Status of Chinese People

About China and Chinese people's living condition

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    1. A China More Just, Gao Zhisheng
    2.Officially Sanctioned Crime in China, He Qinglian
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    Will the Boat Sink the Water? Chen Guidi, Wu Chuntao
    4.
    Losing the New China, Ethan Gutmann
    5.
    Nine Commentaries on The Communist Party, the Epochtimes
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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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Archive for the ‘Freedom of Information’ Category

Suit Claims Cisco Helped China Pursue Falun Gong

Posted by Author on May 23, 2011


SAN FRANCISCO — Cisco, the maker of Internet routing gear, customized its technology to help China track members of the Falun Gong spiritual movement, according to a federal lawsuit filed last week by members of the movement.

The lawsuit, which relies on internal sales materials, also said that Cisco had tried to market its equipment to the Chinese government by using inflammatory language that stemmed from the Maoist Cultural Revolution.

The suit was filed Thursday in Federal District Court for the Northern District of California in San Jose by the Human Rights Law Foundation on behalf of members of Falun Gong. It contends that Cisco helped design the controversial “Golden Shield” firewall that is used to censor the Internet and track opponents of the Chinese government. The lawsuit names several Cisco executives, including the chairman and chief executive, John T. Chambers. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Business, censorship, China, Company, Falun Gong, Firewall, Freedom of Information, Human Rights, Internet, Law, News, People, Politics, Religious, Social, Technology, USA, World | Comments Off on Suit Claims Cisco Helped China Pursue Falun Gong

Legislators Seek to Protect Independent TV Broadcasts to China

Posted by Author on May 18, 2011


WASHINGTON—Lawmakers in the United States, Hong Kong, and Taiwan believe the Chinese Communist regime is responsible for a move that would potentially bar New Tang Dynasty (NTD) Television from broadcasting to mainland China. They are asking the government of Taiwan to act to protect press freedom.

In a letter to Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou, U.S. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher wrote, “The democratic government of Taiwan should be encouraging the spread of ideas favoring freedom and traditional values across the strait.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Asia, China, Freedom of Information, Human Rights, Media, News, NTDTV, People, Politics, Press freedom, Speech, Taiwan, World | Comments Off on Legislators Seek to Protect Independent TV Broadcasts to China

How Twitter is Changing Chinese Society

Posted by Author on January 13, 2011


Who would have thought that 140 character bursts of text—often used for reporting quotidian trivialities in places like the U.S.—would become a beacon of hope for civil rights activists under a quasi-totalitarian regime?

Twitter, a web-based service that allows users to input brief text strings and share them with thousands of followers, has in China become a powerful tool for dissidents to network and mobilize. Users are able to follow the updates (or “tweets”) of people they follow, and know immediately if they are being hunted by Chinese police, and rush to their aid if a tweet so calls for it. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Activist, China, Freedom of Information, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Internet, News, People, Social, Technology, twitter, World | Comments Off on How Twitter is Changing Chinese Society

China Censors closed down an online discussion forum for media information exchange

Posted by Author on September 16, 2010


Radio Free asia, Sep 15, 2010 –

HONG KONG
— Chinese officials have closed down an online discussion forum used by regional newspapers to exchange information and discuss articles for publication, media sources said Wednesday.

The group was set up by editors and journalists from 13 regional newspapers on the popular QQ chat service, which is widely used in China.

“According to my information, it’s to do with an editorial that was carried by the 13 Metropolis group newspapers in March this year, around the time of the annual parliamentary sessions,” a Guangdong-based source familiar with the situation said of the move.

“I heard that this editorial made someone angry in the top levels of leadership, and they ordered an investigation by the propaganda department, and a number of other departments as well, into how the editorial was syndicated,” the source added. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in China, Freedom of Information, Media, News, Politics, Press freedom, Social, World | Comments Off on China Censors closed down an online discussion forum for media information exchange

Journalist on China police’s “most wanted criminals” list for accusing company of improprieties

Posted by Author on July 29, 2010


Reporters Without Borders, July 29, 2010 –

Reporters Without Borders firmly condemns the action of the police in Suichang, in the eastern province of Zhejiang, in putting reporter Qiu Ziming of The Economic Observer weekly on the list of the country’s most wanted criminals because of allegations he made about a Suichang-based battery manufacturer, Kan Specialties Material Corporation.

Voicing strong support for Qiu and hailing his determination to stand by what he wrote and produce evidence to back his claims, Reporters Without Borders calls on the police to remove him from the list at once and drop all legal proceedings. Qiu is currently facing a possible two-year jail sentence.

“This is a journalist who adhered to his principles and did his duty as a reporter, and it is absurd to put him in the same category as wanted criminals,” the press freedom organisation said. “The government should heed the massive support that Chinese Internet users have expressed for Qiu since the police put him on the wanted list. There have been more than 2,000 posts about him.”

Qiu, who works for The Economic Observer’s Shanghai bureau, wrote several stories in June about the battery company’s alleged improprieties, including insider trading. After the company responded with a lawsuit, Qiu went into hiding, prompting the police to put him on the national wanted list.

Aged 28, Qiu is calling for justice to be rendered in the case. He says he does not fear the police and has proof of what he wrote. “This is not over, I will get an apology from the Suichang police,” he has written in his blog on Sina, one of the leading Chinese portals.

Of the 33,000 Internet users who responded to a poll on the Sina website, 86 per cent said they thought the manhunt launched by the police was “illegal.”

Commenting on the case, The Economic Observer, a widely respected business weekly, has condemned “the use of the police to repress a media professional.”

Reporters Without Borders

Posted in China, corruption, Economy, Freedom of Information, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Journalist, Law, News, People, Politics, Social, World | Comments Off on Journalist on China police’s “most wanted criminals” list for accusing company of improprieties

China’s New regulations imposed on provincial and metropolitan news media pose threat to liberal press

Posted by Author on July 21, 2010


Reporters Without Borders, July 21, 2010 –

Reporters Without Borders is very concerned about the impact on press freedom of new regulations that the Propaganda Department has imposed on China’s provincial and metropolitan news media.

“China has no press law, but the accumulation of draconian regulations has gradually created a legislative straitjacket for the media,” Reporters Without Borders said. “These new rules add to the laws on state secrets and subversion that have been used by the authorities many times to punish journalists.”

The press freedom organisation added: “We urge Prime Minister Wen Jiabao to have these new Propaganda Department directives cancelled or else they will be a permanent threat hanging over the liberal press and investigative journalists.”

Chinese journalists told Reporters Without Borders that under the latest restrictions imposed by the Propaganda Department:

1. Newspapers must stop exchanging articles with news media in other provinces. 2. Media based in metropolitan areas (Dushi Bao) are forbidden to do their own reporting on national or international stories or modify the coverage of these stories that the official media provide.

The Propaganda Department offices in four southern provinces and Beijing have called the editors of the main liberal news media directly to order. The international news sections of local newspapers in Hunan province have been carrying only the official news agency Xinhua’s dispatches since the start of the month. Several editors in Beijing, Guangdong and Shandong confirmed that they were going to stop exchanging articles with newspapers in other provinces.

