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    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 ‘chat’ Category

Tension grows in China between “harmonized” netizens and online censorship

Posted by Author on May 30, 2010


By John Boudreau, The Mercury News, U.S. 05/29/2010 –

SHANGHAI
— When blogger Isaac Mao recently announced online an upcoming talk by a Beijing writer whose work is banned by the government, police showed up at his door at night to “convince” him to cancel the event, which he eventually agreed to do. But just to be sure, authorities turned off the electricity at the planned meeting space and barred the doors.

Chinese officials say such actions are aimed at creating “social harmony.” In the sarcastic lexicon of Chinese netizens, Mao was “harmonized” that April evening.

“They won’t arrest you to stop you, but they pressure you,” said Mao, whose website is blocked by the government. “They pressured the owners of this space and they threatened to close it down. Many people worry about losing their jobs. That’s why many people self-censor themselves.”

With more than 400 million Chinese now online — and 100 million more expected to join them by the end of the year — netizens are increasingly bumping against the limits of expression imposed by officials.  Google’s recent decision to stop censoring its search site highlighted the tension between those who want an unfettered Internet and government efforts to suppress “unhealthy” and “subversive” activity. And it revealed to many Chinese how far the government will go to block certain information, Mao said.

China’s leadership views the Internet as an integral part of economic growth, but makes no apologies for censorship efforts so formidable they’ve been dubbed the Great Firewall of China. President Hu Jintao has said the stability of the nation depends on the government’s ability to “cope” with the Internet.

The government is so determined to control public opinion that it hires bloggers — dubbed the “50-cent army” because of what they are paid per post — to promote its views online. It also backs censorship-friendly social networking sites. And officials are considering a plan to require Internet users to reveal their identity before commenting in public forums.

When “very allergic topics spread quickly” and the government can’t block every Internet posting about them, officials issue orders banning entire topics, pressuring companies that host discussion boards and blogs to fall in line, said tech blogger Hong Bo, who has received government warnings to stop writing on sensitive issues, such as Google’s recent defiance of censorship regulations.

It’s not uncommon for young people to alert friends through mobile phone text messages to blog posts they have written — and the importance of reading them quickly before they are blocked, said Lisa Li, founder of China Youthology, which examines the attitudes and beliefs of those 15 to 25……. (more details from The Mercury News)

Posted in Blog, censorship, chat, China, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Internet, News, Online forum, People, Politics, Propaganda, Social, Speech, website, World | Comments Off on Tension grows in China between “harmonized” netizens and online censorship

China ‘spying on Skype messages’– 150,000 messages in surveillance system: report

Posted by Author on October 3, 2008


BBC News, Oct. 3, 2008-

China has been monitoring and censoring messages sent through the internet service Skype, researchers say.

Citizen Lab, a Canadian research group, says it found a database containing thousands of politically sensitive words which had been blocked by China.

The publically available database also displayed personal data on subscribers.

Skype said it had always been open about the filtering of data by Chinese partners, but that it was concerned by breaches in the security of the site.

Citizen Lab researchers, based at the University of Toronto, said they discovered a huge surveillance system which had picked up and stored messages sent through the online telephone and text messaging service.

The database held more than 150,000 messages which included words such as “democracy” and “Tibet” and phrases relating to the banned spiritual movement, Falun Gong.

“These text messages, along with millions of records containing personal information, are stored on insecure publicly accessible web servers,” said Citizen Lab’s report, entitled “Breaching Trust”.

They said that by using one username, it was possible to identify all the people who had sent messages to or received them from the original user.

‘Meeting laws’

Skype is operated in China as Tom-Skype, a joint venture involving the American auction site, eBay and Chinese company TOM-Online.

Citizen Lab said it was “clear” that Tom was “engaging in extensive surveillance with seemingly little regard for the security and privacy of Skype users”.

They asked to what extent Tom Online and Skype were co-operating with the Chinese government in monitoring communications.

But Skype president Josh Silverman said China’s monitoring was “common knowledge” and that Tom Online, had “established procedures to meet local laws and regulations”.

