Status of Chinese People

About China and Chinese people's living condition

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  • Books to Read

    1. A China More Just, Gao Zhisheng
    2.Officially Sanctioned Crime in China, He Qinglian
    Will the Boat Sink the Water? Chen Guidi, Wu Chuntao
    Losing the New China, Ethan Gutmann
    Nine Commentaries on The Communist Party, the Epochtimes
  • Did you know

    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 ‘Internet User’ Category

China Ends Microblog Weibo’s Anonymity

Posted by Author on March 16, 2012

Authorities implement a new measure to monitor the country’s blogosphere

Beijing-based microbloggers on Friday will be prevented from registering an account on one of the country’s hugely popular Twitter-like services in anything but their real name, verified by their national ID card.

The move has been slammed by netizens and rights groups alike as a huge blow to freedom of expression in China, where many rely on services like Sina Weibo to find news and views that have been censored out of the tightly controlled state media.

“The microblog revolution, sharing of opinions, and increased circulation of news resulting from microblogs have led the regime to take certain measures,” the Paris-based press freedom group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said in an annual report this week. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Beijing, censorship, China, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Internet, Internet User, People, Politics, Social, Technology, Weibo | Comments Off on China Ends Microblog Weibo’s Anonymity

China records 300 million registered microblog users

Posted by Author on November 21, 2011

BEIJING (Reuters) – China has more than 300 million registered microbloggers, state media said Monday, one of its fastest growing groups of internet users that the government has vowed to control.

The country has the most internet users in the world, at 485 million, the official Xinhua news agency said, citing Zhang Xinsheng, an official with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

It also has the world’s largest “internet infrastructure,” Zhang said. The statistics were released during an internet conference in China’s central Hubei province. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in China, Internet User, News, People, Social, Technology, World | Comments Off on China records 300 million registered microblog users

Tens of thousands Chinese bloggers question official’s “suicide”- 11 stab marks to his body

Posted by Author on September 2, 2011

BEIJING — Tens of thousands of Internet users have gone online to question reports in China’s state-run media saying an anti-corruption official found dead with 11 stab marks to his body had taken his own life.

The body of Xie Yexin, who worked as an anti-corruption official in the central Chinese province of Hubei, was discovered in his office on Tuesday next to a knife wrapped in a paper napkin with a knife, press reports said.

By Friday, Xie’s death was the third most talked-about subject on the popular news site, while the same company’s Weibo — China’s answer to Twitter — had more than 130,000 comments on the subject. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in China, Internet User, News, Official, People, Social, World | Comments Off on Tens of thousands Chinese bloggers question official’s “suicide”- 11 stab marks to his body

China’s ‘great firewall’ creator pelted with shoes

Posted by Author on May 20, 2011

Chinese police are seeking a man who said he threw eggs and shoes at the architect of China’s “great firewall”, the world’s most sophisticated and extensive online censorship system.

The claims were cheered by many internet users, in a reflection of growing anger among them about increasingly stringent controls. Admirers showered the anonymous young man with flippant promises of everything from Nike trainers to replace his lost footwear, to iPads, sex and jobs.

The office of Fang Binxing – who is known as the father of the great firewall – denied the attack had happened, while Wuhan University in Hubei province, where the incident reportedly happened, told the Guardian it was not aware of it. No photographs have surfaced of the event. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in censorship, Central China, China, Freedom of Speech, Hubei, Human Rights, Internet User, Law, News, People, Politics, World, Wuhan | Comments Off on China’s ‘great firewall’ creator pelted with shoes

China’s web spin doctors spread Beijing’s propaganda message

Posted by Author on May 16, 2011

By Pascale Trouillaud (AFP) –

BEIJING — China, which employs an army of censors to police the Internet, has also deployed legions of “web commentators” to get the government’s message out — in a crafty but effective way.

