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Chinese Censors Are Being Watched

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the quis-custodiet-ipsos-custodes? dept.

Censorship 71

Rambo Tribble writes "The Economist is reporting on two research teams, one at Harvard and another at the University of Hong Kong, who have developed software to detect what posts to Chinese social media get censored. 'The team has built up a database comprising more than 11m posts that were made on 1,382 Chinese internet forums. Perhaps their most surprising result is that posts critical of the government are not rigorously censored. On the other hand, posts that have the purpose of getting people to assemble, potentially in protest, are swept from the internet within a matter of hours.' Chinese censors may soon have to deal with an unprecedented transparency of their actions."

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First uncensored post (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40608345)

The other first posts must have already been censored.

Re:First uncensored post (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#40610407)

nah, you were just faster than all tho

Re:First uncensored post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40612893)

The other first posts must have already been censored.

Not funny. I've lost count of the 'interesting' posts that have suddenly been removed from this slash-dot while insipid flame-wars and conspiracy nutters remain.

So that's who... (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608365)

Watches the watchmen.

But who watches those who watch the watchmen, eh?

Re:So that's who... (1)

Jetra (2622687) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608387)

The watchers are being watched while being watched. Watch-ception.

Re:So that's who... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40608405)

Duuuuuuuuuunnnnn....
Duuuuuuuuuunnnnn.....

Bombastic nested loops

Re:So that's who... (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608447)

The watchers are being watched while being watched. Watch-ception.

Eyes wide open source, of course!

Re:So that's who... (2)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608741)

Kiteo, his eyes closed.

Re:So that's who... (2)

colinrichardday (768814) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608391)

Slashdot, among others.

Re:So that's who... (0)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608435)

It's a circular relationship.

Universities are great repositories of knowledge thanks to the students who arrive knowing much and leave knowing little.

Re:So that's who... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40609705)

It's a circular relationship.

Universities are great repositories of knowledge thanks to the students who arrive knowing much and leave knowing little.

Yes, but when they leave they know why they know little, while they were clueless about their knowledledge before going to university.
-- Anonymous professor

Re:So that's who... (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608573)

I watched The Watchmen. I thought it was pretty good, actually. The montage during the opening credits was brilliant.

Re:So that's who... (1)

binkzz (779594) | more than 2 years ago | (#40613177)

I watched The Watchmen. I thought it was pretty good, actually. The montage during the opening credits was brilliant.

I watched you watch The Watchmen. It was more entertaining than watching The Watchmen.

Re:So that's who... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40610985)

But who watches those who watch the watchmen, eh?

Well, if Chinese censors have their way, no one in China.

Well I'll be a big brother's uncle! (1)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608395)

Chinese censors may soon have to deal with an unprecedented transparency of their actions.

The question remains, however: Who watches the watchers watching the censors? Those at U of Hong Kong may have to soon deal with an unprecedented amount of attention upon their actions.

Re:Well I'll be a big brother's uncle! (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608563)

Chinese censors may soon have to deal with an unprecedented transparency of their actions.

Go ahead, guess how the censors are going to "deal" with transparency. I'll give you a hint: it's already their job to "deal" with transparency.

Re:Well I'll be a big brother's uncle! (5, Informative)

clodney (778910) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608679)

If you RTFA (no really), one of the conclusions is that the goal of the censorship is to provide a form of safety value. Let the people criticize the party/government, and even let that root out corruptions and law breaking. But when the discussion turns to protest or other forms of mass action, start censoring and nip it in the bud.

Not in favor of censorship, but I have to admit it is a pretty effective strategy.

Re:Well I'll be a big brother's uncle! (3, Insightful)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608919)

But when the discussion turns to protest or other forms of mass action, start censoring and nip it in the bud.

To add to that, and to show why the censors aren't shaking in their little space boots, a discussion of censorship would also trigger the censorship. This is how the censors "deal" with transparency of their actions, they hide it from The People. They don't really care if the rest of the world knows about it.

