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!

How to Dodge the Chinese Internet Censor

kdawson posted about 7 years ago | from the avoiding-older-brother dept.

Censorship 119

eweekhickins writes "A report written by a tech worker in China describes the pervasive censorship, abetted by ample manpower and funding estimated at $27 billion in US dollars. The author, who calls himself Mr. Tao, also writes that plenty of Chinese are finding ways to resist censorship, and offers tips on how to keep evading Big GeGe (that's Older Brother). Not surprisingly, self-censorship is very prevalent. Also not surprisingly, the authorities are starting to catch on to things like RSS feeds. It's another race for survival between the tiny mammals and the lumbering dinosaurs." Here's Mr. Tao's report (PDF), written under the auspices of Reporters Without Borders.

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

Maybe (-1, Offtopic)

bphee (989538) | about 7 years ago | (#21023695)

by reading only FIRST POSTS on /. :)

Renew Y our Citizenship Here: (+1, PatRIOTic ) (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21024003)


U.S.A. People's Party FP !

Get your F The President bumper stickers here [whitehouse.org] .

Cheers,
K. Trout

Where are all the English teachers? (5, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | about 7 years ago | (#21023699)

What I really don't get is how we always hear about Chinese people trying to break through their Great Firewall and avoid government censorship in order to tell us how it really goes down inside the country, but we hardly ever hear about these atrocities from American, English, and Australian English teachers who go over there for a few years to teach. They come back and tell us about all the fun they had and the great experiences they enjoyed while over there, but never how the government was always breathing down their neck or how they were forced to censor themselves.

It makes me wonder who those people are who are complaining the loudest (you know: the ones who aren't getting heard). While I have no doubt that there is a significant amount of pro-government propaganda, I wonder if all this bellowing isn't just a bit overly melodramatic.

Re:Where are all the English teachers? (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | about 7 years ago | (#21023755)

It's like the people who bitch at how bad customs are in the states or how it's nearly a "police state." Yet, every time I fly to the states customs is a breeze, and when I get where I'm going people are not mean or out to get me or whatever.

Personally I'm not against going to China because of the government. Mostly, I'd be afraid of getting lost in the noise. So many people, where English isn't a dominant or common language. Would be a hell of an experience trying to get around.

Re:Where are all the English teachers? (3, Insightful)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 7 years ago | (#21023811)

If you are paid enough, then any country is pleasant. The locals may have a much tougher time time though: Small living quarters, not enough money for utilities, food, clothing, just scraping by. If you don't have enough money, living is tough everywhere, even in Europe, Canada, USA, Russia, it doen't matter where.

Missing the point (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | about 7 years ago | (#21023869)

Are you saying that these foreigners are oblivious to the heavy hand of government or that they willfully ignore it and continue to ignore it upon return to their home countries?

We're not talking about poverty, we're talking about the limitation and restriction of rights that are culturally taken for granted by a certain group of foreigners. Are you saying that they specifically are not subject to Chinese government censorship, or are you willing to acknowledge that maybe there isn't as much crushing censorship that critics of China like to claim?

Re:Missing the point (3, Informative)

jamar0303 (896820) | about 7 years ago | (#21025401)

In the case of the technology director at my school (in Shanghai), he learned to do things the local way; the school gets unfiltered access and the telecom company gets a little extra income.

Re:Where are all the English teachers? (1)

mikael (484) | about 7 years ago | (#21024387)

Usually in the poorest areas, people complain about the lack of police presence, that the government officials don't care, and the only time they ever appear is when some new construction work is about to be started or has been completed. Then they completely disappear again.

Re:Where are all the English teachers? (4, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | about 7 years ago | (#21023837)

I think you have to remember China is a pretty big country with a whole lot of people.

Most English teachers probably end up in the well populated large cities, where life is a whole lot more westernized whereas I'd imagine a lot of the oppression, human rights violations and such occur more in the outer regions where the sweat shops are and where the Chinese goverment isn't willing to invest in learning English as it is in the major business centres. As you quite rightly point out, plenty of people go to China and come back as English teacher but not only that, think of all the business people and tourists that also go and come back without these tails.

I could be completely wrong, but again I'd guess it's because the China Westerners see and experience isn't the China that the majority of the Chinese population experience. Beijing is probably the most commonly visited and heard of part of China for Westerners yet it only holds around 13 million of China's 1.3 billion people.

Re:Where are all the English teachers? (4, Interesting)

Notquitecajun (1073646) | about 7 years ago | (#21023903)

I concur, it's probably not too dissimilar from Cuba and other authoritarian-driven countries; the established powers DON'T want outsiders - particularly those with high standards of human rights - to see the ugly underbelly of their country. There are places in China where Westerners cannot get access...it actually makes for an easy form of travel. Go somewhere you're not supposed to, act like you're lost, and tell the guys with the guns that you were coming from where you were actually going and they're sometimes get you there.

If you're paranoid about the "evil bushies" in DC and their hold on power, keep in mind that it's easy to get out the message and disillusionment found here to other countries. Not so much in places like China, North Korea, Russia (Soviet or not)...simply because you don't hear about it doesn't mean it isn't going on.

Re:Where are all the English teachers? (1)

Brother Dysk (939885) | about 7 years ago | (#21024013)

Where are these places you "cannot go" as a Westerner, then? I've travelled pretty extensively in China, and been many places that are 'off the beaten path', yet have never encountered any problems. I should note that I'm white, and do not speak Mandarin (though I do have a working knowledge of Cantonese).

Re:Where are all the English teachers? (3, Informative)

Notquitecajun (1073646) | about 7 years ago | (#21024113)

I had a friend who had the experience I was describing along the southwestern border...he was working as a missionary among some muslim populations there.

