Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

The Great Firewall of China, Continued

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the pretty-country-shame-about-the-government dept.

Censorship 484

rcs1000 writes "Slate (no longer owned by Microsoft, and therefore an acceptable place to find stories...) has a terrific article on The Filtered Future and how China's censorship is changing - for the worse - the Internet. The piece makes a few points: firstly, China is really trying (largely succefully) to seperate its Internet from the rest of the World; secondly, it may be possible to use technology to circumvent restrictions, but that makes them no less onoreous; thirdly, the sheer invisibility of the restrictions makes them worse (when Google doesn't even show up articles about democracy, that's no good thing); and finally, some Western companies are actively co-operating with the Chinese government in their censorship. Is this the beginning of the end for the global, unregulated, uncensored, Internet?"

cancel ×

484 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

fp? (5, Funny)

boingyzain (739759) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040116)

yay i finally got the first po--This transmission has been CENSORED.

First post (-1, Offtopic)

fingerfucker (740769) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040117)

Don't you dare censor me!

Re:First post (1)

slashb0t (441845) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040332)

moderation is not censorship. taco says so.

Woohoo! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13040121)

Hooray! London Bomb investigators have finally come up with the evidence they were planning to find linking Syria with the attacks!

Yay! Now we can go steal Syria's oil too and hike up the prices again! I wonder what China will think though, since they are in an oil biz partnership with Syria.

Oh and get ready to be drafted: there may not be enough troops to go around at the moment, especially after the next surprise terrorist attack someplace which implicates Iran...

Re:Woohoo! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13040193)

Syria? I was convinced that they'd find evidence that would justify going after Iran.

It's so obvious that even though the tragedy in London was most certainly carried out by a bona fide terrorist group (and not some Mossad or CIA operation, as some lunatics seem to think), any evidence will be tailored to justify the next war of "liberation" either in Iran or Syria. The time table is set as the withdrawal of the troops from Iraq is already being planned.

Stop blaming companies (4, Interesting)

R.D.Olivaw (826349) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040123)

Companies are there to make money not for moral or social values. I'm not saying that's a good thing but that's how the system works. If there is money to be made in China, they will play by their rules to get it.
If you think they should act otherwise, then you should get your government to make rules about that banning the companies from bending to Chinese will.

Re:Stop blaming companies (4, Insightful)

Taladar (717494) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040141)

Or even better: get your government to abandon the crazy rule that exempts companies from blame as long as they make enough money (and don't forget to include a share of blame for the shareholders as well).

Re:Stop blaming companies (-1, Flamebait)

JonathanR (852748) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040168)

Companies are not about making money. Companies are about supplying goods and services. The Fed is about making money.

Re:Stop blaming companies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13040182)

Companies are not about making money. Companies are about supplying goods and services. The Fed is about making money.

Wha????

Re:Stop blaming companies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13040263)

Parent post is being literal. The Federal reserve bank literally creates the currency, businesses create goods and services for which they would like some currency in exchange for. Retarded pun.

Re:Stop blaming companies (4, Insightful)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040174)

Corporations love totalitarian requiems , Cheap labour , captive market and benefits galore.
These companies are not bending to Chinese will , They are simply doing what they do best.

I was watching a rather interesting documentary a few weeks back called "the corporation" which went over a few things in this area (along with describing the way that in America since corporations are described as legal people , they could be classified as psychopathic).
http://www.thecorporation.com/ [thecorporation.com]

Re:Stop blaming companies (3, Insightful)

D-Cypell (446534) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040311)

I may be burning karma here but I just wanted to second the recommendation in the parent.

'The Corporation' is a fascinating documentry on the effects that multi-nationals have on our every day lives. Here (SE UK) I found a copy at the local blockbusters (and no, the irony is not wasted on me) if you can find a copy it is well-worth checking out.

You may never drink milk or eat dairy products again!

Re:Stop blaming companies (5, Insightful)

inmate (804874) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040214)

No, that's crap!
Here in Europe, as I believe it is in the US too, Companies are given rights akin to people. They want to be treated like people. They create brands which reflect their 'personalities'.
So, were I to say that people are only there to make money, and need no 'moral or social values', would you agree?
Would it be alright if I used slave labour [nike.com] ?
Would it be alright if I killed for a more take-home every month [haliburton.com] ?
Lie [enron.com] and cheat [worldcom.com] ?
Bully my neighbours [microsoft.com] to score me a better deal?
Were I such a person, I would be lynched real quick!

Corporates are Sociopaths! [amazon.com]

Re:Stop blaming companies (1)

eclectro (227083) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040219)

If you think they should act otherwise, then you should get your government to make rules about that banning the companies from bending to Chinese will

I agree with you. I think that the US Government should cancel all contracts with companies that sponser/sell technology that censors speech, esp. that about democracy.