Re:Well I'll be a big brother's uncle! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40613421)

To add to that, and to show why the censors aren't shaking in their little space boots, a discussion of censorship would also trigger the censorship. This is how the censors "deal" with transparency of their actions, they hide it from The People. They don't really care if the rest of the world knows about it.

That is actually not true. I was recently in China and was able to read all about Internet censorship in China on the Internet including on Wikipedia.

Re:Well I'll be a big brother's uncle! (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#40609907)

The cynic might suggest that the Chinese have caught on to the existence of 'slacktivists', who find bitching on the internet to be cathartic; but are generally quite harmless, especially if you don't bother them in their favorite hobby.

(Says the guy whose username is 'fuzzyfuzzyfungus', on Slashdot, before no doubt going back to working for world peace or something...)

Re:Well I'll be a big brother's uncle! (2)

siddesu (698447) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608711)

The more important question that remains is about preemptive censorship. Who can count the posts and other internet activities that don't make it into the monitoring software of the researchers because of blocking, filtering, whatever?

As technology improves, Chinese censors may need to deal with unprecedented transparency, but the researchers will certainly have to deal with ever more effective methods of controlling the Internet. And it is not clear who will come on top in this kind of arms race, especially in the short to medium run.

Besides, it isn't happening only in China, the push for censorship under various pretexts is very much active in the West too, as well as technological development that facilitates such filtering and a strong and concerted PR to justify the push.

Re:Well I'll be a big brother's uncle! (1)

iserlohn (49556) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608747)

Hong Kong is different to the mainland and freedom of expression is guaranteed in the Basic Law, the mini-constitution that took effect in 1997 after the handover when it transitioned from British colonial rule to Chinese rule. The worse the government does is to erect sound-proof barriers between demonstrators and visiting communist party leaders to keep them in their little bubble.

Whether there are repercussions (i.e. travel restrictions then they attempt to go into the mainland) for the researchers remain to be seen - but in HK, they can pretty much do as they like.

so what (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40608421)

in america posts of copyrighted music are swept from the internet within hours. every society has a different opinion on what should be taken off the internet. china wants to prevent riots, america wants to prevent music.

Re:so what (-1)

Jetra (2622687) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608547)

Not true! America wants to pretty much kill the country, first by weaking the will of people, then by taking away our freedoms, then finally putting the nail in the coffin by declaring the NAU (North American Union) in an attempt to "revitalize" America's dying economy.

Meanwhile, the aliens we descovered in Roswell so many years back were actually an intelligent race that wants to include us in it's universal family. But, the elite class are trying to ensure that anyone who's not of any major government position (CoughCongressCough) and is planning our imminent demise.

Proof that America doesn't want to just prevent music.

Re:so what (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40609031)

Is the incoherent thought process part of the troll or does it come naturally?

Re:so what (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40613597)

I didn't find this to be trolling. I thought it was funny.

Re:so what (5, Insightful)

poity (465672) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608565)

Here come the false equivalencies getting +5 in a matter of hours, too.
If you're in America, see if any of these sites are blocked
http://thepiratebay.se/ [thepiratebay.se]
http://www.mininova.org/ [mininova.org]
http://isohunt.com/ [isohunt.com]
http://www.demonoid.me/ [demonoid.me]
http://www.torrentreactor.net/ [torrentreactor.net]
No? Then your claim that "in america posts of copyrighted music are swept from the internet within hours" is false.

And the audacity of equating people who want to assemble and find redress with their local governments with those who want to get free mp3s. I don't know whether to laugh or cry at this sad joke of a comparison. You'll only find naivete like this in the West. If you want to make some accurate comparisons, talk about police brutality in both countries, or maybe talk about Assange if he's ever extradited. In the meantime, get some perspective.

Re:so what (2)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608647)

I thought Isohunt didn't allow you to download torrents from the US?

Re:so what (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40609193)

That's ISOHunt's decision, not some grand US Government censorship scheme.

Re:so what (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40612745)

Uhuh. Sure. At gunpoint. Keep deluding yourselves, Americans. As if it wasn't enough that your government lies to you and you lie to each other.

