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Reporters Without Borders Internet Annual Report

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the it-doesn't-look-good dept.

130

kratei writes "The BBC is running a report discussing the Reporters Without Borders internet annual report 2006. The RWB study details and decries the rising tide of net censorship and lays the blame squarely on the west as the source for the technology that allows repressive regimes to stifle freedom on the web." From the article: "China's success at censorship means it has effectively produced a "sanitised" version of the internet for its 130 million citizens that regularly go online. The wide-ranging scrutiny also means that it is the biggest jailer of so-called cyber dissidents. RSF estimates that 62 people in China have been jailed for what they said online. "

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[First post withheld at government request] (5, Funny)

mmell (832646) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266007)

[CENSORED]

50% Funny, 50% Overrated. (0)

mmell (832646) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266225)

When did I become my in-laws?

First post (-1)

CriticalHurt (972878) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266021)

First post !

Re:First post assholes. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15266064)

dumbass

Hey, I know (0, Troll)

Oldsmobile (930596) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266031)

Hey I know! Lets bash China again. Slashdot is just soooo much fun when we get to take it out on China like it was some sort of virtual nation-pinjata thingy!

(Of course we should all forget that we don't actually know a damn thing about China)

Re:Hey, I know (5, Insightful)

Vyvyan Basterd (972007) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266070)

Yeah, I forgot. We must first spend years studying the socio-economics of china before we can say it's wrong to throw people in jail for their opinions. How silly of me to forget that.

You wouldn't happen to be a US Citizen, would you? (0, Troll)

mmell (832646) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266235)

See: Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

'Nuff said?

Re:You wouldn't happen to be a US Citizen, would y (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266326)

So what you're saying is that two wrongs make a right? And our minor (by numbers, anyway) infractions here in the US make China's long history of killing political dissenters acceptable? Good logic there, sparky. Unless of course that's not what you're trying to say, in which case, what the hell are you trying to say?

Re:You wouldn't happen to be a US Citizen, would y (1)

BlackRookSix (943957) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266606)

I see. So it's a numbers game? When the US gets up to 62 killed dissidents, then we will be allowed to speak as the person you are replying to has?

Killing people for political reasons is no worse than stripping them of all of their freedoms, I don't care who they are. Killing one makes your country just as guilty of the crime as a country that kills 100.

Wake the hell up.

Re:You wouldn't happen to be a US Citizen, would y (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15268017)

No, you *don't* see.

It *is* a numbers game. What don't you get?

So, if one equals 100, would you say that the death of sixty thousand is remotely equivelant to the Holocaust?

If so, tell us what dictatorship is paying you to post that crap.

Wake up... (1)

ergean (582285) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266764)

It works both ways one does not excuse the other.

Re:You wouldn't happen to be a US Citizen, would y (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 8 years ago | (#15267181)

So what you're saying is that two wrongs make a right?

As this is Slashdot, perhaps another way of explaining this is possible. This is not an OR situation. It is an AND situation.

Another way of saying it might be "Pot Kettle"

Re:Hey, I know (1)

ToasterofDOOM (878240) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266401)

Best reply ever, and possibly the most levelheaded post on any site on the web.

Re:Hey, I know (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266807)

See: Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

(Now see this messages censored as troll)

Re:Hey, I know (1)

liangzai (837960) | more than 8 years ago | (#15267993)

No, but you may spend a day or so questioning the sources, and what has actually been the reason for jailing these "dissidents".

In virtually all cases that I have studied, these are people who have leaked information that was supposed to be secret to begin with. One can argue that these "secrets" are ridiculous, but they have nevertheless been defined as state secrets, and there is a law that deals with such crimes. The law has been followed. Should China follow other nations' laws?

This is no different that when Western journalists are jailed for "espionage" or leaking "state secrets". You may want to google "Jan Guillou" to read about a Swedish journalist who exposed a secret intelligence agency and was sentenced to jail for it. According to the US government, he is a "spy", and he therefore isn't allowed to enter the US (even if he was invited to the Oscar awards).

Now, this Swedish journalist who leaked "state secrets" is thus a spy, but when Shi Tao, a Chinese journalist, leaks "state secrets", well, then he is a "dissident".

Re:Hey, I know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15266169)

Slashdot is just soooo much fun when we get to take it out on China like it was some sort of virtual nation-pinata thingy!

You are quite right to point out that most piñatas are made in China, excellent quality and great prices...

Censorship and the Web (1)

Alterion (925335) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266037)

..it is just me or can't chinese dissidents use google.com instead of google.cn and get an uncensored version. Having said that i have never been to china so I wouldn;t know.. but this just highlights more than ever to get all the azeureus users off tor and get more tor servers set up to help protect these people who need the annonimity.

Sure. (1)

mmell (832646) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266118)

That is, if you don't mind the Chinese government asking you why you saw fit to use google.com instead of google.cn. "Oh, and about those other sites you visited . . ."

Of course, being behind the "Great (Fire)Wall of China", can they even get to google.com anymore?

Re:Censorship and the Web (2, Informative)

secolactico (519805) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266127)

..it is just me or can't chinese dissidents use google.com instead of google.cn and get an uncensored version.

It's just you. ;-)

I don't know how they do it, but I guess Google either does geolocation and redirects to the appropiate version or they simple block access to google.com.

Re:Censorship and the Web (1)

revlayle (964221) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266206)

They use a firewall/proxy server for the Chinese ISPs to block sites.

Re:Censorship and the Web (1)

instagib (879544) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266251)

Yes, and it seems vice versa it's the same. At least I did not manage to display google.cn . Or is there a trick?

Re:Censorship and the Web (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266425)

I was able to get to Google China [google.cn] without difficulty, in Firefox. It may be that you don't have the appropriate language pack for your browser. However, AFAIK the censorship only works if Google detects that you are indeed in China, so you can't test it from outside.

Re:Censorship and the Web (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266280)

I'm guessing that the great firewall of china includes packet rewriting so that they can send your requests to google.cn instead of google.whateverelse, by destination IP.

Re:Censorship and the Web (2, Interesting)

LocoMan (744414) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266309)

Google definitively uses geolocation. If I go to google from any computer here (Venezuela) it's automatically redirected to google.com.ve. Even if I go to the options and tell it to use the homepage in english and the like (which I usually do, mostly because , I still get the regular google website, but with a "visit google Venezuela" link in the bottom

Re:Censorship and the Web (1)

LocoMan (744414) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266328)

I accidebtally hit submit over there, in the middle it was supposed to say "mostly because I don't get most of the google doodles and new features in the localized pages"... :)

Re:Censorship and the Web (1)

paskie (539112) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266847)

That is not any "geolocation" thing but Google merely matches the language selected in your browser - you can usually change the list of preferred languages in the preferences, and I guess most browsers by default prefer pages in the same language as the localization of the browser.

