000,000? Pathetic excuse that doesn't hold water or up to scrutiny.

Re:Do Chinese leaders feel no guilt? (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 2 years ago | (#39678595)

I'm in two minds, because the rumours highlighted in the summary specifically seem orientated toward creating panic and unrest within a large population - how do you deal with that while maintaining free speech?

Rumors of Chemtrails, Black Helicopters, Secret societies that run our lives, and all the rest happen all the time.
No need to over react.

Re:Do Chinese leaders feel no guilt? (1)

similar_name (1164087) | more than 2 years ago | (#39678739)

If China had an open and free media no one would pay any attention to the rumors. For example; I heard that Washington DC is on lock down and there are riots in the street. There was an attempted coup. Do you believe any of that? Why?

Re:Do Chinese leaders feel no guilt? (3, Interesting)

Cyberblah (140887) | more than 2 years ago | (#39678779)

I'm in two minds, because the rumours highlighted in the summary specifically seem orientated toward creating panic and unrest within a large population - how do you deal with that while maintaining free speech?

By having free speech in the first place. These rumors can easily spread in China because a growing number of Chinese people believe that it's plausible that news of this kind of unrest could and would be suppressed by the government. The government's actions here are reinforcing that belief.

Re:Do Chinese leaders feel no guilt? (2)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#39679035)

Governments don't try to prevent panic. They try to USE panic to their own purposes. At least the governments that really have control of their populace. 9/11 and the moves the government took after that, which had absolutely nothing to do with preventing another attack, should have amply demonstrated that fact.

Re:Do Chinese leaders feel no guilt? (1)

readin (838620) | more than 2 years ago | (#39680293)

I'm in two minds, because the rumours highlighted in the summary specifically seem orientated toward creating panic and unrest within a large population - how do you deal with that while maintaining free speech?

You consistently tell the people the truth so that people believe you when you deny that the rumors are true. On the other hand if you develop a reputation for saying that legitimate protests are all being caused by hooligans and foreigners, then the people won't believe you when you try to stop rumors.

You can get away with lying about some things. Few Chinese people go to Taiwan or the South China Sea so it is easy to lie about sovereignty claims over those. But plenty of Chinese people have legitimate complaints about government corruption and authoritarianism. When you try to dismiss many of those complaints as groundless and the result of troublemakers then people can see with their own eyes that you can't be trusted.

Re:Do Chinese leaders feel no guilt? (2, Interesting)

pla (258480) | more than 2 years ago | (#39677965)

They are blocking free speech by users. Surely there must be some "twinge" in their brains that says, "This is wrong to take down people's posts."

The US arrests people for slashfic of the Simpsons. Surely there must be some "twinge" in their brains that says, "This is wrong to conflate cartoons with exploited children."

Every culture has their sacred cows. Come too close, and you get kicked.

Re:Do Chinese leaders feel no guilt? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39679125)

That was actually Australia, not the US.

Re:Do Chinese leaders feel no guilt? (1)

pla (258480) | more than 2 years ago | (#39679213)

That was actually Australia, not the US.

I apologize that you got modded down (though since you posted AC, I don't suppose it matters much to you except in hiding your words) - Thank you for the correction!

Though in fairness, I would say it doesn't dilute my intended meaning too much - Still a country we would consider a modern western democracy.

Re:Do Chinese leaders feel no guilt? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39677967)

You can't possibly believe that the Chinese government has ANY qualms whatsoever about censoring anything and everything that they damn well please. That is just naive, at best.

Re:Do Chinese leaders feel no guilt? (3, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 2 years ago | (#39678009)

I find it a bit disturbing that EU and US leaders are saying China is a good model to follow.

The EU, like the US, considers money to be a good thing to follow. China is making rapid improvements in its money generation. Civil liberties, not so much. But then again, with the US having the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world, I would say civil liberties are something most people only believe they have these days.

Re:Do Chinese leaders feel no guilt? (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#39678209)

China also cheated by pegging the Yuan to the Dollar. That, and a cheap and abundant labor pool allowed for a flood of foreign investment. China is most certainly not a model to go by.