With nearly half a billion people surfing the net in China, more than half of them using microblogs, the Internet has quickly become a vital forum for debate in the world’s most populous country — and a major sounding board. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in China, Internet, Internet User, News, People, Politics, Social, Technology, World | Comments Off on China’s web spin doctors spread Beijing’s propaganda message

In China, microblogging sites become free-speech platform

Posted by Author on March 27, 2011

BEIJING — In a country where most media are controlled by the state, information is heavily censored and free-flowing opinions are sharply constricted, Chinese have turned to a new platform to openly exchange unfettered news and views: microblogs, similar to Twitter.

Microblogs — called “weibo” — seem to be one step ahead of China’s notoriously efficient censors, with a dozen microblogging sites, more than 120 million users and a million posts every hour. Web sites such as Facebook and YouTube are blocked in China. Sensitive broadcasts on BBC and CNN are blacked out. Even text messages with words such as “jasmine” and “revolution” may be bounced back as undeliverable. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in censorship, China, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Internet, Internet User, News, People, Politics, Social, Speech, Technology, World | Comments Off on In China, microblogging sites become free-speech platform

China’s Cyber-censors turn the screw on Internet users

Posted by Author on March 21, 2011

Google Mail targeted

Google accused the Chinese authorities today of being behind problems with its email service, Gmail. Since the end of February, Chinese users have reported difficulties gaining access to Gmail’s home page and sending e-mails. Google’s instant messaging service is also said to have been having problems.

A Google spokesperson contacted by Reporters Without Borders ruled out technical problems as the source of the problem, blaming instead “a government blockage designed to look like the problem is with Gmail.”

Google reported on its blog on 11 March: “We’ve noticed some highly targeted and apparently politically motivated attacks against our users. We believe activists may have been a specific target.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in censorship, China, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Internet User, News, People, Politics, Social, World | Comments Off on China’s Cyber-censors turn the screw on Internet users

Chinese Blogger Detained for Subversion, his wife warned against using Twitter

Posted by Author on March 11, 2011

Authorities in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang have detained prominent blogger Guo Weidong, known by his online nickname “Daxa,” his wife said Friday.

The move comes amid an ongoing crackdown on political activists and petitioners following calls for a fourth day of “Jasmine” protests in major Chinese cities.

Guo was taken from his home late at around 8.00 p.m. on Thursday by more than 10 police officers from nearby Ningbo city, his wife Zhang Dan said. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Blogger, China, East China, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Internet User, Jasmine Revolution, News, People, Politics, twitter, World, Zhejiang | Comments Off on Chinese Blogger Detained for Subversion, his wife warned against using Twitter

China detains, censors bloggers on ‘Jasmine Revolution’

Posted by Author on February 26, 2011

New York, February 25, 2011— China’s censors tightened Internet controls and security officials harassed and detained writers and activists in the wake of an online appeal for a “Jasmine Revolution” in China, according to international human rights groups and news reports. The apparent crackdown came in advance of two top legislative meetings, the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, scheduled for March.

Censors blocked the word “jasmine” after overseas dissident-run news website Boxun and Chinese Twitter users broadcast calls on February 19 to mobilize street protests modeled on recent unrest in the Middle East, according to international news reports. (Twitter is generally blocked in China but accessible to users of proxy networks based overseas.) Only a handful of protesters appeared, although calls continued for government protests characterized as “strolls” to continue every Sunday around China, according to The Associated Press. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Activist, censorship, China, Human Rights, Internet User, Jasmine Revolution, Law, News, People, Politics, Social, World | Comments Off on China detains, censors bloggers on ‘Jasmine Revolution’

Fear of Middle East-style democracy movement, China charges subversion for Internet User’s protest repostings

Posted by Author on February 24, 2011

BEIJING — China filed subversion charges against Internet users who reposted a call for protests as the authoritarian government enforced its crackdown against any Middle East-style democracy movement, activists said.

In addition to well-known activists who apparently remained in custody after being taken away ahead of the planned protests on Sunday, at least three people were detained on charges of “inciting subversion of state power,” according to the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy. China often uses the vaguely worded charge to lock up outspoken government critics.