Re:Censorship and the Web (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15267784)

Your president makes George Bush look like Albert Einstein.

Proxies (5, Interesting)

CptChipJew (301983) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266043)

The people I know in China all claim to use Japanese and Korean proxies to get access to everything. Anybody know if this is true? If so, then you can be assured that plenty of people are doing this, and largely making the PRC efforts pointless.

Re:Proxies (1)

yfnET (834882) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266299)

The firewall is porous. Imaginative users can find ways of searching for sensitive topics such as news about Falun Gong, a banned spiritual movement. In Google, entering the words “Falun Gong” will cause the entire results page to be blocked, but “FLG movement” will not. Many Chinese internet-users are well practised in configuring their internet browsers to route page requests through unblocked proxy servers outside China. These help bypass the firewall.

——
Special Report / China and the internet [economist.com]

The party, the people and the power of cyber-talk
Apr 27th 2006 | BEIJING
From The Economist print edition

At present the party has the upper hand. It is starting to sweat, though

IMAGE [economist.com]

“DO YOU know how serious a mistake you’ve made?” Yan Yuanzhang recalls an official asking him not long ago. Mr Yan had been summoned to Beijing’s Internet Propaganda Management Office to talk about his websites. They were causing, he was told, the Communist Party to lose face. They were providing material that foreign media could use to attack China. They were illegal and must be closed down within 24 hours.

“Farewell, worker comrades,” wrote Mr Yan in notices posted that day on his China-based websites, China Workers Net and Communist Net. Visitors could hear a lugubrious rendition of the communist anthem, the Internationale, through their computer speakers as they read. “Whether there is any hope of starting again, heaven knows.” He says now that he will relaunch one of the two sites on May 1st, this time on a server in Taiwan.

It is remarkable that the websites lasted as long as they did. Mr Yan, who is not a party member, launched them on May 1st last year to mark Labour Day. The aim, he says, was to provide platforms for a “leftist” critique of China’s embrace of “Dickensian capitalism”. They did not, as he tried to explain to the city government, attack the party itself or its leaders. But they did provide something the party abhors: uncensored news about worker unrest. In September he launched a bulletin board on which visitors could directly post their comments. Messages complained about corruption, the privatisation of state-owned enterprises and the hardships of unemployed workers.

As Mr Yan talks, he gets a text message on his mobile phone. It is from Tan Jiaming, a university student in southern China who has been running a website of similar outlook, Revolutionary Marxism. It too, the message says, has been closed. The student had posted a notice entitled “Strongly Protest the Snuffing Out of the China Workers Website by the Beijing Authorities”. He was summoned to hear a dozen officials threaten him with expulsion from his university for backing Mr Yan.

IMAGE [economist.com]

Six years ago Bill Clinton described China’s efforts to restrict the internet as “sort of like trying to nail Jell-O to the wall”. But as China’s web-filtering technology has grown more sophisticated, and the ranks of its internet police have swelled, some have begun to wonder. A report in 2003 by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace suggested that, despite the difficulties the internet posed to authoritarian regimes, it could also be used to fortify them. China, the authors concluded, had been “largely successful at guiding use” of the internet. At a congressional hearing in February on American companies involved in internet business in China, a Republican congressman, Christopher Smith, said the internet there had become “a malicious tool, a cyber sledgehammer of repression”.

Some of the companies testifying at the hearing—Cisco, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo!—deserved a grilling. Why, for instance, had Microsoft, at the request of Chinese officials, removed a popular site in December from its Chinese version of MSN Spaces, a service for personal diaries and blogs? Yahoo! too had questions to answer about reports that information it provided to the police about its e-mail services had helped put dissidents behind bars. More recently Reporters Without Borders, a human-rights group, said that a Hong Kong unit of Yahoo! had given the police a Chinese user’s draft e-mails. These were then used as evidence at his trial for subversion, for which he received a four-year jail sentence. Yahoo! has condemned efforts to suppress freedom of speech, but says it must obey Chinese law.

For foreign companies, the internet business in China is certainly a moral minefield. But the internet should not be dismissed as merely an instrument of control for the Communist Party. In the past three years, China has seen far more extensive use of the internet and the rapid development of groups that share views online that are by no means always the same as the party’s. The numbers of internet-connected computers have more than doubled since the end of 2002, to 45.6m, and internet-users have risen by 75%, to 111m. China now has more internet-users than any country but America, and over half of them have broadband (up from 6.6% at the end of 2002). Users of instant computer-to-computer messaging systems have more than doubled, to 87m. Blogs—online personal diaries, scarcely heard of three years ago—now number more than 30m. And search engines receive over 360m requests a day.

The spread of mobile telephony has been no less spectacular. At the end of last year China had 393m mobile-phone accounts, nearly 200m more than at the end of 2002 and more than any other country. If, as many believe, China’s first third-generation mobile-network licence is to be awarded in the coming year, internet access at broadband speeds will become available on mobile handsets. And, crucially, many people in towns can now afford all this technology. China’s economy in the past three years has been growing at around 10% a year, enriching a growing middle class that increasingly sees the internet as an aid to information-gathering, communication and entertainment. Even many students can afford laptops. In big cities, they congregate in cafés that offer free wireless access.

Moreover, the technological transformation is spreading far into the hinterland. Almost every county now has broadband. Internet cafés with high-speed connections are ubiquitous and cheap even in remote towns. Fixed-line internet access is still uncommon in rural homes. But in many parts of the countryside, it is possible to surf the internet at landline modem speeds using a mobile handset (though few peasants can afford to). With the government’s encouragement, state-owned companies have poured quantities of money into the building of a telecoms infrastructure worthy of the rich world.

Keeping the genie half in the bottle
The government has also spent freely to keep its liberating side-effects under control. The committed few who are brave or foolhardy enough to use the internet to challenge the authorities now face a police force of some 30,000 online monitors, say foreign human-rights groups. They also say that China has jailed over 50 people for expressing views online or in text messages. Worried about the forces unleashed by rapid economic and social change, China’s leaders have stepped up their efforts in recent months to control not only the internet but other media too. A handful of outspoken newspapers have been closed and their editors sacked.

At February’s congressional hearing, representatives of America’s internet companies argued that their presence was helping to promote access to information by encouraging the internet’s development in China. Jack Krumholtz of Microsoft said the Chinese people would be the principal losers if his company’s internet services ceased in China. They would be denied, he said, “an important avenue of communication and expression”. That was an exaggeration. Foreign companies help to spur competition. But it is Chinese companies—some of them listed on American stock exchanges—that in many respects, and often unwittingly, are transforming China faster.