You want to see an epic waste of public funding by the Chinese government? Just look up ghost cities.

Re:Do Chinese leaders feel no guilt? (1)

LoyalOpposition (168041) | more than 2 years ago | (#39678347)

China also cheated by pegging the Yuan to the Dollar.

Isn't that just a guarantee that they'll buy the dollar at a guaranteed price, and a guarantee that they'll sell it at that same price, or just a little difference due to seigniorage? How is that cheating? Seriously. I don't know the actual mechanism.

~Loyal

Re:Do Chinese leaders feel no guilt? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39678533)

It nullifies any attempt to speculate on the Yuan on the Forex. Due to the breakneck growth of China, the Yuan would be much higher valued than it is today compared to the US dollar. This means that strength of the Yuan is kept artificially low so that exports can remain artificially cheap and also provides protectionism for China from imports that are artificially expensive.

Re:Do Chinese leaders feel no guilt? (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | more than 2 years ago | (#39679913)

It nullifies any attempt to speculate on the Yuan on the Forex.

How do they nullify it? If I and my freind next to me speculate on the value of Yuan 6 months from now. And agree to place a bet on it. Will the Chinese govt nullify the bet (I dont live in China, just in case you were wondering)

Re:Do Chinese leaders feel no guilt? (1, Interesting)

LastGunslinger (1976776) | more than 2 years ago | (#39678231)

If you want to point to the US incarceration rate as an argument against national policy on drugs, then fine. Conflating it with a lack of civil liberties is ridiculous.

Re:Do Chinese leaders feel no guilt? (2)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#39679811)

Doing what you want with your own body is a civil liberty, too.

Congratulations (2, Interesting)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 2 years ago | (#39678269)

You're the first person to take a story about China's egregious behavior, and turn it around on the US.

In the first 10 posts on the story, no less. Bravo, sir. Bravo. *golf clap*

"Many forms of Government have been tried and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." - Winston Churchill (1874-1965), Speech in the House of Commons, November 11, 1947

Re:Congratulations (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 2 years ago | (#39680143)

You're the first person to take a story about China's egregious behavior, and turn it around on the US.

And you're the first person to take a sincere criticism of your government and respond with what you feel is a sarcastic and intelligent response, followed by a quote by some famous person that is only tangentially related to the topic of discussion. Well in that case, I see your Winston Churchill and raise you... a Winston Churchill.

"The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter." -- Winston Churchill

Bravo. Golf clap, etc.

Re:Do Chinese leaders feel no guilt? (0)

djtriv (463132) | more than 2 years ago | (#39678131)

Seems to me that control and censorship are a large part of the Chinese government's religion and like any religion, "brains" probably play a very small part in it.

Re:Do Chinese leaders feel no guilt? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39678897)

We might want to think that Western countries do not have censorship, but that is not true. Take US, for example, and read up on it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship_in_the_United_States [wikipedia.org]

Re:Do Chinese leaders feel no guilt? (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#39678287)

This is china. The communist party leadership are protecting themselves (and their own people, but mostly themselves) from the risks of a free flow of information. They feel no guilt, and see it as their duty to protect themselves (and sometimes the people) against these 'malicious rumours'.

In a way china shot itself in the foot a long time ago, and doesn't have an easy way out.

There are people in the 'press' who report anything, censorship or not in china. Just as currency controls could always be undone by a shady guy offering you a better exchange rate. You can try and clamp down on free markets and free ideas all you want, they'll still leak out around you. The problem china is into is that there's so much limited literacy, people who can read and write, but don't know truth from fiction (think fox news viewers, but people who aren't intentionally deluding themselves). They are used to hearing 'truth' from unofficial sources, and another truth from official sources. If you just open the proverbial floodgates now, which they should have when people were still mostly illiterate, you'll get a deluge of patently fraudulent material designed to advance various agendas, and people will believe, but if you wait you further give credibility to the free press who are oppressed, so people will believe even more crazy things when it is free open and honest. There's no good way out at this point. Any 'free' press will be full of lies (about chinese medicine, american imperialism, corruption, coups, conspiracy theories in general, think birther and 'the US government caused 9/11' sort of nonsense), but without any mainstream believable press for people to fall back on.

