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China Quietly Unblocks Names of Its Leaders

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the how-now-found-mao dept.

Censorship 39

hackingbear writes "One of the Chinese Web censorship's central features has long been blocking searches for the names of top leaders to maintain their public images. Sina Weibo, China's largest microblog service, unblocked searches for the names of many top political leaders in a possible sign of looser controls a month after new senior officials were named to head the ruling party, though a number of other senior leaders are still blocked on Weibo, including Premier Web Jiabao. That (President) Xi might be leading by example on softening Web censorship could be a promising sign for future reforms. It isn't on a major shift, but it could portend one."

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Or they realized (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42281679)

With 1+ billion people, most names are going to have duplicates.

Re:Or they realized (0)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 2 years ago | (#42281975)

Thank you so much for your uninformed opinion.

Re:Or they realized (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42282035)

I really hate all you Slashdot people, why do I even come here to read all your snarky and rude comments?

Re:Or they realized (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42282221)

Probably because you're a loser with nothing better to do.

Re:Or they realized (4, Informative)

donscarletti (569232) | about 2 years ago | (#42283313)

It's true, although Chinese parents can select any one or two characters to name their child from the thousands of characters in common use and the tens of thousands out of common use, there are a few hundred characters that tend to be used disproportionately often.

As for surnames, the top 100 most common surnames make up more than 85% of the country's population and over 1/5 of Chinese are called either "Wang", "Li" or "Zhang".

People having the same name as a leader is quite common. I know at least two guys who cannot write their own name on Weibo because they are called "Li Peng", using the exact same two characters as the former premier (who's name IS still blocked and will be as long as he is still alive for reasons you can look up yourself).

As for Chaiman Xi, his surname is not particularly common and his given name is not common either, however they are all common words. You cannot ask someone "are you familiar with the nearby plain?" without writing his name for example.

Re:Or they realized (2)

duckintheface (710137) | about 2 years ago | (#42284595)

From the post,..." Premier Web Jiabao". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wen_Jiabao [wikipedia.org] So apparently Chinese parents are naming their children after great technological advances. Perhaps they haven't read "Jennifer Government". :) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jennifer_Government [wikipedia.org]

Chinese Censorship Is Not News Or News (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42281727)

Can slashdot stop posting every bit of minutiae on Chinese censorship?

The fact remains it is a way of life and that is their system. This is not new or interesting. Why this is posted to a western tech news site makes no sense.

Re:Chinese Censorship Is Not News Or News (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42281959)

It's relevant because web censorship in China is being slightly reduced. Considering web is part of tech and this is a tech website, posting it here makes sense.

Re:Chinese Censorship Is Not News Or News (2, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | about 2 years ago | (#42282029)

It's relevant because web censorship in China is being slightly reduced. Considering web is part of tech and this is a tech website, posting it here makes sense.

Based upon a recent BBC report, there is a majority of Chinese who will go right along with anything the government wants to do, because the consider the Goverment practically a member of the family -- like a wise parent looking after them -- and go so far as to take pride in that. What's more important to the Chinese people is cutting down corruption, not censorship.

Re:Chinese Censorship Is Not News Or News (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42282129)

because the common main-land chinaman is a primitive savage. we should 'liberate' them with a few nukes.

Re:Chinese Censorship Is Not News Or News (1)

larry bagina (561269) | about 2 years ago | (#42282241)

That attitude doesn't seem to be limited to China.

Re:Chinese Censorship Is Not News Or News (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 2 years ago | (#42282537)

That attitude doesn't seem to be limited to China.

I'm certain it isn't. In the most recent US election I frequently saw people vote against their own best interests.

And you can pick dozens of countries where people exist who feel this way. Why would anyone back Assad in Syria? Because the status quo favors them and the spectre of change is mighty fearsome.

Re:Chinese Censorship Is Not News Or News (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42283331)

In the most recent US election I frequently saw people vote against their own best interests.

51% of voters nationwide did that.

Re:Chinese Censorship Is Not News Or News (2)

poity (465672) | about 2 years ago | (#42282575)

a majority of Chinese who will go right along with anything the government wants to do, because the consider the Goverment practically a member of the family -- like a wise parent looking after them

Not if you are Chinese and speak to Chinese people outside of earshot of foreigners. Face, especially when outsiders are present, is important.

