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Chinese Government Perplexed By Internet Cafes

timothy posted more than 12 years ago | from the censor-censor-censor dept.

Censorship 342

morn writes: "BBC News is reporting, from a recent article in the Beijing Review, that debate is hotting up in China over the burgeoning Intenet cafe industry. Up to 15% of children in large cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou are now said to be using the cafes. The government appears to be worried, and is overseeing the installation of 'information purifiers.'" (Read More)

"In a debate published on the Beijing Review's website, Communist Party officials warned of "online heroin", saying access to pornographic sites and "illegal games" in internet cafes pose a threat to the country's younger generation, who are becoming blighted by the "online poison". It is being said that "Some teenagers are so deeply entrapped by such internet cafes that their minds are severely distorted."

Scholars are arguing against any sort of curtailing of the cafe business, but against strong words like those, do they stand much chance?"

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342 comments

Re:Ah, the smell of resistance... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#257252)

Chinese cop: What is going on here?
Student: We are reading american slashdot site.
Chinese cop: That is forbident!!!

SMACK SMACK SMACK

Re:Please... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#257253)

What do you think all the Chinee money funneled into the last campaign was? They Chinese aren't stupid... they figured if they could buy enough politicians to see if the freedom-loving American People to buy into the "We're censoring the internet to protect children from porn" line, they'd know if they had a winner or not. In the future, I expect to see the Chinese government expressing every anti-democratic and anti-western idea, policy and action as being something "to protect the children".

Information (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#257264)

A collective body of knowledge like the internet is difficult (if not impossible) to control at every level. The influx of information leading to the enlightenment of the populus was the downfall of East Germany and the Soviet Union. The fall of Communism in the East will be driven by the growth of the Internet and free trade with the West. It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of *when*.

Crash into it. (3)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#257271)

Works for most other things.

Culture and Politics (3)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#257272)

Censorship in china is very bezare at times. It comes in waves and fashions. And the internet is the latest fad. There is a irresistible urge to control for both political and socio-cultural reasons. Perhaps that is what happens after thousands years of emperors. Yet on the other side, is the great emphasize placed on education and knowledge. Top-down control vs. bottom-up learning. bound to collide. As china try to kill its nacent internet industry through censorship, and possibly through the creation of entirely new private nets, cut off from the world. things will come to a head.

severely distorted minds? (4)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#257277)

It is being said that "Some teenagers are so deeply entrapped by such internet cafes that their minds are severely distorted."

replace "such internet cafes" with "the internet" and that describes 95% of the slashdot crowd

Sounds just like the U.S. government (4)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#257278)

This sounds just like what the U.S. government is doing to public libraries - forcing them to install filter ("information purifying") software because of the threat ("poison") to kids.

Information wants to be a faery princess (4)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#257279)

What the hell is "information wants to be free" supposed to mean, anyway?

Taken literally, it's obviously not true. So what the hell is it? It doesn't mean creators of information want it to be free, because there are so many that obviously don't.

Does it mean "computer geeks want information to be free"? Kind of a pointless statement if so.

This isn't a troll, though I guess it is a flame. I really do want to know what it's supposed to mean.

I suppose it just means "information should be free", only stated belligerently instead of intelligently.

Re:same news, different story (1)

Bob McCown (8411) | more than 12 years ago | (#257298)

<doublestandard>
This is also true, but its easier for us to point to another country and cry 'foul', and makes us look like the good guy, than it is for us to do something about our own problems.
</doublestandard>

Re:Hypocrisy (2)

MAXOMENOS (9802) | more than 12 years ago | (#257302)

2. You assume people get shot for trying to circumvent it. (?!!?!) That is just ridiculous.

Gee, where would I ever get the ridiculous idea that the Chinese government would shoot their own people [christusrex.org] for excercising their right to speak freely? [photovault.com]

Don't take us Americans for dumber than we look. Some of us don't suck the dicks of our corporations as much as the PRC would hope.

ObJectBridge [sourceforge.net] (GPL'd Java ODMG) needs volunteers.

Re:filters (4)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 12 years ago | (#257311)

What type of filters would they use for the internet cafe's?

Probably paper filters; 'cause that gives a best coffee brew besides Espresso, of course...


--

Dont be ridiculous. Of course it will work. (1)

Jack9 (11421) | more than 12 years ago | (#257312)

If you can control religion, you can control information. There is no distinction in the minds of men. With nearly unlimited manpower and time, I could defeat any attempt to circumvent protections that a (relative) scant few could come up with. Eventually it would not be worth your time. China is big, but it's government is determined, efficient, and ruthless (I repeat myself).

Often wrong but never in doubt.
I am Jack9.
Everyone knows me.

Well.. (3)

RAruler (11862) | more than 12 years ago | (#257314)

I suppose this is a good idea, I mean, if the people started to think for themselves.. they might start adopted different religions or different political views. Oh my! Yes, we must prevent this terrible atrocity from happening. I urge people not to defeat these simple minded by using things like proxies and other such devices.

---

Re:same news, different story (1)

HeghmoH (13204) | more than 12 years ago | (#257316)

Use the search button at the bottom of the slashdot page and take a look at how many stories have been run decrying the US government's attempts at mandating filtering on publicly-funded internet connections.

One damned story about China does not suddenly make that go away.

same news, different story (2)

lisa (19611) | more than 12 years ago | (#257321)

How different is this really from our government trying to (and succeeding in) placing internet filters in our libraries and schools? The biggest difference is that the chinese government is placing a restriction on the private sector- but we do that here too. Even private internet porn sites have age restrictions as to who can view the content on the site.

So lets turn this article around. Everytime you see "Chinese" replace with "American", replace "Internet Cafe" with "Library" or "School" and honestly the story does not sound so far from what we are experiencing here.

-Lisa

Re:China is playing with fire (4)

leereyno (32197) | more than 12 years ago | (#257324)

I would LOVE to see the totalitarian regime that is China collapse. I'd pay good money to help ensure that it does. Tell me a story about oppression crumbling and freedom thriving and I'll be nothing but thrilled.

Freedom is the most precious thing anyone has. It is more valuable than life itself because it is what makes life worth living.

Lee

Re:If the government were to begin "purification". (3)

helarno (34086) | more than 12 years ago | (#257326)

Misusing public computer services is probably as punishable as any other hacker/cracker act.

Internet cafes in China are privately owned, just like cafes elsewhere in the world. Also, with the foot traffic going in and out of these cafes, how can you tell which user redirected the browser to a proxy?

There have been times when I used one of these cafes, only to find that my browser had been directed to a proxy already. Whether it was set by management or a previous user will be impossible to prove.

Re:same news, different story (4)

helarno (34086) | more than 12 years ago | (#257327)

In China you have to be licensed to just use the Internet.

Huh? Last time I used the internet in China, I walked into an ISP office, filled up a form, paid cash and was online in 24 hours.

Unless you can point to where you got that statement, you are the one making up the facts.

Re:Chinese infrastructure (5)

helarno (34086) | more than 12 years ago | (#257328)

Do all "ISPs" in China hang off of one common backbone that goes through Chinese government routers?