“These regulations include the requirement to monitor and block instant messages containing certain words deemed offensive by the Chinese authorities,” he said.

Mr Silverman said that it had been Tom Online’s policy to block certain messages and then delete them and he would be investigating why the policy had changed to allow the company to upload and store those messages.

Although internet use is high in China, the authorities have long prevented citizens from accessing websites which are considered politically sensitive.

Western internet companies such as Google, Microsoft and Yahoo have been criticised by human-rights groups for adhering to China’s strict regulations.

– BBC News: China ‘spying on Skype messages’

Posted in censorship, chat, China, Firewall, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Internet, Law, News, Politics, Social, Technology, World | 1 Comment »

Skype messages being monitored in China, Canadian researchers say

Posted by Author on October 3, 2008


CBC.ca, Canada, October 2, 2008-

University of Toronto researchers have uncovered a huge filtering system in China that tracks and keeps records of text messages containing politically charged words sent through the internet phone application Skype.

The system keeps track of text messages, but not voice calls, sent through TOM-Skype, a joint venture between the Chinese wireless company TOM Online — a division of the Hong Kong-based TOM Group Ltd. — and eBay, the web auction company that bought online phone service Skype in 2005.

The discovery once again shines a spotlight on the collective internet filtering efforts at work in China — known as the Great Firewall of China — and raises the possibility that the data could be used for surveillance.

The report is from Citizen Lab, a group of security researchers and human rights activists who focus on the intersection of civic politics and digital media. The group is housed at the university’s Munk Centre for International Studies.

The report, entitled Breaching Trust: An analysis of surveillance and security practices on China’s TOM-Skype platform, was published Wednesday on the University of Toronto’s Information Warfare Monitor website.

Nart Villeneuve, a research fellow at the Citizen Lab, made the discovery.

Villeneuve monitored data generated by TOM-Skype and noted that when offensive words were sent using the service, an encrypted message was sent to an internet address. The trail led him to TOM Online’s computers, where, due to a security lapse, he was able to read their computer directories over the web.

He and his Citizen Lab colleagues were able to view, download and archive 166,766 unique messages that had been filtered and they successfully translated close to 100,000.

While some contained obscenity-filled language, many messages appeared to contain keywords related to sensitive topics such as the religious group Falun Gong, Taiwan independence and opposition to the Communist Party of China.

Keywords do not appear to be the only reason why certain messages were flagged, however, as the researchers were unable themselves to trigger the filtering of data by sending messages containing those words. The researchers suggest geography and known addresses may also play a role in what messages were being filtered. In addition to keeping track of the text in the messages, the system also recorded Skype caller information.

Further testing would be required to determine conclusively that the messages were being used for surveillance and not just filtering, say the report’s authors. However, regardless of intent, they say the system could be used for surveillance.

Jennifer Caukin, an eBay spokeswoman, issued a statement to CBC News on Thursday saying in April 2006, Skype publicly disclosed that TOM operated a text filter that blocked certain words on chat messages but said it did not compromise TOM customers’ privacy.

“Last night, we learned that this practice was changed without our knowledge or consent and we are extremely concerned. We deeply apologize for the breach of privacy relating to chat messages on TOM’s servers in China and we are urgently addressing this situation with TOM,” she wrote.

The Citizen Lab researchers said the report runs counter to the belief — popular among dissidents in China — that Skype’s encryption technology protects users from government monitoring.

Citizen Lab head Ron Deibert and colleague Rafal Rohozinski said in the report the findings are further proof that even secure chats can leave a trace.

“This is a wake-up call to everyone who has ever put their (blind) faith in the assurances offered up by network intermediaries like Skype,” they wrote. “Declarations and privacy policies are no substitute for the type of due diligence that the research put forth here represents.”

CBC.ca

Posted in censorship, chat, China, Falun Gong, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Internet, News, Politics, Social, Technology, World | Comments Off on Skype messages being monitored in China, Canadian researchers say

DIT Alleges Skype Redirects Users in China to Censorware Version

Posted by Author on September 25, 2007


BUSINESS WIRE, September 24, 2007-

CARY, N.C.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– DIT (Dynamic Internet Technology Inc)  alleges discovery of Skype’s cooperation with internet censorship in China, which DIT believes is an effort to stop the spread of DIT’s popular anti-censorship tool.