Google’s decision to set up a self-censored version of its search engine in China this year aroused a storm of criticism in America. But iResearch, a Shanghai-based market-analysis firm, says China’s Baidu [baidu.com] enjoys more than 56% of the search market; Google follows with less than a third, having been the leader three years ago. Popular features of Baidu’s engine are its ability to link searches to related chat forums, and hunt for MP3 music files, most of them pirated.

Baidu’s searches are not nearly as comprehensive as Google’s. But self-censorship, both by Baidu and by Google in its new China-based engine, still allows information through that the party dislikes. For instance, news about the congressional hearing—ignored by China’s print media—can be found on both. Entering the Chinese-character equivalents of the words “Congress America internet freedom” into Baidu produces three prominent results relating to the hearing. All are blogs. Two even contain advertisements with links to pornographic websites.

Google’s engine in China produces more relevant results. But many are blocked by a firewall, the barrier between the internet in China and the rest of the world that filters out banned sites and those containing prohibited keywords. Curiously, it is the Chinese search engine with a more rigorous filtering system than Google’s that provides the readiest access to uncensored information about the congressional hearing. For those who know English, the House of Representatives’ website [house.gov] offers copies of evidence and a webcast of the entire proceedings. These are not blocked.

The firewall is porous. Imaginative users can find ways of searching for sensitive topics such as news about Falun Gong, a banned spiritual movement. In Google, entering the words “Falun Gong” will cause the entire results page to be blocked, but “FLG movement” will not. Many Chinese internet-users are well practised in configuring their internet browsers to route page requests through unblocked proxy servers outside China. These help bypass the firewall.

Blog-standard evasion
Blogs make the censors’ work all the more difficult. China’s fast-growing legions of bloggers know they must avoid taboo keywords, including those programmed into the Chinese version of MSN Spaces. If you enter any of those, the postings will not be shown or your attempt to set up a blog will be denied. But, as China’s internet companies engage in fierce competition to draw blog traffic to their portals, few checks seem to be made about who is writing them. A blog can easily and quickly be set up on a Chinese portal, and no one asks for verifiable personal information. Bloggers often display postings that would make party censors shudder. Mr Tan, the student who used to run the Revolutionary Marxism website, has a blog [msn.com] on MSN Spaces that keeps up his campaign for workers’ rights despite the demise of his own site and continued harassment by officials.

Human intervention is no less fallible than the firewall. In the middle of the huge open-plan newsroom of Sina Corporation [sina.com] in north-western Beijing, a score of censors sit in front of their screens. They are young employees whose job is to examine thousands of blogs and comments posted by internet-users on Sina’s news items. It is a round-the-clock task, designed to find anything that could have got through the filters and might still offend the authorities.

Direct attacks on the party, its leaders or on the political system rarely get through (or at least, not for long). But that still allows room for far more vigorous debate on a range of social and economic issues than China has enjoyed before under Communist rule. According to Qian Hualin of the government-affiliated China Internet Network Information Centre, Chinese service-providers report that some 70% of their bandwidth is taken up with pirated music and films. That still leaves lots of room for discourse.

Even the party itself pays attention to the deluge of public comment. Eager to acquire some legitimacy, but anxious to avoid democracy, it is trying its hand at populism. The prime minister, Wen Jiabao, said last month that the government should listen “extensively” to views expressed on the internet. With few other ways of assessing the public mood, the internet is indeed a barometer, even though surveys suggest that users are hardly representative of the general population, being mainly young, better educated and male.

In 2003 many internet-users expressed outrage on bulletin boards over the beating to death in jail of just such a young, well-educated man who had been arrested for failing to carry the right identity documents. This led to the scrapping of a decades-old law giving the police sweeping powers to detain anyone suspected of staying without a permit in a place other than his registered home town. Later that year the commuting of a death sentence of a gang boss prompted a similar online furore. The Supreme Court retried the case and ordered his execution.

The knitting of a network
Guo Liang of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences describes 2003 as a “milestone” in the development of the internet in China. During the outbreak early in the year of SARS, an often fatal respiratory disease, many people stayed at home and made extensive use of the internet to gather information and keep in touch. The government’s efforts to block news of the outbreak collapsed as word spread by e-mail, computer and text message. By late 2004 home installation of broadband began to take off, and with it the growth of blogging, instant messaging and internet-based phone and video calls.

The party worries about any unregulated networking among ordinary people. It severely limits the activities of non-governmental organisations, even straightforwardly charitable ones. It ruthlessly suppresses organised dissent. But China’s love affair with the mobile phone, text and instant messaging has helped people to form networks on a scale and with a speed that is beyond the party’s ability to control. Windows Messenger, Microsoft’s instant-messaging system, is one popular tool. But by far the biggest share of this market is enjoyed by a Chinese company, Tencent [tencent.com.hk] . Its messaging service, QQ, generates revenue by linking a free online system with mobile phones, for which users must pay.

The QQ service has helped Mr Yan retain some of his online network of contacts since the closure of China Workers Net and Communist Net. He replaced the two home pages with notices inviting anyone interested in staying in touch to join a QQ chat group called China Working Class Net. Members can hold discussions with dozens of people all at once. With webcams, some chatters can also see and hear each other. Some even go in for luoliao, naked chatting, which is causing the authorities and parents some concern. The government, however, seems to devote more resources to controlling politics on the internet than to controlling sex.

One frequently criticised aspect of China’s internet development is that nationalist diatribes have a much better chance of getting past the censors than other political comment. But nationalism has also provided a convenient cover for experimenting with new forms of mobilisation. The power of instant messaging, for instance, became evident in April last year, when it was used to organise big anti-Japanese protests in several cities. In the build-up to the protests, Sina organised an online campaign aimed at demonstrating public opposition to Japan’s bid for permanent membership of the UN Security Council. Some 20m people submitted their names. Since starting a similar campaign a few weeks ago, Sina’s rival, Sohu [sohu.com] , has gathered more than 15m names. “It shows the power” of the internet, says Charles Chao, Sina’s boss.

The government keeps issuing new rules to keep users of both the internet and mobile phones in line. Last September news portals were banned from publishing anything that might incite protests; anything issued in the name of any “illegal civil organisation” was also forbidden. According to news reports, the government plans this year to issue rules to require people buying pre-paid mobile phone cards to submit proof of identity: over half of China’s mobile-phone accounts are not registered in any name, making it easy for criminals—or dissidents—to use them without being identified by the police. “The internet in China is a wild place, it’s crazy,” says Charles Zhang, head of Sohu. “I don’t think it’s monitored enough.”