Short answer: yes.

Long answer: Mostly. There are four main networks in China (as of 1997).

Chinanet: Main network with something like 90% of all retail customers. Government controlled, institutes filters by IP address at the main gateways to the rest of the world. The bulk of their traffic is routed through pipes (>80Mps) through Shanghai and Beijing. These pipes connect to somewhere in San Francisco. Leads to wierd situations where looking at a site in Hong Kong routes traffic Beijing->San Francisco->Hong Kong and back.

Golden Bridge or something like that: Smaller, competing network, with mostly business clientele. Controlled by another govt ministry. Bulk of their traffic is also routed through single pipe to US. Filtering type unknown.

Academic Networks: Two networks, the original physics research network and the more extensive educational network that links most of the major universities. Filtering type unknown. These network have much more varied connections, including 10Mbps to Hong Kong, 128kbps satellite links to European universities, etc.

These four networks are separate entities, run by different groups. There is some peering between them.

For all intents and purposes, when we talk about internet for the masses in China, we talk about Chinanet. All other ISPs connect to Chinanet and because of the high level router IP blocking, it is possible to block off access to well known sites (CNN, NYT, etc). Last time I checked, proxies and obscure sites were easily accessible though.

Re:This will never work. (5)

helarno (34086) | more than 12 years ago | (#257329)

When will countries finally realize that hiding information only makes people want to find it more? Of course, if they were absolutely positive that their citizens were happy they would have nothing to fear.

Not really. It depends on how used the society is to crackpot views, rumors and plains lies. Long time users of the internet are used to this. A society that is just emerging from authoritarian rule, used to seeing only one side of things, are not used to this and are easily taken advantage of.

A non-internet example would be pyramid schemes. The average US/European/developed country person is wary of these things and rarely taken in, though the occassional sucker exists. On the other hand, it has brought down an entire country's financial system. (East European, forgot name.)

An internet example would be Malaysia, when some idiot office worker sent out an email saying there would be a riot. Thousands of forwards ensued and next thing you knew, half the office workers stayed home fearing the riot. How many millions of dollars of productivity was lost that day? If this can happen in M'sia (highly educated, 97%+ literate, etc,) can it not happen elsewhere?

We focus so much on the internet as a place of freedom that we sometimes forget that there really is a dark underbelly to it. We forget that hatred sites, anarchy sites and just plain misinformation is scattered through it. Until a population matures, there will be a lot of hiccups coming from this unchecked flow of information. Do you blame a government from trying to at least slow down this flow?

Note also that the government is trying to crack down only on cafes, not on home users, where presumably, there are parents who will exercise the requisite discipline/enlightenment.

Re:Sounds familiar.... (2)

ff (35380) | more than 12 years ago | (#257331)

Amen, brother. The number of people who immediately jump on the "Ha! Damn communists! Sure glad I live in the Land of the Free!!" bandwagon only shows how successfully the media in the West, particularly the U.S., have instilled in their population a conditioned reflex for keywords like "china" and "communism". People should learn to use their heads.

Hypocrisy (4)

ff (35380) | more than 12 years ago | (#257332)

It's shocking when then Chinese do it, yet it's been happening in North American libraries and schools for years, with any kind of censorware you can name.

Re:Hypocrisy (5)

ff (35380) | more than 12 years ago | (#257333)

1. You assume people in China can't go home for unrestricted access. There are many ISPs in China, and the measure in question is only aimed at public cafes.<br>
2. You assume people get shot for trying to circumvent it. (?!!?!) That is just ridiculous.
<br><br>
The article only talks about porn and online gambling type activities which is what's being censored in public places in North America as well. But people tend to assume that the Chinese being evil communist scum must have something much more sinister planned. Try to use your head before jumping to the conclusions your government wants you to.

In AD 2001, Internet Cafes was beginning... (5)

brianvan (42539) | more than 12 years ago | (#257341)

Sergeant Cho: What happen?
Wang Wei : Someone set up us the router!
Sergeant Cho: We get signal
Captain Zhao: What!
Sergeant Cho: IRC turn on.
>Welcome to Shanghai Red's EFNet
>No bots please
Captain Zhao: It's you!!
Vinton Cerf: How are you gentlemen!!
Vinton Cerf: All your communist regime are belong to us
Vinton Cerf: You are on the way to democracy
Captain Zhao: What you say?
Vinton Cerf: You have no chance to survive, me love you long time
Vinton Cerf: Ha ha ha ....
>Vinton Cerf has logged out (Network Split)
Sergeant Cho: Captain!!
Captain Zhao: Take off every filtering software!!
Captain Zhao: Move communist propaganda.
Captain Zhao: For great nationalism

Re:If the government were to begin "purification". (3)

Skyfire (43587) | more than 12 years ago | (#257344)

The one difference that I can see is that the cafes are privately owned, where as the libraries and schools are public. Instead of the government infringing on rights on their own things, they are infringing on rights of private businesses

Re:China (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 12 years ago | (#257345)

Troll? arn't you even the slightest bit curious why someone would use the word "heroin" to describe games? porn I can see a distant relationship to if your society is very asexual, but games? Are they trying to say that good-clean-fun is the same as hard drugs? You're exactly the unthinking mass that I'm talking about.

Re:Fat, Dumb & Happy (2)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 12 years ago | (#257349)

indeed. But if every man has the right to choose to be fat, dumb and happy, will they then start to get a little hostile when people like me and you start demanding that they think for themselves. So when they start calling for academics (like Felton) to be silenced, are we supposed to stand by and be complacent? In a twisted form of logic (that probably a lot of uncomputer savy people agree with) Felton is threatening their movies and music and all the little buzzes and whistles (and clowns and jugglers) that make their lives bearable. Should we fear an unthinking mass? I think so.

China (4)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 12 years ago | (#257352)

So does anyone actually know anything about China? Personally I would rather hear from people who are informed than a bunch of anti-communist propoganda. Can anyone recommend some good books for us westerners to read to get the Chinese viewpoint? The comment about herion above reminds me of a passage in Fahrenheit 451, is this what they are talking about:

You cant build a house without nails and wood. If you dont want a house built, hide the nails and wood. If you dont want a man unhappy politically, dont give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none. Let him forget there is such a thing as war. If the government is inefficient, topheavy and tax-mad, better it be all those than that people worry over it. Peace, Montag. Give the people contests they win by remembering the words to more popluar songs or the names of state capitals or how much corn Iowa grew last year. Cram them full of noncombustible data, chock them so damned full of 'facts' they fell stuffed, but absolutely 'brilliant' with information. Then they'll fell they're thinking, they'll be happy, because facts of that sort don't change. Dont give them any slippery stuff like philosphy or sociology to tie things up with. That way lies melancholy. Any man who can take a TV wall apart and put it back together again, and most men can, nowadays, is happier than any man who tries to slide-rule, measure and equate the universe, which just won't be measure or equated without making man feel bestial and lonely. I know, I've tried it; to hell with it. So bring on your clubs and parties, your acrobats and magicians, your daredevils, jet cards, motorcycle helicopters, your sex and herion, more of everythign to do with automatic reflix. If the drama is bad, if the film says nothing, if the play is hollow, sting me with the theremin, loudly. I'll think I'm responding to the play, when it's only a tactile raction to vibration. But I dont care. I just like solid entertainment."

whew, I think there is sooo much in there. Dont we love our surround sound (and our surround light [slashdot.org]) the audience is listening, but are they thinking? China, do they look at us, and see our lives converging as an unthinking mass? Do they fear that and choose to protect their socialist populous. Every post I have seen on here so far has this assumption that the chinese are not happy. That no-one could be happy under a communist regiem. Maybe they are not, but maybe that's the way they want it. Unhappy and awake vs happy but unconcious. Is China's fight against free information to protect their populous any worse than the US's fight against drugs? Or am I just trying to beat an intelligent conversation out of a crowd that isn't capable of it anymore?

