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    1. A China More Just, Gao Zhisheng
    2.Officially Sanctioned Crime in China, He Qinglian
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    Losing the New China, Ethan Gutmann
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    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

HRW calls on other companies to follow Google ending all their censorship in China

Posted by Author on March 23, 2010


Human Rights Watch, March 22, 2010 –

(New York)
– Google’s decision to stop censoring its Chinese search engine is a strong step in favor of freedom of expression and information, and an indictment of the Chinese government’s insistence on censorship of the internet, Human Rights Watch said today.  Google announced today that it would not censor searches and instead redirect searches to its uncensored Hong Kong-based site that would provide results in simplified Chinese.  The company also said it would monitor and publicize any attempts at censorship of the site by the Chinese government.

“China is one of the world’s largest economies, but hundreds of millions of Chinese internet users are denied the basic access to information that people around the world take for granted,” said Arvind Ganesan, business and human rights director at Human Rights Watch. “Google’s decision to offer an uncensored search engine is an important step to challenge the Chinese government’s use of censorship to maintain its control over its citizens.”

China’s estimated 338 million internet users remain subject to the arbitrary dictates of state censorship. More than a dozen government agencies are involved in implementing a host of laws, regulations, policy guidelines, and other legal tools to try to keep information and ideas from the Chinese people. Various companies, including Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft, have enabled this system by blocking terms they believe the Chinese government will want them to censor. Human Rights Watch documented this corporate complicity in internet censorship in China in “Race to the Bottom,” a 149-page report published in August 2006.

On January 12, 2010, Google announced that it was prepared to withdraw from China unless it could operate its Chinese search engine, Google.cn, free of censorship. This decision was made after the company disclosed “highly sophisticated and targeted attacks” on dozens of Gmail users who are advocates of human rights in China. Google said some 20 other companies were also targets of cyber attacks from China. On February 18, 2010, the New York Times reported that these attacks had been traced to Shanghai’s Jiaotong University and the Lanxiang Vocational School. The latter reportedly has close ties to the Chinese military.

In response to the prospect that Google might stop censoring its search engine, on March 12, Li Yizhong, China’s minister of industry and information technology, said, “If you want to do something that disobeys Chinese law and regulations, you are unfriendly, you are irresponsible and you will have to bear the consequences.”

On January 22, 2010, in a major speech on internet freedom, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on the Chinese government to investigate those attacks. She also noted that the “private sector has a shared responsibility to help safeguard free expression. And when their business dealings threaten to undermine this freedom, they need to consider what’s right, not simply the prospect of quick profits.”

Human Rights Watch said that companies operating in China or other countries have an obligation to safeguard freedom of expression and privacy online. The Global Network Initiative (GNI), an international effort comprised of companies, including Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo!, human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch, academics, and socially responsible investors to protect freedom of expression and privacy online, recommends that companies: “challenge the government in domestic courts or seek the assistance of relevant government authorities, international human rights bodies or non-governmental organizations when faced with a government restriction that appears inconsistent with domestic law or procedures or international human rights laws and standards on freedom of expression.”

Human Rights Watch called on other companies to follow Google’s example and end all their censorship of politically sensitive information.

“This is a crucial moment for freedom of expression in China, and the onus is now on other major technology companies to take a firm stand against censorship,” said Ganesan. “But the Chinese government should also realize that its repression only isolates its internet users from the rest of the world – and the long-term harm of isolation far outweighs the short-term benefit of forcing companies to leave.”

Human Rights Watch

Posted in Business, censorship, China, Company, Economy, Freedom of Information, Freedom of Speech, Google, Human Rights, Internet, News, Politics, search engine, Technology, USA, website, World | Comments Off on HRW calls on other companies to follow Google ending all their censorship in China

CPJ welcomes Google stand on China censorship

Posted by Author on March 23, 2010


CPJ, Mar. 22, 2010-

We issued the following statement today after Google announced it had stopped censoring its search engine in China:

“We welcome this stand against censorship and hope that all Internet companies operating in China take a similar principled position,” said CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney. “Many of the Web sites censored by the Chinese government are news and social networking Web sites, with a wide range of topics blocked from general discussion.  Google’s decision to stop censoring search results will put Google on the wrong side of the Great Firewall. In the long run, however, we hope that it ramps up pressure on the Chinese government to allow its citizens to access the news and information they need to be informed and engaged citizens.”

CPJ

Posted in China, Company, Freedom of Information, Freedom of Speech, Google, Human Rights, News, Social, Speech, World | Comments Off on CPJ welcomes Google stand on China censorship

Google stops censoring in China a bold move that other Internet companies must follow

Posted by Author on March 23, 2010


Reporters Without Borders, Mar. 22, 2010-

US Internet giant
Google announced today that it has stopped censoring its search engine’s Chinese version, Google.cn, and is redirecting its mainland China users to its Hong Kong-based search engine Google.com.hk, where uncensored search results are available in simplified Chinese characters.

“The Chinese authorities have chosen to censor rather than open up their Internet,” Reporters Without Borders said. “We can only deplore the fact that the world’s biggest search engine has been forced to close its Chinese version under pressure from the censors. We pay tribute to Google because, by taking this courageous stance, it is creating a real debate on the issue of censorship in China and is betting on a free Internet accessible to all in the mid or long term.

“Above and beyond the case of China, it is the World Wide Web’s integrity that is at stake. The emergence in recent years of national Intranets controlled by repressive governments has in practice turned many Internet users into victims of a digital divide.

“Google is offering an interesting alternative to its Chinese users by redirecting them to its Hong Kong-based servers. It remains to be seen whether the Chinese authorities will now block its search engine and whether Google will be allowed to maintain its sales presence and research and development work in China. Google.cn’s closure nonetheless clearly sends a bad signal to investors.”

Reporters Without Borders added: “We now appeal to other Internet companies based in China to take the same road and to refuse to censor their own activities. If a common front is established on this issue, the Chinese government will have no choice but to allow access to a freer Internet.”