Re:Where are all the English teachers? (5, Interesting)

arivanov (12034) | about 7 years ago | (#21024107)

Err...

Is it me being daft, or this is the same region where all of the so called "dissidents" dwell? So I do not quite see your argument.

You do not get to hear "cittizen journalism" from Li Average (assuming he is the counterpart of Joe Average) from a village on the outskirts of the Inner Mongolia deserts where 30%+ of the population has AIDS from selling their blood to dodgy companies for a living 5-10 years ago. You do not get to hear "cittizen journalism" from Chang "Average" from a village downwind of Harbin where 10%+ of the newborn are born with deformities from the uncontrolled pollution blown on top of them from the big metropolis and the poisoned water they have to drink. You do not get...

Frankly, as someone who has lived behind the Iron Curtain in the days when it was still up and someone who was involved in some of the unrest which followed for the next 5 or so years I can tell you this for sure: half of the so called dissidents are on the payroll of the west, the other half are on the payroll of the local KGB/KDS/Stazi equivalent. The ones that actually do that because of their ideas, beliefs and morals are a minority. Probably less than 10% and they do not tend to last. Sooner or later they have to chose which briefcase with cash to take unless they want to walk the plank.

Re:Where are all the English teachers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21024615)

Hmmm.

Well a friend of mine moved out there a while ago, and yes he ended up teaching English for a while. He lived in quite a poor and very Chinese area. He was impressed and plans to move back there next year, while there are a lot of differences, he says mostly life is better there than here. Even as a geek, the great firewall didn't bother him because the ways round it are well known and easy to find.

I don't set much store by the loudest opponents of the scheme, with the view that on any issue you will find people crying for and against.

Heh, I also remember someone submitted a question on /. a while ago "should we spam proxies to China?" suggesting that we should use junk mail to send the people of China lists of open proxies. What an enormously arrogant person with no clue about many things.

Re:Where are all the English teachers? (2, Insightful)

r6144 (544027) | about 7 years ago | (#21023895)

My English teacher has probably signed some sort of agreement that prohibits him from talking about some political or religious topics in classes. Maybe the agreement also asks him not to badmouth the government even after he goes back.

Anyway, in the excitement of visiting a whole new country for the first time, censorship issues may well appear unimportant to most of these teachers.

Re:Where are all the English teachers? (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | about 7 years ago | (#21023983)

But it's okay for you to post on an international forum that you suspect your government has shut your teacher's mouth?

Re:Where are all the English teachers? (2, Interesting)

Echnin (607099) | about 7 years ago | (#21024143)

Of course it is - everyone outside of China already knows how conditions are, they just need to keep the majority of Chinese from finding out. Of course, people here of course know that they themselves and everyone else are being censored. A classmate of mine here at the Peking University Chinese language course has a girlfriend who is working as an English teacher - it'll be interesting to ask if the contract she has signed has anything like that in it.

Re:Where are all the English teachers? (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | about 7 years ago | (#21025587)

So the problem is in good information getting in, then? Why all the talk of self-censorship if the direction of the censorship is inwards rather than outwards?

Please ask your friend's girlfriend's teacher. I'd be surprised to find out if there was ever anything like that to sign. With the numbers of foreign teachers crawling around China these days, you'd expect to have heard of a few who had to sign their voices away.

Re:Where are all the English teachers? (2, Informative)

Echnin (607099) | about 7 years ago | (#21027719)

No, the problem isn't in information getting in. The thing that they try to control is interaction between Chinese people. Discussion of democracy, the Tiananmen massacre, and everything else the CCP doesn't want people to talk about. Most Chinese can't read English, even university students, so there's a very small audience for Chinese if they want to discuss on English-language websites. There are of course Chinese who know about Tiananmen and support democracy, for example, but if they can't propogate these views and this information then there will be many who don't know what democracy is all about, and who haven't even heard about the Tiananmen massacre. They have been pretty good about this. Come to think about it, I haven't actually asked any Chinese about Tiananmen. I'll make sure to do that and see what they say.

Written exam in oral Chinese (how fucked up isn't that?) tomorrow, so I'm going to call it a night. Will be commenting in the next China article, I guess...

Re:Where are all the English teachers? (4, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 7 years ago | (#21024025)

The Chinese know better than to allow foreigners to see what is really happening. The oldest trick in the dictator book is that, when you are doing something that looks bad in terms of international politics, you don't let people who you don't have jurisdiction over (or won't have jurisdiction over after some period of time) see anything other than smiles. Westerners see advanced technology, clean, white offices, and citizens living normal lives, but ask those English teachers and engineers where they went, and you'll hear the same few locations over and over. Now, examine the rest of the country, and a different picture is painted. It's not just China; the USSR, Nazi Germany, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Iran, various African nations, etc. Foreign visitors don't see prisons or torture, nor do they see the fearful citizens. They see universities, computer centers, engineering design labs, and so on.

Re:Where are all the English teachers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21024775)

anything other than smiles

Oldest trick in the dictator book? That's the oldest trick in the business of government, regardless of classification or how power was achieved. Monarchy, democracy, republic, dictatorship, communism -- it doesn't matter, they all rely on that trick (among many others).

Re:Where are all the English teachers? (1)

jamar0303 (896820) | about 7 years ago | (#21025557)

Sounds like you haven't been to Shanghai then. It's a big city with plenty of Westerners, but you certainly don't see citizens leading normal lives. The beggars practically force themselves upon you. (Oh, and Westerners do see the inside of Chinese prisons sometimes; but those are the real idiots who try dealing crack or some dumb crap like that).