They almost need to set xinhua free, but government sponsored (think BBC), at arms length, and leave it that way for a decade, before letting everyone else be free. Because otherwise they're going to inundate people with information they aren't prepared to understand, and of course people aren't prepared to understand it, because the government has been fucking this up for the last 60 years. And the longer it goes on, the harder it becomes, because more and more free speech will leech through the censorship cracks, and people won't know when it's bait to get them arrested for being against the harmony of the state, truth, or just malcontents stirring up shit.

Put another way, they want to avoid the US situation, where reality is determined by what gets the most viewers, not necessarily what is factually correct (or more often merely what is relevant and gets air time, the latest fashion faux pas or a hundred people being murdered in syria). But the chinese live in giant reality distortion bubble where it's not ever clear what is or isn't true, and there's no easy way out of the bubble when 20% of the population can't even read.

The arabs are moving to solve this with something like al jazeera and the various arab language outlets from other countries, but that hasn't exactly worked perfectly, so one would hope there is a better way. I'm not sure china has religious fundamentalists we're worried about, so much as having stern imperialists (who want to drum up the threat of the united states).

Re:Do Chinese leaders feel no guilt? (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 2 years ago | (#39678447)

They are blocking free speech by users.

Chinese people don't have free speech.

Re:Do Chinese leaders feel no guilt? (1)

TopSpin (753) | more than 2 years ago | (#39678749)

Do Chinese leaders feel no guilt?

No. They feel fear. Losing power means destruction in an authoritarian regime. You are either in power or you are subjugated by those who are. You don't lose an election and reinvent yourself. You lose your immunity from prosecution, your wealth, possibly your freedom and even your life.

Those realities leave precious little room for subtleties like "guilt."

I find it a bit disturbing that EU and US leaders are saying China is a good model to follow.

That view appears [nytimes.com] among statists from time to time when liberal democracies fail to cooperate. The most vital contemporary source of support for authoritarianism has emerged [davidshearman.org] among global warming alarmists.

Re:Do Chinese leaders feel no guilt? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39678973)

Nobody likes losing power. Even democratic countries that were created by overthrowing of another government try to protect themselves from the same fate. United Sates, for example, has Smith Act (18 U.S.C. 2385) [wikipedia.org] that was used to prosecute at least 215 people just for having different political views. Not even terrorists. Worse. Communists.

Re:Do Chinese leaders feel no guilt? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39678931)

Do people feel guilt supporting the initiation of violence against innocent people? Only when they recognize it as such. Until they see something as evil, it is accepted. Chinese rulers do not recognize the evil they commit, so they won't be bothered by it. It is the same as slavery was in the west a century ago, and statism is now. People block out the nature of the violence they support and will only reject it once that critical threshold of truth speakers keep hammering over and over, theft is wrong, slavery is wrong, violence is wrong. The Chinese will have to do the same thing, which requires the widespread acceptance by the Chinese people, made popular by writers, philosophers and other originators of ideas.

Re:Do Chinese leaders feel no guilt? (3, Insightful)

brit74 (831798) | more than 2 years ago | (#39679303)

They are blocking free speech by users. Surely there must be some "twinge" in their brains that says, "This is wrong to take down people's posts."

I'm sure that the Chinese leaders and censors are doing this stuff because they believe it's for the betterment of Chinese society and China as a nation. In their view, they're removing lies that get people all stirred up, they're silencing the rebel-rousers inciting people to do something bad, the no-good / ill-informed "rebels" are harming the stability and legitimacy of the Chinese government (whom they most likely believe are doing a good job compared to all the alternatives), the "rebels" are dangerous to China's continued economic growth (which would help Chinese people in general and China's position internationally), the censors are maintaining stability and the status-quo in society and preventing an unknown and destructive anarchy. I'm betting those are the beliefs in their heads, and it would mean that they don't feel guilty about what they're doing. It doesn't actually require that Chinese censors are motivated by an evil self-interest.