Google announced on 12 January that it wanted to stop censoring Google.cn after discovering that cyber attacks had been launched from China against the Gmail accounts of several dozen human rights activists. A score of companies in media, technology and other sectors were also reportedly affected by these hacker attacks and by the theft of intellectual property…….(more from Reporters Without Borders)

Posted in censorship, China, Freedom of Information, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Internet, News, Politics, search engine, Technology, USA, website, World | Comments Off on Google stops censoring in China a bold move that other Internet companies must follow

Google Shuts China Site, because “self-censorship is a non-negotiable legal requirement” by China

Posted by Author on March 22, 2010


Radio Free Asia,  2010-03-22 –

HONG KONG— Google is redirecting China-based traffic to its uncensored Hong Kong Web site, according to a message posted on the company’s official blog, two months the Internet giant threatened to leave the country because of censorship and Chinese hacker attacks.

Google had been negotiating with Beijing about the right to continue hosting a search service in China without filtering results according to Chinese law.

“Earlier today we stopped censoring our search services” for China’s 400 million Internet users, the company blog said.

“Users visiting Google.cn are now being redirected to Google.com.hk, where we are offering uncensored search in simplified Chinese, specifically designed for users in mainland China and delivered via our servers in Hong Kong,” chief legal officer David Drummond wrote.

China requires Internet service providers to censor words and images that the ruling Communist Party says are illegal or unacceptable.

Google said it plans to maintain its engineering and sales offices in China to keep a technological foothold there and continue to sell ads for the Chinese-language version of its search engine in the United States.

The Google blog entry said the Chinese government had been “crystal clear throughout our discussions that self-censorship is a non-negotiable legal requirement” for continuing its business in China.

“We very much hope that the Chinese government respects our decision, though we are well aware that it could at any time block access to our services,” Drummond wrote, adding that the company would continue monitoring accessibility in China and posting the results daily.

The decision comes after more than two months of negotiations after Google announced that it, along with more than 20 other companies, had been the victim of cyberattacks originating from China.

Google said its ensuing investigation into the attacks uncovered evidence that the Gmail accounts of “dozens” of human rights activists connected with China were being accessed by third parties through phishing scams and malware installed on their computers.

It said the attacks and surveillance that the investigation uncovered—combined with government efforts to further limit free speech on the Internet through the blocking of Web sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube—led the company to conclude that “we could no longer continue censoring our results on Google.cn.”…… (more details from Radio Free Asia)

Related:
Google stops censoring in China- redirects traffic to uncensored Hong Kong Web site

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

Google stops censoring in China- redirects traffic to uncensored Hong Kong Web site

Posted by Author on March 22, 2010


By Juan Carlos Perez, Computer World, March 22, 2010-

IDG News Service – Google has stopped censoring results in China, acting on a decision it made in January.

On Monday, Google stopped censoring Google Search, Google News and Google Images on Google.cn, according to a blog post from Chief Legal Officer David Drummond.

“Users visiting Google.cn are now being redirected to Google.com.hk, where we are offering uncensored search in simplified Chinese, specifically designed for users in mainland China and delivered via our servers in Hong Kong,” he wrote.

As expected, the Chinese government didn’t entertain allowing Google to continue operating an uncensored Google.cn. The Hong Kong work-around is “entirely legal,” he said.

“We very much hope that the Chinese government respects our decision, though we are well aware that it could at any time block access to our services,” Drummond wrote.

Google has set up a Web page where people can monitor the status of its services in China……. (more details from The Computer World)

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

NP editorial: Memo to Google — get out of China

Posted by Author on March 16, 2010


NP Editor, The National Post, Canada, Mar. 16, 2010-

As of press time, we were still waiting for final resolution of the escalating, months-old confrontation between Google and the government of China. Our hope is that the world-leading web-search company plays hardball with Beijing — even if that means exiting China entirely.

Countless companies run into headaches in China, a country whose booming free-market economy often bumps up against the pronouncements of its authoritarian government. But the friction has been especially notable in the case of Google, which controls almost one-third of China’s web search market. The company is a world-leading icon of the free flow of information, and it has been jarring to see it submit itself to the Chinese government’s censorship demands. Search for “Chinese human rights abuses” or “Dalai Lama” off of Google.com, and you will get a long list of unfiltered search results. Perform the same search on Google.cn — or any of the portals featuring a Chinese Google search box — and you will get a much shorter list.

The moral case for Google saying goodbye to China is obvious: The company’s informal motto is, after all, “Don’t be evil.” But there is a strong business case for fleeing the Communist nation, as well. In recent months, Google has learned of a campaign to hack the Google Mail (i.e. Gmail) accounts of human rights activists. At the same time, the U.S. government and various Western high-tech corporations are fighting off a massive, well-organized campaign of electronic attacks and espionage, much of it based on Chinese servers. In both instances, the driving force is believed to be the Chinese government, or elements connected to it.

Google’s share of the Chinese market — the world’s biggest — is obviously a major asset. But more important is Google’s good name in the rest of the world. Like everyone else, we love Google’s search service, Gmail and its growing cloud-computing services. But there are other competing providers in all these areas — so why would we trust our data with a company seen to be bending over backward for a foreign government that combines Communist anti-Western phobias with the sleazy ethos of a backroom phishing operation?

Google itself is no doubt trustworthy. But companies, like people, are known by the company they keep.

The National Post

Posted in Business, censorship, China, Commentary, Company, Economy, Freedom of Information, Google, Human Rights, Internet, News, Opinion, Politics, Press freedom, Speech, Technology, website, World | Comments Off on NP editorial: Memo to Google — get out of China

Mainland Chinese Develop New Anti-Censorship Software Tool to penetrate the Great Firewall of China

Posted by Author on March 14, 2010


The first anti-censorship software developed inside China, the Xi Xiang project, has recently been released online to penetrate the regime-sponsored Internet surveillance tools, the Great Firewall of China (GFW).