Re:China (4)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 12 years ago | (#257353)

There may be a few happy communists, and a lot of stupid ones or ones that don't know the truth about freedom or what life could be like.


are you missing the point or what? maybe, just maybe, there are a lot of happy communists and maybe they are all smart and have willfully chosen to be restricted for the betterment of their society. Do you know? I dont. Do I have to go to China to find out?

Internet Cafe's: PoV of an Asian. (4)

XMage (57519) | more than 12 years ago | (#257354)

The Chinese government reaction is quite similar to the knee-jerk reaction faced by Internet Cafe's all over South East Asia: especially in Brunei, maybe not so in Malaysia and Indonesia.

Nicholas Negroponte points out in "Being Digital" that the next "gap" won't be a "Digital Gap" ... between Digital Haves and Have-Nots ... but a Generation Gap. Basically, the majority of Slashdot readers [people who have a clue] and those who don't [have a clue].

Personally, I think that all organisations must contend with the fundamental reality: that they operate not as an island, surrounded by water, but as organisations in a socio-economic context. This advocates a broader view, not just seeing "Customers" + "Suppliers" + "Sources of Capital" but also considering "Society as a Whole". So, if the Internet Cafe cottage industry faces extinction, it must do what it should have done a long time ago: OPEN COMMUNICATION with "Society as a Whole". A public forum, in real life and over http would do wonders for their public image.

On the flip side, if this cottage industry DOES go belly up, along goes the jobs it has created, the dreams it has brought. This is people's livelihoods we're talking about, so let's not forget them too.

The case in Brunei: [unclued] society has similar concerns of the Chinese government. Concern for morality: pornography & other insiduous materials. If I was them, I would feel the same too ... a potentially damaging technology is inviting my kids to do potentially stupid things.

But people like BMW still make [damn fine] cars that exceed the speed limit in my country. Nobody complains about them. Except maybe how expensive they are. Contrast this to people like Governments: who make painful things called guns [AK-47, M4A1 Carbine]. I think it's only a matter of time, until people in charge and society as a whole fully understand the potentials of the Internet. Or until the clued generation get old enough, whichever comes first.

Now, I'm not one to tell other people how to run their lives. [`cause I'm not going to listen to you telling me how to run MINE]. but parents should be the FIRST to encourage RESPONSIBILITY. I mean, mom & dad trust me with their car. And that's a real empowering experience, not to mention a *practical* one. I can go about my business without relying on other people. But I know the consequences of not living up to my responsibility results in: PENALTY and PENALISATION. [Read: prison for drunk driving]

Similarly, if it's such a problem with kids, who asked you to let them loose on the `net without sitting down with them and teaching them how to make efficient use of it? Dad sat me down, and told me of the ills that could happen, should I digress from the path. Mom scolded me, telling me of the reality drug addicts face in reprimand.

Granted, Counter Strike is a FSCKING cool game ... but after a while, any moderately intelligent kid with a life and healthy interests is gonna get bored of it ... come on, who's gonna spend a 3 hours in a row, sat in front of a PC playing CS ... ? Apart from me, and you who just put your hand up ... and you, you know who you are ch|cken.

Peace. Love. and Tux.

should be fine. (4)

willis (84779) | more than 12 years ago | (#257366)

last time I was in Beijing (ok, 1.5 years ago), slashdot came through fine.

my experiences, part 1 (5)

willis (84779) | more than 12 years ago | (#257367)

(disclosure, IANACN (I am not a Chinese national))


There's a lot of stuff going on in China right now, a lot.


Xiagang (off of post)

Tons of people have been laid off by SOE (state owned enterprises), and don't have a viable source of income. This people are were the bulk of the current unrest is coming from (protests in small cities, usually not heard of in the western media).


Liumin (migrant workers)

Lots of people are moving from the countryside to find work in the big cities/coastal areas. They live in pretty crappy situations, and work crazy hours at construction sites or in factories.


wang ba (internet "bar"/cafe)

When I last visited (a bit more than a year ago), even relatively small cities (on the order of Portland or Omaha(?)) had a good chance of having an internet bar. Lots of college students had web access (although often just access to internal Chinese sites -- because it costs more money to access international lines). China has 1.x billion people, most are in the coutryside. Most don't use computers. Even with 15 million internet users, that's hardly more than a percent or 2. Thing will change fast, but I don't think that the average farmer is going to be surfing for a long, long time.


News sites

Voices of Chinese [voicesofchinese.org] has China headlines from lots of newspapers both US and Chinese.

China News Digest [cnd.org] an old volunteer run news site.

China Online [chinaonline.com] mainly economic/finance news.

Inside China [insidechina.com] political news


Good book

River Town [amazon.com] talks about a man's experiences in teaching English in rural China. Very, very insightful stuff about what the non-big city/coastal life is like.


Damn, I'll probably post more later on tonight -- I didn't get into what I think the Chinese are thinking about, etc, but I'll get to it.


Lastly: I'm really sick of china-haters on slashdot. There's a lot of problems about China, but there are really no easy solutions.

yikes (3)

MillMan (85400) | more than 12 years ago | (#257369)

I've been wondering for some time now how China plans to expand it's economy in the information age with such serious controls on information flow.

The Chinese government seems to be doing the same thing the Soviet Union did, leading up to it's demise (at least from an economic standpoint). With such controls on information (you needed three signatures in the old USSR to use a copier if I remember correctly), I'm not sure it's possible to compete in the global marketplace, at least beyond basic manufacturing. At least China didn't make the mistake of pumping all it's resources into military and heavy industries like the USSR. China does have some silicon fabs, so they do have a bit of a high tech presence.

The other tactic of stealing technology didn't really work for the USSR either. A copy is never as good as the original, and without a scientific knowledge base you'll never be able to improve on the technology you stole. This might not seem to fit in with this article, but perhaps China wouldn't have to be in the reverse engineering business quite as much as it is if they heavily funded academic institutions and allowed them to operate freely like they do in the US. Yes, I know the notion of Universities operating freely is a relative term in the US.

Does anyone have an idea how they can go beyond umbrella manufacturing with their current social setup?

Re:WTO & China (The Good Side of Free Trade) (5)

MillMan (85400) | more than 12 years ago | (#257370)

I think you're right about the cycle you described. Basically the same thing that happened here in the US, during the late 19th and early 20th century.