In a nod to social stability concerns, China’s Vice President Xi Jinping on Wednesday urged greater outreach by the ruling Communist Party to handle issues related to education, employment, health care and housing. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Activist, China, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Internet User, News, People, Politics, Social, World | Comments Off on Fear of Middle East-style democracy movement, China charges subversion for Internet User’s protest repostings

Chinese netizens meet in Beijing suburb to discuss a speech on political reform by China’s premier Wen Jiabao

Posted by Author on August 23, 2010

Radio Free Asia, Aug. 23, 2010 –

— Chinese netizens met for a rare in-the-flesh political discussion forum in a northern Beijing suburb Monday, inspired by calls from premier Wen Jiabao for political reforms to stem rampant official corruption and abuse of power.

“This afternoon (Aug. 23), ordinary people from all walks of life and from the Greater China region will meet in Beijing for a discussion forum on Wen Jiabao’s remarks in Shenzhen,” wrote blogger and journalist Wen Yunchao, known online by his nickname “Beifeng.”

“Among the participants are well-known scholars including Xu Youyu, Cui Weiping, and Luo Shihong, as well as a large number of well-known names on Twitter,” he announced via the microblogging service Twitter.

The forum, chaired by Beijing Film Academy professor and social critic Cui Weiping, went ahead as planned via Twitter, although netizens reported a sudden power cut following the arrival of “a man and a woman wearing sunglasses” at the Miyun Shanshui Resort.

“A man and a woman wearing sunglasses arrived at the Miyun Reservoir discussion forum,” tweeted user “leewua” at around 5 p.m. local time. “The electricity was cut, and we had pretty much finished talking, so everyone left.”

Previous political discussion forums in Beijing have been raided by police and their participants pursued for “incitement to subversion.”

Call for reform

Wen Jiabao was quoted in a report by the official Xinhua news agency Saturday as saying that it is important to “guarantee the people’s democratic rights and legitimate rights and interests.”

“We must resolve the problem of excessive concentration of power, create conditions that allow people to criticize and supervise the government, and firmly punish corruption,” he was quoted as saying.

“We not only have to push forward reform of the economic system, but we also have to push forward reform of the political system,” the premier said, according to Xinhua.

Cui told assembled netizens that Wen’s speech was consistent with the demands of the controversial “Charter 08” document, which called for sweeping reforms to China’s political system, and whose co-author Liu Xiaobo is currently serving a jail-term for subversion…….(more details from Radio Free Asia)

Posted in Beijing, China, Event, forum, Internet User, News, People, Politics, Social, World | Comments Off on Chinese netizens meet in Beijing suburb to discuss a speech on political reform by China’s premier Wen Jiabao

Millions in China Have No Antivirus Software, Survey Shows

Posted by Author on March 31, 2010

By Owen Fletcher, IDG News Service, via PC World, Mar. 31, 2010-

The massive number of Chinese Internet users running no antivirus software increased last year, a survey showed, even though online security risks continued to multiply in the country.

The percentage of Internet users in China with no security software was 4.4 percent last year, up from 3.9 percent the previous year, according to survey results released late Tuesday by the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) and China’s National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team (CNCERT).

CNNIC estimates that 384 million people in China used the Internet in the second half of last year. By that calculation, the number of people in the country surfing the Internet with no antivirus software was nearly 17 million, representing a huge pool of PCs that attackers could easily infect and use for malicious ends.

Other results from the survey also showed the size of online security problems in China. For instance, nearly half of Chinese Internet users own virtual property, such as items in an online game or virtual coins for use on a social-networking site, according to the survey. Among those people, 14.6 percent said they had experienced some loss of that property due to theft of login credentials……. (more details from The PC World)

Posted in China, Computer, Firewall, Internet, Internet User, Life, News, People, Software, Technology, World | Comments Off on Millions in China Have No Antivirus Software, Survey Shows

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

(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 »

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

10 Forbidden Stories of 2009 in China (1)

Posted by Author on January 8, 2010

Epoch Times Staff, updated: Jan 7, 2010 –

The rapidly emerging and formidable force of Chinese netizens

The Chinese regime has imposed the toughest internet censorship in the sensitive year of 2009 which marked the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, 10th anniversary of the persecution against Falun Dafa, and the 60th anniversary of communist rule in China.