Striving to gain freedom of information on the Internet, a group of anonymous computer specialists started the Xi Xiang project in July 2008, according to the GFW Technical Comments blog. They spent a great deal of effort to reverse-engineer the GFW and released the products to the public, on the blog, on March 10.

The technical documents claim that the software enables users to easily bypass the GFW to directly visit blocked Web sites such as Youtube and Twitter.

The developers named the project after the famous 13th century play “Xi Xiang Ji,” known in English as “Romance of the West Chamber” in reference to the young scholar Zhang, who climbed over a wall to have secret meetings with his lover.

After studying the software, Dong Xiaoxing, a computer network expert, told Radio Free Asia that the Xi Xiang tools take advantage of the RST packets that are ignored by the GFW. Dong believes the blocking and anti-blocking war will be ongoing, and the software will be widely spread in the Chinese Internet communities.

According to those who have researched the GFW, it is a very resource-intensive system. It detects and blocks Internet access to any Web sites with unwanted contents, utilizing a combination of technologies, such as basic traffic analysis, DNS filtering and redirection, and keyword filtering. The Chinese regime invested heavily in the complex system, making it very difficult to be bypassed.

However, the GFW is not without vulnerabilities, according to the Xi Xiang developers. They provide a set of tools to perform a one-time configuration on users’ computers to avoid the GFW’s detection mechanisms so that users can connect to the target Web sites directly. The preliminary test successfully connected users to the blocked Web sites such as Youtube.

Shi Zhao, the director of the Chinese Wikipedia said: “Unlike other anti-censorship products that use proxy servers hosted overseas as intermediary connection points, the Xi Xiang tools can connect users directly to the blocked Web sites. It’s mainly useful for the keywords filtering.” Due to the technical limitations of the GFW, Shi believed it would take a while for the GFW to contain Xi Xiang.

A Chinese blogger commented: “The Xi Xiang project is the most exciting product I’ve seen in the past two years. I’ll pay close attention to it.” Another Internet user said the software marks the end of the cat-and-mouse game between anti-censorship software and GFW, and the beginning of a new era of anti-censorship software actively attacking the GFW.

Guo Weidong, a well-known blogger said: “When the Internet users find out the information they get has been filtered and distorted, they will start looking for the truth. The desire to search for the truth, free thinking, and free expression can never be blocked by the GFW.” (the Epochtimes)

Posted in break net-block, censorship, China, Firewall, Freedom of Information, Human Rights, Internet, Internet User, News, People, Software, Technology, World | Comments Off on Mainland Chinese Develop New Anti-Censorship Software Tool to penetrate the Great Firewall of China

China Orders Marxist Theory Training for Journalist

Posted by Author on March 12, 2010


NTDTV, Mar. 12, 2010-
The Chinese regime will introduce a new certification system for journalists requiring them to train in Marxist and communist theories, according to the South China Morning Post.

Deputy Director of the General Administration of Press and Publication, Li Dongdong, told state-run Xinhua news that aspiring journalists must learn “Communist Party discipline on news and propaganda.”

The role of the media in China has become a hot topic in recent days after the Governor of Hubei Province, Li Hongzhong angrily questioned a female reporter saying, “What kind of Communist Party mouthpiece are you?”

The state-run People’s Daily journalist had asked him about the case of a hotel worker who killed a communist official who tried to rape her.

Commentators say the Governor’s reaction reflects the expectation of communist officials that the media should only serve the purpose of the Chinese Communist Party.
NTD TV

Posted in China, Freedom of Information, Human Rights, Journalist, Media, News, People, Politics, Press freedom, Social, Speech, World | Comments Off on China Orders Marxist Theory Training for Journalist

Censorship and threats after 13 Chinese newspapers publish joint editorial about Hukou

Posted by Author on March 10, 2010


Reporters Without Borders, Mar. 9, 2010-

Reporters Without Borders urges the Propaganda Department to lift the censorship imposed on a joint editorial in 13 Chinese daily newspapers calling for the elimination of the internal passport system known as the “hukou.” The press freedom organisation has learned that journalists working for news media that published the editorial have been threatened with punishment.

“Initiating a debate about the hukou on the eve of a session of the National People’s Congress in Beijing was a very positive move,” Reporters Without Borders said. “But, as usual, the Communist Party’s Propaganda Department reacted with censorship and repression. This insult to common sense is yet another example of the tension between Propaganda Department conservatives and pro-reform media.”

The press freedom organisation added: “We urge Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and National People’s Congress chairman Wu Bangguo to order the lifting of all press censorship, a Chinese disease that prevents useful debates from getting under way.”

Published by 13 newspapers in such places as Guangdong, Henan, Fujian and Chongqing on 1 March, the joint editorial called for the end of the hukou, a system introduced during the Maoist era that prevents many Chinese, especial rural residents, from moving to other parts of the country. “China has long suffered from the Hukou system,” the editorial said. “We think that citizens are born free and should have the right to freedom of movement. We urge delegates to do everything possible to propose a hukou reform timetable.”

The editorial was removed from websites within hours of its appearance. The special pages dedicated to hukou reform which the Economic Observer, one of the newspapers responsible for the editorial, had created on its website (www.eeo.com.cn) were quickly suppressed. Even the very official People’s Daily was forced to take the editorial down shortly after posting it. The foreign press was meanwhile hailing the courageous initiative.

Censorship continues to be a “Chinese disease” because of the Propaganda Department and local authorities. Editors often receive written or oral directives forbidding them to cover a national or international story. Sometimes the order instructs them to limit themselves to using the official version of the events. Here are some recent examples…… (Reporters Without Borders)

Posted in censorship, China, Freedom of Information, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Media, News, Politics, Social, World | Comments Off on Censorship and threats after 13 Chinese newspapers publish joint editorial about Hukou

(Video) China Expands its State-control Media Abroad and Tightens Control on Speech

Posted by Author on March 9, 2010


The Chinese regime is planning a multi-billion dollar expansion of its media network abroad. A new version of the regime’s largest English language newspaper came out last week. During its effort to reach the international community, however, journalists inside China are facing tougher restrictions on press freedom.