Re:so what (2)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608719)

China doesnt block websites either, it only filters url, based on the content. In the US, you issue a DMCA (even if you do not own the copyright to the content, and you just want to censor the content) to accomplish the same.
 
  Please note that I am not equating the morality of these two, but only stating that we do have censorship in the US, even if not as bad as China.

Re:so what (4, Insightful)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608891)

How about this one?
http://megaupload.com/ [megaupload.com]

Re:so what (1)

k(wi)r(kipedia) (2648849) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608999)

I think that one was the victim of a judicial DoS. So technically it wasn't censored. Suppressed perhaps?

Re:so what (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40616897)

How about this one?
http://megaupload.com/ [megaupload.com]

That one hosted it's servers IN THE UNITED STATES.

Mininova has gone legit (1)

k(wi)r(kipedia) (2648849) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608959)

Just a quibble with your list of "pirate" sites: Mininova went legit a long time ago. From the usual source [wikipedia.org] :

Mininova is a website offering BitTorrent downloads. Mininova was once one of the largest sites offering torrents of copyrighted material, but in November 2009, following legal action in the Dutch courts, the site operators deleted all torrent files uploaded by regular users including torrents that enabled users to download copyrighted material.

Re:so what (2)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608605)

I hate copyright as much as the next Slashdotter, but there is a huge difference between commercial speech and political speech.

I'm trying to imagine a scenario involving copyright where a political movement could be suppressed.

Yeah but (1)

kilodelta (843627) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608455)

Lets see, a billion people with how many devices - try censoring that! I'm assuming they aren't using tech to do it per se but people.

Re:Yeah but (3, Interesting)

tomhath (637240) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608645)

Yea, but most Chinese are far better off now than they were just a generation ago. A woman I worked with returned to her grandparents' village in China a few years ago; she thought it was unbelievably primitive - but they told her of all the improvements: a road to the village that you could ride a bicycle on instead of walking. Good water in the community well, etc. etc. Their biggest complaint was that all the younger generation had left the village for the cities to work; nobody wanted to work in the rice paddies anymore.

Re:Yeah but (1)

slew (2918) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608685)

Lets see, a billion people with how many devices - try censoring that! I'm assuming they aren't using tech to do it per se but people.

Remember, the govenment essentially controls all ISPs and Internet access points in China, those billion devices just can't go anywhere on the internet when in China. Of course in addition to the people employed to do this, the great firewall uses all the advanced tech [wikipedia.org] like deep packet inspection filters to trigger generic URL filtering, DNS poisoning, IP blocking, and TCP connection reset measures.

They have also bullied large companies to self censor their websites as a condition to maintain their licence to do business in China. An unblocked website in China can't just have an open blog or forum w/o the government shutting it down. It certainly isn't 100% effective, but mostly what they are trying to do is filter for the masses, so that protests/insurgencies have a hard time building critical momentum. Your average joe in china isn't doing all their internet surfing through encrypted proxies...

And (1)

no-body (127863) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608477)

"... have to deal with an unprecedented transparency of their actions"

...will be censored into oblivion within seconds instead of hours....

They'll deal with it (1)

tomhath (637240) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608593)

Chinese censors may soon have to deal with an unprecedented transparency of their actions.

I kinda doubt that the Chinese government has anything to fear from these research teams.

Seems like a plan to me (5, Informative)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608601)

Perhaps their most surprising result is that posts critical of the government are not rigorously censored. On the other hand, posts that have the purpose of getting people to assemble, potentially in protest, are swept from the internet within a matter of hours.

That's not surprising. By leaving the critical posts up the government gives the illusion they aren't as oppressive as they are on free speech. The rally to protest on the streets is a much more public thing. The last thing the Chinese government wants is another "international news incident". Keeping the revolutionaries in their parents' basements is how they do that.

Talk is cheap, so they let it run.