Re:Do Chinese leaders feel no guilt? (1)

readin (838620) | more than 2 years ago | (#39680315)

They are blocking free speech by users. Surely there must be some "twinge" in their brains that says, "This is wrong to take down people's posts."

A normal person with a normal conscience would probably think that, but how far do you think you can go in the Chinese government if you have a normal conscience. The system selects for people who are willing to violate rights and lie convincingly about it - even far more so than the typical democratic system.

Nothing to see here, move along! (1)

pla (258480) | more than 2 years ago | (#39677913)

Say, have you heard? Hu Jintao came out as a closet furry today! Shhh, don't tell anyone!

Oh yeah, and for some reason we have tanks rolling toward a bunch of hippies in Tiananmen square or something like that. Whatever.

Zombie story - Chapter One (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39677917)

This is how the world ends, now with a bang, but a BITE!

And China will keep silent until a wave of undead spills over their borders.

Re:Zombie story - Chapter One (2, Interesting)

paleo2002 (1079697) | more than 2 years ago | (#39678021)

I don't usually go in for conspiracy theories and crazy end-of-the-world stuff, but I was just thinking about the same thing. What if aliens were to finally visit the Earth? They'd be likely to head for the largest modern civilization, which is basically China. Would we ever hear about it, especially if something went wrong? Same deal with any other sort of globally important event or disaster. Weaponized nationalist pride, basically . . . scary.

Re:Zombie story - Chapter One (4, Insightful)

Twintop (579924) | more than 2 years ago | (#39678493)

You're trying to use the metric of countries = largest civilization. Any extraterrestrial visitors (probably) wouldn't know where China's borders were. My guess is they would go to the areas with the most light emitted at night [cg-files.com] , which would probably be Western Europe, Eastern Seaboard of the US, or Japan.

Re:Zombie story - Chapter One (1)

paleo2002 (1079697) | more than 2 years ago | (#39679287)

I was thinking more in terms of population density combined with industrialization (cities, roads, power plants, etc.). Throw in your suggestion of brightest lights and you basically get Beijing or Shanghai.

Re:Zombie story - Chapter One (1)

savuporo (658486) | more than 2 years ago | (#39679817)

Aliens homing in on an intensity of particular frequency of electromagnetic spectrum ? Why this particular wavelength ? These would be pretty dumb aliens i'd say, hardly intelligent enough to cross interstellar distances. Unless you mean something like Golgafrincham Ark Fleet, Ship B

Re:Zombie story - Chapter One (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39678607)

Did you ever see any movies? Obviously any aliens will head straight to Washington D.C where the government peons will await them, first in an inconspicuous fleet of black vans and SUV, followed by the military, after some fool president gets the urge to declare war or otherwise offend them. The aliens will then proceed to destroy the entire human race, which, incidentally, is composed of more nations than just the U S of A, but somehow the aliens never seem to care about that. Then some other fool will convince them that humans are not so bad after all, or failing that, send a virus to disable their entire fleet at once, and everyone still alive will live happily ever after.

Weird (3, Insightful)

Securityemo (1407943) | more than 2 years ago | (#39677937)

Why would a government, even a repressive one, crack down on rumors for no reason? Is unfounded rumors (not actual dissent, mind, but weird stuff like this) spreading and causing actual trouble a problem in China?

Re:Weird (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#39677987)

Your sig says it all. Emotions. Fear. Uncertainty. Doubt.

The government wants happy Pandas.

Something is happening (2)

xzvf (924443) | more than 2 years ago | (#39678113)

The rumors may not be true, but there is a shakeup in the ruling class. Some has leaked out in official releases around the sacking of Bo and his wife, but the people in power are reacting to unexpected events. Some are falling out of favor and some are trying to consolidate power. All in an environment where the loser and their families don't just retire to a quiet life in the country. It is unlikely the government will change, or there will be a popular uprising, but something is happening in the halls of power.