Catch me if you can
But the market is likely to prevail over restrictions. Limiting phone-card sales to just a few shops with the ability to process registration requirements would be a blow to mobile-phone companies and huge numbers of private vendors who thrive on such business. It is hard to see how it could be enforced any more rigorously than, say, China’s ban on the unauthorised reception of satellite signals. Illegal sales of satellite dishes and cable services offering uncensored foreign satellite channels are big underground businesses in urban China.

China’s news portals, in their competition for traffic, will continue to test the limits of official tolerance. And in a competitive market few internet-café operators pay attention to government requirements that users’ identities should be registered. An hour on a broadband connection in an internet café in a small town can cost as little as one yuan—about 13 cents.

Research by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences suggests the scale of the government’s task. Over 20% of people surveyed in five Chinese cities last year said the internet had increased their contacts with others who shared their political interests—a far higher proportion than found in a similar survey conducted in America (8.1%) by collaborators in the investigation. Nearly half of the respondents said going online increased their contacts with people who shared their hobbies, compared with less than 20% in the United States (networked role-playing games, growing fast in popularity in China, may partly account for this). And nearly 63% agreed that the internet gave them greater opportunities to criticise the government.

“China is changing, it’s improving,” says Jack Ma, head of Alibaba [alibaba.com] , which last year took over the running of Yahoo!’s Chinese operations—for, despite an early start in China, Yahoo! has been elbowed aside by domestic rivals. “Ten years ago, 20 years ago, in Chairman Mao’s time, if we came here to talk about these things [government censorship],” he begins. Then he puts an imaginary pistol to his head and, with a grin, fires it. That, of course, was when power just grew out of the barrel of a gun. Now it also grows out of the infinite, albeit virtual, barrels of the internet.
 
::: yfnET

Re:Proxies (1)

koweja (922288) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266506)

Of course plenty of people are doing it, but it's still a problem. I recall somebody from China (possibly on Slashdot) saying that censorship was a inconvience for them at most. However, the average person does not know how to get around censors, doesn't know that you can get around censors, and in some extreme cases, may not know that there even are censors. Of course, you can bypass the firewall, and I'm sure as soon as China finds a proxy they block in and send the police to have a nice little chat with the users. So yes, you can get around it with a little knowledge, though it may or may not be worth the risk.

I would say it's highly likely (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266589)

For all the filtering over there, the governmet is still rpetty unsophisticated about it.

For example: My mom went over to China last year to teach English. She'd regularly e-mail us updates. She warned everyone to please not say anything untoward about the government, as she didn't want to get in trouble. However the e-mail she used was her US account, connected to via webmail. It was all 256-bit SSL encrypted. There was no way the Chinese government had any idea what she was sending.

Since their ban is reactive (meaning they ban stuff they don't like when they find it) rather than proactive (meaning everything not on an explicit approve list is denied) it is impossible to stop all the proxies out there. They apparantly don't stop encrypted traffic so once you've got that, you can get anything.

Sure what mom was doing looked like someone checking e-mail via SSL,a nd was, but it didn't have to be could have just as easly been a tunnel to other sites, and they never would have known.

To me it looks similar to the RIAA's anti-P2P efforts. They don't really understand what they are fighting and they make an effort to swat at it, but they have no handle on things overall. Still may be effective though, I'm not sure how many savvy people there are and of those, how many are willing to risk the Central Committee's wrath by looking at banned sites.

Getting around censors (Re:Proxies) (3, Informative)

jsm (5728) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266590)

Here's a tool [jmarshall.com] to get around Web censorship. It's the censorhip-circumventing software itself, not just a site that runs it; anyone can downlad and install it on a Web server for their own use. It's been around since 1996, first developed when Singapore and China first announced they would try to censor the Web. I think this approach is more effective than the various sites running public proxies, because those can be blocked by censors much more easily than when everyone has their own private proxy.

If you try CGIProxy and find any shortcomings, please let me know so I can fix them. To my knowledge, it's the only such software out there that solves certain kinds of problems, such as proxifying JavaScript (in beta, but almost there); for example, this means that most Web-based email and other complex sites can work through it.

Note that out of the box, the CGIProxy isn't optimally configured for privacy, but there are config options to change that. The code is heavily commented, with the intention that users can customize it in several ways to make it unrecognizable to censors.

Have fun! Let me know if you have any questions.

Re:Proxies (1)

aminorex (141494) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266598)

It is true. But nobody bothers, because, you see, China has succeeded in making an Internet that doesn't suck. Why would you want to go twenty miles down the road for Internet+Suck when there's a better one right on your plate?

Okay, major exception: When someone gets a wild hare up their donkey and opts to block sf.net or something stupid like that. Then you'll see a big spike in the proxy traffic.

Re:Proxies (3, Interesting)

AtomicBomb (173897) | more than 8 years ago | (#15267888)

I think I know a bit about this subject because I often browse a news forum which is in the blacklist by Chinese government. The site is not about politics or religion. Many over there are oversea Chinese geeks in sci and tech. It was blocked ever since someone spam the forum with something the government does not like. While I am based overseas, many guys are from mainland China. They manage to get pass the ban through a number of tricks. For example, there are search programs that keep track on oversea proxy servers which are not blocked at this moment. Some more resourceful guys managed to use SSH tunneling type of technique to connect.

Many in the news forum often think the government ban is kind of a token effort. If they were really serious, they could have banned the encryption software usage and firewall all the non-web traffic ports for residential/net cafe users altogether (by letting the business run as usual, the disruption to economy should be minimal). The main intention is however preventing the crowd from accessing the information easily (eg no daily browsing of BBC) and makes unwanted news "unconfirmed".

I can observe some interesting patterns emerged from the forum during a couple of major events. 1) SARS 2) a large scale food poisoning event in one of the forum goer's univeristy. The info we got from the forum was first hand (at least half day faster than any mainland/overseas media). The first hand fact/rumour are then spread to friends and relatives over there by word-of-mouth/ SMS .

Re:Proxies (0)

liangzai (837960) | more than 8 years ago | (#15268025)

There are Chinese proxies for the same purpose, and they are more reliable than foreign proxies. Some Chinese proxies are actually police proxies, though. Might as well just install Privoxy.

That said, you rarely need a proxy in China. It might come as a shock to most people here, but the Chinese in general do not look for information on Falun Gong or the Tian'anmen incident. If they did, they would easily find what they are looking for using baidu.com, or P2P (which is completely unblocked) solutions. And even if they don't, there will be people telling them about it all the time anyway, by phone campaigns and distribution of leaflets.