Let them (aka Cisco/Microsoft) eat those "freedom fries".

Re:Stop blaming companies (4, Insightful)

notany (528696) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040228)

Companies don't live apart from moral or ethical dimensions of life.

Thinking that it's governments responsibility to make moral rules is so stupid. Moral and law are not the same thing. There is laws that are immoral and you are not supposed to make rules for all moral behavior. Law and moral may overlap but they are not the same thing. Moral behavior means that you behave morally even if there is no punishment. Only immoral people (and immoral companies) act morally because they fear punishment.

Moral values are to be expressed in all human behavior. Personal lives, work and politics. It's absurd to think that if enough people join together to run organization to make money (company), moral values do not apply.

Re:Stop blaming companies (1)

R.D.Olivaw (826349) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040252)

Thinking that it's governments responsibility to make moral rules is so stupid.
Thanks for the underhand insult.
I did not say that and you know it. All I said is that we cannot just expect companies to follow moral or ethical guidelines of their choosing because all they follow is the law. It is legal in china so that what they will do. If it was legal to 12 year old work 18 hours a day, they will do it (and I guess they might do in some parts of the worls) that's why we have laws against it.

Re:Stop blaming companies (0, Troll)

daikokatana (845609) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040373)

But if it IS legal to work 12 year olds 18 hours a day in some country, can you hold it against a company if they move there and do so?

I've always had my doubts about so called slave labour and child labour - I'm not for it but I'm not against it either.

Agreed, they work terrible hours, get no rights, and get paid very little - but if they didn't do the work, they would not get paid AT ALL.

Re:Stop blaming companies (1)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040276)

Mob rules apply , it takes just one person with dubious ethics at the upper echelons to cause company to commit some rather dubious acts.
Just look at the amount of companies and corporations that employ sweatshop labour with abhorrent working conditions and wages, I would like to bet that a majority of the work force within that organisation would be disgusted if they knew.

Re:Stop blaming companies (0, Flamebait)

kevin lyda (4803) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040349)

there are morals. there is the law. they are different things.

companies follow the law not morality. one part of corporate law is that they are answerable to their shareholders. ignoring a market with 1 billion people in it will not go down well with those shareholders.

if you don't like this then either change the law or don't encourage transferring power from government to corporations.

Re:Stop blaming companies (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13040369)

It's absurd to think that if enough people join together to run organization to make money (company), moral values do not apply.
Yet obviously they do. Cheating, lying, stealing - these are all SOP at most megacorps, yet immoral as hell.

Laws are morality. Thou Shalt Not Kill - Murder is illegal. Thou Shalt Not Steal - Stealing is illegal. Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor's Wife - Adultery is illegal. Most laws are merely refinements explaining what is or isn't moral. You can kick a guy when he's down, but only if x, y, & z are in place, and if you don't kick him too hard.

The only thing that's absurd is to expect that corporations to do the moral thing. They can, often because the company founder is in charge and in control. But as soon as that person leaves the company they'll regularly do everything they were restricted from doing. As soon as Sam Walton died Wal-Mart started doing all the immoral things that Sam Walton refused to let them do.

Re:Stop blaming companies (2, Insightful)

should_be_linear (779431) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040280)

"I am little moron robot doing whatever my boss says, if its legal" attitude is what made holocaust possible. Or Srebrenica, more reciently.

Re:Stop blaming companies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13040296)

Or Falluja even more recently.

Re:Stop blaming companies (1)

R.D.Olivaw (826349) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040309)

so what are you suggesting? People working at google should quit their jobs and walk out? What's the name of the little world you live in?
We have laws because we cannot trust people to make up their own moral code.

DO blame companies (4, Insightful)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040338)

Companies are there to make money not for moral or social values. I'm not saying that's a good thing but that's how the system works. If there is money to be made in China, they will play by their rules to get it.

IBM Germany was happy to make punch card systems to help the Nazis run their concentration camps. Companies are run by human beings. Decisions are made by human beings. We can blame the human beings who make immoral choices. Nuremberg established the principle that "I was just followong orders" does not absolve you of personal responsibility. Even less does it mean they cannot be criticised.

Re:Stop blaming companies (4, Insightful)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040351)

I see alot of Corporation and Capitalism bashing, but where is the finger pointing at the real problem here?

Communism. Thats the problem causing the Great Firewall of China, not Google or Microsoft or Cisco, but the underlying Totalitarianism of China.

This is a system that's killed far more people than Hitler in the 20th Century. This is a Government bent on far more demanding and bloody Imperalism than the United States would ever think of and to get it's "lost" Taiwan back might very well embark on a war that would destablize not only the Pacific Rim but the entire World's Economy.