Last week, the Chinese regime’s largest English language newspaper—China Daily—came out with its biggest makeover since it was founded in 1981.

While the regime is trying to gain a foothold on the world’s media stage, back home its tight grip on freedom of expression shows no signs of easing up.

Last month, the agency responsible for press accreditation, the General Administration of Press and Publications outlawed independent online news-services. It says online journalists —except those from state-sanctioned media—will not be issued press-cards, cannot carry out interviews or make news reports.

[Hu Liyun, International Federation of Journalists]: (female, Cantonese, 1st sound bite in footage)
“Those sanctioned by the country—like the People’s Daily can apply for a press-pass, but other websites cannot. What is the basis behind this? We do not understand. If it says that all online journalists are illegal, then why are journalists with the People’s Daily legal? The [CCP] party central needs to give a clear explanation of this, why is this line being drawn?”

Online news websites—many associated with human rights efforts—have emerged across China over the past few years. Journalists from these services try to report stories and investigations that are avoided by state-run media.

And many of these journalists pay a heavy price for their work.

On February 9th, writer Tan Zuoren was sentenced to five years in jail for so called ‘subversion.’ Tan had been involved in the making of an independent report on the schools that collapsed during the 2008 Sichuan earthquake that killed thousands of students.

NTDTV via DailyMotion

Posted in China, Freedom of Information, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Internet User, Journalist, Media, News, People, Politics, Social, Video, World | 3 Comments »

U.S. Could Challenge China on Google’s Behalf at WTO

Posted by Author on March 3, 2010


By David Coursey, PCWorld, Mar. 3, 2010-

Google made news in Washington on Tuesday as the Obama Administration is reportedly considering using the World Trade Organization to help Google in its censorship battle with China. Meanwhile, a leading U.S. Senator said he plans to introduce legislation punishing companies that cave in to censorship demands.

Illinois Senator Richard Durbin said he plans to introduce a bill that would penalize Internet companies that violate customers’ human rights at the demand of foreign governments. The Democrat made the announcement Tuesday, but offered few specifics, beyond saying that civil or even criminal penalties might be involved.

This is a wonderful thing as U.S. tech companies have a pretty sad record of protecting their overseas business at the expense of their customers’ human rights. The bill appears to target search engine and social networking companies particularly.

“I recognize that the technology industry faces difficult challenges when they deal with repressive governments,” Durbin said. “But we have a responsibility in the United States, and Congress shares in that responsibility, to ensure that American companies are not complicit in violating freedom of expression.”

Durbin spoke at a meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law. Several companies were invited to present during the hearing, including Twitter, Facebook, McAfee–as well as Apple, which was recently hit by a scandal involving reports that underage workers have been used to build the company’s products.

Of those invited, only Google agreed to appear. (If you want more details on the hearing, Grant Gross has written an excellent report.)

On the WTO front, the Obama Administration is reportedly considering whether to fight China in front of the World Trade Organization, where it would have to defend its actions publicly. The U.S. would charge that China’s censorship is a barrier to free trade.

If used, this novel approach would be similar to the way law enforcement sometimes battles criminal rackets using charges not directly related to the primary crime (think Al Capone or the RICO statute).

Taken together, these actions–both at the discussion stage right now–show that at least some in the U.S. government want Internet companies to do a better job of representing American values in their overseas businesses……. (PC World)

Posted in Business, censorship, China, Company, Economy, Freedom of Information, Google, Human Rights, News, Politics, Technology, Trade, USA, World | 1 Comment »

The High-Tech Persecution of Falun Gong in China (3)

Posted by Author on February 28, 2010


Global Internet Freedom Consortium – (cont’d)

<< previous

The targets of this project (the Golden Shield Project) are Chinese dissidents, and in particular, practitioners of Falun Gong. As one expert put it, when presented with Internet censorship technology, the “first question from the Chinese buyers was not ‘Will it make my workers more productive?’ but, invariably, ‘Can it stop Falun Gong?’”[8]

In 2000, China had a public security trade show in Beijing, where corporations from around the world gathered to sell products for sale to the Chinese government. An engineer from one company said that Internet surveillance capabilities were specifically designed “to catch Falun Gong.”[9] Another company’s booth contained literature declaring that its technology could help in “strengthening police control” and “increasing social stability.”[10]

Moreover, according to Hao Fengjun, who worked for the secret police in the so-called Office 610, in the northern city of Tianjin until he fled China in 2005, Office 610 used the Golden Shield network specifically to track members of the Falun Gong religion.[11] Thus, as Naomi Kline noted in her Rolling Stone article, even if the tools were the same, an assertion that is not necessarily supported by the evidence, “the political contexts are radically different. China has a government that uses its high-tech web to imprison and torture peaceful protestors, Tibetan monks and independent-minded journalists.”[12]

In addition, insider corporate documents indicate that one of the stated central purposes of the Golden Shield Project was to “persecute ‘Falun Gong’ evil cult and other hostile elements.”[13] The Chinese term translated as “persecute” in this and other corporate documents is the very same term used by the Party to describe the persecution of the landlord class, the intellectuals, and the pro-democracy advocates in China, i.e., douzheng [斗争]. Regardless of the role of US corporations in the design and implementation of the Golden Shield, an issue that is now being investigated further by the Human Rights Law Foundation, it is clear from a second document that was sent anonymously to HRLF that at least one Cisco corporate design of the Golden Shield included a Falun Gong database.