China has the largest population of Internet users in the world, with over 300 million users in 2009. Despite the tough internet censorship, netizens have become a great force to advocate human rights and monitor government officials. They have successfully put pressure on the regime to convict a malfeasant official who was responsible for the mysterious death of Li Qiaoming in a detention center in Yunnan Province; set rape case waitress Deng Yujiao free; and to sentence a corrupt government official, Zhou Jiugeng, to 11 years in prison on charge of taking bribes. They have also exposed some regime officials for spending public money to travel to Las Vegas.


The Mysterious Death of Li Qiaoming
China jails corrupt government official Zhou Jiugeng

(…… to be cont’d)

Original report from The Epochtimes

Posted in China, corruption, Internet, Internet User, Law, News, People, Politics, Social, Technology, World | Comments Off on 10 Forbidden Stories of 2009 in China (1)

China’s Online Censors Work Overtime

Posted by Author on September 30, 2009

By Bruce Einhorn, BusinessWeek, Sep. 30, 2009-

As China gears up to mark the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic on Oct. 1, the country’s security watchdogs are on alert for threats to the big celebration. The government is calling for “greater efforts to maintain public order and social stability,” the official Xinhua news agency reported on Sept. 28. In Beijing alone, 800,000 people have offered themselves as “safety volunteers,” Xinhua reports.

Part of the campaign to ensure a smooth anniversary includes an intensified effort to limit access to China’s Internet, say anti-censorship activists outside the country. “They have tried everything they can” to block software that helps people evade censorship, says Bill Xia, president of U.S.-based Dynamic Internet Technology, a company that has developed Freegate, software that enables users to circumvent censors by rerouting traffic through proxy servers. While there’s always a high level of censorship in China, says Xia, the campaign ahead of National Day this year is more comprehensive than usual. “This time they have really put a lot of resources to this,” he says.

Other censorship foes report similar problems. The Onion Router, or TOR, also uses proxy servers to help users gain access to restricted sites. Some half a million people rely on it daily, according to TOR Executive Director Andrew Lewman, who says China is one of the service’s top users. TOR, originally developed for the U.S. Navy, depends on volunteers to run its network and publish addresses to 2,000 “relays” that give people access to servers. “Since Sept. 25 we have seen a number of people saying that TOR has stopped working,” says Lewman. More than half of the relays were blocked.

Some Anti-Censorship Progress

The new campaign against services such as Freegate and TOR comes after critics of online censorship in China won a rare victory. On July 1 the government had planned to force all PC vendors to install or provide filtering software called Green Dam, which was meant to limit access to online pornography. But critics said it also restricted access to politically sensitive sites. After an outcry both abroad and at home, Beijing backed down and announced companies would not have to comply with the requirement.

Since then, though, the Chinese government has taken a hard line in the far western region of Xinjiang, where fighting between Muslim Uighurs and Han Chinese in July led to the deaths of 197 people and injuries to 1,700 others. The local government blamed Rebiya Kadeer, an exiled leader of the World Uighur Congress, for the unrest and said she used the Internet to communicate with “secessionists” in the vast region. After the rioting, the government began blocking the Internet in Urumqi, Xinjiang’s capital, and connections are still down, according to the official China Daily newspaper.

On Sept. 29, China Daily reported on new regulations designed to control use of the Internet throughout Xinjiang. “Online activities compromising national security, damaging national and social interests, undermining ethnic unity, instigating ethnic succession, and harming social stability will be severely punished,” the paper reported.

“The Electronic Great Wall”

The renewed efforts to limit access to the Internet inside China, as well as recent attacks against foreign journalists, prompted Reporters Without Borders, the international group that advocates for press freedom, to criticize the Chinese government. “The Electronic Great Wall has never been as consolidated as it is now, on the eve of the 1 October anniversary,” the group said in a Sept. 29 statement.