Helps to look in a mirror once in a while. (1)

Venik (915777) | about 7 years ago | (#21028873)

I wonder how many tourists coming to the US get to see the Guantanamo concentration camp. Do you suppose a lot of visitors to Poland get to see the secret CIA prisons where innocent people are being tortured? I don't think so (but feel free to disagree). So before we expend to much energy criticizing the Chinese or the USSR - may it rest in peace - lets look closer to home.

Re:Helps to look in a mirror once in a while. (1)

nyekulturniy (413420) | about 7 years ago | (#21029065)

No. Guantanamo is closer to Colditz than Dachau. Besides, you have a better chance of leaving Guantanamo than Dachau.

Re:Where are all the English teachers? (1)

fbjon (692006) | about 7 years ago | (#21029191)

That sounds like North Korea, but who is preventing tourists from going wherever they please in China?

Re:Where are all the English teachers? (5, Insightful)

Echnin (607099) | about 7 years ago | (#21024075)

Well, we laowai (foreigners) here in China are granted more leeway, and the worst thing that can happen is that you're deported. Torbjørn Færøvik, a Norwegian author who wrote a fairly successful travelogue about a trip he took through China with a lot of commentary on Chinese politics and history comes to mind. I heard him speak at a small lecture in Oslo last year, and he mentioned that the last time he tried to go to China they wouldn't let him in because of what he'd written about the country. Of course they aren't going to do anything to me, a white, foreign student, for talking to someone about Tibetan independence, but if Tibetan monks make a peaceful protest saying the same, they get shot down with AK-47s [nytimes.com] . Really, an English teacher's experience in Beijing is not exemplary of how the average Chinese person has it. The CCP would never dare doing anything to a laowai.

But really, most Chinese are pretty much politically apathetic. The common worker has no time to even think about politics, having to work 14 hours a day just to feed their family. The bloggers are a minority, and the democracy movement here is just too small and unorganized to do anything. But people are in fact scared of saying anything bad about the CCP - every time I try to bring politics up with a taxi driver or whoever they just stop speaking to me. This lack of freedom of speech contributes to make people more complacent, as they don't even know about the Tiananmen protests or the truth of China's role in Tibet.

But hey, it's damn fun being here as a student!

Re:Where are all the English teachers? (4, Interesting)

p0tat03 (985078) | about 7 years ago | (#21025253)

But really, most Chinese are pretty much politically apathetic.

So sad, and so true. My girlfriend spent most of her childhood in China, and just now am I starting to get her interested in politics and social issues again. There is so much fear that's been instilled to them since childhood regarding politics that most stay apathetic to it out of fear for reprisal, not actual apathy, and the educational system doesn't help either. I've actually heard claims that the Chinese get democratic elections (via electing their local CCP representative!)... which is just a plain lie.

The worst part is, many see political victims as not their problem. As in, when Li Average gets dragged off to the gulag for making a stray negative comment about the government, his neighbours do not respond in fear for themselves, nor do they think less of their government for such a transgression, but rather blame Li Average for being as careless and stupid as to let those words out of his mouth in the first place (despite the fact that everyone is thinking it). You have to give the CCP some credit here, they've successfully molded a society where getting jailed for free thought is now the thinker's own damned fault. There is absolutely no sympathy in the general population for the people who speak out against oppression, and it's hard to have hope for the political future of China because of this.

Keep in mind also that the level of repression differs from area to area. Generally speaking cities are extremely free-thought-repressed, and voluntarily so. These people are making too much money, and having too good of a life from the newfound Chinese prosperity, to risk it all to talk smack about the government. As you go out to the rural areas and to industrial cities, though, the gloves come off a bit. Nothing truly revolution in nature, still, but at least you've got people who are at least willing to bitch about policies and procedure.

That is perhaps the saddest part. Instead of merely a ruling elite oppressing everyone, China is rapidly evolving into a system where the rich will gladly support the government's atrocities to ensure that they stay wealthy. That is probably sadder than just a bunch of egomaniacal politicians ruling with an iron fist.

Re:Where are all the English teachers? (1)

fishbowl (7759) | about 7 years ago | (#21026827)

>Keep in mind also that the level of repression differs from area to area.

I know a researcher who wants to do a study on the uniformity of application of laws concerning reproduction.

Some people you meet from China have Aunts and Uncles. Others think of these as rather foreign concepts, highly unusual. Definitely, the "one child" policy is enforced very differently in different parts of the country.

Re:Where are all the English teachers? (1)

p0tat03 (985078) | about 7 years ago | (#21030905)

Absolutely. In urban areas the one child policy is enforced fairly stringently, but usually with economic consequences for defiance, not jail nor murder.

In rural farming areas, though, it is rarely enforced at all. The local officials understand the need for a family to have a large number of hands to help out on the farm, so generally they turn a blind eye to it. That being said, though, in the few rural areas where this IS enforced, the results are spectacularly brutal. Forced abortions, destruction of property, all kinds of nasty stuff. (won't get the abortion? Well, we've got this big bulldozer parked outside your house, want to reconsider?) Even cases of murder of the mother/child are not unheard of.

Re:Where are all the English teachers? (1)

fbjon (692006) | about 7 years ago | (#21031863)

The one child policy is not absolute prohibition, but rather a family planning tax for every additional child. There are more regulations but basically, if you have the money, you can have more children. Obviously, the poor class won't have a chance, while it might be conceivable for the middle class, making a difference in enforcement right there.

Re:Where are all the English teachers? (1)

KudyardRipling (1063612) | about 7 years ago | (#21029755)

Keep in mind also that the level of repression differs from area to area. Generally speaking cities are extremely free-thought-repressed, and voluntarily so. These people are making too much money, and having too good of a life from the newfound Chinese prosperity, to risk it all to talk smack about the government.
Is it any different here where Ishtar the Bronze Bitch on the Hudson standeth over the many waters?