The Human Rights Law Foundation has received an enormous array of information in support of these and other allegations from credible sources. It is investigating all of the evidence carefully. Based on all of the new information, it is contemplating the filing of a lawsuit to hold accountable some of the key parties responsible for the high-tech persecution of Falun Gong.(to be cont’d)

From Global Internet Freedom Consortium

Related:
The High-Tech Persecution of Falun Gong in China (1)
The High-Tech Persecution of Falun Gong in China (2)

Posted in censorship, China, Falun Gong, Firewall, Freedom of Information, Human Rights, Internet, News, Politics, Social, Software, Technology, website, World | Comments Off on The High-Tech Persecution of Falun Gong in China (3)

The High-Tech Persecution of Falun Gong in China (1)

Posted by Author on February 24, 2010


Global Internet Freedom Consortium

The Chinese Communist Party has played a major role in a series of widespread and systematic attacks waged against civilian populations in China that have included the landlords, intellectuals, the pro-democracy advocates, and more recently, the members of the religion of Falun Gong.[1]

In the 1950s, Party operatives paraded members of the landlord class before the Chinese people, publicly criticized and insulted them, and beat and executed at least 2 million people in one campaign.

In 1957, the Party characterized the intellectual class as a “right wing” threat to state security and sent them to labor camps where they were tortured and/or killed.

Again, during the well-known Cultural Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s, the persecution was so bad that many members of the targeted groups committed suicide to avoid the torture and execution they would otherwise face.

In June of 1989, the Chinese army opened fire on the streets of Beijing, killing hundreds of students and civilians, while others were rounded up
later and sent to labor camps and prisons where they were subjected to forced labor, torture, and, in some cases, execution.

The tactics deployed in these campaigns are similar to those used in Nazi Germany during the Second World War, and in Rwanda during the genocide of the Tutsi tribe by the Hutu. In all of these violent assaults and massacres, the targets were demonized as threats to state security and stability, the goal was the elimination of the group or its beliefs, the mechanisms are arrest, detention, torture and execution, and the justification is social order and state security. The phrase used in China to describe the process is the Chinese term douzheng [斗争], loosely translated as “persecution.”

In the latter part of the 20th and early part of the 21st century, the Chinese Communist Party dramatically expanded its ability to persecute dissident groups through its construction and operation of its infamous Golden Shield project, a system of advanced Internet, surveillance and networking technology that is used to carry out the traditional purposes of the Chinese police state in a new, high-tech, and far more effective manner. It is “the world’s biggest cyber police force and the largest and most advanced Internet control system.”[2]

The announced goal of the project was to “build a nationwide digital surveillance network, linking national, regional, and local security agencies with a panoptic web of surveillance,” and it was envisioned as a “database-driven remote surveillance system – offering immediate access to registration records on every citizen in China, while linking to a vast network of cameras designed to cut police reaction time to demonstrations.”[3]…… (to be cont’d)

From Global Internet Freedom Consortium

Posted in China, Falun Gong, Freedom of Information, Freedom of Speech, history, Human Rights, Internet, News, Politics, Religious, Social, Technology, World | 1 Comment »

Chinese rights advocates ask US for funds to break China ‘firewall’

Posted by Author on February 24, 2010


AFP, Feb. 23, 2010-

WASHINGTON — A coalition of human rights campaigners on Tuesday urged the US government to fund efforts led by the Falungong spiritual movement to circumvent Internet censorship in China and other nations.

Congress approved 30 million dollars in the 2010 budget to combat cyber censorship in China, Iran and elsewhere. But lawmakers have voiced concern that the funding since 2008 has been used ineffectively.

In a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, rights advocates — most from China — urged that money go to the Global Internet Freedom (GIF) Consortium, originally set up to evade China’s Internet “firewall.”

“By taking the right steps, the United States can make a historic contribution to its own security and to the advancement of democracy by rapidly tearing down the information firewalls of the world’s closed societies,” it said.

The letter was signed by exiled leaders of the 1989 democracy uprising in Tiananmen Square including Chai Ling, Wu’er Kaixi and Xiong Yan, along with figures behind the landmark Charter 08 petition for greater freedoms in China.

Other signatories included Rebiya Kadeer, the leader of exiles from China’s Uighur minority, along with activists campaigning for greater openness in Cuba, Myanmar, North Korea and Syria.

GIF software was designed by the Falungong, which was banned by China in 1999 and branded an “evil cult” following a silent mass gathering in Beijing by its members.

But the technology was also put to use last year by Iranians who circumvented censorship to organize protests against clerical hardliners via Twitter and other websites.

The letter said that GIF servers, which nearly crashed after the Iranian elections, could be upgraded to allow 50 million unique users a day, up from 1.5 million now.

Five senators — Democrats Robert Casey, Edward Kaufman and Arlen Specter, along with Republicans Sam Brownback and Jon Kyl — wrote a letter to Clinton last month voicing concern that the grant money was going to waste.

They faulted the State Department for restricting grants to groups working inside a country, countering that “the most successful censorship circumvention tools are operated remotely.”

Clinton, who testifies before Congress on Wednesday and Thursday, last month urged China to conduct a thorough probe into cyberattacks on Google and pressed technology firms to resist censorship.

AFP

Posted in Activist, Anti-censorship, break net-block, censorship, China, Freedom of Information, Human Rights, Internet, News, People, Social, Software, Technology, USA, World | Comments Off on Chinese rights advocates ask US for funds to break China ‘firewall’

IFJ Report Lists China’s Secret Bans on Media Reporting in 2009

Posted by Author on January 31, 2010


International Federation of Journalists, Jan 31, 2010-

A new report by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) on press freedom in China highlights the battle by local censors to control media commentary on a wide range of topics throughout in 2009.

Banned topics range from events associated with social unrest and public protests against authorities, to reports of photos of an actress topless on a Caribbean beach.

The report, China Clings to Control: Press Freedom in 2009, will be officially released by the IFJ at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong at 11am on January 31.