Yet, on Slashdot, most of the time from what I've seen when theres a story about the Chinese Space Program or Linux, it's "Go China! Those good and resourceful folks!" And when it's about censorship, "Booo Capitalist Corporations who as enabling China!".

China wants the Internet censored, if all the Corps in the Free World banned togeather and said no, China would roll thier own solution. If it wasn't Google and Cisco doing this, but IT companies in Germany would /. post on it?

average /. reader sucks (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13040125)

> Slate (no longer owned by Microsoft, and therefore an acceptable place to find stories...)

Thats what the world needs, more stupid black&white idiots like the story submitor.

Like they swapped all people when the mag sold

Re:average /. reader sucks (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13040138)

Welcome to slashdot, where you have to insert a microsoft bash to get submitted article posted ;)

Re:average /. reader sucks (1)

XTbushwakko (535540) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040307)

They might have gotten more freedom to talk smack about MS though...

The real clue here is who bought them... because it might be Dr. Evil, and that's just as bad!

Re:average /. reader sucks (1)

Pantero Blanco (792776) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040337)

Even when they were owned by Microsoft, they'd throw a jab in occasionally. I remember an article on how much better Firefox is than IE...

At least it's not us. (1)

qewl (671495) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040128)

If they choose to do that, it's to the Chinese public's loss. It's unfortunate that the citizens can't uproot and overcome this at least without a fair amount of debate in their society. Fortunately I don't think it has anything to do with the rest of us though.

Re:At least it's not us. (1)

calyptos (752073) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040135)

if only everybody were mexican...

oh, wait. that's not what you meant is it?

Re:At least it's not us. (1)

grmoc (57943) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040147)

Actually it is a loss in many ways.

Firstly, it is a loss because many people will find it difficult to communicate effectively with people over there..

Secondly, and unfortunately more importantly for lots of people with money, it makes China more difficult to deal with as an investment. China is a huge potential market for many many companies, and some of these are internet companies. With China's stranglehold on its internet, breaking into the market may be problematic at best, and impossible at worst.

This is a problem for people on both sides of the Great Firewall...

Re:At least it's not us. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13040160)

Well, I'm not sure what you mean by 'us,' but the internet is losing out on the unhindered addition of a 2 billion strong population. That's a lot of potential minds lost.

Re:At least it's not us. (1)

Quirk (36086) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040213)

"Fortunately I don't think it has anything to do with the rest of us though."

Taking your comment from the specific to the general, it's interesting that the American biologist E. O. Wilson [edge.org] has noted, in a different article I can't now locate, that China is the test case for humanity. His argument is that if China, with it's huge population, can find ways to provide for it's citizens, without destroying their ecology, then it's likely we, as a species will be able to overcome our current problems.

While civil liberties are an important facet of China's development, its fast degrading eco-structure is a more telling and scary indicator.

Re:At least it's not us. (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040372)

While civil liberties are an important facet of China's development, its fast degrading eco-structure is a more telling and scary indicator.

They're related, Chinese who've been poisoned by industrial waste are persecuted by local governments if they protest; newspapers which cover these stories are shut down or have their editors fired.

Re:At least it's not us. (1)

dilvie (713915) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040333)

I think that the Chinese government is doing a remarkable job at making the people believe that their government is really much kinder to them than it really is. I've had Chinese people accuse me of being crazy because I like to have the freedom to bad-mouth my government if it needs bad-mouthing.

The best slaves are the ones who think they're free -- and yes, that was a bit of irony. The Chinese government does not have a monopoly on oppressive policy.

Well... (4, Interesting)

mtrisk (770081) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040129)

How long until they put up their own root servers? (ChinaNet, as someone mentioned in the earlier /. story.)

Re:Well... (2, Interesting)

OlivierB (709839) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040170)

Er,, could somebody explain to me what a root server is?

Irony rears its head (4, Insightful)

msormune (808119) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040139)

"Slate (no longer owned by Microsoft, and therefore an acceptable place to find stories...)
So an article in Slashdot about rights online with a message that Microsoft-owned news sources are sensored here? How appropriate.

Re:Irony rears its head (1, Troll)

phatslug (878736) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040179)

Maybe it is alluding to the fact that microsoft has voluntarily started censoring words. Hence an article written by a newsource that is owned by them may not mention things relating to these practices.

Re:Irony rears its head (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13040230)

Slate articles were posted on /. even when they were owned by MSN. I particularly remember this one [slashdot.org] , which links to a Slate article recommending Firefox over IE.

Re:Irony rears its head (1)

jurt1235 (834677) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040348)

Or: Microsoft funds articles by paying after the article is published, in a sort of "sponsor way" (Old /. post). So is Slate really independent, or do they just get paid afterwards?

I WANTED FIRST POST (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13040140)

Why can't China just get invaded by the US and become democratic? We all know that http://www.bash.org/?469107 [bash.org] hypothetical situations aren't all that realistic.