As you go out to the rural areas and to industrial cities, though, the gloves come off a bit. Nothing truly revolution in nature, still, but at least you've got people who are at least willing to bitch about policies and procedure.
The simple fact is that when one has less to lose, one becomes freer to speak one's mind.

In Amerika, property owns YOU!

Re:Where are all the English teachers? (3, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | about 7 years ago | (#21025739)

The CCP would never dare doing anything to a laowai.

Like get you wet or feed you after midnight?

Re:Where are all the English teachers? (1)

Heir Of The Mess (939658) | about 7 years ago | (#21025919)

What about talking about Taiwan independence? I think the people around you probably sensor you...but I don't really know. When I was in Australia the Chinese students there seemed to get pretty fired up saying that Taiwan should be part of China.

Re:Where are all the English teachers? (1)

Echnin (607099) | about 7 years ago | (#21027495)

Actually, when we learned the word for "independent" (), and the teacher asked me to make an example sentence, I said "Taiwan independence", and then she just looked at me with a look that said "oh, this naughty little kid" and then said something which I can't quite remember. Actually, though, I and my classmates always tease the teachers talking about Tibet and Taiwan and stuff and while they don't really take us quite seriously they aren't horrified or anything. Also, last Friday I was out drinking and met this Chinese-American (born Hong Kong, raised California) and his PRC girlfriend (who could understand most of what we were talking about in English but couldn't say much), and when we got into the topic of Taiwan independence she was just rolling her eyes. From what I understand of the PRC argument, it doesn't matter whether people on Taiwan want to be independent - they're Chinese, so China, the PRC that is, has to decide over them. I was pretty drunk though, so can't remember exactly what we were talking about. Still though, I'm walking around talking about this stuff and not getting any kind of reprisal, but imagine if I were a regular, Chinese, student at Peking University. If I were to go around promoting radical views like Tibet and Taiwan independence, it would probably affect how the professors treated me, and how my classmates treated me. Even though there might not be any official action against me, being publicly against the government is a sure way to get ostracized. Being in China is pretty bad if you're Chinese, I think.

Re:Where are all the English teachers? (1)

mattington (688037) | about 7 years ago | (#21027321)

Dude, As someone living in China for the past 3 and a half years, I'd say you were off a bit on your post. The longer you are here, the more you can communicate, see how things happen and actually talk to people about their experiences. When I get into a cab and start talking politics, most of the cab drivers are fully aware of how corrupt and misrun some aspects of the regime are. It's not a secret how things work here- they've been this way for centuries. If you are in with the powers that be, you are living the good life. If you aren't, you don't really have time to do much else than, as you said, make sure there is food on the table. But the reality of the situation is that people are NOT afraid to talk about it! You just don't stand out in Tian An Men square with a big sign yelling about how Mao was a phony. I've responded to a few of these 'great firewall' type articles before and I stand by what I've said; in general the government doesn't really care about one dissident here or another there, these people don't really threaten the power structure. But if there is a group attempting to gain power then they have problems. Look at Falun Gong. Basically a crazy religious cult, but banned in China because it was attracting too many people. I've traveled to lots of places in China the way Chinese people do, by slow trains and busses. I've been to the countryside and seen and talked to people who are living a very third world life. There are lots of F'ed up situations in China and lots of people being treated unfairly. There are organized protests here everyday from farmers whose land has been taken away, etc. Chinese people in general are extremely practical. What is going online and blogging about something really going to do for you, farmer Zhang, making barely enough to feed your family. It's going to waste your time and resources in an internet cafe rather than spending that time trying to make sure your daughter has a better life. I could say a lot more, but if you've made it this far you're probably bored anyway and I've vented enough. As anyone who has spent time abroad knows, it's impossible to fully explain what you've experienced and how things work in another system. I'm not defending the government, just hoping to expound on a few of these issues. Matt

Re:Where are all the English teachers? (1)

Echnin (607099) | about 7 years ago | (#21027991)

I guess I'll have to bow down to your experience, having been here for 12 times as long as I have. I still haven't had the experience of hearing anyone say very nasty things about the government, though, but that might be because my Chinese is still pretty bad. Or it might be a Beijing thing, I don't know. Most of what I've heard taxi drivers complain about boils down to having to work too long, migrant workers pushing wages down (though only Beijing residents can drive cabs fortunately yada yada), their bosses taking too much of their wages, gas being too expensive... I've never had them say anything bad about the government or CCP, even when I've asked them directly. I think I need to try to get drunk with some old Chinese people and see if they open up a bit then.

Re:Where are all the English teachers? (2, Informative)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | about 7 years ago | (#21024093)

BadAnalogyGuy,

You can dismiss it as overly melodramatic. That's easy for you but you might want to ask The Tank Man [wikipedia.org] if he was just being melodramatic that day.

Re:Where are all the English teachers? (4, Informative)

BobGregg (89162) | about 7 years ago | (#21024549)

>> It makes me wonder who those people are who are complaining the loudest
>> ...While I have no doubt that there is a significant amount of pro-government
>> propaganda, I wonder if all this bellowing isn't just a bit overly melodramatic.

It's not. Sorry. My wife (who is from Beijing) has taken me back over there twice, and we've spent time with a lot of her friends, most of whom are fairly well to-do (relatively speaking), and/or have connections in the government. The adults all recognize, and talk about (in hushed tones), the current state of things. Though things have opened up somewhat, there's still no way to talk openly about the government. Even doing so in your own home, at your own table, makes people distinctly uncomfortable.

Go to a magazine or newspaper stand in Beijing (or any major city in China); the difference is immediately obvious. There are *no* political or public affairs publications. At all. None. All the magazines are about fashion, tourism, whatever else. Nobody talks about the government, unless they're prepared to go to jail.