It presents data gathered by IFJ media rights monitoring in China, detailing the intensifying efforts of authorities since early 2009 to control online content and commentary, and assessing the official restrictions and range of impediments faced by local and foreign media working in Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

Amid the controversy over Google’s recently stated refusal to censor the contents of its Chinese-language search engine, following allegations that China’s authorities had authorised a cyber attack on Google’s US-based systems, and gmail accounts held by activists in China had been breached, China Clings to Control: Press Freedom in 2009 presents the wider context of restrictions confronting journalists and media in China……. (more details from International Federation of Journalists)

Posted in censorship, China, Freedom of Information, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Journalist, Media, News, Politics, Report, Social, World | 1 Comment »

Netizens in China Launch a Twitter Campaign Against Censorship

Posted by Author on January 26, 2010


Radio Free Asia, Jan 25, 2010-

HONG KONG—Netizens in China have turned to a popular microblogging service to vent their growing frustration with online censorship.

Users of Twitter in China launched the new campaign on Jan. 24 criticizing Beijing’s sophisticated system of blocks and filters known collectively as the “Great Firewall,” or GFW.

Twitter users initiated the campaign with the use of the symbol #GFW when expressing views on Internet censorship. Twitter users often employ a “hash tag” symbol before a term inside their postings to make searches by topic easier to conduct.

China-based Twitter user Feng Yan said he could no longer contain his anger over China’s Internet censorship.

“The Great Firewall censors everything, including Facebook and Twitter. We’ve had it. Enough is enough. We are mad as hell,” Feng said.

“That’s why Sunday afternoon we decided to start the online flash model. To bypass censorship, we mixed Japanese, Arabic, and German words with Chinese local dialects sprinkled with vulgarities. We trashed the GFW real good.”

China’s Great Firewall uses certain keyword search terms to filter online content, but it is often unable to effectively censor foreign languages…… (more details from Radio Free Asia)

Posted in censorship, China, Freedom of Information, Human Rights, Internet, Internet User, News, People, Politics, Social, Technology, World | Comments Off on Netizens in China Launch a Twitter Campaign Against Censorship

Promote Internet Freedom in China By Supporting GIF

Posted by Author on January 21, 2010


By Caylan Ford, Via Washington Post, Wednesday, January 20, 2010-

Google announced last week that it is no longer willing to censor its Chinese searches and may soon be closing its offices in China, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be rolling out a new policy initiative concerning internet freedom on Thursday.

But if the State Department and internet giants really want to promote free access to the Internet worldwide, the most effective thing they could do is to support the Global Internet Freedom Consortium (GIF).

GIF is a small outlet run by a group of Chinese-American computer scientists. Over the last ten years, they have developed a suite of censorship-circumvention software that allows users to safely evade internet firewalls and surveillance. They have no offices or funding. Their scientists work day jobs and pay for their operations out of their own pockets. Yet in spite of their obvious limitation, they are responsible for approximately 90 percent of all anti-censorship internet traffic in China and Iran.

When protests erupted in Burma in 2007 and its military junta moved to violently suppress demonstrations, it was GIF software that activists used to relay images, video and information to the rest of the world. When riots erupted in Tibet in 2008, GIF’s traffic from the region rose by 300 percent. And when Iranians took to the streets to demonstrate against suspected election fraud in 2009, over 1 million Iranians per day were using GIF software to communicate with the outside world. Without GIF, there could have been no “Twitter revolution.

But GIF servers, which can currently support only 1.5 million unique users per day, nearly crashed in the aftermath of the Iranian election. With a small amount of funding or with private donations of server bandwidth, GIF could increase its capacity to support 50 million users. …… (more details)

Posted in Anti-censorship, break net-block, censorship, China, Freedom of Information, Human Rights, Internet, News, Politics, Software, Technology, USA, World | Comments Off on Promote Internet Freedom in China By Supporting GIF

10 Forbidden Stories of 2009 in China (8)- Media control of Obama’s visit to China

Posted by Author on January 21, 2010


Epoch Times Staff, updated: Jan 7, 2010 – (cont’d)

<< previous

Media control of Obama’s visit to China

When President Obama went to China, his appearances, and domestic reportage on them, were carefully stage-managed by CCP propaganda officials.

The most notable instance was the town hall meeting with students in Shanghai. As the White House’s centerpiece for the trip, it was supposed to be broadcast live on the largest state-owned national stations—a channel for Obama to reach the Chinese people directly.

At the last minute, however, Chinese authorities restricted it to Shanghai Television, a local station with limited reach. Commentary on major Web sites was censored and toned down.
Later in the trip an exclusive interview with Southern Weekend, an influential publication in Guangdong Province, was also intercepted by propaganda officials and half of it pulled from the print edition. The editors left a blank half-page with the cryptic message: “It’s not that everyone can become a big shot. But reading this, everyone can understand China.” (to be cont’d)

Original report from The Epochtimes

Posted in Beijing, censorship, China, Freedom of Information, Human Rights, Media, News, People, politician, Politics, World | Comments Off on 10 Forbidden Stories of 2009 in China (8)- Media control of Obama’s visit to China

Google rebels against China’s Internet censors: Reporters Without Borders

Posted by Author on January 13, 2010


Reporters Without Borders hails US Internet giant Google’s announcement yesterday that it will stop censoring the Chinese version of its search engine, Google.cn – a move that could lead to Google.cn’s closure and Google’s withdrawal from the Chinese market. The company said it took the decision following sophisticated cyber-attacks on Gmail accounts coming from China.

“We can only welcome the courage shown by Google’s executives,” Reporters Without Borders said. “A foreign IT company has finally accepted its responsibilities towards Chinese users and is standing up to the Chinese authorities, who keep clamping down more and more on the Internet.

“In the face of repeated and increasingly sophisticated cyber-attacks and humiliating treatment by the Chinese authorities, who accuse them of not doing enough to block sensitive information, Google has decided to take a tougher line and is setting its own conditions for continuing to operate in China.

“We call on other IT companies to form a common front and we urge the Chinese authorities to reconsider their position. Google seems to have opened a breach – the cooperation of western companies in the control of news and information is no longer systematic.”

Reporters Without Borders also welcomed the transparency displayed by Google. “By making these cyber-attacks public, Google is clearly showing that its priority is to protect the personal data of its clients, including the most vulnerable ones. It is refusing to be an accomplice of the Chinese authorities in their pursuit of dissidents online.”