That said, Lewman says TOR is staying ahead of the authorities. Although access is difficult, TOR “is [working] and has been,” he says. The project’s volunteers regularly change the Internet protocol (IP) addresses that people can use to gain access to TOR, he says. “It’s in constant churn,” Lewman says. “You can block it at one point in time, but by noon 20% of them have already changed IP addresses.”

Unlike other regimes, he adds, there are limits to how far the Chinese government will go to control the Internet. During the upheaval following the Iranian presidential election, for instance, “Iran wasn’t afraid to block secure Web sites across the board, which breaks e-commerce, access to Gmail, everything,” says Lewman. “I don’t think China is willing to do that.”

Einhorn is Asia regional editor in BusinessWeek‘s Hong Kong bureau.

Posted in Beijing, break net-block, censorship, China, Freedom of Information, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Internet, Internet User, News, Politics, Software, Technology, website, World | Comments Off on China’s Online Censors Work Overtime

China’s Internet Bar Association’s Self-Discipline Pledge

Posted by Author on September 12, 2009

Radio Free Asia, Sep 11, 2009-

According to China’s official media,, on the afternoon of September 9, Internet Bar Associations of over 30 cities and provinces in China published a joint statement in Xi’an City, pledging that they will assist the Chinese regime in purifying the Internet environment.

Representatives of the 30 localities including metropolitan cities and provinces directly under the central regime such as Beijing, Shanghai and Shanxi Province, and large cities such as Dalian, Xiamen, Guangzhou, and provincial capitals, stated that they will follow the rules and regulations set by the authorities, assist the government to crack down underground Internet bars, proactively purify the Internet bar market, guide youths away from Internet bars, improve the Internet bar environment, avoid any potential risk to Internet security, and protect consumer rights.

Radio Free Asia interviewed Chen Jianying, head of customer service for ‘China Internet Bars Online.’ Chen thinks that this act will benefit the exchange of information between managers of Internet bars in different areas.

“The joint statement from the associations is very effective. The main issues are pirate music and DVD products in some isolated areas and [other] issues relating to young people. Our next step will be designing specific measures on how to serve our customers better through this joint statement of the organizations.”
An excuse for media control and censorship?

Former editor of the Shenzhen Lawyer magazine, sociologist He Quinglian, who now lives in the U.S., thinks that since China’s professional organizations are required to be linked to government agencies, this statement is a reflection of media control by the Beijing regime before its anniversary on October 1.

Says He, “China’s professional associations are managed by the government and are established under government agencies. They have two sides – they represent the government in front of business and represent business in front of government. Therefore this statement of self-discipline was actually arranged by the government. Its aim is to control the media, especially before the 60th Anniversary of the Chinese communist regime. The government wants to eliminate any different opinions to build a so-called harmonious environment.”…… (more details from The Epochtimes)

Posted in censorship, China, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Internet, Internet User, Life, News, Politics, Technology, World | Comments Off on China’s Internet Bar Association’s Self-Discipline Pledge

China delays launch of internet filter Green Dam

Posted by Author on June 30, 2009

Jonathan Watts and Tania Branigan in Beijing,, Tuesday 30 June 2009 –

In a last-minute climbdown, the Chinese government announced today that it will delay the launch of censorship software that was supposed to have been sold in every computer from tomorrow.

The postponement comes after an unprecedented wave of online opposition, protests by foreign governments and calls by prominent bloggers for Chinese netizens to climb, attack and demonstrate against the “great firewall”.

Xinhua, the state news agency, reported the change of plan four hours before the software launch was due.

“China will delay the mandatory installation of the ‘Green Dam-Youth Escort’ filtering software on new computers,” it said in a terse statement attributed to the ministry of industry and information technology.

The authorities looked likely to miss their deadline for the rollout of the software that blocks pornographic, violent and politically sensitive content.

The Guardian struggled to find a single retailer who had Green Dam either installed or bundled with computers.

Adding to the mystery, Lenovo, Sony, Dell and Hewlett Packard refused to comment on whether their PCs are now being shipped with the software, as the government ordered them to do last month.

The government says the software is necessary to clear the Chinese web of “harmful content”. But critics say it is a misguided attempt to put the internet genie back in the bottle by a Communist party that now has to answer to about 300 million web users.