According to the Hong Kong-based daily Ming Pao, the new regulations have been in place since 1 July 2010. It said officials are also insisting on an end to negative reporting about the police and judicial authorities. The new directives may have been prompted in part by the joint editorial published by 13 newspapers in March that led to Economic Observer deputy editor Zhang Hong’s dismissal (http://en.rsf.org/china-censorship-…).

The Communist Party Central Committee has since 2004 forbidden the media to practice yidi jiandu (inter-regional reporting). But the liberal press, especially newspapers in the southern provinces, continue to carry reports about sensitive issues in other regions. An expert on Chinese media said “the 2004 order from party leaders complicated the work of investigative journalists.”

A Beijing-based investigative reporter told Reporters Without Borders that, if applied rigorously, the new regulations would “kill all reports that are the least bit negative in the provincial newspapers.” He added: “Even if you doubt that the authorities will enforce these regulations to the letter, they will be able to use them to punish individual media. That puts the local newspapers in a position of weakness. Everything is being done to ensure that no scandals appear in newspapers in neighbouring regions.”

The leading regional newspapers such as Guangdong’s Nanfang Dushi Bao have few correspondents in other Chinese provinces and depend on exchanging news reports with other local media. “It is less risky to publish a sensitive story about an official in a neighbouring province than about those in our own province,” a Shanghai-based journalist said.

Around ten Chinese media, including the business magazines China Economic Times and Business Watch, were recently sanctioned for reports they had published (http://en.rsf.org/china-space-of-sa…).

In response to an increase in social unrest, the central government has embarked on new phase of news control. Internet censorship has been stepped up at the behest of Wang Chen, the head of the government’s Information Office (http://en.rsf.org/china-authorities…), while the official media, including the news agency Xinhua, have been told to increase their international presence into order to get the “Chinese version” across.

Reporters Without Borders

Posted in China, Freedom of Information, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Journalist, Media, News, People, Politics, Social, World | Comments Off on China’s New regulations imposed on provincial and metropolitan news media pose threat to liberal press

China censors’ next target: microblog

Posted by Author on July 14, 2010


By WSJ Staff, The Wall Street Journal, July 13, 2010 –

Users of China’s microblogging services are on edge after a series of unexplained glitches in the last two days disrupted the popular Twitter-like social-networking tools, raising fears of a government crackdown.

First, the microblogging service on Web portal Sohu.com became inaccessible over the weekend, before resuming service. Then on Monday a “beta” icon — suggesting testing of some sort — appeared beside the logo for Sina Weibo, Sina.com’s popular service, and also on microblogging services by Netease and Tencent as well. Then, on Tuesday evening, users reported that Netease’s microblogging service was suddenly “under maintenance” and accounts were inaccessible.

Lianhe Zaobao, a Chinese-language newspaper based in Singapore, reported on its website that the Sohu outage was due to censorship compliance issues, causing users to speculate that microblogging, an increasingly popular Internet application, may be in danger of being restricted or shuttered…….. (more details from The Wall Street Journal)

Posted in Blog, censorship, China, Freedom of Information, Human Rights, Internet, News, Politics, Social, Technology, World | 1 Comment »

Higher Paris Court Orders Investigation into Eutelsat Termination of NTD China TV Broadcast

Posted by Author on July 3, 2010


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, NTD TV –

Paris, June 30, 2010 – After two weeks of deliberation, the Paris Court of Appeals (Tribunal de Grande Instance of Paris) reversed a lower court’s decision against New Tang Dynasty (NTD) Television. It ruled that an expert should be appointed to investigate Eutelsat’s termination of NTD’s China broadcast in June 2008.

In his ruling, presiding judge Mr. Marcel Foulon summarized the duties of an appointed expert were to determine the true cause of the broadcast termination, and whether NTD suffered any economic damage as a result of Eutelsat’s actions. This decision signals the court’s recognition of the formal business relationship that existed between NTD and Eutelsat in June 2008, and that NTD is entitled to a full accounting of the true cause of the termination of its satellite broadcasts to China. It also opens the door for NTD to receive compensations for damages it suffered.

“We welcome this decision,” stated NTD spokesperson Carrie Hung, “This is a first step toward exposing the truth. Hopefully Eutelsat eventually will see that cooperating with a totalitarian Chinese communist regime in limiting information freedom is a bad business decision.”

On June 16, 2008, Eutelsat abruptly terminated the NTD’s broadcast over mainland China under the guise of a “power anomaly” to its W5 satellite. On July 10, Paris based Reporters Sans Frontiere (RSF) published an investigative report, revealing the reason behind NTD’s broadcast interruption not to be technical as Eutelsat claimed, but a pre-meditated political move to appease the Chinese communist government. In order to curry favor with Beijing and pave the way for future business deals, Eutelsat Chairman and CEO Giuliano Berretta chose to shut down NTD’s broadcast mere weeks before the start of the 2008 Olympics.

In an earlier decision, the Paris Commercial Court had declined to hear the case on the grounds that NTD did not have a direct contractual relationship with Eutelsat at the time of the service termination.

NTD Contact:

Carrie Hung, NTD Spokesperson, 917-319-0219 carrie.hung@ntdtv.com

Isabelle Chaigneau, NTD France, +33 (0)6 24 30 66 55 ichaigneau@ntdtv.com

###

About New Tang Dynasty Television

Established in 2002, New Tang Dynasty (NTD) Television is a non-profit television broadcaster and the only independent Chinese-language television to broadcast into China. NTD is dedicated to providing objective, uncensored news to Chinese residents. As a vital news source, NTD reported on the SARS outbreak in China three weeks before Beijing admitted to its existence. NTD also reports on environmental and human rights issues in China, generating awareness among Chinese citizens on important issues their government withholds from them.
NTD TV

Posted in China, Europe, Freedom of Information, Human Rights, Law, Media, News, NTDTV, Politics, Social, Speech, Technology, TV / film, World | 1 Comment »

What Google Services (Sites) Have Been Blocked in China

Posted by Author on June 20, 2010


Google service availability in China, June 13-19, 2010

Google service availability in China, June 13-19, 2010

(Published by Google)

You can access the latest summary of accessibility  from within mainland China to Google services at following Google page:

http://www.google.com/prc/report.html

Posted in censorship, China, Freedom of Information, Human Rights, Internet, News, Politics, Technology, website, World | Comments Off on What Google Services (Sites) Have Been Blocked in China

Tank Cartoon Censored before Anniversary of China’s Tiananmen Square Crackdown (photos)

Posted by Author on June 3, 2010


By Madeline Earp / CPJ Asia Research Associate, June 3, 2010 –

Tank Cartoon published on Southern Metropolis Daily

Twenty-one years after the Tiananmen Square crackdown, China’s censors are still working to purge public discourse about the tragic events of June 4, 1989. But some Chinese Web users clearly have a healthy appetite for such a debate and are willing to circumvent the government censors.