As usual, the hysteria over censorship in China is waaaaaaaaaaay exaggerated, and the problem actually lies in the other side of the world, within the democratically elected Western governments, which legitimize China's practices by installing similar devices back home.

Hey, I am posting this from China... fuck Hu Jintao. Now please execute me.

62 out of 130 million jailed? (2, Interesting)

foundme (897346) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266054)

RSF estimates that 62 people in China have been jailed for what they said online.

If this estimation is accurate, I would say it's pretty relaxing to surf and talk about things online in China.

Is the author implying that citizens in other countries will be left to talk about their countries freely with no serious consequences? These citizens might not be jailed as per Chinese standard, but to assume that they will not suffer in other ways from what they said is just as extreme.

Re:62 out of 130 million jailed? (1)

Alterion (925335) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266072)

yes its important to keep things in perspective- many many many many more people are jailed every year in china for "dissenting" not on the net

Re:62 out of 130 million jailed? (1)

Kuukai (865890) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266188)

I agree. I was always under the impression it was far more likely than that that men in black would show up at my door saying "You sure post funny things on Slashdot, son. We want to take a ride with you." Maybe because of various people crying wolf about the feds, it seems like a bigger deal than it is? Or maybe that's what [i]they[/i] want you to think...

Western Technology (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15266055)

Western tech may help to censor internet jounalism in some countries, but didn't western tech allow for that medium in the first place? I would hope that they would qualify their blame of western countries with a thank-you to the technology that allows millions/billions of people in repressive regimes to at least access some information, certainly more than they had before hand. thats not to say that the west should strive to censor other coutnries, but it shouldn't be forgotten that far more censorship was possible without the internet exisiting at all than is possible with western censoring-technology and the internet.

62 arrests? (2, Informative)

StrongAxe (713301) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266061)

Wow! This means you have a 1 in 2 million chance of being arrested for dissidence in China. You have better odds winning the lottery or being struck by lightning.

Re:62 arrests? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15266209)

Isn't that number not just from China but from all the other places they list in the article? if it is then your chances are even worse. Personally I love the "Its the US's fault" spin on the article. I mean they are businesses they are going to make money.

Re:62 arrests? (1)

_Ludwig (86077) | more than 8 years ago | (#15267159)

That's a gross misapplication of statistics. Being arrested isn't a random event. You'd have to compare the number of arrests to the number of online dissidents, not to the entire population. Even then, there are myriad other factors to take into consideration.

62 arrests may not be a huge number, but it's about 62 too many.

Big deal (4, Insightful)

yog (19073) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266062)

China doesn't need the West's help to censor their internet; they build most of the world's computer equipment, they've shipped a person into orbit, and they have nuclear power. They're a big science and technology power and have been for some years. To say that Cisco or Yahoo are helping China to keep tabs on dissidents is true in the narrow sense but in reality the Chinese government is perfectly capable of doing it all themselves.

That said, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth to know that American companies are complicit in locking down the Chinese network, but of course we in the U.S. long since traded any moral high ground for profit, when it comes to China; there's just too much money to be made from outsourcing there. Maybe when India gets its manufacturing act together, we can go back to being moralistic about China's repression of dissidents.

What's probably more important than moralizing is to allow more of their students into our universities so that they can experience a more unfettered system. Not that the U.S. is perfect but it is way more open than China's system and the educated elite need to appreciate the value of openness.

3 persons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15266107)

3 persons in orbit.

Re:Big deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15266134)

it's nice to see the true american views on things.
It doesn't matter that we know nothing of china, except for the things we may hear on CNN... but we still have grab every opportunity to scream to the world; just how much better we are.
Ignorance is bliss.

Re:Big deal (2, Informative)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266992)

If you watch CNNInternational, you might find that they actually put a pretty good spin on China. Sometimes they make the place sound pleasant. As for prison populations, Here's [straightdope.com] an interesting piece on the subject.

Re:Big deal (2, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266163)

China doesn't need the West's help to censor their internet; they build most of the world's computer equipment, they've shipped a person into orbit, and they have nuclear power. They're a big science and technology power and have been for some years.

I think you're conflating the PRC and Taiwan. You probably don't own a single piece of PRC-developed technology.

Re:Big deal (1)

terrymr (316118) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266365)

A common mistake when people see China on products they think PRC not Taiwan.

Re:Big deal (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266439)

Well, if it says "Made in China", it's from the PRC, not Taiwan. But even if your motherboard was made in China, it was almost certainly designed in Taiwan.

Problem with the East? Blame the West. (1)

OakDragon (885217) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266228)

Nice how they listed the offenders, then placed the blame on... American companies and the U.S. Government. And this is even more of a stretch than the usual reflexive anti-Americanism, as the products and technologies are not necessarily made with the primary purpose of censoring.

The Chinese put their imprisoned dissidents to work. I don't have any problem with workers in foreign factories getting low wages, as long as the wages compare well to where they live. I do have a problem with political prisoners being forced to make the same products for no wage.

Breaking the China habit is hard, though; like pollution, we're in too deep to make a significant change in a short amount of time.

Re:Big deal (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266264)

More importantly, the technology of information exchange is developed in the western world. They're saying that the technology of oppression is developed here, and sure that's true enough, but then what they're trying to suppress wouldn't even be out there if not for the communications technology that we developed.

I think the net delta in unfettered exchange of information is positive.

Re:Big deal (1)

artifex2004 (766107) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266737)

More importantly, the technology of information exchange is developed in the western world. They're saying that the technology of oppression is developed here, and sure that's true enough, but then what they're trying to suppress wouldn't even be out there if not for the communications technology that we developed.
I think the net delta in unfettered exchange of information is positive.


The image that first sprang to mind was that of the "fax networks" many of them used to use, and probably still do. Rather hard to implement without fax machines :)

(Oops, now that I've let that cat out of the bag, I'm sure Homeland Security will ban them here, since terrorists might use them, too.)

Can China really shock us anymore? (2, Interesting)

ZSpade (812879) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266081)

I don't think so. This is the same thing that China has been doing for ages, only now electronically instead of on paper. Information (and it's free release) have not changed at all in China, only the means by which it is censored.

For anyone who has read 1984 though, it makes sense. The only way to control a mass ammount of people, the only way to subdue them and hold at bay their very rights to speech, it to keep them ignorant. If you can keep a people ignorant, they won't know any better and they certainly will not rise up against you. Like I said though, this isn't news. Because you can't spell NEWs without NEW.

Re:Can China really shock us anymore? (1)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266579)

this isn't news. Because you can't spell NEWs without NEW.