“Green Dam is a mini-great firewall placed inside every personal computer,” said Michael Anti, an influential blogger. “The real logic behind it is that China is a big kindergarten in which even adults are treated as children that need to be ‘protected’.”

Isaac Mao, a prominent internet commentator, believes the government has made a big mistake: “I think this is the tipping point between the people rising up and those in power trying to suppress them. The great firewall is overloaded and that is why the authorities are trying to move the focus of control to the desktop. But it has annoyed a lot of people. Not just liberals who want free speech but the young who see it as an intrusion into their personal lives.”

Although the plan has at least temporarily failed, it succeeded in mobilising people against the censors. Wen Yuchao, a journalist and blogger who goes by the online name North Wind, said more than 1,000 netizens have signed up to his campaign to “climb” the firewall by signing up to proxy servers that bypass the government’s controls. He said 15,000 people are joining TOR ‑ one of the most popular proxies ‑ every day, about double the normal rate. Freegate, a proxy that was developed by Falun Gong, has also reported a sharp rise in demand.

Ai Weiwei, a prominent artist and freedom of expression champion, called for an internet boycott tomorrow.

“Thousands of netizens have said they will join the boycott. People are starting to realise how important it is to tell the government what they want,” said Ai. “There is nothing the authorities can do [to stop us]. That is what is great about this. It is personal but widespread.”…… (more from The Guardian)

Posted in China, Firewall, Freedom of Information, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Internet, Internet User, Law, News, Politics, Software, Speech, Technology, World | Comments Off on China delays launch of internet filter Green Dam

China containing dissent online 20 years after Tiananmen

Posted by Author on May 30, 2009

Owen Fletcher , IDG News Service, Via Computer World,  29.05.2009 –

The Internet has brought new hope to reformists in China since the country crushed pro-democracy protests in the capital 20 years ago. But as dissidents have gone high-tech, the government in turn has worked to restrict free speech on the Internet, stifling threats to its rule that could grow online.

China has stepped up monitoring of dissidents and Internet censorship ahead of June 4, when hundreds were killed in 1989 after Beijing sent soldiers to its central Tiananmen Square to disperse protestors. The authoritarian government wants to ensure that date and other sensitive anniversaries this year pass without public disturbances, observers say. In recent months, China has blocked YouTube and closed two blog hosting sites, and, known for their liberal content.

Those moves added to an existing set of measures China uses to control online activity. China blocks access to countless Web sites as part of a filtering system critics call the “Great Firewall,” including home pages of human rights advocacy groups, parts of Wikipedia and some foreign news sites. Government censors patrol online forums for pornographic or politically subversive content, which Web site managers often delete themselves to avoid punishment by authorities.

But the challenge to censor speech effectively has become greater as China’s Internet population expands. China had almost 300 million Internet users at the end of last year — a thousand-fold increase over just the past 12 years, according to China’s domain registration agency.

The government has appeared recently to be slightly more tolerant of some types of speech. The rise of blogs and online forums, impossible for Beijing to fully control, has given people a direct and far-reaching way to air grievances. The authorities have also seemed to yield on occasion to online public opinion. This month, a blogger who had been detained for writing about corrupt village elections had charges against him dropped after he continued posting about the poll online, pushing himself into the public eye.

But while disgraced local officials are often fair targets for complaints, criticism of the ruling Communist Party itself, or of systemic problems at all, remains largely off-limits both online and offline.

Besides Tiananmen, this year is the 10th anniversary of China banning Falun Gong, a spiritual movement, and the 60th anniversary of China’s founding, which Beijing will mark with a big military parade.

Dissidents, including many under house arrest and constant monitoring, have turned to tools like proxy servers and Skype to communicate with each other and the world outside China. But while Skype encrypts calls and instant messages, the only version available on the Chinese Internet comes from a joint venture between Skype and a Chinese portal. That version uses keyword filtering to block messages with sensitive content, which it then stores along with user data, researchers at the University of Toronto said in a report last year.