The cost of progress was high enough here, with lives lost, opression, and all the rest, but in China, the price will be staggering. I can't even imagine the number of people that will die if opposition to their government becomes widespread at some point in time. In the US the opposition to rights of the common man was more corporate/capitalist in nature, not government based. That's an oversimplified comment, but I think it's generally true. The businesses didn't have the weapons, or a majority of them, anyway. The US government likes to keep the rabble in line, for sure, but not to the point of mass murdering the citizens, as China really wouldn't have a problem with (how the US treats citizens of other nations is a different matter, however).

In China, the government is the business, and they have the weapons. Lots of powerful, mass destruction weaponry. This clash you desribe between the government trying to open society while trying to keep it closed could lead to a wild, terrifying ride this century. If humanity shows that it is worthy of survival anytime soon, I think this proof will come out of China. I don't expect too much from our citizens living easy lives here in the first world.

Nothing new.. (1)

Dr. MerkwŁrdigliebe (90125) | more than 12 years ago | (#257375)

Ah yes, Old Men trying to come to terms with New Things. They'll likely never get it, but they will try to suppress it. Never grow "old", boys and girls, which has little to do with age.

The Toxic Material theory of the Net (2)

Seth Finkelstein (90154) | more than 12 years ago | (#257376)

I call the above view expresed in the article, the "toxic material" theory. Take a look what American Family Association has to say, similiar to the "online heroin" rhetoric above.
CAUTION: This is not to say we want you to go looking for trouble. Pornography is dangerous, and viewing it (even for a moment) can set off a terrible chain of events.
[later]
Again, please do not go looking for trouble. Pornography is dangerous, and viewing it (even for a moment) can set off a terrible chain of events.
http://block.afafilter.com/ [afafilter.com]

Re:But will it work? (2)

marcushnk (90744) | more than 12 years ago | (#257377)

Its not as if "Man Power" is a difficult thing to come by in China..
This is a country that can AFFORD to employ threehundred thousand people to sit a PC all day and jot down non-china sites..
Scary ay...

Re:same news, different story (1)

cybercuzco (100904) | more than 12 years ago | (#257384)

This is true, but it doesnt make it any more right for the Chinese to do it than for the Americans to.

Re:If the government were to begin "purification". (5)

cybercuzco (100904) | more than 12 years ago | (#257385)

Dear Slashdotter:

Thank you for the nice list of public proxy servers. Their IP's will now be banned.

Sincerely,

The Chinese Government

Re:If the government were to begin "purification". (2)

Zalgon 26 McGee (101431) | more than 12 years ago | (#257386)

How can we be so self-righteous, when local governments routinely impose similar censorship on public-access facilities here as well? Does your local library have an unfiltered feed? Would your school suspend you for posting negative comments about it?

There's not much difference...

filters (4)

Julian352 (108216) | more than 12 years ago | (#257391)

What type of filters would they use for the internet cafe's?
Normal filters would have to be updated extremely often with the list of blocked site, since it is so easy to create one. Or would they use reverse logic and give a list of allowed sites, with the person having to petition for each specific site. This would destroy any real use of internet.

Re:China (3)

RestiffBard (110729) | more than 12 years ago | (#257392)

I can recommend at least one good book to you that i have read and one i haven't had time to read.

book 1: The Courage To Stand Alone
Wei Jingsheng

book 2: Soul Mountain
Gao Xingjian

book 1 are the collected letters of Wei that he wrote while in prison for twenty years. he made a poster about democracy and put it on a wall. Thats all he did. He only recently was released after years of pressure from groups like amnesty international.

book 2 is a nobel winner for literature though the book is based on the authors real life. it should give you a good feel for the real chinese. I'm still reading it. beautiful stuff. you can pick them both up at Barnes and Noble.

Re:same news, different story (1)

Tralfamadorian (115732) | more than 12 years ago | (#257395)

It's EXTREMELY different as schools and libraries are paid for by the government, they regulate them. Internet cafes are not owned by the government. I would say it is more akin to new yuck state telling restaurants that they can't allow smoking unless they build an air-tight room for it (bars too I believe). And anyway, if the US did it it would be equally as wrong, and believe me, the people of slashdot would me angry.


He who knows not, and knows he knows not is a wise man

Re:Sounds familiar.... (2)

Tralfamadorian (115732) | more than 12 years ago | (#257396)

It's EXTREMELY different as schools and libraries are paid for by the government, they regulate them. Internet cafes are not owned by the government. I would say it is more akin to new yuck state telling restaurants that they can't allow smoking unless they build an air-tight room for it (bars too I believe). And anyway, if the US did it it would be equally as wrong, and believe me, the people of slashdot would me angry.


He who knows not, and knows he knows not is a wise man

link doesn't work (2)

lythari (118242) | more than 12 years ago | (#257397)

b0r1s, your link doesn't seem to work. I can't find the article by from searching the site either.

solidarity begins at home (4)

porky_pig_jr (129948) | more than 12 years ago | (#257403)

before we start laughing at Chinese check all the information purifiers in United States and especially in UK. Remember that 1984 wasn't just a satire on Communism. It was rather accurate prediction to where the whole world is going, including so-called 'western democracies'.

Hello, Chinese Internet Cafe Users? (4)

morn (136835) | more than 12 years ago | (#257406)

I wonder if any of them are [able to be] reading this?

Would any (presuming this information has not yet been 'purified') care to comment?

--

questionable translation? (4)

JiNG (149991) | more than 12 years ago | (#257425)

I wonder how accurate the translation to "information purification" actually is. We can assume that the original article wasn't written in English and thus had to be translated at some point. It's very easy for a translator working for a news agency to soup up the story by translating something to make it seem much more odious that it truly is. I'm not saying that I agree or disagree with what China intends to do, but the words "information purification" seem like they're a bit too contrived and Western/anti-communistic to me. I'd guess that the true meaning of what was written was closer to "regulation" which clearly has a less 1984ish ring to it. What are everyone else's thoughts?

Re:Yet again (3)

TVmisGuided (151197) | more than 12 years ago | (#257426)

"People's Republic of China"...is it just me, or does that name strike anyone else as a severe oxymoron? (Sort of like "Microsoft Works"... *THWACK* okay, I'll shut up now...)

Re:China (5)

Su||uSt (151462) | more than 12 years ago | (#257427)

As an amateur China scholar (at the University level at least), I can at the least point you to a few good books. First I'll say that for the most part the urban Chinese are not unhappy. What they are is quiet. The ones who are unhappy are loud. Thats why it seems like everyone there hates communism. I would guess that the number of people there who dislike the Chinese government is approximately the same as the number of peole in America who hate the American government. The Chinese are quite nationalistic, and for the most part feel that certain sacrifices (like freedom of information) are necessary for the betterment of China. You need only look at the Great Leap Forward or especially the cultural revolution to see this.
Now, as for the books, I would highly recommend (in order or worth)

The China Reader edited by Orville Schell and David Shambaugh. Its a collection of scholarly articals about various modern China subjects (its not right or left wing propoganda [for the most part]).

Governing China by Kenneth Lieberthal. Its part history, part discussion of culture as it relates to China from the Nationalist era (around 1920-1949) through the present.