The censorship is real, the political repression is real, the impact on the real, day-to-day life of the citizens, even in Beijing, is real. Things are way better than they used to be (for some), but there is still a long way to go.

Re:Where are all the English teachers? (1)

rtb61 (674572) | about 7 years ago | (#21025387)

Getting past Chinese censorship is also more than just a game, on one side is the pursuit of freedom and democracy that many of us in the west take for granted and on the other side are extremely harsh penalties for getting caught.

What is really odd from a western point of view is that the majority of citizens in the west support the Chinese people in their pursuit of freedom and democracy up until the point they become greed obsessed corporate executives then the support the Chinese government in maintaining the repressive autocratic regimes by censoring and monitoring the network on their behalf.

It really makes you wonder about the nature of corporate executives from Google, Yahoo and M$, and the personal characteristics of their majority shareholders and what else they are willing to sell in order to further bloat their profits. DO the same in their own countries, if the telecoms are any thing to go by, not a problem.

No argument about corporations willingness to sell our freedom and democracy down the river, just an argument about how much they are going charge.

Re:Where are all the English teachers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21025177)

Friend of mine spent a year out there teaching a few years back. On her return, she told me how any books and music she took with her were confiscated if they weren't on the approved list, that there was an observer with her in the school at all times (to ensure nothing unapproved was being taught to or even discussed with the students, and that other members of staff were largely scared of speaking to her, let alone socialising, in case it was noticed.

Re:Where are all the English teachers? (1)

jamar0303 (896820) | about 7 years ago | (#21025641)

Huh, odd. At the school I go to (Shanghai) people talk freely about local politics (the teachers do; the students talk about the nightlife and which clubs are better and dumb crap like that). When I came into the country, I was never searched for books and music.

Re:Where are all the English teachers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21026431)

That's because the Chicoms don't breathe down your neck if you are a foreigner. In fact, they only positive experience I, as a law abiding American who once had secret security clearance, ever had with law enforcement was in Red China. I even openly discussed the Falon Gong with a Brit in a Beiging restaurant.

They do this because people will go home and tell their friends "gosh, they are just like us".

Re:Where are all the English teachers? (1)

jank1887 (815982) | about 7 years ago | (#21026991)

I've been watching Survivor all season, and I have yet to see any of these so called 'atrocities'. It must be fake. Now, back to the immunity challenge!!!

Re:Where are all the English teachers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21027837)

I have a friend who went to live in China for some time a few years ago and she reported back horrible stories.

One of her university friend was electrocuted (and now has troubles just thinking or talking)
because he was considered "dangerous". It's unclear what he did to be considered "dangerous",
presumably used the wrong words when talking to people.

After hearing that I became really scared and angry at China and I personally think
that the danger of the Chinese dictatorships are being underestimated

Cheers

When Big Brother is your neighbor (1)

wsanders (114993) | about 7 years ago | (#21027929)

We hear about the well-publicized cases but not the pervasiveness of day to day censorship. Imagine your local school board in charge, not some abstract federal agency like the CIA that one has contact with. Look at all the emails in TFA - they come from a real person with a real email address. not an anonymous entity.

In westernized, urban area, all this gets done "automatically" - like /. moderation almost. The "silent majority" goes about their business, a hole in the wall internet cafe gets closed down, no one gets arrested, business as usual.

In the sticks, it gets more personal. You know who's censoring your life, who the corrupt officials are. Life in general can suck pretty bad because of the huge disparity between urban rich and farm poor, and there has been some civil unrest. This is what is keeping the Chinese Government awake at night, and this is where things get nasty. Few Westerners venture into these places, and we only hear in the West about them when something bad happens..

So this is why they censor - the danger of a real, second, Proletarian Revolution. If I was a new middle class city dweller with a family, apartment, business, new car, I'd have some tough choices to make on this issue.

Re:When Big Brother is your neighbor (1)

superpulpsicle (533373) | about 7 years ago | (#21028155)

Can you expand on what you mean by real Proletarian revolution? As if the first one wasn't real.

Re:When Big Brother is your neighbor (1)

wsanders (114993) | about 7 years ago | (#21031565)

Well, yes, the first was real, no doubt about that. But they're backsliding.

Look at the much-balloyhooed WHO health study that recently put the US barely ahead of Cuba, at 37 and 39 respectively. Health care is a good example of how a government treats its people.
China in WAY down the list, at 144. If you get cancer in China, and have no money, you die. That's not exactly the system the revolutionaries of the 40s envisioned.

To their credit, the Chinese gov't and intellectuals of every political persuasion know they have a problem, and they'll fix it in the way they think is best. Actually, I have a certain amount of faith in their ability to bring it off without the terror and mass murder of previous revolutions.

Re:Where are all the English teachers? (1)

m0e8899 (1176025) | about 7 years ago | (#21031261)

I have spent considerable time living in, travelling around and visiting China over the past 25 years. Further, I am an information security professional and have first hand experience witht the Great Firewall and the 50,000 or so cyber censors. What you hear is not melodrama. I used to routinely test the Great Firewall and it is as described and it can be circumvented with effort. For example, in 2005 there were over 85,000 public protests about corruption, land grabs and other inequities (NYT and Int'l Herald Tribune). Tghis type of info makes it out, but you have to know where to look for it. Most foreigners do everything in English and the Great Firewall is less efficient with English than with Mandarin. When I was living in Beijing, I had a 'minder' that routinely 'showed up' at my office to chat about a variety of security topics, sometimes even when I was scheduled to be away and just stopped by to pick up something (BTW this was as recently as in 2001 - 2007 and my most recent visit was a few monhths back). Self sensorship is a local and cultural thing really. 'A Harmonious Society' is the Govt's watchword for controlling the vast populace and expats/foreigners are of less concern in this arena. When you go to the provinces and have an opportunity to meet with local officials, the 'party line' runs quite deep and they are serious about it. Some of the more hardcore types are indeed from the countryside. On the other hand, the big issue in the countryside is that the income gap between them and the East Coast new middle class is growing and the countryside is getting more and more vocal about being left behind - remember what has happenned in China for the past 5,000 years every time the wealth gap has gotten too big. On a potitive note, it is very important to separate the actions and goals of the Govt from the spirit and openness of the Chinese people. I can easily understand how English Teachers get the good side of China in their job. I am not sure how one would expect an English Teacher to be the initiator of news about the censorship in China. This was an actual part of my old job. If you are looking for a better perspective, then try to hear what experienced expat executives say about China after they have been there for a few years - much more realistic than English Teachers IMHO. m0e8899