Re:I WANTED FIRST POST (1)

Vo0k (760020) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040222)

'cause if every chineese tossed his hat at the US, the whole US army would get buried 30 feet deep? Or because of the prices they could accept for their wares? Pray and beg the Chineese government to remain communist, because their full opening to free market would mean the end of economy in the Western World as we know it. Consider they are running at maybe 5% of their capacity, already flooding us with their wares.

Re:I WANTED FIRST POST (2, Insightful)

jericho4.0 (565125) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040229)

A 2.3 million strong army trained almost entirly towards home defense? Nukes? Cheap electronics? I dunno.

This is why we need MyI2P (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13040145)

Anonymous, distributed blogging on top of the I2P protocol.

uncensored?? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13040146)

Internet stopped being unregulated and uncensored long, long ago, when Police and Censorship noticed its growing potential... So they are trying to pointedly suppress it...

Re:uncensored?? (2, Funny)

Dan Up Baby (878587) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040270)

Who's they? I don't know anything about a group whose only goal is to censh;lkdh ;wihg[h2gio gh[ig *muffled scream*

Nothing to see here, folks. Just a citizen expressing his glee with a good old hip hip hooray and all that. Move along, I hear there's a new Natalie Portman film, or a Dungeons and Dragons game, or something.

Your pal,
Dan... Dan... Dan Up Baby? Is that seriously hi--my name? Of course.

Still, you have to hand it to them (5, Interesting)

typical (886006) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040161)

Despite all this, you really have to hand it to the Chinese government. Consider that:

* There is a legitimate concern that people reading articles critical of the government will cause enough upset to collapse the government.

* The number of people involved that you are trying to black out information to number in the billions.

* You can successfully convince a majority of these billions of people that it is in their own best interest to give up their own ability to decide what to read or say.

I mean, yes, it's distasteful and all that, but beautifully executed. I don't think *I* could sucker 1.3 billion people, no matter how hard I tried.

Actually, I was pretty impressed that they managed to push through their one-child policy as well -- that had to be a hell of a tough sell.

Re:Still, you have to hand it to them (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13040195)

Absolutely. The Chinese government is fairly skilled at this. Just the fact that their country doesnt fall apart - what with their "socialist open market economy" - is impressive.

Makes you wonder whether it will be worth it - will the Leninist idea of a revolution from the top succeed in China? Remember, we still don't know what's happening in the deep interior of that country.

Re:Still, you have to hand it to them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13040239)

What do you mean by "tough sell" here? Are you suggesting that one child policy was actually sold to the population as opposed to enforced? propaganda is one thing but think about the consequences: you have more than 1 child and you'll have a crippling fine. You can also read slogans on public walls calling for parents already with one child to do ligation. and it's the law.

Re:Still, you have to hand it to them (2, Insightful)

forii (49445) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040279)

propaganda is one thing but think about the consequences: you have more than 1 child and you'll have a crippling fine.

Promoting social policy via financial incentives is nothing new. The US tax system rewards being married (in most cases), which of course means that it penalizes unmarried couples. And many countries with low birth rates give extra money to people who have children. The Chinese one-child policy is just the same thing, only in reverse, which makes sense for a country that already has an unwieldy amount of people.

Yes, there have been cases where enforcement of the policy goes way too far (forced sterilization, for example), but that doesn't mean that the policy itself is unreasonable.

Re:Still, you have to hand it to them (1, Interesting)

Jarnis (266190) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040345)

Really, the whole planet could use one- or two-child policies. Human population growth is a big problem, and things will get nasty sooner or later...

It doesn't exactly help when two major religions are trying to out-reproduce each other on ideological grounds (catholics and muslims).

Chinese policy, while somewhat harsh (it probably should be 'two-child policy', at least once the growth has been stopped), is the only sane attempt at restraining the population growth of the human race. Of course the 10+ child families in africa, india etc. mean that even if china keeps it's population in check, it won't change the final outcome - it might delay it by a few decades, but sooner or later the planet will simply run out of resources to support the exponentially growing population - and when we run out of the capacity to produce food for everyone, people will fight over it. I actually hope that the mess would happen after my time, since it will be a HUGE mess. However, considering that I'm 30, the odds are not too good...

No matter how evil it might sound, AIDS is probably a GOOD thing for the planet, since it's going to give a bit more time due to the effect it's having on the population growth in Africa. One can't help but wonder if it really IS a 'tinfoil hat'-grade lab-engineered secret plot to try and restrict population growth in 'unimportant' / 'undeveloped' countries...

And anyone hopping in and calling me inhuman - Single cases are tragedies, but unfortunately at planetwide scale it's all math. In the last 50 years, the population of the world has roughly tripled - from 2 billion to 6 billion. In another 50 years, that would mean up to 18 billion, and sadly I don't think this planet can take it...