As for the logic of yet another "it's their culture" argument, well suppose for a moment you're right about the citizens' love and appreciation for government, can we accept that apathy over limitations on personal freedoms happens in the US as well? It's often said on /. that Americans are apathetic about censorship, yet Americans are lambasted as sheep/stupid, even boot-lickers of the encroaching police state, and "hey guys, chill out, political apathy is part of their American culture" is never offered as the enlightened explanation. I suspect the latter argument would never pass the bullshit test, either. The fact that opposite conclusions can be arrived at suggests there is a breakdown in reason.

Re:Chinese Censorship Is Not News Or News (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42283401)

Democracy and Capitalism are the only systems close to workable fixes we have to address corruption. Ugly patches as they are, humanity has experimented with just about any other form of government, and currently the only successful way to handle the innate evil of man is to leverage it. Sure, as the recent environmental problem teach us, it's a work in progress. But it's still better than anything else around.

My concerns are not with today's average Chinese nor his family. I'm concerned for the availability of resources and the quality of the air and water of tomorrow's Asians. Because if nothing gets done, there just might come a day when their corrupt regime might feel it necessary to invade a few neighbors in order to secure resources. And if you think the latest U.S. incursions were too aggressive, wait until you see a single ruling fascist party handle on things. Obama can at least appeal to the masses when, instead of sacrificing them in favor of the elite, he opts to average the quality of life for everyone instead of opening a war every time the price of oil rises. In the Chinese government, the elites are the ones in power and will never sacrifice themselves for the unwashed masses.

And now, more and more automation allows lesser and lesser reliance on personal. What will happen when all it takes is a half a dozen engineers and two dozen more technicians to feed and close a small city ? Will China become less corrupt then ? At least in the west votes still matter while the transition from Capitalism to whatever it is we're moving towards is taking place... In China they could just decide one day to completely throw out all the rights and the people will just nod in approval as long as no one is caught taking a bribe.

Re:Chinese Censorship Is Not News Or News (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42284029)

Censorship *is* corruption.

Re:Chinese Censorship Is Not News Or News (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42282105)

Can slashdot stop posting every bit of tech-related minutiae in Conservative states?

The fact remains it is a way of life and that is their system. This is not new or interesting. Why this is posted to a Liberal-leaning tech news site makes no sense.

See how your logic doesn't work?

Whatever (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42281799)

Just keep making my electronics at low cost please.

Thanks.

Seriously editors, sort your shit out (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42281923)

Is "Premier Web" some sort of title or has Wen changed his name?

Did someone just say "Weibo"?... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42282087)

...'Cause I think I just heard someone say "Weibo"!

WE-I-BO! WE-I-BO!

Re:Did someone just say "Weibo"?... (1)

Pennidren (1211474) | about 2 years ago | (#42282687)

PBF is the best; great reference! [pbfcomics.com]

Reasons for original takedown (3, Insightful)

ihatewinXP (638000) | about 2 years ago | (#42282341)

Dear god people if you dont know anything about the topic dont post....

China blocked the names of a number of their leaders of late (on Weibo [twitter] and Sina [google]) for a few reasons:
1. There may have been an attempted coup - that accounts for a few names
2. There for sure was the downfall of a major regional leader (Bo Xilai) under very ugly circumstances (right hand man tried to defect to US embassy to avoid being murdered,wife poisoned a spy, etc.)
3. There was a huge NYT article calling out Hu Jintao that was straight propaganda - so much so that they disseminated a chinese language pdf of the article to the general web
4. The old leader Jiang Zhemin has been near death and rumors have swirled.
5. Some other guys kid wrecked a car and killed some people

THESE ARE THE REASONS WHY THOSE NAMES WERE CENSORED. This doesnt portend to any changes. Watch the next few years as freeing China becomes a constant narrative....

I could give the reasons why they have unblocked them now but id rather get out to a party. Try to RTFA and then RSMFAs before posting nonsense.

Re:Reasons for original takedown (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42282509)

True up to the "id rather get out to a party". Although maybe you were describing what you would rather do rather than what you're actually going to do.