Skype (http://www.skype.com), an instant messaging, voice chat and file downloading tool, is very popular in China. On September 13, 2007, DIT established its presence on Skype, so users in China can talk to DIT over Skype to get DynaWeb url and download its popular censorship-busting software, Freegate.

DIT alleges that, on the morning of September 23, the company started to receive reports from concerned users in China that now when they try to download the Skype software, Skype’s website redirects them to Skype’s Chinese partner’s site, http://skype.tom.com, which doles out a modified Chinese version, instead of Skype’s official version as before.

DIT feels that such a version of Skype from a Chinese website is questionable, as some hidden capabilities can be built-in to censor Skype’s usage. In January, 2006, Business Week reported that “TOM and Skype now filter phrases such as “Falun Gong” and “Dalai Lama.” According to DIT, internet freedom activists in China have been warning people about the possibility that Tom.com’s versions have or will have more trojan capability to monitor and report users’ activities to Chinese government.

DIT has confirmed this redirection. DIT believes this move by Skype is the result of Chinese government’s pressure, targeting to curb Freegate’s wildfire-speed adoption in China.

Freegate is part of DynaWeb technologies. DynaWeb enable users to evade Internet censorship and to visit websites that are otherwise blocked. DynaWeb was first launched in March, 2002. It is developed and maintained by volunteers and personal contributions, and has enjoyed great popularity among users in China and Iran, despite Internet restrictions by the governments in these countries.

Original report from BUSINESS WIRE

Posted in break net-block, censorship, chat, China, Company, Internet, Law, News, Politics, Social, Software, Spyware, Technology, World | 1 Comment »

China Closed 2 Tibetan Literary Websites

Posted by Author on July 13, 2007


Radio free Asia, 2007.07.10-

HONG KONG—Authorities in the northern Chinese city of Xian have closed a literary Web site run by a Tibetan, apparently for posting “political” content, the editor said.

The site, known as “The Lamp,” claimed some 800 registered forum users. It was closed July 4 by Internet police in the city, the editor told RFA’s Tibetan service.

“When we called the [service provider], they thought perhaps it was due to the detection of political content by the Chinese Internet police,” the editor said, adding that the Chinese service provider was unsure of the reasons for closure.

An official who answered the phone at the state-owned Xian Technology Ltd, a company that sells and distributes Web sites, declined to comment on the case.

The site, which comprised a main Web site, weblog, and discussion forum, employed the editor, a technician, and an administrative assistant, the editor said.

One contributor to the site said its closure had distressed the Tibetan community it served.

“The sudden closure of this Web site has disappointed many young Tibetan readers. Many have already expressed their disappointment on another Web site called ‘Tibetan Language.’ Several college students called and informed me how they miss our Web site,” he said.

Another site closed

“Usually the Chinese authorities are very suspicious of Tibetan Web sites. They suspect political activities when we run Web sites in Tibetan. They think that Tibetans inside and outside China use these forums for separatist actions.”

The editor said another Tibetan-language site he edited, “China’s Tibetan Residential Education Network,” was closed at the same time.

“The Chinese government issued rules on July 1 requiring …the name of an author [to appear] at the end of each article posted on a Web site. If the Web site contains articles on sensitive topics, the Web site or the author could be fined 4,000-60,000 yuan (U.S. $526-U.S. $7,893),” he said.

“The topics specified were writings on security, unity of the nation, ethnic unrest, writings against the Constitution and … unity of nationalities,” the editor said.

Political debate in China over the registration and disclosure of authors’ real names on content posted in Chinese cyberspace has continued for more than two years.

The country’s Web watchdog, the Internet Society of China, has published a suggested “self-discipline” code encouraging bloggers and online authors to reveal their true names.