Re:Still, you have to hand it to them (3, Insightful)

superyanthrax (835242) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040272)

You aren't suckering 1.3 billion people. Maybe about 50 million. The vast majority don't have a computer, in fact, they may not know what a computer is. Honestly, the poor countryside is nothing like the cities. The one child policy has been relaxed since the mid 1990's. Now, certain groups can have more than one child, and the law was never airtight to begin with. People had multiple children and nothing really bad happened to them. The point of the policy was to convince enough people to have only one child so the population explosion would stop. And it has. So now the policy is being rolled back.

Re:Still, you have to hand it to them (2, Insightful)

Da Fokka (94074) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040361)

You can successfully convince a majority of these billions of people that it is in their own best interest to give up their own ability to decide what to read or say.

The chinese people didn't give anything up because they've never had that ability in the first place.

Actually, I was pretty impressed that they managed to push through their one-child policy as well -- that had to be a hell of a tough sell.

Sell? It's not like the people had a choice. China has a very stringent central government. Pretty effective for Large projects. For instance, forcibly moving 1.5 million people is pretty damn easy since they have no rights.

In related news... (0, Offtopic)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040164)


...a skateboarder has jumped the Great Wall of China on his skateboard [usatoday.com] . Brings to mind a certain saying about treating constraints as damage and routing around them.

BTW, think how different the world might be if the ancient barbarians along China's border had had skateboards...

Does this mean ... (3, Funny)

concept10 (877921) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040166)

"The Great Firewall of China"

That the IP tables syntax will change from geek jibberish to simplified-Chinese?

Damn, I will never learn how this CLI stuff.

What happened to freedom of information? (2, Insightful)

aaron_ds (711489) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040167)

Unfortunately, civil liberties and a "free" market are at odds.

Even more unfortunate is a mostly non-free Chinese market and a country that denies its citizen freedom to information, while a mostly free USA aids them in closing off information access.

It's a companies perogative to decide what it wants to do. But it's also a duty of a government to protect while not oppressing its people.

Limiting circulation of governmental data to strengthen security is one thing. To prevent a people from accessing information so they can't learn about other forms of government is unforgivable.

Ironically, it's Capitalism's Fault (4, Interesting)

Alaren (682568) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040180)

"...some Western companies are actively co-operating with the Chinese government in their censorship."

I think this particular statement should be carefully considered by every company and government agency with any real attachment to the Western ideals of freedom. I've heard a lot of excuses for this behavior, usually centering around a bad confusion between what is legal versus what is moral. There is also the argument that pouring our culture into Russia ended the Cold War and brought down the iron curtain, and so sharing with China in whatever ways they will allow should similarly bring about a free China. But all of these explanations funnel into the biggest problem--and the most obvious one.

China is huge.

Imagine the way these companies must feel when they see the largely untapped, rapidly growing Chinese marketplace. These businesses have a choice: do business the way the government wants, or risk being locked out of the Chinese market altogether. Making what seems like the obviously moral choice (don't make products, for instance, that arbitrarily censor debate and dissent regarding democracy and human rights) is not the profitable way to go.

Then the justification begins. Doesn't the U.S. violate human rights, too? Doesn't the U.S. take pains to quell dissent? Won't the Chinese benefit from increased wealth and education and eventually democratize themselves? Won't the increased revenue streams into our companies put us in a better position to make a positive difference in China somewhere down the road? Who's to say that those people we helped put in jail for cybercrimes weren't really terrorists?

Frankly it's upsetting to me that so many Americans want to use guns and bombs to democratize the Middle East, but will actively work against democratizing China! But here is the irony, the great secret of the socialists... our capitalism demands that we tap the untapped market, and so we shall be responsible for creating the rope with which we will hang ourselves... and our freedoms.

Re:Ironically, it's Capitalism's Fault (2, Interesting)

superyanthrax (835242) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040336)

Lenin once said: "The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them." This is the sentiment that the Chinese government is taking. This is the theoretical justification for what the government is doing now, and their control over the internet is merely a part of it. They are using the capitalist tools which were sold/given to them for their own uses, which will eventually not be what the capitalists want. So yes, I agree, the socialists wish to use the capitalists against themselves.

Not only in china (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13040189)

Also here in Germany. GEMA (the German pendant to the soviet american RIAA) tries to strongarm [onlinekosten.de] ISP's into blocking access to donkey and torrent sites.

Is an unregulated internet a Good Thing anyway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13040190)

Flamed to death for this I suspect, but is national regulation of the internet such a bad thing?

There's a lot of emotion because the internet was *initially* unregulated and free, much like the wild west.

As it becomes an ever more a part of social, commercial government and business infrastructure shouldn't some rule of law apply? And isn't it sensible to break it down over national boundaries as well?