Re:Where are all the English teachers?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21032891)

They're molesting little boys in other parts of Asia.

self censorship (4, Funny)

carndearg (696084) | about 7 years ago | (#21023727)

I was going to make a really witty comment, but I'd better not...

Re:self censorship (2, Funny)

robot_love (1089921) | about 7 years ago | (#21023987)

Well, mission accomplished.

Baaazzing!! :)

Sure hope they're not using Google (2, Insightful)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | about 7 years ago | (#21023737)

I sure hope they're not using Google or Yahoo in their illegal activities, or else Big GeGe just might knock on their door tomorrow night.

Re:Sure hope they're not using Google (1)

WED Fan (911325) | about 7 years ago | (#21023819)

Use Google or Yahoo, go to jail, Gitmo, or if you are in China, your family receives a bill for a single 9mm round.

Thank you, Google and Yahoo, for your crimes against humanity, freedom, and civil rights. But then, the profit motive far outweighs your social contracts. Evil is as evil does.

Note: There was no sarcasm intended.

Re:Sure hope they're not using Google (1)

smilindog2000 (907665) | about 7 years ago | (#21023879)

I wrote a rare letter to my congressman, suggesting that he propose a law that would ban US companies from working with foreign governments to sensor political content on the Internet. It would mean that Google and Yahoo would make less money, and they would create an opening for a strong competitor to be born... but what about "Do no evil"? I can't believe Americans willingly help destroy our most valued right: freedom of speech. It's just wrong, and should be illegal.

Re:Sure hope they're not using MSN or Yahoo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21025841)

As it turns out, it was MSN and Yahoo that got dissidents jailed.

In Communist China.. (0, Offtopic)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 7 years ago | (#21023749)

...they censor YOU!

Re:In Communist China.. (1)

erKURITA (1114707) | about 7 years ago | (#21024043)

Self-censorship seems to be failing here. That wasn't worthy at all.

At any rate, I'm still rather surprised that the, how many, 1,300,000,000 habitants haven't rised against the government. Imagine the size of the demostrations...

They do not fit in my imagination!

Big Gigi? (0, Offtopic)

techpawn (969834) | about 7 years ago | (#21023751)

How does watching out for a playboy and a hooker falling in love help you from being censored? Wait? Gege? Not Gigi? [imdb.com]

Re:Big Gigi? (1)

faloi (738831) | about 7 years ago | (#21023787)

I would say that preventing Gigi from being shown is a case of censorship done right.

Re:Big Gigi? (1)

querist (97166) | about 7 years ago | (#21025329)

Gege (I can't make Slashdot show the Chinese characters for this) means "Older brother", so "Big Gege" is redundant in this context.

US vs China Censorship (0, Troll)

monkeyboythom (796957) | about 7 years ago | (#21023761)

It is amazing that they are spending that much money and people power, along with the cultural bonus of self censoring, when here in America, all that equates to studio execs demanding, and releasing, yet another lowest common denominator film, and another press release of Britney/Paris attention whores.

Yes, we take our freedoms for granted and now I see many are willingly giving up those rights all in the name of stability and mediocrity. Maybe China needs to take a lesson from us, true censorship is the kind that calls itself "must see TV."

Re:US vs China Censorship (0, Offtopic)

jamar0303 (896820) | about 7 years ago | (#21025701)

The plus side of China is that IP rights don't exist either. I'm doing all my P2P downloading before I return to the States, that's for sure.

Little Sisters are Watching You (5, Funny)

r6144 (544027) | about 7 years ago | (#21023765)

In China, we sometimes use "little sister" to refer to the people hired by the authorities to check posts on Internet forums for political correctness. Of course this is sort of a parody to "Big Brother", but indeed most such people are just young, politically unmotivated university students, frequently female, that are looking for some pocket money.

Re:Little Sisters are Watching You (1)

minuszero (922125) | about 7 years ago | (#21023859)

# Hey little sister what have you done? ...

Re:Little Sisters are Watching You (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | about 7 years ago | (#21023905)

I guess Bioshock isn't very popular with them...

Re:Little Sisters are Watching You (1)

FudRucker (866063) | about 7 years ago | (#21024153)

You know I dated your big sister' Oh, I took her to the show I went for some candy Along came Jim Dandy And they slipped right out the door

Little sister don't you, little sister don't you Little sister don't you kiss me once or twice Tell me that it's nice and then you run Yeah, little sister don't do what your big sister done

I used to pull down on your pigtails Hey girl, and pinch your turned up nose Oh, but baby you been growin' And lately it's been showin' From your head down to your toes

Little sister don't you, little sister don't you Little sister don't you kiss me once or twice Tell me that it's nice and then you run Yeah, little sister don't do what your big sister done

Every time I see your sister Lord, she's with somebody new Aw, she's mean and she's evil Like a little ol' boll weevil Think I'll try my luck with you

Little sister don't you, little sister don't you Little sister don't you kiss me once or twice Tell me that it's nice and then you run Hey, little sister don't you do what your big sister done Well, little sister don't you do what your big sister done Aw, little sister don't you do what your big sister done

Re:Little Sisters are Watching You (1)

petsounds (593538) | about 7 years ago | (#21032789)

But isn't the worst kind of oppression one in which the common person is enlisted to turn on their neighbors? It's much harder to stand against people who are only in it for economic profit, and have no moral compass to guide them, than to fight against radicalized factions. In fact, this is mostly why we saw the Burmese uprising go nowhere -- the army was too used to being well-fed compared to the rest of the population.