China's in that awkward position combining technological brilliance with not having quite created a sufficiently captive private press to keep the retards from revolting. GIve it 10-20 years and they'll be as dumb Americans, thinking they're free and having their opinions ignored. The occasional one who shouts out too loudly will suddenly be a sex criminal or similar.

Re:Reasons for original takedown (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42282761)

3. It called out Hu's family and their associates, not Hu himself.
1, 2, 4, 5. Seems more heavy handed than DRM/Copyright enforcement that Slashdot complains about all the time, so it makes sense that this is talked about.

Re:Reasons for original takedown (1)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | about 2 years ago | (#42282951)

"Watch the next few years as freeing China becomes a constant narrative...."

Although not in the same way that China liberated Tibet I hope.

Re:Reasons for original takedown (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42284055)

like all the child raping and bastard children in Okinawa, Vietnam, Afghanistan, ...? oh, and raping their fellow soldiers as well...

http://www.prisonplanet.com/us-military-investigator-confirms-women-and-children-were-raped-at-abu-ghraib.html
http://japandailypress.com/2-u-s-soldiers-arrested-for-raping-woman-in-okinawa-1616247
http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/the-womens-blog-with-jane-martinson/2012/oct/29/rape-military-shocking-truth

Re:Reasons for original takedown (1)

X.25 (255792) | about 2 years ago | (#42284467)

"Watch the next few years as freeing China becomes a constant narrative...."

Although not in the same way that China liberated Tibet I hope.

I sure as hell hope it's not in the same way the US liberated Iraq or Afghanistan.

Tibet would be the great option, much much much less casualties.

Re:Reasons for original takedown (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42284755)

much much much less reports of casualties.

FTFY

Other side of the story (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42282945)

Unfortunately, since one week ago, virtually all kinds of VPN services have been severely affected recently, if not cut off completely.

Not always as it may seem (2)

Anti Cheat (1749344) | about 2 years ago | (#42283409)

What the originator must think about before forming an opinion.

Don't read motives of the Chinese from a western perspective. China's leaders and its people have never been exposed to or experienced free speech, and/or anything resembling democracy in their history. Understanding the why, or even if this is a significant development isn't so easy.

The only thing I read in that. They did something that caught the attention of any people or organizations that look for a political, democratic, human rights, free speech, or any shift in China to ward western values.
But for me, after decades of reading and past history as examples about China. Anything westerners may perceive or think resembles western values isn't necessarily or even close to what is going on. There just isn't that kind of common ground except that china does understand what makes westerners wet their pants.

Re:Not always as it may seem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42285543)

That's what China keeps telling us, isn't it? Over and over and over and over again. "Whistling past the graveyard."

yay (1)

MakersDirector (2767101) | about 2 years ago | (#42283871)

yay

Curious minds wanna know! (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 years ago | (#42283919)

> China Quietly Unblocks Names of Its Leaders

Sweet! Now people there can Google their president named...um...

They can Google the head of the Communist party named...uhhhhhh...

They can Google the premier, um, the premier, uh, the premier of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey!

The Internet as a whole... (0)

fufufang (2603203) | about 2 years ago | (#42283925)

I know I probably shouldn't say this, and my comment might get modded down quite badly.

But those people who think that the Internet's control should be taken away from the US and handed to the UN should really look at what other countries in the UN do with their Internet. I know it is bad that US uses copyright laws as excuse to take over domains, like MegaUpload. However you can still search Barack Obama on the US Internet without any problem. I think having US controlling the Internet is the lesser of two evils. I certainly don't want countries like China to get involved in deciding the future of the Internet.

And if you wonder who introduced DPI into the ITU, it is China.

Re:The Internet as a whole... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42285179)

I know I probably shouldn't say this, and my comment might get modded down quite badly.

Probably.

But those people who think that the Internet's control should be taken away from the US and handed to the UN should really look at what other countries in the UN do with their Internet.

It's not as simple as that, you see. The US _doesn't_ control the Internet... the Internet is a decentralized network, which is why China, Saudi Arabia, Syria, etc. are able to do whatever they want to do within their networks.

In a very simplified way, the "Internet" consists of three functions: naming, addressing and routing.