I don't mean to say that they should be disconnected, but a Chinese internet with Chinese rules verus a European internet with European rules, or a US One - *provided* that there is interconnection/interoperability is not the end of the world.

If you had to have a licence to set up a mail server in the USA - with penalties, severe ones, for using it for Spam - how much spam would be reduced? You are sentenced to fines of $40,000 - and are banned from licencing a mail server for 2 years.

s/Chinese government/companies/ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13040199)

China's long-term vision is clear: an Internet that feels free and acts as an engine of economic progress yet in no way threatens the Communist Party's monopoly on power. With every passing day the Chinese Internet reflects that vision more closely. It portends a future for the Web that we're only beginning to understand--one in which powerful countries refashion the global network to suit themselves.


Western long-term vision is clear: an Internet that feels free and acts as an engine of economic progress yet in no way threatens the company's monopoly on power. With every passing day the Internet reflects that vision more closely. It portends a future for the Web that we're only beginning to understand--one in which powerful companies refashion the global network to suit themselves.

In Soviet Russia ... (3, Funny)

BonoLeBonobo (798671) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040201)

In Soviet Russia ... ... there was no Internet :-)

Re:In Soviet Russia ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13040255)

internet was you ;)

The end (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13040202)

Is this the beginning of the end for the global, unregulated, uncensored, Internet?

Yes, this is the beginning of the end. As usual.

This is a good thing (1, Insightful)

pavera (320634) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040207)

The only reason Europe and America can even compete at all in the global market place with China around is because the chinese gov't keeps its people opressed. If China were to become democratic, or its billion people could read, study, learn and do anything they wanted, it would take about 5 years before the chinese owned every major asset in the world and we'd all be their slaves.

Re:This is a good thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13040250)

lovely logic. 'us against them,' eh? Hints of McCarthyism? Mate, they don't want you as slaves. It's never that simple

Re:This is a good thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13040288)

Well, yes, the Chinese government would certainly like you to bow to their will. Sorta like they oppress their 1.3 billion people. But since the rest of the world isn't under the totalitarian heel of their communist party, they just have to do with subjugating Chinese citizens.

Re:This is a good thing (2, Insightful)

t_allardyce (48447) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040281)

As much as I hate to accept it, that's very true. Being educated is a divide and as any economist will tell you, divides = demand = supply = profit

A question. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13040208)

Another post on /. rang a bell when I saw this submission. I will try to paraphrase into this discussion:

If the Chinese decide to grab a free distro of Linux and flavor it with the principals espoused in the article and force it on the population as "Red Linux" who is to say they would be wrong to do it from a legal standpoint?

Morally, I think this would be wrong. But there is a lot of money at stake here on both sides.

Strange censorship... (3, Interesting)

tktk (540564) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040210)

I'm in a group of 5 friends that usually emails random stuff to one another. One buddy is working in China. He's got a 21cn.com email address.

For a while, we all thought he was too busy to respond to our random email conversations. Turns out that he never received a lot of those emails. We all decided that it was because censorship but could never figure out what keywords brought it on. There didn't seem to be any rule-based system. It was almost as if millions of Chinese were censoring the emails of the other millions by hand.

Well, except the sentence "Hey, is this getting censored?" That email always got censored.

Re:Strange censorship... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13040240)

You may try encrypting those e-mails... see if they could get through.

Not the "end", a continuation (3, Insightful)

forii (49445) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040223)

China isn't the first country to "filter" the internet. Other countries, such as Singapore and even "enlightened democracies" such as Australia, Norway and Sweden [telenor.com] also filter the Internet.

Every country has the sovereign right to make its own laws. And since I don't believe that unfettered Internet access (however nice it is) falls in the category of a "Basic Human Right", I don't think that the companies that help China with the Great Firewall are committing any great sin.

An objection could be made, I suppose, that blocking Child Porn is completely different from blocking information about Democracy, but I propose that it is merely a difference of degree. Every country has different morals, beliefs, and laws, and I think it's completely appropriate for companies to respect the local requirements. Once again, I don't think Internet access is a Basic Human Right, so I don't see any ethical issues here.

Re:Not the "end", a continuation (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040260)

The only reason the child porn filters got applied in Sweden was because the tabloids (Aftonbladet and Expressen) decided to make it their issue of the day pretty much accusing swedish ISPs of being pro-child porn with arguments along the line of "other countries have it so uhm.. THINK OF THE CHILDREN!" and any voices pointing out that this system would be horribly inefficient were drowned by the battlecry of the tabloids...

/Mikael

Re:Not the "end", a continuation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13040277)

The logical fallacy is that you accept the country's sovereign leadership as legitimate. You need to question the legitimacy of authoritarian rulers, because we have rational reasons to believe that aggregate utility is better maximized under non-coercive systems of constitutional democracy. Without democracy and a strong constitution, leadership has no legitimacy, it is simply a monopoly on violence by a clique of violent criminals.