Re:Seems like a plan to me (2)

k(wi)r(kipedia) (2648849) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608725)

Keeping the revolutionaries in their parents' basements is how they do that.

Or how about keeping the counter-revolutionaries in their dorms? Mainland Chinese rich enough to have a basement are less likely to protest in public than those lliving in cramped quarters with ten other poorly fed workers. Most of the public disturbance in China appear to be triggered by poor working conditions or, less often, government abuse of ordinary citizens.

Re:Seems like a plan to me (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40609135)

There is space to criticize the government in China. It's all in how you say it. Most domestic criticism is self-censored to some extent.

I've seen it many times myself. A protester in China can usually get away with saying something along the lines of "the local party bosses are corrupt", or "this particular party policy is harmful". Anything that suggests a localized and correctable problem, but always within the confines of the Communist system. This is what successful protesters in China do these days.

What triggers censorship, imprisonment and worse, is to suggest that the party system itself is the problem. That is what is beyond the pale in China.

This arrangement is hardly perfect of course. However it has created a remarkable amount of space for public discourse in China, far more than those citizens have had in many decades. That political space has allowed China to grow, reform and modernize. In time I suspect that China's reforms will only grow and get more powerful.

Re:Seems like a plan to me (1)

Tibixe (1138927) | more than 2 years ago | (#40619055)

If this is a plan, it's either a plan for quiet transition to free speech or a bad plan. This kind of censorship is ineffective in the long term. All this can achieve is that anti-government rioting starts not at political rallies but in excited crowds like at the fall of the Berlin Wall. Party officials seem to think that since everyone knows the CCP is corrupt, letting the speak is harmless. This is wrong because the net makes criticism of the government "common knowledge" in the game theoretic sense. This makes dissenters more willing to speak since they know the extent of support they have.

The solution = False Positives (4, Insightful)

retroworks (652802) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608937)

" " - that's the posting of words which are often edited ("assembly", "protest") in baidu after baidu, tweet after tweet. A billion people sending false positives, like "assemble a sandwich" or "protest the car engine" will make it extremely difficult for the censors to see what they are blocking. (I have posted the Simplified Chinese translation of "False Positive" at the beginning of this post, but it appears to be censored).

Re:The solution = False Positives (1)

Johann Lau (1040920) | more than 2 years ago | (#40609395)

The solution is to rise up, not to play along.

Re:The solution = False Positives (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40613731)

They tried that, maybe you've forgotten the tank parade.

Re:The solution = False Positives (1)

Johann Lau (1040920) | more than 2 years ago | (#40613949)

you might as well say they obviously didn't try that hard enough, hence the tank parade...

and who built the tanks, hmm? not high ranking party officials. they don't drive them, either.

also, I said "rise up", not "protest", not "ask". actually rising up would mean it's over before it began. when a dog shakes some fleas off, it's not a fight, is it.

and none of this applies only to china. rise the fuck up. whatever that may mean for you personally, do it.

Re:The solution = False Positives (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40609727)

It's probably just ./ eating the unicodes. Try other chinese characters maybe?

Re:The solution = False Positives (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40610429)

I'm pretty sure there's a difference between "censored" and "doesn't support modern character encodings".

Chinese characters don't have a chance on /. Sorry.

Self censorship (1)

The Evil Atheist (2484676) | more than 2 years ago | (#40609921)

In order to stop their motions being tracked, those censors need to censor their actions by not doing them at all. That'll teach us.

Don't pretend that we are any better... (2, Informative)

CuteSteveJobs (1343851) | more than 2 years ago | (#40609945)

I recently read an article in a international-edition newspaper (sorry - can't remember which) by an apologist writer for the Chinese government censorship. He claimed that the Chinese government doesn't have an issue with reporting corruption by local government officials - indeed they see this as a useful public service and a vent for the public - and so won't censor these stories, but he did say they will censor stupid rumours (sham cures for radiation) but primarily anything that might cause a public gathering to take place. (After all, that's how revolutions get started! ;-) This project will find a way to verify this, though what happened with T^2 and the blind dissident GC obviously doesn't fit his model.