China this year also redoubled its efforts against at least one popular program used to circumvent its Internet filtering. Chinese users of the program, called FreeGate, began reporting problems including slower loading of foreign Web sites early this year, said Bill Xia, president of Dynamic Internet Technology, the developer of the software.

Hundreds of thousands of people use FreeGate each day, including many dissidents, said Xia. The program encrypts users’ communication and routes it through IP (Internet Protocol) addresses abroad, granting access to Web sites blocked in China.

Chinese censors have long tried to identify encrypted FreeGate traffic so they can block the foreign IP addresses channeling it, said Xia. Users are given a new IP address when that happens, but this year China’s IP blocking became faster and more aggressive, Xia said.

Beijing is nervous about citizens finding sensitive information online, especially this year, Xia said.

China may have boosted its manpower and improved integration with the country’s international IP routers to expand the blocking against FreeGate, Xia said. Xia’s team has since expanded its network of IPs to make the program’s traffic harder to identify, and its speed has since returned to normal, he said.

That followed years of technological back-and-forth with China’s censors, with developers of FreeGate always upgrading it to counter China’s most recent blocking tactics, Xia said.

Mobile phones have helped information in China flow more freely as well. Videos captured on cell phones of riots last year in Tibet reached a global audience when they were posted online. Tibet is controlled by China, but many residents still revere the Dalai Lama, the leader of Tibetan Buddhism who has lived in exile from the region for decades.

Mass text messaging on mobile phones drew thousands of Chinese in Xiamen, a coastal city, to demonstrate against the construction of a chemical plant two years ago.

But China also runs a filtering system for text messages that contain political keywords, and authorities often harass or detain individuals who lead demonstrations. Phones used by known dissidents are usually tapped.

Rights groups have long used their Web sites and mailing lists to prolong the memory of the Tiananmen crackdown. But with the anniversary approaching next week, efforts at commemoration in China appear largely absent, both on the Internet and on the ground.

The Computer World

Posted in break net-block, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Internet, Internet User, News, People, Software, Technology, World | 2 Comments »

China Cyber-dissident released after completing 8-year jail

Posted by Author on March 14, 2009

Reporters Without Borders, Mar. 13, 2009-

Reporters Without Borders hails the release of cyber-dissident Yang Zili, the founder of the “Garden of Ideas” website (, from Beijing No. 2 prison yesterday on completing an eight-year sentence on a charge of subverting the state.

“It was symbolic that Yang was freed on Online Free Expression Day and we are very pleased for him,” Reporters Without Borders said. “However China continues to be an enemy of the Internet and one of the world’s biggest prisons for government critics, whether journalists or ordinary Internet users. We call for an investigation into the treatment he received while in detention.”

Yang was a member of a clandestine discussion group called the New Youth Society, which met once a week to discuss political reform. Another member of the group, Zhang Honghai, was also freed yesterday on completing an eight-year sentence. Two other members of the group who were given 10-year sentences, Jin Haike and Xu Wei, are still being held.

All four were arrested in March 2001 and were convicted on the same charge in May 2003. Jin is being held in Beijing No. 2 prison. Xu was transferred to a prison in Yanqing after developing a mental illness while in detention.

After graduating from the prestigious University of Beijing in mechanical engineering, Yang worked as a computer engineer while writing theoretical articles posted on his website advocating political liberalism, criticising repression of the Falungong spiritual movement and deploring the problems faced by the peasantry.

Then aged 30, Yang was arrested as he was leaving his Beijing home on 13 March 2001. His wife was arrested the same day and was released 48 hours later after being forced to agree in writing not to talk about his arrest.

China is the world’s biggest prison for cyber-dissidents. A total of 69 people are currently detained because of their online activity (Download theInternet Enemiesreport in PDF).