Weirder (1)

Toe, The (545098) | more than 2 years ago | (#39678215)

What seems even odder to me is that they are publicizing their crackdown.

Shouldn't they remove their own site for spreading scandalous rumors that they are cracking down on rumors?

Re:Weird (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39678257)

"Why would a government, even a repressive one, crack down on rumors for no reason?"

Maybe the messages that were erased are not what that repressive government says they are?

Re:Weird (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39678409)

Because the rumors are true.

Re:Weird (0)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 2 years ago | (#39678419)

Why would a government, even a repressive one, crack down on rumors for no reason? Is unfounded rumors (not actual dissent, mind, but weird stuff like this) spreading and causing actual trouble a problem in China?

They did it to protect the people in their charge from being misled into harmful behavior by liars. Duh!

Lying on a grand scale causes millions of people to act contrary to what is sane and wise. When you get right down to it, intentionally and maliciously causing millions of people to act contrary to what is sane and wise causes far more harm than raping and killing a bus full of children.

If I drove you crazy by injecting you with LSD, it would be clear to everyone that I'd assaulted you. If I do it with lies, that's "protected self expression".

Personally, I have a great deal of respect for the Chinese government for doing this.

Re:Weird (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39679145)

I'd like to believe you're trolling, but I'm going to pretend I don't think you are.

The ideas you've espoused present the idea that people aren't responsible for their ideas if they hear someone say something that isn't true. I think that severely undermines the belief that people are capable of making decisions for themselves (in this case, the validity of the message heard). I'm not saying that if you continuously pelt the person with the information over loudspeakers until they start chanting with it that you're not doing harm to the person. I'm saying that just because information is there (valid or not) doesn't mean the person has to believe it. From my standpoint, by going to the information, the person already had certain preconceptions that are strengthened or weakend by the material and I don't see a problem with it merely being available. If the Chinese government's views are always known to be the absolute truth, being presented with something that isn't consistent with the government's views shouldn't be a problem because of the track record of the government.

I guess my question here is: If the government is telling the truth and is always a trustworthy source, why do they have to remove posts/sites with conflicting information? Shouldn't their reputation for telling the truth be enough for the average person to use to thoroughly ignore the "lies"?

Coup Rumors Freaked Out Leadership (3, Informative)

Koreantoast (527520) | more than 2 years ago | (#39678649)

There were rumors of a possible coup [bbc.co.uk] by a faction of PLA officers who allegedly supported Bo Xilai, a former Politburo candidate who was sacked on allegations of corruption and murder. No real evidence, but the central government was already uneasy because such a high profile scandal has introduced significant uncertainty to their succession planning. Therefore, the Chinese government did not appreciate such rumors and speculation spreading like wildfire on the Internet.

Re:Weird (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39679561)

Because in a controlled media rumors are the only source of sensitive information. Whether true or not, they are an information source not under the control of the government.

Bah! (1)

ickleberry (864871) | more than 2 years ago | (#39678093)

The dirty evil Chinese commie bastards

A little bird told me (1)

mdsolar (1045926) | more than 2 years ago | (#39678121)

It was really 43 websites. But you didn't hear that from me....

And in other news ... (4, Insightful)

Skapare (16644) | more than 2 years ago | (#39678133)

... Beijing Police arrested a man believed to have shouted "Fire!" in the crowded downtown theatre where dozens of movie viewers were injured in the mad stampede to evacuate. Fortunately there were no deaths. Fire officials found no evidence there had been any fire, smoke, or any risk of a fire. A theatre official said the theatre is a modern one built to the utmost safety standards.

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

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#39679077)

The government in response passed legislation that all citizens would have to wear microphones around their necks which would monitor everything they said. To prevent someone else from yelling out fire.

Inquiries about whether the microphones would be used just to monitor words like "Fire" and not used to monitor political speech were met with uncontrollable laughter from the government spokesperson.

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

HapSlappy_2222 (1089149) | more than 2 years ago | (#39680159)

You're both right. There needs to be enough of a deterrent to minimize the chance of people from generating a mass panic, but not so much that even the smallest freedoms are stomped on. China's leadership isn't known for worrying too much about that second bit.