Unless, of course, maybe we think Chinese people are so inherently different from us and genetically subservient that we cannot judge their authoritarian government. When we talk about issues in terms of countries and their rights, instead of people and their rights, we imply as much.

Re:Not the "end", a continuation (1)

tx_kanuck (667833) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040310)

"strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government"
.
.
.
sorry, your post just made think of Monty Python. You wouldn't be related to that peasant, would you?

Re:Not the "end", a continuation (2, Insightful)

forii (49445) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040340)

Without democracy and a strong constitution, leadership has no legitimacy, it is simply a monopoly on violence by a clique of violent criminals.

Nonsense. According to your criteria, the United Kingdom does not have a legitimate government (due to the lack of a Constitution).

I think that the legitimacy of a government basically comes down to how well it serves the people that it governs. I think that if you ask most people in China today how things are going, they would reply that they are pleased by how much their lives are improving.

This has nothing to do with being "genetically subservient" (I find it bizarre that you say that), but everything to do with the fact that people are usually happy when their lives are getting better. And, like it or not, the authoritarian Chinese government has managed to improve the lives of the Chinese people dramatically. This outweighs any displeasure they might have at not having much government representation.

Re:Not the "end", a continuation (3, Insightful)

Xoro (201854) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040319)

An objection could be made, I suppose, that blocking Child Porn is completely different from blocking information about Democracy, but I propose that it is merely a difference of degree.

No, it's a difference in kind, not just of degree. It is illegal in the many countries to access child porn, but it is not illegal to debate the merits of child porn on the internet. Democracy is not the legal form of government in China, and it *is* illegal to debate its merits on the internet.

Do you not see the difference?

Re:Not the "end", a continuation (1)

eclectro (227083) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040347)

Once again, I don't think Internet access is a Basic Human Right, so I don't see any ethical issues here.

It's not internet access that's being censored, but speech. Freedom of speech is a fundamental human right, at least according to the UN.

That's like saying there is no ethical issues with smashing printing presses, as owning a printing press is not a Basic Human Right.

Same principle, newer technology.

Re:Not the "end", a continuation (2, Interesting)

miyako (632510) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040367)

you know, I read this and I thought at first I agreed with you, but then I realized that really I didn't. It's 4 am and I'm not sure how well I'll be able to verbalize my disagreement, so bear with me.
In abstract, I agree with the idea that a sovergen nation should be able to have it's own laws. Basically, if a bunch of people want to get together and live under whatever waky laws they can come up with like wood should smell different on wednesdays or it's a capitol crime to drink water from a seventeen inch purple curly straw or whatever.
The problem is, I think this only works if all of the people living under the rule of that country are doing so voluntarily. If I want to drink water from a seventeen inch purple curly straw, then I should be able to move to an area were that's allowed.
Along those lines, I should also be able to be informed of other countries, other laws, etc, so that I can go someplace else.
The problem is that, in china, I don't think that either is the case. People can't very well up and move to another country easily, and because of the censorship they don't really know much about where they could move to.

Re:Not the "end", a continuation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13040377)

Outrage... growing. Please, take a look at the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights [un.org] . Among the several articles China *clearly* violates I will reproduce the ones affected by filtering.

Filtering e-mail violates Article 12:
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

In general, filtering the Web violates:

Article 18.
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Article 19.
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Article 26.
(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit. [...]

Article 27.
(1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits. [...]

So I conclude that yes, access to a free non-censored Internet IS a Human Right.

I see... (2, Interesting)

Viraptor (898832) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040241)

I see a new google poisoning action comming... this time misspelled democracy words for the crawler, like -> dmeocracy [democracynow.org] .
Can they filter it all out?

no access to western websites (2, Interesting)

guorbatschow (870695) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040243)

i dont know how it works, but i believe my cousin who has another internet provider than me cant reach any of the non-chinese websites. he tried downloading opera or msn from the original websites but without success. it was me who hat to forward it to him. i myself am living in beijing right now but have still access to all websites on the net. except lycos, tripod and geocities...

owned by MS? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13040251)

If being owned by Microsoft made Slate an unacceptable place for stories, wouldn't Slashdot being owned by OSTG make it also an unacceptable place?

Department (1)

redwiregmail (841822) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040261)

"from the pretty-country-shame-about-the-government dept." Proverbial pot calling the proverbial kettle black?

All of those American Flags... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13040264)

... that say 'made in China'

mmm, the ironing is delicious.

internet.china (1)

jimmypw (895344) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040265)

If China want to seperate their countries interntet from the rest of the world so communisim can continue to brainwash the public... Fair play.