The previous two were basically textbooks, the final one is an autobiography of the Cultural Revolution titeled Born Red by Gao Yuan. Its discussion of the Cultural Revolution gives great insight into both the urban chinese and the chinese peasantry and how easily they can be manipulated into following mass campaigns.

In order to understand modern China's culture (not necesserily their economy), you really have to understand Mao. I can't say that I do as Mao is a very confusing man whose motives are often difficult to discerne. However, that is certainly the place to start.

Anyway, hope you check out at least one of the books, the Lieberthal book is the only one thats a bit heady, the other two are pretty easy reads.

Re:WTO & China (The Good Side of Free Trade) (3)

Glowing Fish (155236) | more than 12 years ago | (#257428)

That was my first response, years ago, when the WTO was first becoming the "Vietnam of our Generation". That there was no way to keep the world broken into provinces, so why try?

Well, the fact of the matter is that the WTO wants to brake down national borders, but only in certain ways for certain people.

I am perhaps more ignorant on this subject then I should be, but I have been told that (for example) the WTO is trying to make a law that makes it easier for business executives to cross national borders for business purposes, but it doesn't give that same protection to journalists, or political activists\observers. Now of course it could be argued that one is for business purposes and one is political, but realistically, some of those business executives are going to be spreading political influence, either directly or indirectly. So basically what the WTO is doing in this example is opening borders for some but not for others.

I don't buy the whole thing about the WTO being a human rights\free speech treaty. If people wanted a treaty to ensure human rights or free speech, why not just write a treaty ensuring those things instead of a treaty allowing corporations and goverments to sue other governments over health and safety laws? Because no one is going to sign the human rights treaty that hasn't already.

If we want a treaty that sets standards for fair exchange of information, money and people across borders, lets all get together and write that treaty, not let a few corporations and other 31337 people get together in secret and decide what these standards will be.

Re:China (1)

trotsky81 (175260) | more than 12 years ago | (#257431)

Well firstly, I'm not curious at all as to why the Chinese government would liken video games to heroin. You see, there was this fellow once who likened religion to opium. His name escapes me, but I think his ideas were fairly instrumental in Communist thinking...
While I am being a smartass here, there is a kind of point to it. Have you ever seen a die-hard Counterstrike (Diablo 2, Everquest, insert popular game here) fan? They're quite "religious" about it. Perhaps that's what they're talking about, that it distracts them from their duties to the state and focuses on a world that's not real, and also offers them a sort of escape from the real world. Sorta like most religions do. Or in another sense, perhaps the higherups think that video games that encourage independant thought or teamwork are dangerous to the state. Or hell, maybe they think that FPSes are traning the younger generation to fight better than their armies can.

Re:Information (1)

motek (179836) | more than 12 years ago | (#257434)

The influx of information leading to the enlightenment of the populus was the downfall of East Germany and the Soviet Union.
Of course, pointing East Germany as the primary example proves your ignorance in the subject.
And what us the 'Communism in the East' you are referring to?

-m-

Re:Please... (3)

motek (179836) | more than 12 years ago | (#257435)

Oh, c'mon. Does the obvious need to be stated? Of course, they are concerned with people finding the truth on a some serious issue more then with kids accessing porn. Or rather, they are afraid, some youngster might find, there *are* points of view other then the right one, as hold by the regime. And they cannot state their intentions clearly. That could defeat the purpose. -m-

Basis for best porn/spam filter yet (1)

myamid (179896) | more than 12 years ago | (#257436)

Although I doubt that "purifying information" is a good thing (at least in the chinese sense), I personally hope they succeed. Hell I've been looking for a good spam filter for months and I haven't found it! Schools have been looking for porn filters for years and they haven't found it... If the chinese succeed, well let's just say there are good sides to everything ;oP

Re:Yet again (1)

Daemosthenes (199490) | more than 12 years ago | (#257443)

Well, I don't know what MUN you may be talking about, but at my school (TJHSST [tjhsst.edu]), anyone who so desires can join model UN. In fact, the club is very diverse, and there are people with widely differing viewpoints. There are staunchly conservative folks, and passionate liberals. I'm sure there are those who share the viewpoint on speaking out on any injustice anywhere. I know for sure that there are folks who are deeply involved on the topic of Tibetan injustices, among others. So, I feel deeply sorry for you if the Model UN you are familiar with excludes you or others, or is composed of folks with only one viewpoint.

Re:Yet again (3)

Daemosthenes (199490) | more than 12 years ago | (#257444)

Then again, if we were actually to talk about how to get things done, the most probable course of action would be to go through a relevant international body, as the Chinese government wouldn't give a damn about what you said they were doing.

So, let's assume we try to work with the UN to get something accomplished. Let's say we go through the UN Commision on Science and Technology. In the United Nations, and, in fact, all international multi-lateral bodies, there is a thing called National Sovreignty. The gist of it is that, because each of these International Bodies is voluntary, each country reserves the right to do whatever it wants. Usually, it is in the country's best interest to go along with the international body. However, if China does not want to accept our terms and allow Chinese citizens to access the internet, they certainly don't have to. The UN Commission on SciTech has no power to violate national sovreignty and enforce it's new regulations for China. Sorry to crush any idealistic hopes, but that's pretty much how it all works...

(By the way, Model UN was invaluable in the preparation of this topic)

Re:Yet again (3)

Daemosthenes (199490) | more than 12 years ago | (#257445)

"Proper censorship" usually does do a great job in blocking just about every legit site you want to go to.

The other day, I was trying to find a nice console based mail program to use at school (don't ask why I didn't just use sendmail). I fired up netscape, and headed over to freshmeat.net

At the time, I was in the computer systems lab, our fairly nice all-Linux lab full of dual celerons. Until recently, we had enjoyed unrestricted access while the rest of the (windows-driven) school network had to be filtered. However, the administration got to our dedicated line as well, and before you know it, I couldn't access freshmeat.net

Yes, the name is not really condusive to being a software site, but it's just merely another example of good sites being blocked by bad censorware.

If the government were to begin "purification"... (5)

Daemosthenes (199490) | more than 12 years ago | (#257446)

I seriously think that Chinese governmental "information purification" wouldn't really have a great effect. Chinese citizens could just use public proxy servers [rosinstrument.com] or a host of other tools to circumvent any attempt the chinese government were to make.

Perhaps the only real step the Chinese government could take would be to "purify" the cafés in earnest, or, in other words, get rid of them completely.

Re:Hypocrisy (3)

Ergo2000 (203269) | more than 12 years ago | (#257447)

While the lines are a little more blurred in China (where public versus commercial is a little more convoluted), over here the libraries and schools are supported by taxes and as such the idea that they're being used for porn surfing or bomb building techniques offends most taxpayers who already see too much of their money wasted. The same idea goes for why it isn't generally appreciated when public parks are used for orgies, etc.

However in your own home or in commercial businesses : As long as they think it's okay then go nuts. Unfortunately there are some ridiculously controlling laws (i.e. any law related to victimless crime), but overall you have freedom.

