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    Reporters Without Borders said in it’s 2005 special report titled “Xinhua: the world’s biggest propaganda agency”, that “Xinhua remains the voice of the sole party”, “particularly during the SARS epidemic, Xinhua has for last few months been putting out news reports embarrassing to the government, but they are designed to fool the international community, since they are not published in Chinese.”
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More bricks in the wall: China’s Censorship

Posted by Author on July 13, 2009

Editorial, Japan Times, July 13, 2009-

Facing opposition from Chinese citizens and foreign governments, Beijing has postponed a plan to reinforce the “Great Firewall of China.” These efforts, ostensibly to protect against pornography, look more like a new campaign to crack down on dissent. One way to protest them is to demand that China respect its international trade obligations. While such a premise lacks the moral force of past appeals to human rights commitments, it may prove more effective.

The Beijing government has long sought to control citizens’ access to information. That challenge has become more difficult when any individual with a computer (or mobile phone) can access the Internet. Chinese companies have been developed to compete with foreign online search engines and network entities like Yahoo! and Google, both to promote national champions as well as to ensure that Beijing has more say over their policies and practices. The prospect of losing business — a potential market of hundreds of millions of consumers — helps bend foreign companies to the Chinese government’s will.

The temporarily shelved plan would have had filters built into Internet servers and search engines in China that block access to Web sites or terms that Beijing deems sensitive. Trying to get information about “Falun Gong,” for example, would have been fruitless. Web sites like YouTube are routinely cut off. Chinese Net users have even lost access to iTunes, Apple Computer’s popular music Web site, because of concerns over lyrics.

Such crude censorship is hard to justify, so the Chinese government has sought more acceptable rationales. In recent weeks Beijing has launched a new effort to control what users can see while surfing the Internet. In May, it ordered that all new computers sold in China after July 1 have the filtering software called “Green Dam Youth Escort.” It was intended to prevent children from accessing pornography or other harmful content.

On June 25 the Chinese Health Ministry announced that it would restrict access to medical research papers on sexual subjects as part of the same campaign. At the same time, Google has been forced to disable a function that lets it suggest search terms, again, in the name of fighting pornography……. (more details from Japan Times)

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