Oh yes I can. "Gnyoos", or "nju:z", or even "i*_r[" (try it on a Japanese keyboard).

But even ignoring such literalist nitpicking, your argument is fallacious because you're arguing from etymology. "News" today means noteworthy current events: novelty is not required. If a million people die in an earthquake, then that's nothing new - it's happened plenty of times before. But it's certainly news.

Re:Can China really shock us anymore? (1)

ZSpade (812879) | more than 8 years ago | (#15267419)

I was just driving home the point that nothing has changed with China, despite the information age.

Also, name one instance where 1 million people died in an earthquake. It holds no importance, I understand your point, but it was a rather silly example.

I love hearing opinions about censorship... (0)

Anonymous Crowhead (577505) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266111)

..here in GroupThink town.

Bwahaha! (1)

spun (1352) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266441)

Groupthink, really? Could you please tell me what the groupthink here is, exactly? Because from what I can tell it changes from day to day based on who has the mod points.

Oh wait, you meant groupthink as in "anyone who disagrees with me." Gotcha.

Re:Bwahaha! (1)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 8 years ago | (#15267118)

Could you please tell me what the groupthink here is, exactly?

That's too easy:

1. The U.S. is always wrong.
2. Microsoft is, was, and always will be the worstest company ever.
3. Apple can do no wrong.
4. We are all doomed.

Re:I love hearing opinions about censorship... (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266473)

I don't see slashdot removing any posts, even to goat.cx sites or even your post. Seems as you're free to say anything you want. It also seems that you seem to think that every opinion is equal, and that yours is necessarily just as valid in the same forum. Quite a different thing.
Just because you think "different" doesn't mean you think "right".

Re:I love hearing opinions about censorship... (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 8 years ago | (#15267027)

I don't see slashdot removing any posts...

You ARE new here, aren't you? Censorship in China is copyright [slashdot.org] here. Same intentions, same results. Only the name has been changed.

Re:I love hearing opinions about censorship... (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 8 years ago | (#15267775)

My UID is lower than yours, so I'd say I'm not the new one here. And copyright is completely different from censorship. I don't agree with it, but if it can be said at all, then it can't be considered censorship.

Hypocracy. (1, Insightful)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266147)

Isn't a restriction on censorship sofware, censorship in itself?

Don't look so far, it's not much different here (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266180)

Oh sure, you can access all the pages you want. But ... wait a minute, why're you looking at that page that deals with bomb building? And you there, what are you doing on a page that talks about the creation of LSD? You're running torrent all day, very interesting. And streaming video, but the site you're at is neither Fox nor another official broadcaster, what're you streaming there?

What? Impossible? Look up some recent laws, it's not like anything you do on the net is your business only.

The difference between China and us is just that we get to access the content first that we get "questioned" for. But the snooping is the same.

Re:Don't look so far, it's not much different here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15266810)

Absolutely. The U.S.A. is soooo much worse than China. Chimpy McHitlerburton and his oil buddies are soooo much worse than Hitler.

All of our rights are gone, and I'm being dragged away right now to be horribly beaten at Gitmo. (Well, between 4- and 5-course meals prepared by an accomplished chef according to my religion's dietary laws. Yeah, and they stop beating me so I can pray to my deity with the accoutrements paid for by my sworn enemy -- the American taxpayer.)
It sucks to live in a federated republic, as opposed to someplace cool that has cool things like Communism which has only killed hundreds of millions of people.

Anybody that says any country is censoring the web needs a hard dose of reality --- AmeriKKKa is the world's most oppressive and tyrannical nation on the planet.
Soooo much eeeeevil, unlike China, Cuba, Syria, Iran, Libya, the Sudan, Myanmar... you know, all the really cool places. Viva la revolicion!

Yeah... I drive a hybrid. :::poot::: :::sniffff:::

Restricting the sale of equipment (3, Interesting)

ma11achy (150206) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266186)


So this equipment is helping the cause of repressive regimes.

How difficult would it be to restrict the sale of this equipment, just like certain defense equipment?

Restrictions only feed the middlemen (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266731)

I lived in South Africa when nobody was openly selling anything military etc to them. This did not stop the flow of equipment, it just came via alternate routes and fed a bunch of middlemen. The military etc could easily get stuff illegally, but genuine commercial folk could not. If you went through the sales records of various test gear manufactueres etc, you'd find some very wierd countries (eg. Swaziland) buying large quantities of equipment.

Re:Restricting the sale of equipment (1)

kcbrown (7426) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266839)

How difficult would it be to restrict the sale of this equipment, just like certain defense equipment?

Won't happen.

The reason it won't happen is that the U.S. government almost certainly wants the same technology for the same reasons as the PRC (to monitor and quash dissenting views). But it's better to have the R&D happen on someone else's nickel.

At least, that's the way I see things going, given the trends.

I wonder (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15266191)

Can you access the YRO section of /. in China?

This AC desserves to be modded way up! (1)

mmell (832646) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266268)

The marvellous blend of "Funny" and "Insightful" is only made even more wonderful by its brevity.

Re:I wonder (1)

liangzai (837960) | more than 8 years ago | (#15267945)

Yes. Always.

Only 62? (3, Insightful)

Null Nihils (965047) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266194)

I'm not sure if 62 is anywhere near correct when it comes to China jailing internet dissent. Who's to know? China is very secretive and evasive when it comes to releasing numbers, even numbers that most governments take pretty seriously [smh.com.au] .

And who cares about whether the "jailable offense" is on the internet, or in a newspaper, or in a diary? If the Chinese government thinks a citizen has the word "democracy" (for example) in their head, there is a good chance they can just lock them up, throw away the key, and nobody will ever know.

Or not. It's impossible for anyone outside of the "Inner Party" to know what's really going on. And even Western governments have a tendency to say things that are a little... off... of the real truth...

Re:Only 62? (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 8 years ago | (#15267056)

If the Chinese government thinks a citizen has the word "democracy" (for example) in their head, there is a good chance they can just lock them up, throw away the key, and nobody will ever know.

If the American government thinks a citizen has the word "jihad" (for example) in their head, there is a good chance they can just lock them up, throw away the key, and nobody will ever know.

Western firms' complicity? (1)

HexRei (515117) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266244)

I find it dismaying that on one hand, they claim that freedom is their motivator, and on the other hand, they implicity suggest that software developers should be restrained from writing software that could be used to censor the net. They are able to write and sell this software because the governments are corrupt, not the other way around.

Re:Western firms' complicity? (1)

jsm (5728) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266650)

Well, in a free society, "freedom" does not include the right to restrict others' freedom, eh?