A cartoon that alludes to Friday’s anniversary of the crackdown on student-led protests around Beijing’s Tiananmen Square has been circulating on overseas Web sites after it was deleted from the Chinese Internet, according to international news reports.

The Guangzhou-based Nanfang Dushi Bao (Southern Metropolis Daily)— a state-owned but assertive news outlet—published the image of a boy drawing a soldier and a row of tanks on a blackboard as one of a series of cartoons marking International Children’s Day on June 1. It appeared in print as well as online, according to the BBC, but was later removed from the news outlet’s Web site.

The BBC’s Chinese-language service highlights why the cartoon drew the

Tank Man

censors’ attention, reproducing it alongside the memorable “tank man” photograph from the crackdown in which a protester confronts government troops. A torch— like the one held by the Goddess of Democracy statue that protesters erected in Tiananmen Square—appears alongside the tanks on the child’s blackboard. The blackboard has the headline, “School Newspaper.”

Some details about the cartoon remain obscure, such as the date on the blackboard, May 1985. But the cartoon, credited to Xiang Ma, appears to be a clear reference to Tiananmen, an event so taboo that journalist Shi Tao is serving a 10-year prison term simply for e-mailing to overseas sources the government’s propaganda department instructions on coverage of the anniversary. After Shi sent the directive to overseas Web sites in 2004, the government classified the propaganda instructions a state secret.

CPJ.org

Related:
Videos: Tiananmen Square Massacre 18 Years Ago in China

Posted in Beijing, China, Freedom of Information, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, June 4, Media, News, People, Politics, Social, Special day, Tiananmen, World | Comments Off on Tank Cartoon Censored before Anniversary of China’s Tiananmen Square Crackdown (photos)

China’s Internet Crackdown – almost everything is “state secret”

Posted by Author on May 28, 2010


Phelim Kine, The Forbes, 05.27.10 –

Tighten the screws. That’s the Chinese government’s response to growing corporate discontent with China’s pervasive electronic censorship and surveillance system. Barely a month since Google pulled the plug on its China-based search engine, the Chinese government started demanding deeper corporate complicity with China’s security agencies.

On April 29 the Chinese government moved to impose a wider role for Internet and telecom firms in the country’s pervasive censorship and surveillance apparatus when China’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee approved an amendment to the revised draft Law of Guarding State Secrets, which will require Internet and telecom network operators to proactively monitor their networks for any content thatfalls within the definition of “state secrets.”

The problem is, almost anything can fall into that basket, and it is entirely at the whim of censoring officials what does. Although the draft revised law must be approved at the annual meeting of China’s legislature, it constitutes a palpable threat to Internet and telecom companies already leery of requirements to deepen their links with China’s security agencies.

The Chinese government has long classified state secrets ex­tremely broadly, including information that is related to “economic and social development,” as well as a catch-all “other matters” category. National and local officials decide whether published materials are a state secret, and those determinations cannot be legally challenged. The amendment explicitly requires Internet and telecom operators to “cooperate with public security organs, state security agencies [and] prosecutors” on suspected cases of state secrets transmission and to cease that transmission, record it as evidence and then delete it from the public domain.

The amendment spotlights fresh concerns about the ethical obligations of China’s remaining foreign Internet search engine operators, including Yahoo  ( YHOO  –  news  –  people ) and Microsoft  ( MSFT  –  news  –  people ). Unlike Google  ( GOOG  –  news  –  people ), which ended its five years of complicity with Chinese censors in March 2010, those two firms continue to bend to official dictates to censor any searches on topics the Chinese government categorizes as “sensitive.” Those topics range from information about the June 1989 Tiananmen Massacre, Tibetan independence and the banned Falun Gong spiritual group to Chinese-language searches about China’s President Hu Jintao. …… (more details from The Forbes)

Posted in China, Freedom of Information, Human Rights, Internet, Law, Media, News, Politics, Social, Technology, World | Comments Off on China’s Internet Crackdown – almost everything is “state secret”

The Mystery of Falun Gong

Posted by Author on May 13, 2010


By David Matas, International human rights lawyer, via The Washington Post, May. 12, 2010-

Last year, as millions of Iranians flocked online to tell stories of political repression and police violence, the world was introduced to an unlikely champion in the fight for freedom of information online: the spiritual practice Falun Gong. American practitioners of Falun Gong, it turned out, had spent nearly a decade developing and refining the most effective and widely used anti-censorship software in the world — software that has been instrumental in the free flow of information to and from closed societies.

Who are Falun Gong and what drove them to build anti-censorship software?

The Government of China recognizes five beliefs and bans all others, including Falun Gong. Falun Gong is a modern update and blending of two religions China does recognize – Taoism and Buddhism, combined with a simple set of exercises. Of all the banned beliefs, none is treated worse than Falun Gong, banned in July 1999.

Practitioners of Falun Gong represent two-thirds of the Chinese torture victims and half the people in detention in re-education through labour camps. The documented yearly arbitrary killings and disappearances of Falun Gong exceed by far the totals for any other victim group. According to research that David Kilgour and I have done, set out in our book Bloody Harvest, practitioners have been killed in the tens of thousands since 2001 so that their organs could be sold to patients in need of transplants.

The extremes of language the Chinese regime uses against Falun Gong are unparalleled. The Government of China has imposed a censorship blackout on independent information about Falun Gong. Chinese internet police block any mention of Falun Gong – other than their own propaganda – on websites, blogs, e-mails and search engines.

Why is this happening? One answer is the numbers. The practice of Falun Gong went from a standing start in 1992 to numbers greater than the membership of the Party within the space of seven years, spreading rapidly throughout China immediately after the Tiananmen Square massacre, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the loss of Communist Party control in Central Asia and Eastern and Central Europe.

The Party took fright at seeing Chinese nationals in the tens of millions engaging publicly in a form of exercise which had an underlying belief system completely divorced from Communism. Falun Gong is not an organization. The exercises can be done anywhere at any time, as little or as often as the practitioner wants. They can be done singly or in groups, indoors or outdoors. The amorphous nature meant that it was impossible to control.

The early stages of propaganda and repression against the practice of Falun Gong by elements of the Party pushing to have the Party ban the practice led to petitions and protests by practitioners, generated through cell phone and internet coordination. The mobilization of Falun Gong practitioners alarmed and frightened the Communist Party.

For the Communists, victimizing the Falun Gong is a crime which is easier to get away with than victimizing other, better known groups. Falun Gong victims are often people without Western connections or Western languages.

The incitement to hatred against the Falun Gong, like all incitement to bigotry, has an impact. The Chinese Communist Party noise about the practice of Falun Gong confuses and obscures.

The Falun Gong are an outgrowth from ancient Chinese traditions. To the Chinese Communist Party, Falun Gong was a regression back to where China was before the Communist Party took over.

The problem for the Communists was not just that Falun Gong is so authentically Chinese; it is also that Communism is so patently foreign.