Probably because of the "Arab Spring"? (1)

dryriver (1010635) | more than 2 years ago | (#39678201)

Chinese officials are probably mortified by the possibility that some day, Chinese citizens may band together/organize over the internet, and decide to have a spontaneous uprising or two of their own against the ruling authorities, just like happened in the Arab world. Seen through this prism, unwanted spreading of rumors with any potential political implications or "viral properties" may be seen as an "early sign" of people bonding/moving together online in spontaneous ways the authorities frown upon. There is another possibility to consider as well. To this days we don't know how much of the online-component of the "Arab Spring" was genuinely Arab youths, and how much was potentially "fake social media accounts" created by forces outside the Arab world, and utilized to spur the Arab revolutions on, ensuring that they happen (who knows whether Mohammed1331 is a real person, or a fake account created somewhere in the West?). China may be worried of something similar being done in China and may see "unchecked rumor spreading" on its microblogs as a potential source of spontaneous, viral bonding, intended to cheerlead an eventual uprising...?

Improve my Youtube experience. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39678227)

I wish China would moderate Youtube comments.

Different culture, doomed to failure (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39678273)

You'll hear that a lot of Chinese say they prefer tyranny and censorship in the name of the "greater good". We know in the west that this is crap. In practice, this concept is little more than a tool of corruption, exploitation, and oppression. I simply leads to on overall system of inferior production and inferior economic gain.

China will become a western style democracy or it will collapse. Their current system of government is grossly inefficient and does not scale.

Re:Different culture, doomed to failure (0)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#39679079)

Rah Rah, USA #1!!!!

Re:Different culture, doomed to failure (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#39679433)

China will become a western style democracy or it will collapse. Their current system of government is grossly inefficient and does not scale.

There are many more options than that.

Just because we have witnessed a few options, that does not mean those are the only options.

China will never be like the US.

Just for fun (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 2 years ago | (#39678601)

Take out the words China and Bejing in the summary and re-read it.

Cultural Differences (1)

lcam (848192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39678809)

It's interesting how much more important the Chinese think rumors are. It's as though they want definitive information in circulation (where definitive herein means accepted/state sponsored). As though the population seeks rumors and gives them more importance.

That differs from how the US handles rumors by creating other news that may contradict, obscure and drown out rumors. Americans have been desensitized to "sensationalist" type journalism whereas in China they seem to still react to it.

The Chinese want a clear message or signal where as the US is more then happy to jam a message or signal. Both seem like good ways to control the populations by media but certainly culturally oriented to each country.

Personally, I would rather have not been desensitized as much. I certainly dislike state control more than desensitization though.

Re:Cultural Differences (0)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#39679059)

The "US" way creates a public mental health hazard -- people are constantly assaulted with emotionally significant messages that they can not evaluate.

Re:Cultural Differences (1)

lcam (848192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39679185)

The Chinese way creates an "in-your-face" state censorship issue. It's like they are always "cracking down" on journalists when they create unwanted rumors.

The US relies on corporate crackdowns (journalists losing their job) instead of the direct interference approach the Chinese use when a journalist publishes something out of line.

What do you think is the better of the two? I can't tell.

Re:Cultural Differences (0)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#39679729)

Who cares about journalists? They can go fuck themselves. The problem is with 100% of population going crazy from dealing with screaming headlines.

Re:Cultural Differences (1)

lcam (848192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39679905)

Well, do you think that's the problem?

I suppose screaming headlines occur when the business of spreading news becomes competitive. Ever been in a party that starts out ok and before long everyone is screaming just to be heard. Maybe the news industry experiences a similar "I don't want to be drowned out in the static" type experience that causes escalation...

Then there is escalation of policies in general. Today it's crackdowns on journalism, but maybe tomorrow that moves on to bloggers or forum comments. Then the next thing you know you are required to buy a TV set that has a camera and a microphone build in to "monitor" your viewing preferences.