– Reporters Without Borders: Cyber-dissident Yang Zili freed on completing eight-year sentence, call for probe into how he was treated while held

Posted in Beijing, China, Dissident, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Internet User, Journalist, Law, News, People, Politics, World | Comments Off on China Cyber-dissident released after completing 8-year jail

RSF condemns China’s latest surveillance measurement on Internet cafe users

Posted by Author on October 27, 2008

Reporters Without Borders, 24 October 2008-

Reporters Without Borders condemns the Chinese government’s latest measure to reinforce surveillance of Internet café users, who will henceforth have to have their mugshot taken and their ID card swiped by a Customer Registration Device to be installed in all of Beijing’s estimated 1,500 Internet cafés by the end of the year.

“All Internet users are now suspects to be put on file in China,” Reporters Without Borders said. “By citing a need to combat piracy and cyber-crime, the government has found a way to introduce a terrifying Big Brother-style system for automatically creating files on Internet users. With no guarantees on how this information will be used, the Internet cafés could become places for all kinds of spying and informing.”

According to a 16 October report in Beijing News, the data on new Internet café clients will be sent directly to the Cultural Law Enforcement Agency, whose job in theory is to combat piracy. The authorities will also be able to open up any registration device without a warrant and obtain all the data stored inside. Agency spokesperson Li Fei said the measure was designed to prevent “ID sharing” – different people using the same ID card.

After a fire that killed 25 people in an Internet café in the north Beijing student district of Lanjisu in 2002, the authorities closed down 3,000 Internet cafés for good and closed 12,000 others temporarily, conditioning their reopening on their compliance with safety standards and their obtaining a new licence. The culture ministry also restricted the access of minors to Internet cafés during school holidays, imposing a maximum visit length of three hours, in order to “limit the Internet’s negative influences.”

At the end of 2003, the government began forcing Internet café users to integrate surveillance software into their systems in order to monitor online usage. The software allows the authorities to collect personal data on Internet users, record their browsing history and to be sent an alert when illegal content is viewed.

Since 1 September 2007, the Chinese cyber-police have been dispatching online patrols to Internet café computer screens to check on their users. Two virtual police officers called JingJing and ChaCha pop up on the screens every half hour to remind Internet users that the authorities are monitoring the Internet closely. By clicking on the icons, Internet users can communicate with the cyber-police and report violations.

Around 40,000 cyber-police are deployed every day to monitor the Internet and filter for subjects regarded as sensitive by the Communist Party. China is one of the world’s most repressive countries as regards Internet usage and some 50 cyber-dissidents are currently in prison for using the right to online free expression.

A China Youth Daily editorial (in Chinese) on this subject

The Reporters Without Borders

Posted in censorship, China, Freedom of Information, Human Rights, Internet, Internet User, Law, News, People, Politics, Technology, World | 1 Comment »

Microsoft’s Anti-piracy tool angers China Internet users

Posted by Author on October 25, 2008

Tania Branigan in Beijing, The Guardian,Thursday October 23 2008-

Chinese internet users have reacted with fury after Microsoft launched an anti-piracy tool to combat the widespread sale of fake software. People have flooded blogs and bulletin boards to complain it violates their right to privacy – with one lawyer even reporting the firm to security officials for “hacking”.

Microsoft dominates the Chinese market, and even the president, Hu Jintao, has said he uses its products. But with software piracy estimated at more than 90%, the firm’s profits fail to reflect its popularity.

The new version of its “Windows Genuine Advantage” program turns the background black every hour if the installed software fails a validation test.

But the software giant’s attempt to protect its intellectual property sparked angry denunciations. ” The computer is mine!” one angry blogger wrote on the web portal “Microsoft has no right to control my hardware without my agreement.”

Dong Zhengwei, 35, a Beijing lawyer, has complained to the public security ministry, describing the software giant as the “biggest hacker in China, with its intrusion into users’ computer systems without their agreement or any judicial authority”. He told the official China Daily newspaper he believed the measure breached China’s criminal law.

The China Software Industry Association said it also planned to take action against Microsoft.

Critics said Microsoft was putting their information at risk by accessing their computers. But the software giant argues that counterfeit programs pose a far greater risk to information security.

The Guardian

Posted in China, Company, Computer, Internet, Internet User, Law, Microsoft, News, People, Software, Technology, USA, World | 1 Comment »

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