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China - We Don't Censor the Internet 554

Posted by Zonk
from the alternate-reality-china dept.
kaufmanmoore writes "A Chinese government official at a United Nations summit in Athens on internet governance has claimed that no Net censorship exists at all in China. The article includes an exchange by a Chinese government official and a BBC reporter over the blocking of the BBC in China." From the article: "I don't think we should be using different standards to judge China. In China, we don't have software blocking Internet sites. Sometimes we have trouble accessing them. But that's a different problem. I know that some colleagues listen to the BBC in their offices from the Webcast. And I've heard people say that the BBC is not available in China or that it's blocked. I'm sure I don't know why people say this kind of thing. We do not have restrictions at all."
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China - We Don't Censor the Internet

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  • O RLY? (Score:4, Informative)

    by focitrixilous P (690813) on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @01:15PM (#16660119) Journal
    So, searching for any topic on google in china would give the same results, correct?

    US Image Search for Tiananmen Square [google.com]

    China Image Search for the same [google.cn]

    Who doesn't censor the internet, now?

  • by Ancient_Hacker (751168) on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @01:15PM (#16660131)
    Sometimes when you buy an old radio in Wisconsin, where lots of German immigrants settled, you'll find all the shortwave radio coils have been snipped out. In WW2 the govt censored SW reception by going into people's houses and doctoring their radios so they couldnt puick up far-away radio stations. Not one of the highpoints of the bill of rights.
  • I was just in China (Score:3, Informative)

    by todesengel (722281) on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @01:25PM (#16660337)
    and I tested this out. Searching for "Tiananmen square" yields plenty of results, but 90% of them weren't accessible. I never had any other "connection problems" other times I was on the web.
  • google knows all (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @01:26PM (#16660365)
    1. go to http://images.google.cn/images?q=tiananmen [google.cn]
    2. look at the bottom left of the page, there's a string of chinese characters
    3. use google language tools to translate that string.
    4. it says: "According to local laws, regulations, and policies, some search results are not shown."
    5. indeed, search for "tiananmen" in http://images.google.com/images?q=tiananmen [google.com] and compare

    no censorship! just local laws, regulations, and policies. some results are not shown, big deal.
  • by siufish (814496) on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @01:44PM (#16660677)

    It's not hard to understand. China did not censor the images. Google, a US company, did. .cn does not mean it belongs to the Chinese government. You can say Google gave in to pressure from the government, but ultimately it is Google's decision.

    Do you get it now? The Chinese government "don't have software blocking Internet sites." Companies who want to do business in China do.

  • by smbarbour (893880) on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @01:58PM (#16660931)
    Additionally, the United States isn't "technically" a democracy either... It's a republic. (In a true democracy, the citizens vote on everything. In a republic, representatives are elected to vote on the issues.)

    Communism and democracy (and even republics) are NOT mutually exclusive. Communism and capitalism should be mutually exclusive however. Communism will never properly work while money exists. The aberrations that exist today that are referred to as communist are actually far from it.

    The form of government in the US is actually approaching the status of an oligarchy or aristocracy, especially with the amount of power that corporations hold over the elected officials (Let's face it, if you don't have the support of a few corporations and are not independently wealthy, it is highly unlikely that your message will reach the people who would vote for you.)
  • by patio11 (857072) on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @01:59PM (#16660951)
    The bottom of the page says something to the effect of "We are limiting the results of this search to comply with local laws" (apologies for inexact translation -- I can only read Chinese by way of Japanese).
  • by steve_ellis (586756) on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @02:12PM (#16661271) Homepage
    Based on my experience in hotels in China aimed at foreign tourists (so-called 5-star hotels--certified 5-star by the Chinese government), all of them appeared to have unfiltered internet access available. Since many of them are affiliated with big western hotel chains, I'm guessing they get their feeds from their corporate parent, although the government itself may provide unfiltered feeds to hotels targeted at foreigners. I observed this in several major cities (Beijing, Shanghai, Xian & Guangzhou). On the other hand, the great firewall is in place and working very nicely on residential dial-up, DSL, and in internet cafes (my nephew has at times had both dial-up and DSL service).
  • by juuri (7678) on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @02:15PM (#16661327) Homepage
    After 9/11 I was dating a girl from the Mainland. She had been in the states for a few years and still had a really positive view of her homeland. One night we were watching one of the tributes to the heroes of that day (she was really into that stuff) and they showed a quick summary of history for the last 25 years. As it was going on they showed the protest in Tienamen square and the student confronting the tank and then being... well you know.

    She had never seen it.

    She had no idea that had ever happened.

    It's hard to put into words how sad she became and the rage that immediately followed towards her homeland. There's a lot governments are good at repressing things in most any country from public knowledge, but the ability to completely hide something from your people that the rest of the world knows about? That's just criminal.
  • by MoofOntario (937100) on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @03:07PM (#16662277)
    Other people have brought up the fact that companies self-censor their Chinese-audience products, for example the classic "Tianemen Square" search on gooogle.cn vs google.com. But there is other censorship as well, they like to block sites based on IP.

    To see for yourself, try out: http://www.linkwan.com/vr2/#world [linkwan.com] Click the Beijing, China location. It will do a traceroute to the website of your choice, if it is reachable from China of course! (It is a java app, warning)

    For example, for www.nationalpost.com (Canadian news paper):
    "www.nationalpost.com was found in 25 hops. But problems starting at hop 9 in network "CHINANET backbone network" are causing IP Packets to be dropped"

    Others similarly unreachable:

    www.cbc.ca (canadian broadcasting corporation)
    www.freetibet.com (funnily enough just a domain squatter)
    etc.

    Some that work :)
    www.china.com
    www.xinhuanet.com (official state news agency of China)

    Anyway, I found out about this when my webhost managed to get a block of their IPs banned, which prevented my hosted site (completely unrelated to the site they wanted to be banned) from being seen by my friends in mainland China since the webhost used virtual hosting to share IPs.

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