China will continue to excel... Maby communisim works??? Although what is the world coming to when the govornment has the right to control what you see, hear, think, what you speak to other people about. I personally can only see bad things happening.

Encryption? (1)

P0ldy (848358) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040274)

TFA:
The Communist Party's management of chat rooms works similarly. A post like "Let's hold multiparty elections" is deleted before posting or soon after. But more crucial is the party's channeling of chat-room discussions to serve its own interests.
How do they plan to deal with an encrypted connection from end to end? Or, because they provide [at least one of those] ends, is it as simple as a backdoor? I wouldn't imagine the "free for everyone" crowd will stand for implementations that circumvent SSH, etc. Forget bloggers.

Typos ? (0)

Arthur B. (806360) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040297)

Hi I live in China and many words seem to be missing from the story and the article, it's really hard to read. Are these typos ?

The "beginning of the end"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13040300)

You're new here, right?

Sensationalism (and IPv6) (1)

Shaper_pmp (825142) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040302)

It's not infeasible, what's being talked about in TFA, but I'd view the information and conclusions with your Tabloid-ometer turned up to full. It was the following snippet that first made me wonder:

"This massive internal network will be fast, but it will also be built by a single, state-owned company and easy to filter at every step. Its addressing system (known as IPv6) is scarcely used in the United States and may make parts of the Chinese Internet and the rest of the world mutually unreachable."

As I recall, the only reason the rest of the world doen't use IPv6 is because we're too half-arsed to upgrade our existing infrastructure. I don't know a lot about v6, but I do seem to recall reading it was what everyone was "supposed" to use in the near future, and that we (with such a large already-established infrastructure) were unreasonably dragging our feet.

In other words, the chinese are doing it right, but according to Slate this is somehow a bad thing.

Hmmm, I smell inadequate research or downright sensationalism.

there is no RFC (1)

YuriGherkin (870386) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040303)

Is there an RFC that says that the internet has to be "... global, unregulated, uncensored," ?

I'm surprised it exists anywhere (1)

gooman (709147) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040325)

Is this the beginning of the end for the global, unregulated, uncensored, Internet?

I'm of the belief that there is no government on the planet that really wants a global, unregulated, uncensored, Internet. The reason it exists at all in this form is the result of several societies (primarily western) having years of legal precedent protecting individual rights regarding freedom of expression. But don't think for a minute that if they could somehow regulate and censor the Internet your nation wouldn't try to do it.

adjusts strap on tin foil hat

IPV6 (1)

putko (753330) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040330)

The only good thing I see in this is that the Chinese are moving to IPv6, so perhaps the rest of the world will upgrade too.

It will take some big reason to make the switch; CHINA is hopefully a big enough reason.

China is moving slowly towards a more open society (2, Interesting)

jurt1235 (834677) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040342)

And moving slowly goes 2 steps forward and 1 step back. The chinese goverment is the best communistic goverment around, since they manage not to break to much human rights, and really manage to distribute the wealth better as communistic herritage prescribes.
A switch in China, which was to be expected after the fall of the Soviet Union, would probably solve these freedom problems, but replace it with utter poverty for more people, and will most likely break more civil and human rights.
The chinese people know about democracy, they know what is wrong, and they have their own underground movements to push the right buttons to improve the situation. The attitude of chinese people is luckily a more mellow attitude than that of the US or western world, giving them the time to get those changes without a lot of blood shed.
So for the mean time there will be a chinese firewall. Since we can not stop the chinese goverment from doing this, the chinese themselves will show them one day that it needs to stop. Lets try to stop our own goverments from imposing blocks on the internet, for example the US goverment forbids international gambling and pr0n sites. US companies (VISA/MASTER) help the goverment in this by preventing people who want to visit those sites from being able to pay using their creditcard. There are probably other blocks which are less visible (conspiracy theory?), and enough examples to fight in the US and other countries, where we live ourselves.

Capitalist dictatorship (3, Informative)

Hal XP (807364) | more than 9 years ago | (#13040354)

Blame the confusion between free enterprise and democracy for the sorry spectacle of companies from supposedly "democratic" countries going out of their way to cater to the whims of a supposedly "communist" country.

For a long time free enterprise did equal democracy. During the Cold War, the Soviet Union was held up as the prime example of a non-capitalist and non-democratic state. Here was proof for the peoples of the developing world that democracy went hand-in-hand with capitalism. China's success proved that this need not be the case.

Some free enterprise appears to be necessary to promote democracy: the right to be as rich as the corrupt bureaucrat next door. But China proved that it's possible to get rich in a supposedly socialist setting even if you're not a card-carrying member of the party. You can make money if you know when to shut up.

Is Slashdot banned in China? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13040355)

Should be interesting... everything under the sun is on /. - from goats to Dalai Lama to banned Chinese cults. Wonder what the Chinese think of Slashdot!
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>