Chinese infrastructure (4)

Ergo2000 (203269) | more than 12 years ago | (#257448)

Is there anyone out there who's aware of how the Chinese net infrastructure works? i.e. Do all "ISPs" in China hang off of one common backbone that goes through Chinese government routers? If so it seems like it'd be very simple to control the content (albeit thinking of the bandwidth used by 1.2 billion people...that would be pretty extravagant). Who peers with the Chinese connections?

Re:This will never work. (4)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 12 years ago | (#257450)

"Well, enough of a rant for now. Who wants to start bombing Bejing with old 386s.... anyone?"

Yes, and don't forget to drop the Freenet setup diskettes with them...

Jaysyn

Re:Please... (3)

agentZ (210674) | more than 12 years ago | (#257456)

And even beyond that, it's sad how the Chinese government has copied the rationale of the US government about "protecting children from porn" when it comes to installing censorware... Maybe their leaders have more in common than they think...

Re:Hypocrisy (1)

ROBOKATZ (211768) | more than 12 years ago | (#257457)

1. That is a point of debate not an accepted universal truth
2. Go home for unrestricted access
3. You won't be shot for trying to circumvent it

Re:Sounds familiar.... (1)

ROBOKATZ (211768) | more than 12 years ago | (#257458)

There are internet cafes in the US. The US government has yet to force them to filter anti-US poltical content. When I see that I will agree with you.

Re:I'm posting this from China right now (1)

ROBOKATZ (211768) | more than 12 years ago | (#257459)

I don't have much time to post this, because I can see someone coming over to my area to check the screens. That's what passes for a censorship network right now.

Actually, the censorship is automatic. Chances are you wouldn't have even been allowed to visit slashdot.

Re:same news, different story (3)

ROBOKATZ (211768) | more than 12 years ago | (#257461)

The biggest difference is that the chinese government is placing a restriction on the private sector- but we do that here too.

Umm, no. Stop making up facts to argue with.

In China you have to be licensed to just use the Internet. And their entire country is behind a filtering proxy. Put up a site with controversial content like, say, Falun Gong or whatever -- you're dead. None of these things are true in the United States. Oh no, so we can't get porn in the public library.

Re:Sounds just like the U.S. government (3)

ROBOKATZ (211768) | more than 12 years ago | (#257462)

You're exactly right! Actually, almost -- keep in mind public libraries are paid for with taxpayer dollars, and if the taxpayers (through their representatives) don't want those resources being used for porn, then on go the porn filters. Also, it is not US government policy to filter political content -- imagine the outcry if they tried that! Chinese internet cafes are private sector businesses and the chinese government wants to prevent its citizens from seeing anti-prc political content, i.e., "hide the colored chalk"

Re:Before we worry about the Chinese... (4)

ROBOKATZ (211768) | more than 12 years ago | (#257463)

At the public school I attend we are not allowed to use chatrooms on the internet. If I have a question and search engines(and not to mention my teachers) aren't answering it for me, I am not allowed to ask the professors around the world that the internet is supposed to give me access to, for fear of pedaphiles raping me or some bullshit.

Since this is by far the most fantastically stupid thing I've heard or read all day (and believe me -- I hear a lot of really stupid shit), I feel obliged to comment multiple times on it.

Response #1

Whoever you are going to ask probably does not spend all day in their office hanging out on IRC, or worse yet AIM. In fact, IRC and AIM are hardly what I (or many others) would consider educational resources and are probably blocked because if you're using them, it probably means you're fucking around (regardless of whether or not you're talking to pedophiles or your friends) when someone else could actually be doing research.

Response #2

Ever hear of E-mail? If you're going to get in contact with professor, either this or taking a class taught by him is the way to do it (though certainly in my experience neither is a sure bet:)). In fact, short of calling a professor at home, E-mail is probably the best way to contact him and certainly will annoy him the least. They most certainly are not all hanging out in some IRC channel or AIM room. That is simply ridiculous.

Everthing2 has some nasty shit on it. There are a lot of unbelievably uninhibited and irresponsible individuals with some very militantly conservative parents (connection?) in high school in America today, the thoughts of that combined with the liability of unrestricted access probably gives some administrators nightmares -- it's not their fault they're idiots who can't come up with a better solution and don't want to lose their jobs. (Frankly, a better solution would be no internet access, as it's pretty worthless, but that's not the "in" thing. "Internet" = "education" is the in thing, unfortunately coexisting with "internet" = "porn" and "porn" = "bad". But hey, that's life.)

Re:filters (3)

charvolant (224858) | more than 12 years ago | (#257476)

Or would they use reverse logic and give a list of allowed sites, with the person having to petition for each specific site. This would destroy any real use of internet.

From a Chinese officials POV, this approach would likely be preferable. Once you have this, you can have official censors going through sites, like a sort of human Google, deciding what is viewable by the fair eyes of the great unwashed. After a while, entire sites would be rated as "trusted", reducing work somewhat. Think of it as firewalling; that which is not explicitly allowed is prohibited.

"any real use of the Internet" contains a raft of cultural assumptions[*] From the Chinese government's POV, what they're doing is no different to a company installing filtering software to ensure that employees only use the Internet for approved purposes. Just with a rather wider scope. And you can never go home at the end of the day.

[*] Assumptions that I'm pretty happy with, incidentally.

Is this China or the USA? (4)

Private Essayist (230922) | more than 12 years ago | (#257480)

"...officials warned of "online heroin", saying access to pornographic sites and "illegal games" in internet cafes pose a threat to the country's younger generation, who are becoming blighted by the "online poison". It is being said that "Some teenagers are so deeply entrapped by such internet cafes that their minds are severely distorted."

Wait, how did this quote from Congress get in this story? I thought this was about China, not Washington?
________________

Please... (3)

mdtrent3 (236695) | more than 12 years ago | (#257484)

Somehow i'm not buying that the Chinese government is really concerned with kids playing casino games and more concerned that they may become educated by non-government censored new sources. I know all governments sugar-coat their actions, but it'd be nice if they were honest when it's so obvious what they really mean.

Re:Yet again (2)

MadCow42 (243108) | more than 12 years ago | (#257490)

>> What can we do to help make sure information is free throughout the world?

I'll take the bait, I guess...

How is this different than the US government mandating that "censorware" be used in all schools and libraries? For many kids, these are the only places that they can access the Internet. In China, they're taking it only one "small" step beyond that (in this particular instance, anyways) by putting censorware in place for other "public" venues such as Internet Cafe's.

Now, seeing as these are similar issues, what's your view on schools and libraries right here at home? Personally, I'm dead-set against it... censorware is too susceptible to the personal biases of whoever sets up the "forbidden" databases. With there being thousands upon thousands of "banned" sites, who says that a few "good" sites don't get banned at the same time? I'd rather invest the money and time teaching values to our kids so that they don't get sucked in by the porn and crap you find on the 'net.

I don't know what censorware China is using, but I'm sure there's stuff other than porn being blocked (cnn.com maybe? Slashdot? Other "western" news sources?), but even companies here have a horrible track record of providing "proper" censorship (if there is such a thing). Many of them also block competitor's sites, and sites of those that oppose censorware. To me it's like the death penalty: is it worth the risk of possibly executing a single "innocent" man? To me: nope.