Communism is a Western ideological import into China. Communists saw a widespread, popular Chinese-based ideology as cutting out from under them the very ground on which they stood.

Tolerating the Falun Gong would not have meant the collapse of the current regime. But it would have meant the disappearance of whatever ideological presence the Communist Party had in the hearts and minds of the Chinese people.

Jiang Zemin, in a leaked memorandum sent to the standing members of the Political Bureau of Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party in April 1999, wrote: “Can’t the Marxism our Communists have, the materialism, atheism we believe in really win over that suit of stuff aired by Falun Gong?”

The answer to that question, it seems, is no. Left alone, Falun Gong would have won. So the Party repressed it with a viciousness beyond compare.

David Matas, co-author of “Bloody Harvest: Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China,” is an international human rights lawyer based in Winnipeg, Canada, and a nominee for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize.

The Washington Post

Posted in Anti-censorship, China, Freedom of Belief, Freedom of Information, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Internet, News, Opinion, Politics, Social, Software, Technology, World | Comments Off on The Mystery of Falun Gong

China restricts media reports on attacks on schools, Shanghai World Expo, real estate bubble, Kim Jong-il’s visit

Posted by Author on May 6, 2010


Reporters Without Borders –

The (Chinese Communist) Propaganda Department marked World Press Freedom Day on May 3d in its own way by restricting the Chinese media’s coverage of the Shanghai World Expo, the spate of attacks on schools, the risk of a real estate bubble, Kim Jong-il’s visit to China and the political situation in Taiwan. Reporters Without Borders obtained a transcript of the directives sent to the Chinese media.

“To avoid any feeling of fear in the population and prevent extremists from committing similar crimes, it is strictly forbidden to report cases of attacks on schools or to publish comments,” one of the Propaganda Department directives said. “Articles about the Jiangsu and Leizhou cases already posted online must be withdrawn. Finally, the Nanfang Dushi Bao and Nanfang Zhoumo reporters who went to Taizhou to cover an attack must leave at once.” Local authorities has been criticised for prevented the press covering these attacks, including the anger of the families.

A directive issued on the eve of the opening of the Shanghai World Expo said: “As regards the activities of the central authorities during the Shanghai Expo, all the media must use the reports of the Xinhua central news agency or other central media outlets. The other media must not publish their own reports and must not ask national leaders questions during their visits to Shanghai.”

This directive added: “As regards the inaugural ceremony, you must respect the already established rules. It is forbidden to express reservations and if any incident suddenly takes place, it is forbidden to report it without permission or to publish any comment.”

As regards foreign media reports of a possible property bubble, the Propaganda Department said: “It is forbidden to repeat the criticism of the western media, including its comments about real estate inflation. To cover this subject, you can only use reports containing explanations by government officials.”

Although the English-language Chinese media have reported that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il has begun a visit to China, the Chinese-language media have not mentioned his presence in the country.

The Propaganda Department has also asked the media not to cover some recent statements by Taiwanese opposition representatives about relations between China and Taiwan.

The latest directives follow a series of restrictions on coverage of the earthquake in Qinghai province: http://en.rsf.org/china-shanghai-ex…

A conservative bastion loyal to President Hu Jintao, a “Predator of Press Freedom,” the Propaganda Department has also launched a new offensive against the “hostile forces” that are allegedly using the Internet in a bid to destabilise China. Wang Chen, the department’s No. 2, has urged parliamentarians to adopt an Internet Administration Law in order to block dangerous reports and prevent “infiltration of the Internet by hostile forces.”

For the Shanghai World Expo, Reporters Without Borders has created a virtual “Garden of Freedoms” in order to offer the public information about free speech restrictions in China: http://en.rsf.org/shanghai_en.html

Reporters Without Borders

Posted in Asia, China, Freedom of Information, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, News, Politics, Social, World | Comments Off on China restricts media reports on attacks on schools, Shanghai World Expo, real estate bubble, Kim Jong-il’s visit

Why the State Department refused to spend the funds to “expand access and information in closed societies” such as Iran and China

Posted by Author on May 3, 2010


By L. GORDON CROVITZ, via The Wall Street Journal, May.2, 2010-

When a government department refuses to spend money that Congress has allocated, there’s usually a telling backstory. This is doubly so when the funds are for a purpose as uncontroversial as making the Internet freer.

So why has the State Department refused to spend $45 million in appropriations since 2008 to “expand access and information in closed societies”? The technology to circumvent national restrictions is being provided by volunteers who believe that with funding they can bring Web access to many more people, from Iran to China.

A bipartisan group in Congress intended to pay for tests aimed at expanding the use of software that brings Internet access to “large numbers of users living in closed societies that have acutely hostile Internet environments.” The most successful of these services is provided by a group called the Global Internet Freedom Consortium, whose programs include Freegate and Ultrasurf.

When Iranian demonstrators last year organized themselves through Twitter posts and brought news of the crackdown to the outside world, they got past the censors chiefly by using Freegate to get access to outside sites.

The team behind these circumvention programs understands how subversive their efforts can be. As Shiyu Zhou, deputy director of the Global Internet Freedom Consortium, told Congress last year, “The Internet censorship firewalls have become 21st-century versions of Berlin Walls that isolate and dispirit the citizens of closed-society dictatorships.”

Repressive governments rightly regard the Internet as an existential threat, giving people powerful ways to communicate and organize. These governments also use the Web as a tool of repression, monitoring emails and other traffic. Recall that Google left China in part because of hacking of human-rights activists’ Gmail accounts.

To counter government monitors and censors, these programs give online users encrypted connections to secure proxy servers around the world. A group of volunteers constantly switches the Internet Protocol addresses of the servers—up to 10,000 times an hour. The group has been active since 2000, and repressive governments haven’t figured out how to catch up. More than one million Iranians used the system last June to post videos and photos showing the government crackdown.

Mr. Zhou tells me his group would use any additional money to add equipment and to hire full-time technical staff to support the volunteers. For $50 million, he estimates the service could accommodate 5% of Chinese Internet users and 10% in other closed societies—triple the current capacity.

So why won’t the State Department fund this group to expand its reach, or at least test how scalable the solution could be? There are a couple of explanations.

The first is that the Global Internet Freedom Consortium was founded by Chinese-American engineers who practice Falun Gong, the spiritual movement suppressed by Beijing. Perhaps not the favorites of U.S. diplomats, but what other group has volunteers engaged enough to keep such a service going? As with the Jewish refuseniks who battled the Soviet Union, sometimes it takes a persecuted minority to stand up to a totalitarian regime.

The second explanation is a split among technologists—between those who support circumvention programs built on proprietary systems and others whose faith is on more open sources of code. A study last year by the Berkman Center at Harvard gave more points to open-source efforts, citing “a well-established contentious debate among software developers about whether secrecy about implementation details is a robust strategy for security.” But whatever the theoretical objections, the proprietary systems work.