But don't pretend for a moment we are any better. The news is heavily censored everywhere, even in liberal western democracies:
http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/18/google-getting-more-requests-from-democracies-to-censor/ [nytimes.com]

Libel laws are a very effective way to cause self-censorship by the media:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-censorship [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_defamation_law [wikipedia.org]
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/britains-libel-laws-are-stifling-free-speech-says-un-894519.html [independent.co.uk]
http://overland.org.au/blogs/loudspeaker/2012/03/defamation-laws-the-real-threat/ [overland.org.au]
http://www.law.uts.edu.au/comslaw/factsheets/archivedfactsheets/freespeechanddefamationpre2010.html [uts.edu.au]
http://www.studentatlaw.com/articles/130/1/Defamation-and-Freedom-of-Speech/Page1.html [studentatlaw.com]
http://www.nytimes.com/1995/11/12/opinion/self-censorship-at-cbs.html [nytimes.com]
http://www.japanlaw.info/law2003/2003_LIBEL_LAW_AND_CORRUPTION.html [japanlaw.info]

There's also soft self-censorship too even in the US: "Sure you can print that... if you are prepared for consequences... Ah wonderful. I knew we could find common ground."
http://rt.com/usa/news/editor-at-top-us-newspaper-resigns-over-censorship/ [rt.com]
http://cofcc.org/2011/03/new-york-times-editor-confesses-to-censoring-information-about-black-crime/ [cofcc.org]
http://usmediaandisrael.com/intimidation-at-the-new-york-times/ [usmediaandisrael.com]
http://omnologos.com/watch-out-for-self-censorship-at-the-new-york-times/ [omnologos.com]

"Tell the truth and run." - Yugoslav proverb

Re:Don't pretend that we are any better... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40621251)

In Norway entire comment fields (all comments no matter what point of view they profess or how they make their argument) are regularly removed from the major newspapers if a majority of comments are deemed too politically incorrect.

When that doesn't happen individual comments containing no incitement or verbal abuse are removed without explanation and no matter what position the commenter holds on the given subject (pro or con etc.). This is done both "openly" and covertly; sometimes one can see that a comment has been removed and other times they disappear without any trace since for example Disqus now has that ability.

During the last year entire comment systems together with their complete databases of comments and discussion have been outright removed.

These examples are from the three largest Norwegian newspapers (none of which would survive without governmental economic assistance and subsidy). Of course there's hardly any actual reporting left anyways, just as elsewhere, and commenting is only allowed on a small selection of stories.

tl;dr China? They seem to allow more than my own government so why should I focus on China? That's nothing but misdirection and I bet that counts for quite a few other European "democracies" as well :(

Deeper than that (see Chomsky etc.) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40621689)

http://www.chomsky.info/articles/199710--.htm [chomsky.info]
"The universities, for example, are not independent institutions. There may be independent people scattered around in them but that is true of the media as well. And it's generally true of corporations. It's true of Fascist states, for that matter. But the institution itself is parasitic. It's dependent on outside sources of support and those sources of support, such as private wealth, big corporations with grants, and the government (which is so closely interlinked with corporate power you can barely distinguish them), they are essentially what the universities are in the middle of. People within them, who don't adjust to that structure, who don't accept it and internalize it (you can't really work with it unless you internalize it, and believe it); people who don't do that are likely to be weeded out along the way, starting from kindergarten, all the way up. There are all sorts of filtering devices to get rid of people who are a pain in the neck and think independently. Those of you who have been through college know that the educational system is very highly geared to rewarding conformity and obedience; if you don't do that, you are a troublemaker. So, it is kind of a filtering device which ends up with people who really honestly (they aren't lying) internalize the framework of belief and attitudes of the surrounding power system in the society. The elite institutions like, say, Harvard and Princeton and the small upscale colleges, for example, are very much geared to socialization. If you go through a place like Harvard, most of what goes on there is teaching manners; how to behave like a member of the upper classes, how to think the right thoughts, and so on. "