But the move has drawn criticism from some of the biggest Internet service providers, who say anonymity is one of the attractions of blogging and forum participation, and who fear losing large numbers of Chinese customers to overseas service providers.

Detentions reported

According to the Paris-based press freedom group Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF), at least 30 journalists and 50 Internet users are currently detained in China, some of them since the 1980s.

“The government blocks access to thousands of news Web sites. It jams the Chinese-, Tibetan-, and Uyghur-language programs of 10 international radio stations. After focusing on Web sites and chat forums, the authorities are now concentrating on blogs and video-sharing sites,” RSF said in a statement on its Web site.

Chinese Internet users who do not use proxy servers are blocked from searching with keywords considered subversive by the country’s Internet police.

Critics are frequently sentenced to jail terms for “divulging state secrets,” “subversion,” and “defamation.”

– Original report from Radio free Asia: Chinese Authorities Close Tibetan Literary Web Site

Posted in Asia, Blog, censorship, chat, China, Culture, ethnic, Freedom of Information, Human Rights, Internet, Law, News, NW China, People, Politics, Religion, Shaanxi, Social, Tibetan, website, World, Xi’an | Comments Off on China Closed 2 Tibetan Literary Websites

China moves to ban anonymous online posts and chating

Posted by Author on July 6, 2007


Chatroom users will be required to register with their real names after an internet campaign mobilised 10,000 people to join a protest march

Times Online, July 6, 2007- 

Anonymous online postings are to be banned by a city in China, after residents mounted a successful internet campaign against proposals for a huge chemicals factory.

Internet users will have to provide their real names, backed up by data from their identity cards, when posting messages on more than 100,000 websites registered in Xiamen. Authorities are taking action after thousands of residents of the prosperous southern port city marched through the streets, mobilised by mobile phone text messages and an internet-based campaign.

Protesters used their mobile phones to send text reports, as well as photos and videos, to bloggers and websites in other cities, which posted live reports of the march. The local government has suspended construction of the £700 million chemicals plant, pending an investigation into the potential environmental risk.

Tian Feng, vice-director of the Xiamen Bureau of Industry and Commerce, said that a new law, the Measures for Management and Disposition of Harmful and Unhealthy Information on the Internet, would be announced soon by the city government. “All postings must implement a real-name system. We are the first in the country to do this,” Mr Tian said.

The law obliges anyone who wants to chat online to register using their identity card. Moderators of political noticeboards will be required to use their real names, and anonymous comments will be banned. Messages will be vetted before they are posted.

One government official said that the protest had shown the necessity to control content on the internet. He said: “Those who illegally spread harmful or bad information will be detained or fined.”

Internet censorship is common in China, where the Government employs an elaborate system of filters and tens of thousands of human monitors to survey the surfing habits of its 140 million internet users.

Dozens of outspoken journalists and internet commentators are serving lengthy prison terms after being jailed on charges such as subversion or leaking state secrets. Internet cafés are required to inspect and register the identity cards of all users, but this is not widely enforced, particularly outside the larger cities.

Lian Yue — real name Zhong Xiaoyong — a writer and blogger who posted real-time footage of the march on his website, was swift to comment on the planned crackdown on anonymous postings. He wrote: “The awakening of public power can perform a key influential function in environmental protection. That small step for Xiamen’s citizens should have become a giant leap for the progress of environmental protection in China. Unfortunately, some local Xiamen officials perhaps did not see this as an honour, and subconsciously felt that they had lost face.”

The clampdown seems unlikely to deter those people who dare to criticise the Government online or to voice dissenting opinions, since most are already well known to the police, and their actions are carefully monitored. Those involved in Xiamen were not political dissidents, but ordinary citizens anxious to protect the environment of their pretty seaside town, which has become a winter escape for Beijing’s wealthy, and also the value of their homes.

original report from Times Online

Posted in Asia, Blog, censorship, chat, China, Environment, Human Rights, Incident, Internet, Internet User, Law, News, People, Politics, pollution, Protest, Social, Speech, website | Comments Off on China moves to ban anonymous online posts and chating

China: One of the 13 Internet enemies in 2006

Posted by Author on November 8, 2006


Reporters Without Borders, 7 November 2006-

The online demo is also accessible on a miror Web site, for those who cannot access http://www.rsf.org

The list of 13 Internet enemies

Three countries – Nepal, Maldives and Libya – have been removed from the annual list of Internet enemies, which Reporters Without Borders publishes today. But many bloggers were harassed and imprisoned this year in Egypt, so it has been added to the roll of shame reserved for countries that systematically violate online free expression.