Another likely factor is realpolitik. Despite the tough speech Hillary Clinton gave in January supporting Internet freedom, it’s easy to imagine bureaucrats arguing that the U.S. shouldn’t undermine the censorship efforts of Tehran and Beijing. An earlier generation of bureaucrats tried to edit, as overly aggressive, Ronald Reagan’s 1987 speech in Berlin urging Mikhail Gorbachev: “Tear down this wall.”

It’s true that circumvention doesn’t solve every problem. Internet freedom researcher and advocate Rebecca MacKinnon has made the point that “circumvention is never going to be the silver bullet” in the sense that it can only give people access to the open Web. It can’t help with domestic censorship.

During the Cold War, the West expended huge effort to get books, tapes, fax machines, radio reports and other information, as well as the means to convey it, into closed societies. Circumvention is the digital-age equivalent.

If the State Department refuses to support a free Web, perhaps there’s a private solution. An anonymous poster, “chinese.zhang,” suggested on a Google message board earlier this year that the company should fund the Global Internet Freedom Consortium as part of its defense against Chinese censorship. “I think Google can easily offer more servers to help to break down the Great Firewall,” he wrote.

The Wall Street Journal

Posted in Anti-censorship, Asia, China, Firewall, Freedom of Information, Freedom of Speech, GIFC, Human Rights, Internet, News, Opinion, Politics, Social, Software, Speech, Technology, World | Comments Off on Why the State Department refused to spend the funds to “expand access and information in closed societies” such as Iran and China

China’s new secrets law to suppress free speech and may force Microsoft, Yahoo to follow Google out

Posted by Author on April 29, 2010


by Mike Elgan, IT World, Apr. 29, 2010-

The Chinese government today made sweeping changes to its state secrets law that directly affects Internet companies operating in the country. The amended law goes further to force these companies to help the Chinese Communist Party suppress free speech and censor the Internet.

The law requires that the transmission of “state secrets” over the Internet be stopped by these companies if they “discover” it. The companies are also required to keep records of such transmissions (e-mails, blog posts, text messages and so on) and report them to the Chinese government.

The law effectively requires all Internet companies operating in China — including Microsoft, Cisco, Yahoo and others — to serve as agents of the Government’s internal security apparatus.

What is or is not considered a “state secret” by the law is determined by Communist Party officials. For example, if Falun Gong supporters protest, and some blogger writes about it, that might be considered a “state secret,” and Microsoft would be required to report it.

American Internet companies who operate in China have come under some pressure after Google announced its departure from the country. Microsoft was especially vocal after the Google announcement that it would obey all Chinese laws.

What will companies do? My prediction: They’ll do nothing until their hands are forced by events. It’s a near certainty that information the Chinese government considers “state secrets” will be “transmitted” via Microsoft or Yahoo services, and via Cisco equipment. The American companies will no doubt try their best to not know what’s being communicated, but the Chinese government may actually force them to monitor communications somehow.

In the wake of Google’s brave stand against censorship, it will be interesting to see if a larger exodus of foreign companies isn’t forced by aggressive abuse of Internet companies by the Chinese government.

Read more about the amendments to China’s state secrets law.

– from the IT World

Posted in Business, censorship, China, Company, Economy, Freedom of Information, Freedom of Speech, Google, Human Rights, Internet, Law, Microsoft, News, Opinion, Politics, Social, Speech, Technology, World, Yahoo | Comments Off on China’s new secrets law to suppress free speech and may force Microsoft, Yahoo to follow Google out

China censorship works by instilling fear

Posted by Author on April 21, 2010


By Barbara Demick, Los Angeles Times, Apr. 20, 2010-

In 1972,
comedian George Carlin wrote a monologue titled, “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television.” When a version of this riff was broadcast the following year on a jazz radio station, it set off a legal battle that went all the way to the Supreme Court, which ultimately upheld the right of the Federal Communications Commission to regulate indecent material on the airwaves.

Nothing is quite so clear-cut in China, especially when it comes to the murky realm of Internet censorship. China does, of course, have its own version of the dirty words (many, many more than the seven identified by Carlin), but the list itself is confidential.

Trying to figure out what is banned and what is not has taken on new urgency in the aftermath of Google’s withdrawal from China over censorship concerns and the strong stance of the Obama administration on Internet freedom.

In China, each website basically censors itself, so though there are universal taboos — anything about Tibetan independence, for example — you are never quite sure when, shall we say, one of the seven words will hit the fan. Some words can be searched in English, but not in Chinese, or vice versa. What’s sensitive one day might be legit the next.

When using websites based outside China, users on the mainland are often blocked by the so-called Great Firewall of China. But unlike the wall that you can see in satellite photos of Earth, this wall is invisible, often elusive.

The Chinese government doesn’t even call it censorship, the preferred term being “guidance of public opinion.” Chinese Internet users often say that a website has been “harmonized,” a waggish reference to Communist Party slogans about building “harmonious society.”

You don’t always know when you’re being censored — sorry, guided. When searching a sensitive subject, you will be frustrated with a blank screen and a vague error message (“the connection to the server was reset while the page was loading” is the most common) so that you’re never quite sure if you’ve hit the wall or if some technical glitch really did cause the problem.

Often, the user who’s tried to search something blocked won’t be able to get back online for several minutes – the equivalent of a time-out given a naughty child.

There are approximately 80,000 characters in Chinese, and only a few of them are banned outright. But in combination, the innocuous fa, or law, and lun, or wheel, become the banned Falun Gong movement.

Recently, the word for carrot (huluobo) was blocked on some sites because its first character resembles the family name of President Hu Jintao. Similarly, wendu, temperature, was blocked for its resemblance to Premier Wen Jiabao as was xuexi, or study, which shares a character with China’s vice president, Xi Jinping, a likely heir to Hu.

In fact, the scariest thing about Chinese censorship is that there is no list of dirty words — leaving media and Web personnel always nervous about how far they can go.

“There are explicit bad words, but the system really works by instilling fear,” said David Bandurski, a scholar at the China Media Project, based at the University of Hong Kong, who in 2008 was commissioned to write a satirical piece in homage to Carlin about China’s dirty words. (“This word ‘democracy’ is a perilous word that must be handled with great care,” was part of his riff.)

“The paranoia,” Bandurski said, “is more effective than blocking certain words.”

Los Angeles Times

Posted in Business, censorship, China, Company, Firewall, Freedom of Information, Human Rights, Internet, Life, News, Politics, Social, Speech, Technology, website, World | Comments Off on China censorship works by instilling fear

China not only censors Internet, but also hires agents peddling government views online

Posted by Author on April 8, 2010


Michael Wines, Sharon LaFraniere and Jonathan Ansfield and written by Mr. Wines, New York Times, Apr. 8, 2010-

BEIJING — Type the Chinese characters for “carrot” into Google’s search engine here in mainland China, and you will be rewarded not with a list of Internet links, but a blank screen.

Don’t blame Google, however. The fault lies with China’s censors — who are increasingly a model for countries around the world that want to control an unrestricted Internet.

Since late March, when Google moved its search operations out of mainland China to Hong Kong, each response to a Chinese citizen’s search request has been met at the border by government computers, programmed to censor any forbidden information Google might turn up.