And:
http://disciplined-minds.com/ [disciplined-minds.com]
"In this riveting book about the world of professional work, Jeff Schmidt demonstrates that the workplace is a battleground for the very identity of the individual, as is graduate school, where professionals are trained. He shows that professional work is inherently political, and that professionals are hired to subordinate their own vision and maintain strict "ideological discipline."
    The hidden root of much career dissatisfaction, argues Schmidt, is the professional's lack of control over the political component of his or her creative work. Many professionals set out to make a contribution to society and add meaning to their lives. Yet our system of professional education and employment abusively inculcates an acceptance of politically subordinate roles in which professionals typically do not make a significant difference, undermining the creative potential of individuals, organizations and even democracy."

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Hong Kong? (2)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 2 years ago | (#40610019)

It seems interesting that Hong Kong has been very vocal recently in criticizing Beijing. In fact, it seems interesting that 1 country 2 systems has been maintained for so long with little change, especially since it is clear that Hong Kong (and Macau) has it much better than mainland China, for example, life expectancy in mainland China is only 73, in Hong Kong it is 82, nearly a decade of difference. Between the vast differences in wealth and standard of living in the 2 areas of China, I'm really surprised that those in mainland China don't rise up and demand the system that Hong Kong has. Do the Chinese not equate the system of government to the greater wealth and health of Hong Kong? Or do they simply not have the facts to compare the two?

Re:Hong Kong? (3, Interesting)

Malc (1751) | more than 2 years ago | (#40611231)

China's a country of over a billion a people of different ethnicities and cultures, which you can't really look at it through the lens of averages or generalisations. The difference between rural China and Shanghai is far greater than the difference between Shanghai and Hong Kong. You might as well ask: why don't the people of the US rise up and demand better when their is so low?

Re:Hong Kong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40621333)

You accidentally and also Cantonese.

That makes sense (1)

cjcela (1539859) | more than 2 years ago | (#40610523)

Abusive governments do not care about people liking them or not. They care about nobody organizing anything close to a resistance.

Re:That makes sense (1)

thoughtsatthemoment (1687848) | more than 2 years ago | (#40611043)

In China the abuse is in the culture, where almost everyone there does things in a similar way to others considered to have a lower social status. Inciting a revolution and having another group of people in power changes nothing but brings chaos and misery.

For American people capable of exert influence there, the best way to bring changes is not to do battle on the internet, but to persuade or force the government give up indoctrination. There is still a required course in China called Marxist Philosophy, which of course is total BS. If children grow up without that, the culture of abuse can be changed.

Re:That makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40612243)

I grew up in former "communist" country and had obligatory Marxist Philosophy, Marxist Sociology, Marxist whatever ... etc. It doesn't work like you imagine it. In fact, all Marxist narrative comes from "fighting the power", so generally it makes very schizophrenic situation: best and brightest little Marxists will apply what they learned, become dissidents and create trouble for the regime. As time progresses, regime becomes increasingly a capitalistic bureaucracy, sans democracy, and Marxism is reduced to just a set of rituals and symbols.

Ultimately, there are only two socioeconomic systems in the world: The one in which if you are not happy with it you can't do anything about it and the other one in which you can. However, I lied about the latter, I am yet to see one in real life!

Australia's "WhirlPool.net.au" needs this, too!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40611095)

Apparently funded, in part, by large payments from larger companies (including telcos & ISP, from some reports), a popular but moderated Australian forum site, namely:

+ Whirlpool.net.au

has - in recent past - allowed posts to be removed by its growing gang of unknown & anonymous moderators.

It is forbidden to -discuss- moderation or even wonder aloud why a particular post was removed, except either directly to a closed "Ask a Moderator" forum or - with some restrictions - in a forum on the topic.

As a case-in-point, one -puzzling- deletion took a post which referred to one of the entry-level Internet plans of the de facto monopoly telco & ISP (ie, Telstra "Big Pond") as a "poverty trap."