Google’s U-turn follows attacks launched from China on the Gmail accounts of several dozen human rights activists. Reporters Without Borders has itself been the target of cyber-attacks from China. A score of companies in the media, technology, finance and chemical sectors were also reportedly affected by these hacker attacks and by the theft of intellectual property……. (more details from Reporters Without Borders)

Posted in Business, censorship, China, Company, Freedom of Information, Google, Human Rights, Internet, Investment, News, Politics, search engine, Technology, World | Comments Off on Google rebels against China’s Internet censors: Reporters Without Borders

Google mulls China exit after hack attack

Posted by Author on January 13, 2010


By MICHAEL MOORE-JONES, Stuff.co.nz , Jan. 13, 2010-

Google says its website in China has been hit by a “sophisticated attack”.

Google said on its corporate blog that the attack originated in China and was not solely against them.

During its investigation it discovered that attacks were also made against at least 20 other large companies, including businesses in the internet, technology, finance, media, and chemical sectors.

“We have evidence to suggest that a primary goal of the attackers was accessing the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists,” Google said in its blog post.

It appears that this goal was not fully accomplished, with only two Gmail accounts being compromised.

As a result of the attacks, Google is re-evaluating its presence and goals in China.

“We launched Google.cn in January 2006 in the belief that the benefits of increased access to information for people in China and a more open internet outweighed our discomfort in agreeing to censor some results” Google said.

“Over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all.”

Google says it may have to shut down google.cn and close all offices in China.

It says these decisions have been hard for them to make, and were made solely by executives in the United States – no employees in China were involved.

The blogosphere has been buzzing in light of this announcement, with more information being shared through Twitter.com as it is discovered.

Many individuals are saying they will refuse to use rival search engines to Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft’s Bing, if they continue to stay in China.

stuff.co.nz

Posted in Business, censorship, China, Company, Freedom of Information, Freedom of Speech, Google, Human Rights, Internet, Media, News, Politics, Technology, website, World | 3 Comments »

Google Ends Censorship In China

Posted by Author on January 12, 2010


Targeted cyber attacks from China on corporate data of at least 20 public companies and efforts to steal data about human rights advocates have prompted Google to re-evaluate its cooperation with Chinese censors.

By Thomas Claburn, The Information Week, January 12, 2010 –

Google said on Tuesday that it will no longer censor search results on Google.cn, a decision likely to end the company’s presence in China.

Google’s decision comes after it detected a highly sophisticated cyber attack on its corporate infrastructure last month that resulted in the theft of Google’s intellectual property. Details about the theft were not disclosed.

David Drummond, SVP of corporate development at Google and the company’s chief legal officer, said in a blog post that Google’s internal investigation revealed at least twenty other large companies had also been attacked.

“[W]e have evidence to suggest that a primary goal of the attackers was accessing the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists,” said Drummond. “Based on our investigation to date we believe their attack did not achieve that objective. Only two Gmail accounts appear to have been accessed, and that activity was limited to account information (such as the date the account was created) and subject line, rather than the content of e-mails themselves.”

As a result of its investigation, Drummond said, Google also discovered that “the accounts of dozens of U.S.-, China- and Europe-based Gmail users who are advocates of human rights in China appear to have been routinely accessed by third parties.” He emphasized that this was not due to a security failure on Google’s part. Rather, these users appear to have had their passwords compromised through phishing scams or malware on their computers.

As a consequence of these attacks, Google has come to believe that it can no longer continue censoring Google.cn, as directed by the Chinese government.

“These attacks and the surveillance they have uncovered–combined with the attempts over the past year to further limit free speech on the Web–have led us to conclude that we should review the feasibility of our business operations in China,” Drummond said. “We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all. We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China.”

Financially, Google’s revenue from China is not material to its overall revenue.

Google’s decision was immediately hailed by rights groups, many of which have questioned whether the company’s decision in 2006 to cooperate with Chinese censors violated its “Don’t be evil” motto.

“Google has taken a bold and difficult step for Internet freedom in support of fundamental human rights,” said Leslie Harris, president of the Center for Democracy & Technology, in an e-mailed statement. “No company should be forced to operate under government threat to its core values or to the rights and safety of its users. We support Google for being willing to engage in this very difficult process.”

Google’s decision recalls the stand it took against the U.S. government, which sought the company’s search data in 2005 and 2006 to support its ultimately failed effort to uphold the Child Online Protection Act.

“This is a very big step that Google is taking, that is to make public these kinds of cyber attacks,” said Sharon Hom, executive director of Human Rights In China. Such attacks, she said, are not news to the the human rights communities and NGOs, which have long been targeted with phishing, malware, and denial of service attacks. “For Google to make public what they have discovered is highly significant,” she added. “It’s a wake up call to the international business community about the real risks of operating in China.”

Hom said that how China reacts to Google’s decision will send a very strong message to the business community about their future prospects in China.

Dave Girouard, president of Google’s Enterprise group, in a separate blog post stressed that these attacks should not shake faith in cloud computing.

“At Google, we invest massive amounts of time and money in security,” he said. “Nothing is more important to us. Our response to this attack shows that we are dedicated to protecting the businesses and users who have entrusted us with their sensitive email and document information. We are telling you this because we are committed to transparency, accountability, and maintaining your trust.”

informationweek.com

Posted in Business, censorship, China, Company, Freedom of Information, Freedom of Speech, Google, Human Rights, Internet, News, Politics, search engine, Technology, website, World | Comments Off on Google Ends Censorship In China

China Censorship Equals Protectionism, Maybe Violates WTO Obligations

Posted by Author on January 8, 2010


By FREDRIK ERIXON AND HOSUK LEE-MAKIYAMA, Via Wall Street Journal, Jan. 6, 2009-

Beijing’s methods to censor the Internet are becoming ever more repressive. In recent weeks, at least 700 Web sites seem to have been shut down or blocked—on top of tens of thousands of foreign online services that already were inaccessible. Individuals have been banned from registering new domain names in China, and authorities are turning the heat up on existing domains. This is correctly viewed as a major free-speech problem, but that’s only part of the damage Beijing is doing. Blocking the Internet blocks commerce and trade, and China’s latest moves may well run afoul of its World Trade Organization commitments.