"Routing" is obviously controlled by whoever is transporting packets (i.e. ISPs), and they generally tend to fall within the laws of the geographical locations they cover (i.e. not necessarily the US, outside of North America).

"Addressing" is controlled by whoever distributes IPs, which would be the regional registers (ARIN, RIPE, APNIC, LACNIC, AfriNIC), which, again, are subject to local laws (i.e. not US law, except for ARIN).

Finally, "naming" (i.e. DNS) could be seen as being US-controlled, since ICANN is headquartered in LA and they get to decide on all-things-DNS. On the other hand, DNS is a distributed, hierarchical system and, at least for now, each country has full control over (at least) their TLD (i.e. although the US has been hijacking .com, .org and .net domains, which is reasonable as long as done within their law, since those TLD fall within US jurisdiction, they HAVEN'T been hijacking domains from other countries' TLDs). Besides, even the US decides to fuck up DNS, it's trivial to simply split-up and use another independent DNS system (some people already do... like OpenNIC, although they still respect the main DNS systems' authority, in order to prevent fragmentation).

So, yeah... the only reason why it seems like the US "controls" (some elements of) the Internet is because other countries voluntarily allow it to be like that, nothing else.

I agree with you: between the US and the UN controlling the DNS system and whatnot, I guess I rather just leave it as it is (something about a known evil being better than an unknown evil), but that's up to the governments to decide, as always. And, again, the same way I showed you how the US doesn't really control the Internet, also applies to the UN: they will only be able to "control" as long as people/governments let them... if they fuck up real bad, everyone will stop listening to the bureaucrats and just ignore their supposed authority.

So... don't worry so much.

I know it is bad that US uses copyright laws as excuse to take over domains, like MegaUpload.

Uhm... the problem, in the megaupload case, was not the domain seizure itself. Like I said before, as long as performed within US law, they can do whatever they want to .com/.org/.net domains. The problem in the megaupload case, I believe, was strong-arming another country (NZ) into doing an illegal (by NZ laws) raid.

The "problem" of the US seizing .com/.org/.net is not really a problem that the "free market" can't fix: people have quickly learned that those type of TLD are subject to being hijacked without further notice. Caveat emptor and all.

However you can still search Barack Obama on the US Internet without any problem.

What the US does in its own networks is irrelevant to the outside world. The US cannot compromise the "freedom" of, let's say, the French part of the Internet, because they simply don't control it.

You can search for "Barack Obama" on the US? Good for you.

Why do you assume that, if the UN were granted powers over the Internet, they would be able to prevent you from searching "Barack Obama" in the US (or elsewhere, for that matter)?

I think having US controlling the Internet is the lesser of two evils.

Something we can agree on. Although I'd phrase it as "For now, I think having US controlling the Internet is the lesser of two evils." since, well, one never knows when the US decides to come up with another SOPA/PIPA.

I certainly don't want countries like China to get involved in deciding the future of the Internet.

I don't think anyone does, but, then again, why do you equate "UN control of the Internet" with "China control of the Internet"? As far as I can tell, the US (still) has more power and influence in the UN than China does, so, even if the UN does get control over the Internet, I don't see why I should assume that China will have more influence than the US, at that point.

Anyway, it's funny you should mention that you don't want "China to get involved in deciding the future of the Internet", while being (apparently) perfectly ok having "Saudi Arabia get involved in deciding the future of US economy". Between China and Saudi Arabia, I don't know who's more morally bankrupt.

TL;DR: Don't worry too much.

ultimate hypocrisy. real insight follows: (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42284223)

We certainly have no shortage of self-anointed messiah of so-called freedom of information.
Yet I would be willing to bet 99.99% of you talkers will not post under your real names.
What are you afraid of? There should be no censorship of any kind right? Which you are in fact partaking by not posting under your real names.
So how does it feel to be a hypocrite?

Why! It's a Great Leap Forward! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42289697)

What a Great Leap Forward [wikipedia.org] for the Chineese internet!

A premier named Web not on the web (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about 2 years ago | (#42291459)

How do they say 'irony' in Mandarin? Or Cantonese?

Re:A premier named Web not on the web (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42297983)

ilony.

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