(The plan appeared cheap to new & would-be Internet users, by its -apparently- low (eg, Au$ 29.95 / mon for as low as 500 MB of include data, on a -wired- ADSL or faster service) monthly cost, but often generated revenues that soared to levels formerly seen on business accounts, ie, as/when the user's "excess" data usage rose. This was due to a very high Au$ 150.00 / GB "excess" fee. The fee was listed as Au$ 0.15 / MB in the company's ad's & marketing brochures.)

As the posts were factually accurate, we surmise that Whirlpool owner(s) had no reason to fear any legal challenge to allowing them to remain posted. After all, they simply reported facts and continued with a bit of commentary, that indicated the posters' feelings about "placing a boulder before the blind [new Internet user]."

Others can give you their lists of posts that got slashed, by one or another over-zealous moderators.

Even active & long-time Whirlpool users have been known to be "banned" - one way or another - from posting, after (reportedly) minor infractions of "don't ask / don't tell" (about moderation, in public, near where your post(s) were originally posted, ie, before their removal).

Calls for web sites where deleted posts could be arkived - both so that others can be aware of what actually gets removed by moderators AND so that readers, for whom the controvertial posts were intended can read them, if they desire - have been proposed, but such posts seem also to be removed, when noticed by mod's.

freedom of information (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40611361)

If you think the iron fist here in the west appropriate it's citizen with complete and accurate information then you are an idiot working at Harvard or Hong Kong.

motivation? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40611693)

It's pretty much unanimous that the Chinese are doing very well, thank you very much.

This begs the question what motivates Harvard (and the west in general) to "help" a country that clearly don't need "help"?
Perhaps Harvard could do more good directing it's resources on sub-Saharan Africa or India, or other world's real depraved locations that I'm sure the smart people at Harvard can Google out.
But instead we get a endless diarrhea of "Big Bad China" bowel movements.
So is Harvard's true motivation to "help" somebody who don't need our "help"? Or are there hidden, more nefarious agenda?
Inquiring minds want to know.

China is biggest democracy (1)

muttoj (572791) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612201)

For the last 15 years I travelled 3 or 4 times a year to China for my work. (purchasing cheap stuff I can sell for high dollars in the west)
Each trip averaged two weeks and in those trips I travel all around China.
From HongKong to deep inside of China. I speak with high officials and with factory workers because I am intrigued by their culture.

The Chinese government is really afraid for revolutions. They had many in their history and the Chinese people will start a new revolution if needed.
Especially now the communication freedom is uncontrollable. The government can block some sites but not all of them and if they do block everything than people will start a revolution for sure.

The sole purpose of the government is to satisfy the majority of the people. It is naïve to think you can satisfy everybody but at least they try.

In my home country (The Netherlands) we have a multi-party government. Every 4 years we have a popularity contest (elections). After forming the actual government (which can take months) decision making is slow and always a compromise nobody wants. Then I really favor the Chinese way.

But the Chinese government has a lot of corruption and in some cases no merci for the minority.
So I still prefer to live in my own country and hope our Monarch will seize the power again. :)

Re:China is biggest democracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40613929)

But the Chinese government has a lot of corruption and in some cases no merci for the minority.

Precisely, you can't fight corruption wothout freedom of speech and democracy.
Sorry, but you can't have your cake and eat it too.

Oh, and a good monarch is a dead monarch. Off with their heads.

Re:China is biggest democracy (1)

FhnuZoag (875558) | more than 2 years ago | (#40614587)

Can you fight corruption *with* freedom of speech and democracy?

My Chinese friends, some latin for you: (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612747)

"Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?"

learn it, post it. make it your underground battle cry

Here in the West, we outsource all manufacturing to China. In China, they outsource all rights protections to the West.

A curious, obviously temporary, global arrangement. The West's economy will collapse, and angry Chinese will rise up and demand their rights. Give it 10-20 years.

An immoral defence (1)

Omniskio (1153619) | more than 2 years ago | (#40614123)

"You beat your wife, so why can't I beat mine?"

crusher (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40624023)

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