Countries in alphabetical order :

– Belarus

The government has a monopoly of telecommunications and does not hesitate to block access to opposition websites if it feels the need, especially at election time. Independent online publications are also often hacked. In March 2006, for example, several websites critical of President Alexandre Lukashenko mysteriously disappeared from the Internet for several days.


- Burma

The Burmese government’s Internet policies are even more repressive than those of its Chinese and Vietnamese neighbours. The military junta clearly filters opposition websites. It keeps a very close eye on Internet cafes, in which the computers automatically execute screen captures every five minutes, in order to monitor user activity. The authorities targeted Internet telephony and chat services in June, blocking Google’s Gtalk, for example. The aim was two-fold: to defend the profitable long-distance telecommunications market, which is controlled by state companies, as well as to stop cyber-dissidents from using a means of communication that is hard to monitor.


- China

China unquestionably continues to be the world’s most advanced country in Internet filtering. The authorities carefully monitor technological progress to ensure that no new window of free expression opens up, After initially targeting websites and chat forums, they nowadays concentrate on blogs and video exchange sites. China now has nearly 17 million bloggers. This is an enormous number, but very few of them dare to tackle sensitive issues, still less criticise government policy. Firstly, because China’s blog tools all include filters that block “subversive” word strings. Secondly, because the companies operating these services, both Chinese and foreign, are pressured by the authorities to control content. They employ armies of moderators to clean up the content produced by the bloggers. Finally, in a country in which 52 people are currently in prison for expressing themselves too freely online, self-censorship is obviously in full force. Just five years ago, many people thought Chinese society and politics would be revolutionised by the Internet, a supposedly uncontrollable medium. Now, with China enjoying increasing geopolitical influence, people are wondering the opposite, whether perhaps China’s Internet model, based on censorship and surveillance, may one day be imposed on the rest of the world.


- Cuba

With less than 2 per cent of its population online, Cuba is one of the most backward Internet countries. An investigation carried out by Reporters Without Borders in October revealed that the Cuban government uses several levers to ensure that this medium is not used in a “counter-revolutionary” way. Firstly, it has more or less banned private Internet connections. To surf the Internet or check their e-mail, Cubans have to go to public access points such as Internet cafes, universities and “youth computer clubs” where their activity is more easily monitored. Secondly, the computers in all the Internet cafes and leading hotels contain software installed by the Cuban police that triggers an alert message whenever “subversive” key-words are spotted. The regime also ensures that there is no Internet access for dissidents and independent journalists, for whom communicating with people abroad is an ordeal. Finally, the government also relies on self-censorship. You can get 20 years in prison for writing “counter-revolutionary” articles for foreign websites. You can even get five years just for connecting to the Internet illegally. Few Internet users dare to run the risk of defying the regime’s censorship.

– Egypt

Aside from a few sites linked to the Muslim Brotherhood’s religious movements, Egypt does little online filtering. But President Hosni Mubarak, who has been in power since 1981, displays an extremely disturbing authoritarianism as regards the Internet. Three bloggers were arrested in June 2006 and were held for two to three months for calling for democratic reforms. Others have been harassed, such as Coptic blogger Hela Hemi Botros, who was forced to close down her blog in August under pressure from the police. Finally, a Council of State administrative court recently ruled that the authorities could block, suspend of close down any website likely to pose a threat to “national security.” This could open the way to extensive online censorship.