Re:Western firms' complicity? (1)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 8 years ago | (#15267141)

Well, in a free society, "freedom" does not include the right to restrict others' freedom

Are you sure? I own private property, which by necessity allows me to restrict the freedom of others to use it. Are you saying that in a free society, "freedom" does not include private property?

RSF isn't always right (4, Informative)

hp26 (972894) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266325)

Coming from China and pursuing graduate studies in Europe, I find that some of these organisations persist in criticizing the "Chinese way". Armchair philosophers pointing at our human rights record and our "one party state" as they like to call it as a "concern" (to put it very euphemistically).

I'd like to say that you may not completely understand the Chinese context. Not all of us have the same concept of "personal freedoms" that you do. We understand that we must sacrifice some of our personal freedoms for the greater good of the society as a whole. I can only speak for my friends, family and myself, but we give these freedoms happily and in the knowledge that we know that the government that we elected works for the benefit of all in China. Not all of us agree, we all know there are plenty of dissidents who openly voice their opinions, but you must recognise that these can be dangerous people.

In a society as large as China, there are always pockets where the seeds of discord can grow into a tree that could serve to disrupt the harmony. Does government censorship necessarily have to be a form of repression? No. I remind you that many of us freely voted for the government that we have and while you hear of the vocal minority who protest such actions, you never hear of the silent majority who recognise the benefits.

The Chinese government is not a "great evil" as some would have you believe. I, and others I know, feel that whatever is being done is more out of necessity and would like to at least point to things like our recent economic record and educational successes as some indication that the system works.

Re:RSF isn't always right (1)

instagib (879544) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266492)

I find your post very interesting. So, in summary, if I understood correctly, you as Chinese national think that the political situation in your country is "OK", with maybe some problems, but "on the right way"?

If this is true, we Westeners might have to accept that our lifestyle and values are not the only true and right ones. Oh wait ... what did I say? This would even mean the we (western nations and their citizens) actually should STFU about other countries' habits, and refrain from trying to influence?

I think it is a very difficult question. What would we say if the Chinese government would tell us that our "obession with personal freedom is just egoism" and that we must change our habits?

Re:RSF isn't always right (1)

hp26 (972894) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266578)

I can't say if things are "on the right track", and I suspect neither can the government or anybody else. Time will tell, as it has the habit of doing. Nothing really is perfect and what China has seems to work for it at the moment (IMHO), so why fix it if it ain't broke?

My personal take on this: the Chinese government shouldn't really judge your "obsession with personal freedom", as you put it. Or any of its people. I've lived around long ago to understand that the intellectual development in your part of the world is different, you had your Greek and Roman influences from classical antiquity and the resulting changes from the Renaissance, Reformation and Enlightenment periods that lead to different ideals and worldviews. I can respect that.

Re:RSF isn't always right (2, Funny)

CHINESE BUREAUCRAT (972903) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266498)

Dear Comrade,

Your mother and brother will be released from jail as soon as the paperwork clears and the local magistrate received the three chickens.

SINCERELY,
CHINESE BUREUACRAT #XL7332B

Re:RSF isn't always right (1, Insightful)

Null Nihils (965047) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266510)

While as a Westerner I may be rather disturbed by the "sacrifices for the greater good" tone of the parent post, I think it's good to hear the other side of the story. Mod parent up.

While I may strongly disagree with asking people to give up freedom so that a government structure can maintain "stability", the parent also has a point that while there are large numbers of citizens living long, happy lives, the situation isn't black and white (there is no "great evil", as the parent put it. Things are more complicated than that, despite what certain American politicians might have you believe.)

That said, I myself believe that humans, on the whole, need and desire the freedom to live without someone else having power over their lives. I'm not saying that current Western ideals are all that great, but they're definitely a step in the right direction, and I strongly disagree with the power the Chinese government has and exerts.

Re:RSF isn't always right (2, Interesting)

BlackRookSix (943957) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266535)

Hear, hear. It is about time that the Western world drop the ignorant, self-centered egotism. It does nothing to help anyone.

It is hypocritical to sit in the US and complain about censorship in China, when the US government controls the US media, controlling what they are allowed to print, discuss or even bring to people's attention.

Governments abusing the rights of their people, the rights that they themselves gave them is nothing new. Look at the US. Clinton has sex in the office, the nation throws a fit and tries to impeach him. Bush invades a country on false pretenses, outside of the UN laws, and no one says a damned thing.

When will people learn: No one on this planet, as a people, is any better than any other people? Individuals are the statistical outliers that should not color the world's opinion of a people.

Re:RSF isn't always right (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15267061)

My grandfathers and their respective fellow Canadian and American servicemen were in fact better that the Germans they were opposing in World War Two. That "self-centered egotism" spared quite a few Jews who were rescued from the camps. If you don't like it, tough shit.

The U.S. government doesn't control the media, btw. It doesn't have that much power, for one. Media censor themselves because it is profitable to do so. The government doesn't tell General Motors to try to make a profit as part of some conspiracy. Neither does the government tell the Wall Street Journal to make a profit as part of some conspiracy. News corporations understand perfectly well that profitability requires that they not undermine there own authority as corporations. No government intervention is required to goad corporations (including news corporations) to pursue their own interests.

Re:RSF isn't always right (1)

BlackRookSix (943957) | more than 8 years ago | (#15267094)

I see. Now China is Nazi Germany. Good response. Way to troll.

Re:RSF isn't always right (1)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 8 years ago | (#15267409)

Good point. The Chicoms have killed far more innocents than the Nazis ever dreamed. They're really not the same.

Re:RSF isn't always right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15267940)

No, you *don't* see.

Nice strawman argument. I never said that China was Germany, you illiterate dipshit. My point was that you are an idiot for claiming that no country is better than another. Your claim is demonstrably false (as the existence of Nazi Germany indicates) and that very attitude leads to the appeasement of dictators. How could you miss that as being the point of my post? It's not a rhetorical question. Really, how did you not get it?

Also, what kind of anti-semitic dumbshit would mark my earlier post a troll and make fun of the servicemen who helped defeat Germany?

Re:RSF isn't always right (1)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 8 years ago | (#15267172)

Hear, hear. It is about time that the Western world drop the ignorant, self-centered egotism. It does nothing to help anyone.

Are you saying it is impossible to hold moral opposition to Chinese practices without being an ignorant, self-centered egotist? I can't speak for everybody, but I think most Americans agree, that we hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

And it's not ignorant egotism to believe this!

Re:RSF isn't always right (2, Interesting)

jabster (198058) | more than 8 years ago | (#15267648)

First, the history lesson:
Clinton WAS impeached. He was impeached for lying under oath. It had nothing to with sex in the oval office. Lewinsky had nothing to do with the impeachment. As an aside, Clinton lost his law license in Arkansas for 5 years as well as a result of committing perjury.