Just blathering, MadCow.

Re:solidarity begins at home (2)

ConsumedByTV (243497) | more than 12 years ago | (#257491)

Huxley was more correct as to how american society would become as where china is closer to orwells nightmare.

This can be seen in all levels of the culture of both countrys. Whats worse: they are both going be right or one will destroy the other so that it will prevail.



Are you on the Sfglj [sfgoth.com] (SF-Goth EMail Junkies List) ?

Well, (1)

nightfire-unique (253895) | more than 12 years ago | (#257501)

All things considered, I still think living in China would be a better long-term decision than living in the US. With regards to information freedom, China can only get better, while the US can only, and is, getting worse.

When will they converge? And when will China become a state more free?

--
All men are great
before declaring war

Re:Hypocrisy (3)

Coryoth (254751) | more than 12 years ago | (#257512)

It's shocking when then Chinese do it, yet it's been happening in North American libraries and schools for years, with any kind of censorware you can name.


In fact, it's even worse than that. In China it is a single centralised government doing the censorship - at least you can a reasonable idea what sorts of sites you're missing out on. In the U.S. you have a variety of private companies providing all kinds of different censorware programs - who knows what is getting blocked (especially when they keep closed encrypted blocked stite lists!)? AFAIK there was at least one such censorware program that was blocking a variety of gay and women's activist sites, simply because the author of the software "didn't like them". Talk about insidious - especially if you don't even know what's being blocked!


Jedidiah

--

Fat, Dumb & Happy (1)

Fat Casper (260409) | more than 12 years ago | (#257517)

Is no way to go through life, but it's a great way to live in China.

Give it up, G. Nobody here has been supporting censorware, and I doubt any of us support the war on drugs. The main difference between our Nazis' censorware and their Nazis' censorware is that "ours" "protects" children on publicly funded computers from porn, sites opposing censorship and (probably) sites belonging to commercial rivals of censorware companies' parent companies, while their's censors CNN (like Turner isn't further left than Deng Xiaoping) and the like.

Adults here who don't log in through public libraries have freedom. Those same adults don't even have the freedom to fly in a well marked, unarmed plane in international airspace. I'll take Nazis like Ashcroft (or Reno) any day.

Re:If the government were to begin "purification". (1)

TGK (262438) | more than 12 years ago | (#257518)

Internet cafes in China are privately owned

Ummmmmmmmmmmm.... no. Well, yes and no, but no for simplicity. Now it's been a while since I had that course on US/China in the Cold War, but if I recall correctly China works something like this.

While a primarily Communist (Read As: Maoist) country, the PRC has several "zones of free enterprise" or somesuch. These zones allow the Chinese economy to interact with the outside world in much the same way that the USSRs different currencies allowed it to trade with Europe and the West.

But in a socialist country who owns these areas? The wealthy own them, and who else can be wealthy in a Communist nation but the govorning elite. The same govorning elite who want to control the information.

So while the cafees are privately owned, I'd be shocked if their policy differed substantialy from that of the government.

This has been another useless post from....

Re:Yet again (4)

TGK (262438) | more than 12 years ago | (#257519)

Censorship is nothing new to the Chinese government. As for what we can do? Little. It is because of the Chinese government's willingness to go to extreme measures, even deadly force, to keep social disidents in line that mainland China is still the PRC.

Information may want to be free, but so do several hundred million chinese. Since they several hundred million don't seem to have a chance in hell I wouldn't bet on the information as of yet.

This has been another useless post from....

Re:Basis for best porn/spam filter yet (3)

frob2600 (309047) | more than 12 years ago | (#257522)

Well, this would make for a fine filter. It would also keep all of that Democratic evil away from your mailbox. And god forbid you have a friend that works for the government. You would never get any of his mail, but I bet the Chinese government would. ;-) Not that this would be all bad. It would create some interesting hassles when I try and read cnn.com or some other news site. And I really wish that picture of the Chinese flag would stop popping up every five minutes while playing the chinese national anthem.

Not that censership is bad, it is just
[content removed for purification]
[content removed for purification]
[content removed for purification]
Well, enough said about that. I guess I should go and finish taking my medications before I wind up naked in the park fountain again.

---
"Do not meddle in the affairs of sysadmins,

This will never work. (4)

frob2600 (309047) | more than 12 years ago | (#257523)

I have never heard of a really successful plan to censer an entire country. And while I am not an expert I believe that China has a pretty large black market. How long before you have black market internet cafes?

When will countries finally realize that hiding information only makes people want to find it more? Of course, if they were absolutely positive that their citizens were happy they would have nothing to fear. I think this just shows that they know they are giving their citizens the shaft -- and they want to hide it as long as possible.

Well, enough of a rant for now. Who wants to start bombing Bejing with old 386s.... anyone?

---
"Do not meddle in the affairs of sysadmins,

Re:Please... (1)

aaabbbccc (313606) | more than 12 years ago | (#257530)

It's not as absurd as it seems. The Chinese government closed up a lot of video arcades in Shanghai because kids were spending too much time in them.

However, I don't think this is the case here.

WTO & China (The Good Side of Free Trade) (5)

ScoutDC (317457) | more than 12 years ago | (#257538)

I know I'm stepping on a land mine here, but those who fight free trade should really take a look at this.

Chinese kids did not suddenly wake up one day and wonder if there was a thing called "the Internet"...it was handled to them on a silver platter by we Capitalistic Pigs (TM). Good for us.

Without starting a brou-ha-ha on "Worldwide Governments", let us consider the benefits of open markets: Open Ideas. China cannot enter the mainstream and continually shut their own people out of it.

I've lived in certain Asian third-world, communist societies and was pleased at how many openly thumb their noses at the system. It's in the little things -- like negotiating state-controlled currency for USD or sneaking into "clubs" where people get a chance to explore ideas and exchange information with foreigners. The down side: when Brother Mao wants you back in line, you'd better move fast.

The more we work with the people of China, the more the people will work on their government. Overall, US factories in Asia provide a significant influx of democratic principles -- we only hear about the abuse of some companies. We don't hear about the effects one man I know has had on a small city in Asia that is learning about progression through hard work (what we call raises and bonuses).

Next come the unions, then comes the crackdowns. It's a sad cycle, but each time it happens the government loses a little more.

Oh, and don't sweat the kids working in factories. It may appall you (as it did me), but it's all they got until things change. Large economics require them to work; productive people want to do better for themselves and their families. These are the same kids who grow up to build Internet Cafes.

In the end each of their labors adds to a collective conscience that wants better. The governments would do better keeping them on the farms and teaching them "Remedial Mao" than grouping them together and letting them think aloud.