– Iran

Repression of bloggers seems to have declined in 2006. Whereas around 20 were imprisoned in 2005, only Arash Sigarchi is in jail at the moment. But Internet filtering has stepped up and Iran today boasts of filtering 10 million “immoral” websites. Pornographic sites, political sites and those dealing with religion are usually the ones most targeted. But since the summer of 2006, the censors have concentrated on online publications dealing with women’s rights. The authorities also recently decided to ban broadband connections. This could be explained by a concern not to overload the very poor-quality Iranian network, but it could also be motivated by a desire to prevent the downloading of Western cultural products such as films and songs.


- North Korea

Like last year, North Korea continues to be the world’s worst Internet black hole. Only a few officials are able to access the web, using connections rented from China. The country’s domain name – .nk – has still not been launched and the few websites created by the North Korean government are hosted on servers in Japan or South Korea. It is hard to believe this is simply the result of economic difficulties in a country which today is capable of manufacturing nuclear warheads. The North Korean journalists who have found refuge in South Korea are very active on the Internet, especially on the http://www.dailynk.com website.

– Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia does not hide its online censorship. Unlike China, where website blocking is disguised as technical problems, Saudi Arabia’s filters clearly tell Internet users that certain websites are banned. Censorship concentrates on pornographic content, but it also targets opposition websites, Israeli publications, or sites dealing with homosexuality. Blogs also pose a problem to the Saudi censors. Last year they tried to completely block access to the country’s biggest blog tool, blogger.com. But they backed off a few days later and now they just block the blogs that are deemed unacceptable. In June of this year, for example, the intimate diary of “Saudi Eve,” a young woman who dared to talk about her love life and criticise government censorship, was added to the blacklist.

– Syria

Syria is the Middle East’s biggest prison for cyber-dissidents, with three people currently detained for criticising the authorities online. They are systematically tortured and subjected to inhumane conditions. The government bans access to Arabic-language opposition sites and sites dealing with Syria’s Kurdish minority.

– Tunisia

In 2005, Tunisia had the honour of hosting the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), a big UN event about the Internet’s future. Yet President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali’s Internet policies are among the most repressive in the world. All the Internet cafes are state-controlled. They filter web content and are under close police surveillance. It is, for example, impossible to access the Reporters Without Borders website from inside Tunisia. The security services also constantly harass independent bloggers and opposition website editors to ensure that self-censorship prevails. One cyber-dissident, Mohammed Abbou, has been imprisoned since March 2005 for criticising the president in an online newsletter.


- Turkmenistan

With less than 1 per cent of the population online, this is one of the world’s least connected countries. President Separmurad Nyazov is a central Asian Kim Jong-Il, wielding total control over the media. Not only is the Turkmen Internet censored, it is also forbidden territory for the vast majority of the population.

– Uzbekistan

Official censorship seems to have become even tougher since the bloody crackdown on the pro-democracy protests in Andidjan in May 2005. The iron-fisted government led by President Islam Karimov blocks access to most independent websites dealing with Uzbekistan, which are usually hosted on servers in Russia, and to NGO websites that criticise its human rights violations.

– Vietnam

The Vietnamese government is negotiating its admission to the World Trade Organisation and is in the uncomfortable position of being squeezed by the international community. Unlike neighbouring China, it is unable to completely ignore the demands of foreign diplomats. It therefore seems to be tending to soften its control over news and information, and hesitates to crack down on dissidents. Several cyber-dissidents, the most famous of whom was Pham Hong Son, were released in 2005 and 2006. This relative forbearance seems to have breathed new life into Vietnam’s pro-democracy movement, which is making admirable use of the Internet to organise and circulate independently-sourced news domestically. A group calling itself “8406″ even launched an online petition in the summer of 2006, signed by hundreds of people using their real names, calling on the government to begin political reforms. This use of the Internet by young democrats alarms the authorities, who are still often ready to use force to silence these cyber-dissidents. Ten people have been arrested this year for what they said on the Internet. Four of them are still detained.

Countries removed from the list

– Libya

Reporters Without Borders confirmed, during a fact-finding visit, that the Internet is no longer censored in Libya. Furthermore, no cyber-dissident has been detained since Abdel Razak Al Mansuri’s release in March 2006. Reporters Without Borders nonetheless still regards President Muammar Gaddafi as a press freedom predator.