Ignorance of this basic fact is not a good way to start a "thoughtful" post.

Second: The US gov't does not control the US media. I don't even know where to begin on this one.

Three: Bush did not invade under false pretenses. And these "UN laws" of which you speak: Numerous UN resolutions told Saddam to completely disarm and allow inspectors back in, or risk being invaded. If anything, Bush was upholding these "UN laws."

And finally: "ignorant, self-centered egotism"? I'll bet you were one of the first to complain about the "torture" at abu grahib. But why would anyone be upset by that? To be upset, you would need to be judging by civilized, western standards. And that is apparently nothing more than "ignorant, self-centered egotism."

To go a step further, and take the "each country's values must only be judged within that country" nonsense to its logical conclusion, we should be torturing people at abu grahib. Abu grahib is, after all, in a middle-eastern, Arab nation, where torture was widely practiced. Using your (and other poster's) logic, torture is ok to use as long as we use it there, because that's what people there had been living with before the US came in.

Also, notice how all human rights organizations judge nations on their human rights record? It's a civilized, western standard. We don't judge nations on how they compare to Iran or Saudi Arabia or North Korea. We judge based on the US, most of Europe, Australia.

-john

p.s. "Governments abusing the rights of their people, the rights that they themselves gave them is nothing new" ???? What are you saying here? People only have the rights the gov't gives them? No. People inherently have rights. The people give the government the right to do certain thing (keep the peace, etc). Regardless of the gov't, all people have the same basic rights. Those "ignorant, self-centered" egotistical rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Re:RSF isn't always right (1)

tddoog (900095) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266591)

Tell that to the members of Falun Gong.

Maybe not everyone is willing to relinquish freedom for security.

Re:RSF isn't always right (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 8 years ago | (#15267664)

Then how do you explain the government of china's treatment of religions it doesn't like? How does killing/jailing those people help "the greater good"?

Re:RSF isn't always right (1)

speederaser (473477) | more than 8 years ago | (#15267810)

"I can only speak for my friends, family and myself, but we give these freedoms happily and in the knowledge that we know that the government that we elected works for the benefit of all in China.

I'm curious what you mean when you say you "give these freedoms". Your phrasing seems to imply that you had some kind of choice in the matter. Forgive my ignorance, but in the Western world the impression is that the "choice" is pretty stark: give up your freedoms, or land in jail or worse. Most people I know would give up their freedoms happily under those circumstances. But in truth, what were the alternatives when you made your choice?

I'd also like to know what choices you have when you vote. Again, your phrasing seems to imply you have some level of choice. Is there ever an alternative on the ballot? In the Western world the impression is there is never more than one candidate for an office, and they will get elected regardless of what the voters do. It seems to me that if the voters cannot affect the outcome then they are not the ones who "elect" the government. If that's not the case could you reply and tell us how it really works?

Please reply, I'm interested in your answers.

Re:RSF isn't always right (1)

moa hunter (972946) | more than 8 years ago | (#15267956)

If as you say the majority of chinese citizens are as happy and as pro-communism as you, then why on earth is it necessary for the government to be censoring any information coming into the country?

"In a society as large as China, there are always pockets where the seeds of discord can grow into a tree that could serve to disrupt the harmony."

Again if everyone is so happy then how could these "seeds of discord" persuade anyone to join their "tree of disharmony".
And Harmony!? Really? I Can't say anyone that I know who has visited china described the experience as "harmonious".

"...and educational successes as some indication that the system works."

While there are many different views on education and how/what should be taught, there does seem to be a general consensus that the education system should attempt to give its students a wide, mostly unbiased, and as accurate as possible view of the world... I doubt that this is the case in china... BTW have you ever heard of tiananmen square?

mar3e (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15266534)

Waaahhhh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15266781)

Posting AC to avoid burning karma, but I just have to say: If it means fewer bloggers, I'm not going to complain. Bonus points if anyone can use this report to justify shutting down myspace and the like. Tell me I'm not the only one who WANTS things to go back to the early 90s, when you could actually find useful stuff without wading through 300 linkfarms, ads taking over everything, blogs that do nothing except whine about how unfair life is, etc.

With our new secret laws and subpeonas, etc. (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 8 years ago | (#15266804)

RSF estimates that 62 people in China have been jailed for what they said online.

How do we know how many people are in jail for the same thing right here? Only here we call it "copyright infringement" or "incitement" to do something illegal (some DCMA or patriot act provisions could apply here). We have reporters in jail for failure to release their sources. Not as many as China perhaps, but the numbers don't mean much to me. My problem is the fact that anybody can do this. We won't have a robust internet that can route aound the damage until we get widespread wireless mesh. It will be our only hope of escaping gov't/corp control.

FrIst psot (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15266879)

of Jordan Huubard

Who is to blame (0, Flamebait)

Arandir (19206) | more than 8 years ago | (#15267191)

China censors its internet, and Bush gets the blame. Who wrote this report? Oh yeah, Reporters without Borders, I should have guessed...

China (1)

mkiwi (585287) | more than 8 years ago | (#15267218)

I support the Chinese people, however the government is absolutely terrible on human rights and free speech. China wants to become modern and more capitalistic, rising their way to being a first-world nation. However, as long as China continues to treat its citizens like third-world citizens, China will remain third-world.

These Enlightened Citizens of Planet Earth Know (1)

krygny (473134) | more than 8 years ago | (#15267400)

The fascist capitalist regimes run by middle-age white heterosexual males have created insidious software tools that have corrupted the poor impressionable leaders of the proletariat.

What about censorship by the western countries? (1)

javaDragon (187973) | more than 8 years ago | (#15267462)

Is there any mention of the shutting down of web sites in US for "supporting terrorism", or the impossibility from coutries like France (though the country of RSF) to access websites with revisionist content, due to court rulings forcing ISPs to ban these websites from their customers reach?

RSF seems very eager to point at censorship in "dictatorships" (though RSF's own list of such countries is in itself subject to dispute) but at the same time seems to forget about that very same kind of censorship is occuring in "democratic" countries as well.

That attitude has a name, it is called double standard. Or hypocrisy, if you prefer.

Re:What about censorship by the western countries? (1)

kratei (924454) | more than 8 years ago | (#15267998)

*Sigh*

If you had read the article (at least the RWB report - it is only one page), you would have seen that there is strong criticism of the west. The BBC summary of the article is biased, only tossing in an offhand comment about western problems at the very end. BUT, the RWB Internet report places a good bit of the blame on the West (Governments and Corporations.).

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