China has the highest number of online users in the world with 300 million, surpassing even the United States. That makes it among the most appealing markets for foreign technology companies. The new censorship drive fences off this market and reserves it only for government-registered actors that are politically reliable in the eyes of Beijing. The regulations apply just as much to Web sites outside China, which must now apply for a license from Chinese authorities to avoid being blocked.

This is the latest and most vigorous manifestation of an old phenomenon. For more than a decade, the so-called Great Firewall of China has restricted access to many common media sites and online services from abroad, especially search engines and user-generated content such as blogs, Twitter, YouTube or photo-sharing site Flickr. Now, though, it’s reaching a point where the measures are attacking core business and revenues. Several international Web sites—like the Chinese and English versions of search engines Google and Bing, or email service providers Gmail and Hotmail—have been shut down by the authorities without much warning.

Beyond Web censorship, regulatory hurdles on technology are an increasing problem throughout China’s economy. The importation of WiFi-equipped phones, routers and laptops capable of wirelessly surfing the Internet is forbidden; they feature encryption technologies that make eavesdropping more difficult for the authorities. Partly for this reason, Apple’s iPhone came to China only in November, two years after it hit the rest of the world, and then without its signature WiFi capability.

Mobile applications are now also subject to censorship; for instance, China Mobile has stopped all sales of paid content until further notice. This is a market already worth 200 million yuan ($29 million) and should be steadily growing as smart phones like the iPhone and Blackberry start to gain traction. Meanwhile, Beijing attempted last July to force all manufacturers to install filtering software and a potential spyware program called Green Dam Youth Escort on computers shipped to China. This ostensibly was to block access to pornography, but could have made it easier for authorities to track politically sensitive communications, too. That proposal was withdrawn but is soon likely to resurface.

Political censorship is the most obvious motive underpinning all these actions, but there is another: Online censorship has become a tool of industrial policy, effectively discriminating against foreign suppliers. The Chinese search engine Baidu has been untouched by the recent crackdown, despite producing similar search results to the blocked Google and Bing Web sites. There also have been reports that users entering Google’s address in their browsers have been automatically rerouted to Baidu. Licensing requirements for Web sites help Beijing control the market share of companies like smaller private-sector travel agents or Internet-telephony companies like Skype that compete with larger Chinese companies with strong relationships to Beijing.

While human-rights activists continue pushing Beijing to ease its restrictions on free-speech rights, foreign governments also need to recognize the protectionist aspects of Chinese Web censorship and respond accordingly. China’s online protectionism goes against its obligations under the WTO. When China acceded to the trade body in 2001, it agreed to give unlimited access and equal treatment to foreign-based or foreign-owned businesses in many categories of services, including online services. These services count as imports to which China is supposed to be opening itself, even if they are delivered over a wire instead of in a shipping crate.

While the WTO agreements allow countries to set their own standard for public morals and order, disguised protectionist measures are forbidden. Nor can China argue that it is using the measures that restrict trade the least, one standard for acceptability under the WTO. The Appellate Body, which is the final authority of WTO dispute settlement, has just turned down an appeal by China in a dispute over its restrictions on the distribution of U.S. printed books, films and music; Beijing is now forced to either open that market or face retaliatory tariffs.

If China does not change its Internet censorship practices, it is likely to soon face another WTO dispute. The online market in China is simply too big for Europe and the U.S. to let trade-distorting regulations pass without action. Victories at the WTO on this front would be wins both for commerce and for civil rights.

Messrs. Erixon and Lee-Makiyama are director and visiting fellow, respectively, of the European Centre for International Political Economy in Brussels.

Wall Street Journal

Posted in Business, censorship, China, Economy, Firewall, Freedom of Information, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Internet, Media, News, Opinion, Politics, Technology, Trade, World | 2 Comments »

China Is Losing a War Over Internet

Posted by Author on December 31, 2009


By LORETTA CHAO and JASON DEAN,Wall Street Journal, Dec. 31, 2009-

BEIJING—These appear to be dark days for the Internet in China.

Four months into a crusade against Internet pornography, the government is closing thousands of sites—some pornographic, some not—and tightening rules on who can register Web addresses inside China.

Foreign sites such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, blocked by censors in the run-up to the 60th anniversary of Communist Party rule on Oct. 1, remain inaccessible to most Chinese users. Several prominent critics of the state who used the Internet to spread their message have been detained or imprisoned.

Yet this list of casualties obscures a larger truth: The censors are losing.

The dozen or so years since the Web came to China have seen repeated rounds of crackdowns and detentions, aided by a steady growth in scope and sophistication of the government’s filtering apparatus that critics dub the Great Firewall. Still, the Internet has enabled more Chinese to have more access to information today, and given them greater ability to communicate and express themselves than at any time since the founding of the People’s Republic.

The censors “are winning the battles everywhere,” says Isaac Mao, a blogging pioneer based in China and Chinese-Internet researcher, “but losing the war.”

In 2009, Beijing lost a big battle, too, in the so-called Green Dam episode. It was the most dramatic illustration of the limits of the censors’ power. The government’s plan to quietly compel all personal-computer makers put Web-filtering software known as Green Dam-Youth Escort into new PCs shipped into China was indefinitely shelved, amid anger from global technology companies and Chinese citizens alike.

The government said the software was meant to block children from accessing pornography, but critics said that it was unreasonable to require a specific program for all PCs, and that the software was filtering a broad range of content, such as social and political commentary, and even health, among others……. (more details from Wall Street Journal)

Posted in censorship, China, Freedom of Information, Human Rights, Internet, News, Politics, Speech, Technology, website, World | 2 Comments »