- Maldives

No cyber-dissident has been imprisoned in the Maldives since Fathimath Nisreen, Mohamed Zaki and Ahmad Didi were released between May 2005 and February 2006. President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom is still viewed by Reporters Without Borders as a press freedom predator but his policies towards the Internet no longer justify keeping his country on the list of Internet enemies.

– Nepal

Reporters Without Borders has observed a marked improvement in freedom of expression since King Gyanendra backed down and democratic rule was restored in May 2006. The Internet is no longer censored and no harassment or arbitrary detention of any blogger has been reported.

Posted in Asia, Blog, censorship, chat, China, email, forum, Internet, Law, Life, News, Politics, search engine, Social, Speech, website, World | Comments Off on China: One of the 13 Internet enemies in 2006

China: seven websites shut down in the past few weeks

Posted by Author on August 11, 2006


ifex.org– China’s Communist party has launched a new crackdown on the Internet, with at least seven websites shut down in the past few weeks following a recent pledge by authorities to “take effective measures to place chat forums, blogs and search engines under control,” says Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières, RSF).

The crackdown began on 25 July 2006, when authorities closed the websites of Century China (Shiji Zhongguo) and the chat forum of the magazine “Life Week” (Sanlian Shenghuo Zhoukan).

Founded in July 2000, the Century China website (http:// http://www.cc.org.cn) is an important space for debate and discussion among intellectuals and dissidents. Articles about subjects ranging from sport to politics were frequently posted on the site.

“Life Week” is a Beijing-based cultural magazine that covers sensitive political issues such as corruption and allows visitors to post news reports from foreign news media. More than 100 Chinese intellectuals have signed a letter urging authorities to lift the ban on the websites (see: http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=18378).

On 28 July, two blogs belonging to Tibetan poet Woeser (also known as Oser and, in Chinese, Wei Se) were shut down by their host providers without explanation. Woeser used her blogs (http://oser.tibetcul.net/ and http://blog.daqi.com/weise/) to post her poems and essays about Tibetan culture, as well as articles written by her husband, Wang Lixiong, an independent Chinese writer. Most of the visitors to the blogs were Tibetan students, notes RSF. Woeser is one of the few Tibetan authors and poets who write in Chinese. Her book “Notes on Tibet” was banned in 2004 because of its favourable references to the Dalai Lama. She was fired from her job, evicted from her home and lost her social welfare entitlement. She was also forced to write articles recognising her “political errors.” Wang’s website (http://www.Dijin-democracy.net), has also been shut down.

Since late July, e-Wiki (http://www.eeeeee.org/wiki/), a Chinese collaborative encyclopedia based on the popular website Wikipedia, has ceased functioning, says RSF. Local sources told RSF that the decision was linked to posted articles that described James Lung, the head of the Hong Kong-based Southern Democratic Alliance, as a politician close to the Falun Gong spiritual movement and outspoken in his criticism of the Communist Party. Another recently posted article referred to the Taiwanese authorities as the “government of the Republic of China” and said they were not ready to give up their sovereignty and autonomy.

In the latest case, authorities withdrew the operating licence of the website Polls (Zhongguo guoqing zixun) on 3 August. The website (http://www.s007s.com/) had recently asked visitors to “cast votes” on the question: “Do you think the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China should be chosen from among several candidates in differential voting?” Nearly 75 per cent of those polled had answered yes.

The crackdown on websites comes in the wake of a new set of rules issued by Chinese authorities in September 2005. China’s stated policy goals underlying the new rules are to regulate Internet news, satisfy the public’s demand for news, safeguard national security, protect the rights of Internet news providers, and promote the “healthy and orderly” development of Internet news.

Related:

AI report 2006- China overview(2)
Undermining freedom of expression in China, Amnesty
China’s new wave of Internet censorship, RSF

Posted in Blog, censorship, chat, Human Rights, Internet, People, Politics, search engine, Social, Technology, website, Woeser, writer | Comments Off on China: seven websites shut down in the past few weeks