I can see it now... (1)

JK_the_Slacker (1175625) | about 7 years ago | (#21023809)

"Hey, according to this report, you can avoid censorship by... wait, where are you taking me?"

Eluding censorship (2, Insightful)

QuietLagoon (813062) | about 7 years ago | (#21023825)

Well, this section of the report is not too smart.

Let's tell the powers that be all the ways in which we bypass their censorship so they can close the loopholes.

What was he thinking?

Re:Eluding censorship (1)

yokolucu (1168685) | about 7 years ago | (#21023881)

certainly http://www.newoxxo.com/jokes/mainjokes.html [newoxxo.com] jokes

Re:Eluding censorship (4, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 7 years ago | (#21023973)

Hardly matters. If the Chinese government had a real need to block those techniques, they wouldn't need that report to discover them. A well-rounded programmer or IT pro. could tell them the weaknesses of whatever system is in place. What it really boils down to is that there are not enough people employing these "under the radar" methods for the Chinese government to care. If 50% of the population was using steganography to sneak forbidden messages around, you can bet that with or without this sort of report, the Chinese government would be scrutinizing every image, audio, and video file transferred over their piece of the Internet.

Re:Eluding censorship (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | about 7 years ago | (#21024659)

Amazing how much money and effort they are willing to put into this effort. All that to keep a sickly system alive, sort of like painting over rotten wood.

Re:Eluding censorship (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | about 7 years ago | (#21025101)

Hardly matters.

Of course it matters. Any information given to the enemy, no matter how trivial it seems, will help the enemy. Beyond the actual information itself, the enemy can also look at the means that were used to discover and develop the weaknesses in the censorship.

an anarchist's cookbook of internet techniques? (4, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 7 years ago | (#21023829)

oh wait, that was just banned in britain [slashdot.org]

but seriously, an easy to use, serially updated very small text only guide in every language that would allow your average computer idiot to avoid censorship as quickly and as painlessly as possible. no software, just a simple set of swiss army knife style techniques, everything from as obvious as "safe" sites to visit to low grade OS manipulations to keep yourself anonymous and keep yourself connected to noncensored news

of course, governments would get their hands on this guide too. it would need to be serially updated. but the old problem of the enemy knowing what you know still leaves a niche of techniques that need to remain common knowledge in heavily censored countries, regardless of governmental knowledge that you know those techniques. some techniques and basic network knowledge are just useful to know no matter what

the internet anarchist's cookbook?

From the PDF... (4, Interesting)

kilo_foxtrot84 (1016017) | about 7 years ago | (#21023995)

A South Korean website polled its visitors about their nationalism in August 2006, asking them: "If you were reborn, would you want to be Korean again?" The Culture and Debate sections of the website Netease copied the idea, asking visitors if they would want to be Chinese again. The poll ran from 4 September to 11 October. Of the 10,000 people who participated, 64 per cent said they would not want to be Chinese. The main reasons identified were: "Being Chinese is not honourable," "You cannot buy a house in China, happiness is too inaccessible," "No reason," "You cannot crack jokes in China" and "You cannot see good cartoons in China." Netease had to fire Culture section editor Tang Yan and Debate section editor Liu Xianghui. And the Debate section was closed down.
Thus, the obligatory question: if you were reborn, would you want to join Slashdot again?

Re:From the PDF... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21024073)

Wait do you mean join?

Web Proxies FTW (1)

bteeter (25807) | about 7 years ago | (#21024353)

Internet censorship is a cat and mouse game that the mouse can always win.

You can get around most any blocker if you use a web proxy. At least until the blocking agent gets smart enough to put the web proxy on the list. When they do, just move to another proxy. Rinse, lather, repeat. A good list of proxies is at http://pxylist.com [pxylist.com] . That list is better than others as its actually monitored and the proxies are always up.

Of course there are other ways to get around web blockers, but web proxies are the easiest to use.

Re:Web Proxies FTW (2, Insightful)

kilo_foxtrot84 (1016017) | about 7 years ago | (#21026303)

So what happens if the blocking agent finds that site, and blacklists the whole thing?

Re:Web Proxies FTW (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21026351)

These usually don't work unless you are running the proxy itself on SSL. My old highschool's filter would let you access one site with the proxy that isn't filtered but would easily block things that were, yes, through the proxy. If a shitty public highschool is a disadvantaged area filters based on strings given to the proxy (and this was my own proxy, it wasn't already specifically filtered) what makes you think the PRC can't?

brainstorm (1)

Sicnarf (529730) | about 7 years ago | (#21024749)

there should ideally be a p2p network, that connects to proxies outside of china to forward http connections. users can anonymously connect via an encrypted connection (so content filters can't read data) to this network. problem: how to find multiple high bandwidth proxies outside of china, who won't get detected?

Re:brainstorm (1)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | about 7 years ago | (#21030235)

like freenet or tor?

Archaic analogy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21024783)

"It's another race for survival between the tiny mammals and the lumbering dinosaurs."