I still don't know whether state "in your face" is better then state "secretly watching". And anyone here who denies the US doesn't watch their citizens should read up on the latest about wiretapping and eavesdropping the internet and phone networks in the latest terrorism search.

That being said, I'm American, I prefer my preferences to be in line with my country and environment; in this case, I'm just not sure what's better. Sounds like things can get very bad very fast around here. I just don't know why or when or even if.

Another news release from the Chinese government: (1)

kheldan (1460303) | more than 2 years ago | (#39678877)

"Beatings will continue until morale improves"

Freedom of Speech (1)

the_pace (1319317) | more than 2 years ago | (#39678893)

Can we equate the bomb threats in University of Pittsburgh as freedom of speech as there has not been actual bomb explosion? What would happen if a person or persons responsible for those threats are to be apprehended?

False and dangerous rumor! (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 2 years ago | (#39678947)

The Chinese government does not engage in censorship and detainment of people saying it engages in censorship and detainment. Nor does it deny that it does so. To say otherwise is a complete fiction!

Free speech stuff (1, Interesting)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#39679023)

The only reason you think, free speech is so important, is that media promotes it for its own selfish purposes such as advertisement revenue and access to politicians. There are plenty of things that have far greater effect on everyone's life, and they are perceived as insignificant because media doesn't run a continuous propaganda campaign for them.

Re:Free speech stuff (2)

Zagnar (722415) | more than 2 years ago | (#39679233)

Pardon, sir, but free speech might just be the most important thing in a democracy. People vote based upon opinions formed from knowledge. If there is no free speech, there is no free dissemination of knowledge. I can't speak for China but here in America, it is a necessity. I'm quite vexed as to how someone with such a low UID came to have such odd opinions.

Re:Free speech stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39679407)

Pardon, sir, but free speech might just be the most important thing in a democracy. People vote based upon opinions formed from knowledge. If there is no free speech, there is no free dissemination of knowledge. I can't speak for China but here in America, it is a necessity. I'm quite vexed as to how someone with such a low UID came to have such odd opinions.

Indeed, because a UID actually means something. Riiight...

Re:Free speech stuff (0)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#39679669)

Pardon, sir, but free speech might just be the most important thing in a democracy. People vote based upon opinions formed from knowledge. If there is no free speech, there is no free dissemination of knowledge.

You mean, paid propaganda, right?

Knowledge is already very easy to conceal -- just make it classified, and outside of freak incidents like Manning/Wikileaks it will never be known or believed by any significant number of people to matter in "democracy". "Free speech" is used in a political process only and entirely for publishing editorials and election advertisements -- the former should better be censored to enforce fact checking, and the latter must be banned and replaced with public-financed election debates and disclosures.

Re:Free speech stuff (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#39679849)

the former should better be censored to enforce fact checking, and the latter must be banned and replaced with public-financed election debates and disclosures.

Who will be doing the fact checking, and why should we trust them to do it "right"?

Re:Free speech stuff (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#39680197)

Anyone other than supposedly-everyone-but-really-no-one.

Re:Free speech stuff (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39679617)

Free speech is the only way to let the marketplace of ideas choose the best one.

Re:Free speech stuff (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#39679703)

Oh yeah, let's expand the use of "free market" bullshit to determine what is true.

Re:Free speech stuff (1)

poity (465672) | more than 2 years ago | (#39679891)

I invite you to make this same post entitled "Free speech stuff", which belittles free speech in favor of some other unspecified right, in future threads about copyright, OWS, wikileaks, net neutrality, etc. Well-reasoned thought should be able to assert itself in any context.

Re:Free speech stuff (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#39680255)

OWS is not speech, it's civil disobedience and petitioning the government. Most people still don't even know, what exactly the protesters' demands were.
Wikileaks got no benefit from free speech protection, they had to shield themselves from governments and other entities whose information they distributed, by hiding abroad.
Copyright infringement, no matter how stretched definition of copyright is used, never was successfully defended as a free speech issue.

I think, my position is just fine with those things.