“Carrot” — in Mandarin, huluobo — may seem innocuous enough. But it contains the same Chinese character as the surname of President Hu Jintao. And the computers, long programmed to intercept Chinese-language searches on the nation’s leaders, substitute an error message for the search result before it can sneak onto a mainland computer.

This is China’s censorship machine, part George Orwell, part Rube Goldberg: an information sieve of staggering breadth and fineness, yet full of holes; run by banks of advanced computers, but also by thousands of Communist Party drudges; highly sophisticated in some ways, remarkably crude in others.

The one constant is its growing importance. Censorship used to be the sleepy province of the Communist Party’s central propaganda department, whose main task was to tell editors what and what not to print or broadcast. In the new networked China, censorship is a major growth industry, overseen — and fought over — by no fewer than 14 government ministries.

“Press control has really moved to the center of the agenda,” said David Bandurski, an analyst at the China Media Project of the University of Hong Kong. “The Internet is the decisive factor there. It’s the medium that is changing the game in press control, and the party leaders know this.”

Today, China censors everything from the traditional print press to domestic and foreign Internet sites; from cellphone text messages to social networking services; from online chat rooms to blogs, films and e-mail. It even censors online games.

That’s not all. Not content merely to block dissonant views, the government increasingly employs agents to peddle its views online, in the guise of impartial bloggers and chat-room denizens. And increasingly, it is backing state-friendly clones of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, all Western sites that have been blocked here for roughly a year.

The government’s strategy, according to Mr. Bandurski and others, is not just to block unflattering messages, but to overwhelm them with its own positive spin and rebuttals. …… (more details from New York Times)

Posted in censorship, China, Freedom of Information, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Media, News, Politics, Social, World | Comments Off on China not only censors Internet, but also hires agents peddling government views online

China’s foreign journalists club shuts down website after repeated cyber attacks

Posted by Author on April 2, 2010


AFP, Apr. 2, 2010-

BEIJING — China’s foreign journalists association said Friday it had taken its website offline after it was targeted in repeated denial-of-service attacks.

The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China (FCCC) said it did not know who was behind the attacks but that they originated from Internet addresses in both China and the United States.

However, it noted the “physical location of the servers does not tell us much since hackers can use any machine they have been able to exploit.”

The statement said the club, regarded by the Chinese government as an illegal organisation, “has been the target of persistent denial-of-service attacks.”

“We have taken the site down temporarily while we work to sort out the problem,” it said.

A denial-of-service attack floods a network with so many requests that normal traffic is slowed down or completely interrupted.

The move comes after Google re-routed traffic from its Chinese-language search engine to an uncensored site in Hong Kong over state web censorship and cyberattacks on Gmail accounts it said originated in China.

There also have been mounting allegations overseas, including by the US government, that China is ramping up its global cyber-espionage activities and has become a key source of world cyber-attacks — a claim denied by Beijing.

The FCCC said on Wednesday that the Yahoo! email accounts of foreign journalists based in China and Taiwan had been targeted in hacking attacks.

“In one instance, a Beijing-based journalist?s account had an unknown forwarding address added, sending all the journalist?s messages to an unknown recipient,” it said in a notice to members, adding that it had confirmed eight cases.

AFP

Posted in Beijing, China, cyber attack, Freedom of Information, Freedom of Speech, hacking, Human Rights, Internet, Journalist, News, People, Politics, Social, Software, Technology, website, World | Comments Off on China’s foreign journalists club shuts down website after repeated cyber attacks

Google, China and Censorship: A Wired.com FAQ

Posted by Author on April 2, 2010


By Ryan Singel, wired.com, apr. 2, 2010-

In 2006, Google started operating a mainland China-based search engine at Google.cn — agreeing to censor search results, so long as it could mention on censored search results pages that it was blocking content at the request of the Communist government. Then in January 2010, Google announced publicly that it was sick of censorship and seeing hacking attempts aimed at government critics and would no longer abide running a censored search engine in China.

So just two business weeks ago, Google abruptly redirected all Google.cn traffic to its uncensored servers in Hong Kong, an arrangement that seems to have reached a sort of stable peace with the Chinese government.

But it’s still sort of a confusing mess …

So did Google shut down its Google.cn search engine?

Technically, yes. As of March 22, all users trying to reach Google.cn are being redirected to Google.com.hk. That url uses different servers — ones not hosted in China’s mainland.

So, the Chinese government won?

Yes, maybe. Google is not operating a search engine in China proper that is not complying with its internet censorship law. Google has been shown to be an interloper meddling in China’s internal affairs, which won’t be tolerated on a .cn domain.

But, wait, Chinese users going to Google.cn are being re-directed to an uncensored Google search engine — also in Chinese — that doesn’t censor and shows ads. So Google won, no?

Yes, maybe, exactly. Google is running an uncensored search engine that is providing mainland Chinese users an unfiltered set of search results. Hong Kong, a part of China since the British turned it over in 1997, retains a large measure of independence and does not censor political dialog online.

So can Chinese users learn all they want about Falun Gong and Melamine-tainted milk and the Tienanmen massacre?

Well, users will now see many more links in their search results than they used to. But that doesn’t mean they can actually open them, since they many are blocked directly by China’s collection of firewalls.

How can I check on what the Chinese government is censoring?

Google now has a page where it lists what services it says are blocked. You can test web search yourself using WebSitePulse’s service. Currently, many formerly blocked searches, such as one for the banned religion Falun Gong, return full search results to Chinese users. However, many of the results, such as Falun Gong’s Wikipedia entry, are blocked by the firewall.

So wait, why did Google go to China in the first place?

First, there’s money. China will eventually have more citizens online than any other country. Secondly, Google thought that by providing a local search engine, even a censored one would lead, eventually, to a reduction in censorship.

So Google gets off scott-free?

Not likely. The company is set to lose some deals where it powers the search for portals and mobile devices in China……. (more details from Wired.com)

Posted in Business, censorship, China, Company, Freedom of Information, Freedom of Speech, Google, Human Rights, Internet, News, Politics, search engine, Technology, World | Comments Off on Google, China and Censorship: A Wired.com FAQ

Best 5 Anti-censorship Software Tools (proxy, VPN), Free ! (Tutorial Video)

Posted by Author on April 1, 2010


[tweetmeme source=’chinaindepth’ only_single=false]

Looking for the best anti-censorship software tools / methods to get around the repressive regimes such as Mainland China and Iran’ firewall and filtering system? And hopefully free?

Solutions: Yes, it’s possible. The following 5 free anti-censorship client software tools are the most powerful tools and and popular methods used by people esp. Chinese people in the past years, to access the information in the free world from inside the closed society, they are UltraSurf, FreeGate, GTunnel, FirePhoenix and GPass.