1) many dinosaurs weren't "lumbering", they were agile creatures that would eat smaller mammals for breakfast (literally). Dinosaurs were phenomenally successful creatures during their time, and dominated the land for a long time. A few of them are thought to have taken wing and are soaring above our heads today

2) concepts about dinosaurs have changed so much in the last 30 years that using the "old style" "big lizard" interpretation makes the *user* look really dated

3) it's sheer luck that most of the dinosaurs got snuffed by an asteroid impact, and that mammals didn't get snuffed out at the same time.

Summary: the analogy in the article is really awful.

Da Ji Ji or Da Gu Gu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21024937)

Are you referring to a large penis or your big brother?

My recent experience... (3, Interesting)

Brit_in_the_USA (936704) | about 7 years ago | (#21025503)

I was in Central china a few months ago on business. I was given no information when I landed about Internet policy from the official staff at the airport and nor did the hotel I stayed at provide any.

I got fast Internet in my room and proceed to web browse as normal.I used IM and skype from my local connection too.

I noticed that sometimes the BBC news site would load and sometimes it would not. During those "down" times I simply used hamachi to VPN to my server at home and browse from there via Remote Desktop. I guess this is no different to corporate laptops that proxy though their companies VPN for all web activities.

In short I guess the great firewall was overrated?

Re:My recent experience... (1)

eht (8912) | about 7 years ago | (#21026355)

The great firewall acts differently between natives and foreigners, and you likely didn't go to the sites(mainly in Chinese) that are outright banned.

Re:My recent experience... (1)

Brit_in_the_USA (936704) | about 7 years ago | (#21026493)

So you think my pc or the hotels connection is flagged as a foreigner and allowed through?

I had no problem researching the local area using Wikipedia, I would have thought that is on the banned list?

Re:My recent experience... (1)

tnk1 (899206) | about 7 years ago | (#21027817)

Countries like China are very well aware of where all foreigners are at all times. Its possible that the room you were in has never had a native Chinese person occupy it. If there had been, they were probably either higher Party officials or businessmen who have made the appropriate "donations" to certain officials.

That means that there could be a little switch that the click when you logged in or it is conceivably possible that there really are holes in the Great Firewall, but only in places where the government really doesn't expect any problems. Chinese businessmen probably don't give a crap about democracy in a country that lets them get rich, so private hotels that a normal Chinese worker or student cannot afford are likely to not face as much scrutiny because they are low risk.

Re:My recent experience... (1)

malloc (30902) | about 7 years ago | (#21030549)

I got fast Internet in my room and proceed to web browse as normal.I used IM and skype from my local connection too.

For you browsing "as normal" doesn't include Wikipedia? I was in China (South-eastern part) for the last month. I found many sites blocked (besides Wikipedia), especially Chinese-language news sites which the typical westerner will never visit and thus not notice being blocked. Also some religious sites that e.g. host an online Bible were blocked (but others not). If all you're doing is browsing /. and that type of site you'll probably not notice much.

I noticed that sometimes the BBC news site would load and sometimes it would not. During those "down" times I simply used hamachi to VPN to my server at home and browse from there via Remote Desktop. I guess this is no different to corporate laptops that proxy though their companies VPN for all web activities.

For you or me loading up the VPN alternate is simple (if slow; my work VPN was limited to ~5k/s). For the average* Chinese internet user, you have no VPN and (like Joe net user in the West) no idea of how to get one. (*: Average is, of course, a misnomer; if you have a computer and net access in China you're definitely not "average" from a statistical point of view).

In short I guess the great firewall was overrated?

I guess your surfing habits must already conform to the Chinese Communist Party's wishes. :)

For a good week while I was in China the whole internet seemed to suddenly shut down, with way more sites blocked, and very slow too. Connections were actively killed with TCP resets. I was told this was because of the 17th national congress [wikipedia.org] .

-Malloc

Freenet (1)

Pegasus (13291) | about 7 years ago | (#21025945)

Well someone should localize freenet [freenetproject.org] into Chinese and all the problems will be gone ...

Chinese slang (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21026055)

Anyone else read the Chinese Big Ge ge as Da Ji Ji? I thought this was a sly hoax for a second.

C;ock (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21027331)

*BSD 4as lost more

**really** big brother (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21027527)

"Big GeGe" is "big brother" ? GeGe is older brother (or as we generally call it in English, "big brother").

Wow. China has surpassed Orwell's England and created the institution of "big big brother"!

Re:**really** big brother (1)

Mazin07 (999269) | about 7 years ago | (#21031849)

You'd have to pick between (didi - younger brother) or (gege - older brother), so it's not that awkward of a redundancy. If you really wanted to, you could say (big age-neutral-brother) but that sounds painfully inefficient.

Re:**really** big brother (1)

Mazin07 (999269) | about 7 years ago | (#21031921)

And Unicode characters died in transit. Sorry.

Re:**really** big brother (1)

zrl (899931) | about 7 years ago | (#21032265)

big in this context means the oldest.
what's wrong with the big older brother -- the oldest brother?

all you foreigners try to comment on China, but you don't have the understanding of its culture and history. Remember, this NEW NATION - People's Republic of China is only 58 years old. There is a huge percentage of population with less than middle school education. While we are here in the US thinking we are so free, we are just modern slaves with another set of rule (or laws) that ensuring us to work at least 5 days of a week to survive a 7-day week.

How To Get Around Chinese Censors..... (1)

IHC Navistar (967161) | about 7 years ago | (#21032351)

The Idiot's Guide To Getting Around Chinese Internet Censors, Vol. 1

Step 1: Get out of China.

Re:How To Get Around Chinese Censors..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21032679)

And if that doesn't work...
Surf through a PROXY, for crying out loud!!!!

every repost (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21032845)

is a repost of a repost

this was on slashdot last week.

If you haven't read it tho, read the PDF, it's really interesting. Skip the shite newsarticle..
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?