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Rights Organizations’ Report Censored by China Hours After Issued, Leaked Directive Shows

Posted by Author on February 5, 2008

Reporters Without Borders, 1 February 2008-

Reporters Without Borders and Chinese Human Rights Defenders have obtained a copy of a directive issued by the authorities responsible for Internet censorship in an attempt to prevent online circulation of the report “Journey to the Heart of Internet censorship (,” which the two organisations issued on 10 October 2007.

“We condemn the censorship of any information that aims to increase awareness of the real situation of the Internet in China,” the two organisations said. “The rights of Chinese Internet users are systematically violated by the government, although we are now only six months away from the Olympic Games.”

Just hours after the report was issued, Yang Le, the head of the Beijing Information Office, which is in charge of Internet control, circulated an order to websites and ISPs asking them to update their lists of banned key-words. The new banned key-words, mostly relating to the Internet, were used throughout the Reporters Without Borders report.

The name of the report’s author, a “Mr. Tao,” who is a Beijing website technician, was also included in the new banned word-strings, as were “Reporters Without Borders” and “Chinese Human Rights Defenders,” whose websites are inaccessible in China. This is the text of the directive issued by the Beijing Information Office:

“Urgent: Search engines must abort searches for certain key-words. This must take effect at 10:30.” The directive listed these key-words:

– “render transparent the workings of the Chinese Internet control system”
– “render transparent the workings of the Internet control system”
– “the workings of the Chinese Internet control system”
– “Chinese Internet control”
– “Chinese Internet control system”
– “how the Internet control system works”
– “Tao Xici”
– “control of the Tao Xici network”
– “Tao Xici’s China”
– “Reporters Without Borders”
– “Chinese Human Rights Defender Network”
– “reinforcement of Beijing’s control bodies”
– “self-censorship” and “increase censorship”
– “Century China”
– “Aiqinhai website”
– “technological process of Internet control in mainland China”
– “network management bodies and online media”
– “eviction of Tang Yan and Liu Xianghui”
– “adoption / registering / Internet administration”
– “Internet network”
– “key-words”
– “define unauthorised media”
– “not reveal instructions”
– “infiltration of Internet users and banning of key-words”
– “control of the Chinese Internet network”
– “pursuit of procedures for purging the Internet”
– “searches aimed at suppressing website content”
– “not reveal instructions after purging the network”
– “disseminate instructions”

Original report from Reporters Without Borders:
How cyber-censors blocked dissemination of report on Internet censorship

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