  • Users from over 180 countries access UltraSurf’s website at over 800 million hits a day !
  • As of May 2008, Dyanweb has had over 150 million user visits

Best 5 Anti-censorship Software Tools

1. UltraSurf (无界)

Download (下载) software from following official websites:

– English: http://www.ultrareach.com/
– Chinese (中文): http://www.wujie.net/

UltraSurf is one of the most successful anti-censorship software in the world. It’s a flagship anti-censorship product by UltraReach  Internet Corp. (www.ultrareach.com), an Internet technology company founded in 2002 by a group of Silicon Valley technologists (Chinese). It’s is a green software, no installation process is needed and no change in system setting is required.

UltraSurf enables users inside countries with heavy Internet censorship to visit any public web sites in the world safely and freely- just the same as using the regular IE browser– while it automatically searches the fastest proxy servers in the background. It has strong support for load balancing and fault tolerance, and it even employs a decoying mechanism to thwart any tracing effort of its communication with its infrastructure.

UltraSurf is a robust anti-censorship system evolved from the lasting battle between Chinese regime’s Great FireWall (GFW) and UltraReach, which has following features:

  • Protect privacy
    Protect Internet privacy with anonymous surfing and browsing — hide IP addresses and locations, clean browsing history, cookies & more …
  • High security
    Completely transparent data transfer and high level encryption of the content allow you to surf the web with high security.
  • Great freedom
    UltraSurf allows you to overcome the censorship and blockage on the Internet. You can browse any website freely, so as to obtain true information from the free world.

UltraSurf has gained large popularity among the Internet users, which has got:

  • Daily hits over 800 million
  • Daily traffic over 8,000 GB
  • Millions of users
  • Users from over 180 countries

With the support of UltraReach’s dedicated anti-censorship force, service of UltraSurf has been serving the censored people for 7 years !

Following video is a UltraSurf Tutorial produced by Freedom House:

2. FreeGate (自由门)

Download (下载) FreeGate Client software and user guide from following official websites:

– Chinese (中文): http://us.dongtaiwang.com/
– English: http://us.dongtaiwang.com/loc/download_en.php

FreeGate is an anti-censorship software for secure and fast Internet access  developed and maintained by Dynamic Internet Technology Inc. (DIT: www.dit-inc.us), a  pioneer in censorship-circumvention operation, which was founded originally in 2001 to provide email delivery services to China for U.S. government agencies and NGOs.

FreeGate works by tapping into an anti-censorship backbone, DynaWeb, DIT’s P2P-like proxy network system and a web-based anti-censorship portal. Once users point their web browser at one of the DynaWeb URLs, a web page will be presented similar to the one at us.dongtaiwang.com, with most blocked websites as links. In addition, a user can type in any URL in the box on this page and DynaWeb will fetch the pages for him/her instantly. No software is needed, nor are any settings tweaked on a user’s computer.

But since the Chinese net police watch DynaWeb’s portal websites closely and block them as soon as they identify them, DynaWeb must indeed be very dynamic. It has hundreds of mirror sites at anytime, and each with a varying IP and DNS domain name, to defeat IP blocking and DNS hijacking. On the backstage, DynaWeb also has mechanisms to proactively monitor the blocking status of each of its mirror sites, and as soon as blocking is detected, it will change the IP and DNS domain name instantly.

There are indications that FreeGate has some capabilities built-in to exploit some zero-day vulnerabilities of Chinese regime’s Great FireWall (GFW).

Following video is a FreeGate  Tutorial produced by Freedom House:

3. GTunnel (花园)

Download (下载) GTunnel Software and user guide  from following official websites:

– English: http://gardennetworks.org/
– Chinese (中文): http://gardennetworks.com/

GTunnel is a Windows application that works as a local HTTP or SOCKS proxy server, developed by non-profit organization Garden Networks (http://gardennetworks.org/), which was made  for people to access Internet content blocked by totalitarian countries such as China and to protect Internet users’ online privacy and security.

After proxy set to GTunnel in web browser (like IE)  or other Internet applications, the traffic will go through GTunnel and Garden Networks’ server farm before it reaches its original destination.

GTunnel protects Internet users’ privacy and freedom of speech in these ways:

  • User’s IP address is hidden and user’s Internet privacy protected. The destination servers see GTunnel server addresses instead.
  • Traffic content is encrypted with industry-strength algorithms between the user’s PC and GTunnel servers so the local filtering/censorship systems will not see the content in clear-text format.
  • Blockade of target servers circumvented.

4. FirePhoenix (火凤凰)

Download (下载) the current FirePhoenix Software and user guide from following official websites:

– English: http://firephoenix.edoors.com/
– Chinese (中文): http://firephoenix.edoors.com/index-cn.html

FirePhoenix (FP) is the first virtual private network (VPN) based anti-censorship tool which is dramatically different from other existing tools. It offers the most powerful protection so far to users working under censorship.

It’s regarded as an all-protocol, automatic, secure and dynamic proxy system that not only encrypts web (http) traffic, but also encrypts emails, online games, instant messages (MSN, Yahoo Messenger, AOL IM, etc.) and streaming medias (videos, etc).

After FirePhoenix installed, to a user, it is just as if his/her computers were directly connected to a wide open network overseas, and the firewall and filter system becomes nonexistent.

FirePhoenix is released in the summer of 2006 by The World’s Gate Inc. (WG), an upcoming organization focusing on building an extensive and trustworthy Internet platform, Edoors (www.edoors.com),  for users from repressive regimes to freely and securely access and publish information such as emails, blogs, forums and social networks.

5. GPass (世界通)

Download (下载) GPass for free from following official websites:

– English: http://gpass1.com/
– Chinese (中文): http://www.gpass1.com/index_cn.php

Gpass is an Internet anti-jamming product widely used in China to overcome Internet censorship, released by World’s Gate, Inc. in the summer of 2006.

Compared with traditional online privacy and anti-jamming products, GPass’s innovative design allows it to

  • support Internet access mechanisms such as Web2.0 websites,
  • online multimedia streaming (e.g. MMS protocol), file transfer (e.g. FTP), and
  • communication tools such as email and instant messengers as well as web surfing (e.g. HTTP).

GPass (and FirePhoenix) sets the trend of multi-protocol protection. Currently most anti-censorship tools only offer protection to web traffic, which means a user’s privacy and safety are only protected when he/she visits those specific websites, but other applications with non-web protocols, such as emails, instant messaging, and audio/video streaming, are still subject to censorship.


Summary 总结

To fight the Goliath of repressive Internet censorship, the above leading companies and grassroots organizations on the front line, formed an alliance, the Global Internet Freedom Consortium (GIFC). The Consortium brings together a veritable “dream team” of talent and experience combined with dedication and determination.

Dreams,  can become true, with the help of the Global Internet Freedom Consortium – GIFC.

Download (下载)

You can download the up-to-date GIFC  Anti-Censorship Tools Bundle which includes all above 5 popular client software packages from following official website:

English: http://www.internetfreedom.org/

Enjoy !