Re:Free speech stuff (1)

poity (465672) | more than 2 years ago | (#39680027)

Free speech is a right like any other. There is no such thing as a "more important right" or "less important right", they are equally so. To think less of one is to invite abuse upon it. Perhaps that's what we're seeing -- if people in China place greater value upon their lives and their ability to do business and make money within the Chinese system than on the right to speech, then things like this are able to occur as they are.

because China is large (1)

zugedneb (601299) | more than 2 years ago | (#39679131)

and they have to maintain order, otherwise the country will fall into many smaller, like CCCP, Jugoslavia...

This was the reason why East european countrys maintained people technologically retarded, and never embraces marke.

After WW1 and WW2 the winners obtained land from the loosers, with the local etnicities on those lands. The only way to keep things riotfree and free of civil wars, was to keep people in some simulated "stone age".

As an example, the communists in CCCP took the leadership from the czar (emperor), and as all know, it takes, hmm, some force, to make an empire. The only way they could keep the country undivided was by threat and military dominance. They needed teh army at home, not to attack USA...

Romania became communist, so that with the halp of CCCP, keep Transylvania, with its forrests and rivers and mountains (natural resources)...

There are other reasons than dumbness for many things in this world.
Keep theese things in mind when u criticize.

double standard (1)

kwoff (516741) | more than 2 years ago | (#39679351)

I found this article to be reasonable, except perhaps for the (tongue-in-cheek?) "Can we tolerate fake of inferior products with the aim of promoting the free market?" But does that mean I think a government should be taking down blog posts? No. I think the way to combat this is to embrace their logic. If social stability is of such importance, then argue, as the post does in the final paragraph:

While cracking down on rumors that endanger public and state security, authorities should also study the roots of rumors and public sentiment. A more open and transparent government and the immediate issuance of relevant information could improve the government's credibility and better dispel rumors.

And what kind of social stability is promoted by fear of reprisals for having opinions?

Official Statement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39679443)

The Glorious People's Republic reported today that reports of a shutdown of internet rumors were just a subversive rumor started by the people who had had their rumor reports censored.

Succession dispute in Beijing. (5, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#39679447)

A vague rumor of "Military vehicles in Beijing" is a bit much. At least one web site is pairing that rumor with a stock shot of Chinese tanks on parade. [radio86.com] The crackdown was a dumb move that gave the rumor credibility.

There is something big going on, though. China is about to have a major change in leadership, but China doesn't have an reliable way to pick its national leaders. There's a power struggle within the Party each time this happens. It's only happened three times since Mao, and the first two produced the Great Leap Forward disaster and the Cultural Revolution. The third, in 1992, went smoothly. Governments all over the world are watching this closely. Nobody knows who will be running China a year from now.

This year, seven of the nine Standing Committee members are retiring. One of the anointed successors, Bo Xilai, has been arrested on murder charges. [wsj.com] This has thrown the succession process into confusion. The South China Morning Post (out of Hong Kong) says this was a "liberal coup". This followed rumors of a coup last month, [huffingtonpost.co.uk] a coup which didn't happen. (In general, coups that are predicted don't happen - they require surprise.)

The Chinese government is desperately trying to prevent public involvement in the succession process. China does not have real elections. So "public involvement" means riots or civil wars. Historically, those have changed governments. So the Party is trying to keep the lid on.

Straight from Alpha Complex (1)

Dave Emami (237460) | more than 2 years ago | (#39679781)

Creating rumors, spreading rumors, and listening to rumors are treason, Citizen. Please report such rumors to Your Friend the Computer immediately! Thank you for your cooperation.

Stay Alert! Trust no one! Keep your laser handy! [archive.org]

Why announce if the public isn't onboard? (1)

doston (2372830) | more than 2 years ago | (#39679821)

Why does China bother even announcing it? Seems that if China was truly evil, it would just silently delete the posts, block the sites, maybe break some activist knee-caps. Must be that their elite and mainstream population is on board with censorship and the government is letting them know that something's being done about it. If the censorship was wildly unpopular there, any announcement would defeat the purpose of quelling protest.
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