Re:www.xxxhotmarxists.com (4)

Jin Wicked (317953) | more than 12 years ago | (#257539)

The government in China is not socialist nor does it have much of anything in common with most of the ideas of Marx. Anyone from the World Socialist Movement [worldsocialism.org] would be able to tell you that. Please stop associating an abusive state capitalist China with the ideas and writings of Karl Marx. This is a misconception convieniently put forth by our lovely American government in the elementary and high schools to remind us how naughty socialism is and how wonderful capitalism is. I know the Libertarian ideals abound on this site full of well-fed IT professionals, but believe it or not, America is not so much better than China than it likes to pretend it is. The WSM put out literature during the Soviet and Chinese revolutions stating they were not socialists then, and their opinions are still true today. Likewise, Marx did not approve of the Soviet revolution at the time it occurred. Now you know better.

Thank you, and carry on.

--a hot communist chick

Re:If the government were to begin "purification". (2)

number one duck (319827) | more than 12 years ago | (#257542)

tools to circumvent any attempt the chinese government were to make
Its a public place, I'm sure any monkey business like this would be really easy to conceal. I don't think people will trade 'free news' for 'being shot', personally. Misusing public computer services is probably as punishable as any other hacker/cracker act.

Before we worry about the Chinese... (4)

Breakfast Pants (323698) | more than 12 years ago | (#257543)

We have similar problems of our own in this country called the united states of america. Yesterday I was at the library and when I tried to get to www.everything2.com, it was blocked by their censorship program. Yay. At the public school I attend we are not allowed to use chatrooms on the internet. If I have a question and search engines(and not to mention my teachers) aren't answering it for me, I am not allowed to ask the professors around the world that the internet is supposed to give me access to, for fear of pedaphiles raping me or some bullshit. Thanks america.

--

Beijing Review article found? (5)

mgarraha (409436) | more than 12 years ago | (#257546)

In between the spin of the spy plane incident and the weekly condemnation of Falun Gong, I found a Beijing Review editorial [bjreview.com.cn], followed by 1 opinion for and 3 against banning the cafes altogether. For those already baffled by the front page, it's under "Free Forum" in the top navigation bar.

Re:But will it work? (2)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 12 years ago | (#257549)

"Its not as if "Man Power" is a difficult thing to come by in China.."

It's true they have a lot of people they can hire, but that also means they have a lot of people they have to watch. A double-edged sword, if you will.

"This is a country that can AFFORD to employ threehundred thousand people to sit a PC all day and jot down non-china sites.."

Google says there are about 1.3 billion web sites out there. Even if the average time it takes to read those sites and scan for verboten material is only one minute, it will still take those 300,000 about 7 10-hour shifts to do a complete scan of the web, assuming that no pages change during that time. If, for example, the Free Nepal people figure out their weekly cycle, they can mirror the People's Daily six days of the week, post the good word from the Dalai Lama every Sunday, and still have only a 1 in 7 chance of ever being caught. And, if they are, they change IPs and do it again.

Also, 300,000 is only a drop in the bucket of their population, leaving 1.1997 billion people left to watch, to make sure they're not circumventing filters. That's 3,999 people to watch per employee. If they work 10-hour shifts, they can only devote 9 seconds to each censoree per day. Even if they had super-advanced AI to help them out, I don't see it working.

And besides, their per capita GDP is still only about $3800 US, about 1/10 of ours. Those 300,000 jobs means more deaths due to starvation out in the western provinces. Dead people tend to have pissed off families.

Re:Hypocrisy (3)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 12 years ago | (#257550)

See, in the US, when you don't agree with a policy, you can yell at your Congresscritters, hire yourself some lawyers (or talk with the ACLU), march around outside with a sign telling politicians where to stick it...

In China, though, you have three choices: Consent, be "re-educated," or "disappear."

I'll stick with the US system, thank you very much.

But will it work? (4)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 12 years ago | (#257551)

As can be seen from Napster and child-protection software, machine-only information filtering just isn't all it's cracked up to be. There'll need to be somebody to actually monitor what's passing through the filter. If that's the case, it'd be easier for China to just block most or all foreign web servers (which would be another neat trick to see, since they'd have to go through all the IPs and see where they're at, as well as prevent IP spoofing).

They're chasing their own tail by trying to implement censorship in general. They'll need to employ half their population to keep tabs on what the other half is reading.

Besides, there's also the whole "forbidden fruit" school of thought...

Re:Yet again (1)

iamklerck (445579) | more than 12 years ago | (#257581)

We have no right telling them how to run their country. I'm from the US, and I know that we have enough problems here as it is. Whichever country you're from, whether it's the US, Canada, a European country--basically anywhere BUT China--then your country has its own problems to deal, too, before telling China how it needs to be run.

China is playing with fire (5)

iamklerck (445579) | more than 12 years ago | (#257582)

Per that article, the Chinese government has two overriding needs: to keep their tight control over China and to embrace the Internet for economic gain. IMHO, these goals are mutually exclusive.
Sometimes, you can walk a fine line between two opposing needs. There is a happy medium where each need is satisfied. I believe that there is an "unhappy medium" where neither need is satisfied, and the government is actually at risk of losing the Internet opportunity as well as their own control over their people.

The Internet is not about technology. It's been around since the sixties, and the Web could have been invented in the seventies. The Web is about community; the technology only gives us an opportunity to meet, and that's where the magic starts. Strict control over a portion of the Internet immediately renders that portion useless.

I think that the only chance for the Chinese government to survive in its present form (and, frankly, I'd rather it didn't) would be for it to close off the Internet entirely to its people, and to ignore it as an economic opportunity. I feel that anything less would destablize the Chinese government. The nation would not collapse, China would still exist, but it would have a new form of government.

If the Chinese government allows access but try to control it, they will destroy their own power structure and lose an economic opportunity simultaneously.

Sounds familiar.... (4)

medina (446303) | more than 12 years ago | (#257583)

Sure sounds familiar...

Oh, wait, that's what they talk about _HERE_ in the good ol' USA, where they want to install filters on all computers in schools and libraries to protect the children from the Internet. Terrible sites abound, like porn, violence, growing up gay, etc. Can't have _American_ children seeing that.

I know, I know... you're saying "It's okay, we're the _good_ guys!"

Ah, the smell of resistance... (4)

Sarcasta (447735) | more than 12 years ago | (#257588)

Sergeant Cho: < I don't understand it, men. It's just an innocent coffee house, but something about this bothers me... >
Captain Zhao: < Sir, is it perhaps the aroma of freshly-brewed coffee? >
Sergeant Cho:< Wait a second... that isn't coffee! That's the smell of freedom! >
Captain Zhao:< You hear him, men! Get the cattle prods! Go! Go! Go! >

Kathleen
--
Graphic designer and Mac lover.

what about irregular traffic? (1)

zoombah (447772) | more than 12 years ago | (#257590)

Is the Chinese Government just going to regulate the major IP backbones? What about (older, slower) technologies that don't use IP or the major backbones for that matter? I'm talking about direct-dialup encrypted modem connections. Of course, a billion people on 56k lines is sort of silly, but its a thought..

Making excuses & the "CDA" (4)

Scribner (447790) | more than 12 years ago | (#257591)

Goverments everywhere and always have looked for
excuses to limit communication and dissemination
of information.

The "Federalist Papers" were printed and distributed
clandestinely! Why do you think the 1st Amendment to
the US Constitution is so important.

And has everyone here forgotten the abortive
"Communications Decency Act"?
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