[tweetmeme source=’chinaindepth’ only_single=false]

Related news:

Why the State Department refused to spend the funds to “expand access and information in closed societies” such as Iran and China, via The Wall Street Journal, May.2, 2010
Iranian Internet lifeline– Chinese Falun Gong’s Software, The New York Time, June 17, 2009
GIF resumes anti-censorship services to Iran due to election crisis, Global Internet Freedom Consortium, June 17, 2009
Editorial: The US congress can help fend off authoritarian censorship in Burma, Iran and China, The Washington Post, July 7, 2009

Posted in Anti-censorship, break net-block, censorship, China, Freedom of Information, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Internet, Life, News, Software, Technology, World | 21 Comments »

U.S. Congress slams China and Microsoft, praises Google

Posted by Author on March 24, 2010


By David Goldman, CNN, Mar. 24, 2010-

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — Two days after Google stopped censoring search results in China, a congressional panel praised the company’s actions while excoriating the Beijing government for its record on Internet censorship and human rights.

At a hearing held by the Congressional-Executive Commission on China on Wednesday, lawmakers called on China to allow a free flow of ideas on the Internet and sharply criticized Microsoft for continuing to act complicity with China’s censorship laws.

“China wants to participate in the marketplace of goods but keep the marketplace of ideas outside their country,” said Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., “Only when China respects human rights and allows the free flow of ideas … only then will they be treated as a full member of the international community.”

While lawmakers scolded China, they roundly applauded Google for shutting down its search operations in China.

Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., called Google’s decision “a remarkable, historic and welcomed action.” He also praised Internet domain host site GoDaddy.com for leaving China.

At the same time, he lit a fire under Google’s search rival Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500) for continuing to censor results in China and not following Google’s (GOOG, Fortune 500) lead.

“They [Microsoft] need to get on the right side of human rights rather than enabling tyranny, which they’re doing right now,” Smith said.

Microsoft could not immediately be reached for a response.

Smith said he supported the Global Online Freedom Act, which would require tech companies doing business in China to disclose what they’re censoring. He called on China to do “more than passing lip service” to Google and pass the act.

Google agreed that the United States needed to take action as well. At the hearing, Google’s director of public policy, Alan Davidson said governments should do more to protect Internet freedom around the world.

“Internet censorship is a growing global problem,” Davidson said. “It not only raises important human rights concerns, but also creates significant barriers for U.S. companies doing business abroad.”

But Google did not completely avoid criticism from lawmakers. When asked specifically what Google was censoring in China, Davidson said he could not reveal that information, because it is a Chinese state secret.

“I admire the decision … but aren’t you able to talk about it outside of China?” asked Dorgan.

Davidson declined, to Dorgan’s displeasure. Davidson said the legality of the issue represented one of the reasons why the company shut down its search service in the company because it puts Google “in a terribly difficult position.”…… (more details from CNN)

Posted in Business, censorship, China, Company, Freedom of Information, Google, Human Rights, Internet, Microsoft, News, Politics, search engine, Social, Technology, Trade, USA, website, World | 1 Comment »

After Google moved out China, it’s time for the U.S. to take action

Posted by Author on March 24, 2010


By YANG JIANLI, Via Wall Street Journal, Mar. 24, 2010-

Google’s action is the latest in a series of events that pose the greatest challenge to the Chinese government’s carefully fabricated facade of legitimacy since the 1989 Tiananmen pro-democracy movement. Few people in the West recognize the precarious position of the Chinese rulers. The vast majority of Chinese citizens have nothing but disdain for their government. Sixty years of repression, as well as a modicum of economic opportunity for some, have created an uneasy acquiescence. But that is changing.

Increasingly, Chinese citizens realize that a government, however corrupt, rich and powerful, cannot hold a gun to its people forever. The Internet publication of Charter 08 by leading Chinese intellectuals in December of 2008 was a seismic rupture in the facade of harmony and stability. Although the lead author, Liu Xiaobo, has been sentenced to 11 years in prison, the Charter continues to circulate surreptitiously throughout China, despite attempts by the authorities to eradicate it.

Last November, noted human rights lawyer Feng Zhenghu took a stand against the illegal and pervasive practice of “blacklisting,” by which the Chinese government blocks politically undesirable citizens from returning to their own country from abroad. I myself am a victim of this blacklisting. Mr. Feng held a “sit-in” for over 90 days in the customs area of Tokyo’s Narita Airport in a nonviolent protest. He was sustained by Chinese supporters who traveled to him with supplies and moral support during his vigil.

Alarmed by the growing support network organized via Twitter and Facebook, the Chinese government decided to cut its losses and finally allowed Mr. Feng to return home to Shanghai in February. This action is the first time the Chinese government has allowed a blacklisted person to return to China. It shows the power of the Internet to galvanize citizens around effective nonviolent action against tyranny. And it clearly reveals the vulnerability of the Chinese government and why it is so paranoid regarding an open Internet.

Google’s decision has widened the crack in the Chinese government’s facade of deceit. However, Google alone cannot bring down the Great Firewall. Decisive action by the U.S. government is needed to tear down this Berlin Wall of the 21st century. Specifically, the State Department must act now to facilitate immediate and order of magnitude scale-ups of proven field tested protocols. The money has already been appropriated by Congress. The world-wide dissident community is virtually unanimous in its support for this action.

To quote Confucius, “To see what is right and not to do it is want of courage.” Google has shown us what is right. Now it’s time for the State Department to show courage, not procrastination.

Mr. Yang, a former political prisoner, is a fellow at the Kennedy School of Government and president of Initiatives for China, a pro-democracy think tank.

Wall Street Journal

Posted in censorship, China, Freedom of Information, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Internet, News, Politics, search engine, Social, Speech, Technology, USA, World | Comments Off on After Google moved out China, it’s time for the U.S. to take action

China struggles over censorship after Google leave

Posted by Author on March 24, 2010


By Kathrin Hille in Beijing, The Financial Times,  March 24 2010 –

Internet users experienced wild swings in access to results on Google’s Chinese search engine on Wednesday, in a sign that Beijing is struggling to decide on the level of censorship for the site after Google moved the service out of the mainland.

At about 10am, users in Beijing were confronted with browser errors for every Chinese term they entered. Searches for “Xinhua News Agency”, “Ministry of Commerce”, “Chinese”, and “Ministry of Health” returned a blank screen. Some 30 minutes later the problem had disappeared.

An employee of Perfect World, the online gaming company, reported that a search for company information on google.com.hk had failed to return any results.

A little later, however, other users found links they could never have dreamt of when Google was still self-censoring its Chinese search results. A search for “Foreign Ministry” in Chinese returned the Foreign Ministry of the People’s Republic of China as the top result, followed by the Foreign Ministry of the Republic of China (Taiwan).

Beijing claims the self-ruled island as part of its territory and normally refuses to recognise that a separate state exists there. All references to Taiwan are purged from the web in China.

Censorship in China is often erratic. This is partly a strategy to make internet users and website administrators wary about what content they post or allow online……. (more details from The Financial Times)

Posted in censorship, China, Freedom of Information, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Internet, News, Politics, search engine, Technology, website, World | Comments Off on China struggles over censorship after Google leave