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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 ‘email’ Category

Western Journalists’ Yahoo E-Mails Hacked in China

Posted by Author on March 31, 2010


By ANDREW JACOBS, The New York Times, March 31, 2010 –

BEIJING — In what appeared to be a coordinated assault, the e-mail accounts of more than a dozen rights advocates, academics and journalists who cover China  have been compromised by unknown intruders. A Chinese human rights organization also said that hackers had disabled its Web site for five days in a row.

The infiltrations, which involved Yahoo e-mail accounts, appeared to be aimed at people who write about China and Taiwan, rendering their accounts inaccessible, according to those who were affected. In the case of this reporter, hackers altered e-mail settings so that all correspondence was surreptitiously forwarded to another e-mail address.

The attacks, most of which began March 25, occurred the same week that Google angered the Chinese government by routing Internet search engine requests in mainland China to Google’s site in Hong Kong. The company said the move had been prompted by its objections to censorship rules and by a spate of attacks on users of Google’s e-mail service, which the company suggested had originated in China.

Those cyberattacks, which began as early as last April, affected dozens of U.S. companies, law firms and individuals, many of them rights advocates critical of the Chinese government.

The victims of the most recent intrusions included a law professor in the United States, a Uighur exile in Sweden, an analyst who writes about China’s security apparatus and several print journalists based in Beijing and Taipei.

“It’s very unsettling,” said Clifford Coonan, a correspondent for The Irish Times and The Independent whose e-mail account was rendered inaccessible last week after Yahoo detected that someone had gained access to it remotely. “You can’t help but wonder why you’ve been targeted.”

Dilxat Raxit, a spokesman for the World Uyghur Congress, an organization that seeks greater autonomy for China’s Xinjiang region, said many of the e-mail messages in one of his two Yahoo accounts appeared to have been read when he logged on in recent weeks. The other account, he said, had been inaccessible for a month.

Mr. Raxit also said that he was unable to reach three Uighur friends in China with whom he previously corresponded frequently.

“I’m 100 percent I’ve been hacked,” he said from Sweden. “I’m angry at the Chinese, but I blame Yahoo for allowing this to happen.”

In an e-mail exchange, Dana Lengkeek, a Yahoo spokeswoman, declined to discuss the incidents, citing company policy. “We are committed to protecting user security and privacy and we take appropriate action in the event of any kind of breach,” she said.

Kathleen McLaughlin, an American freelance journalist in Beijing who is on the board of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China, said the group had confirmed that the e-mail accounts of 10 journalists, including her own account, had been compromised. Like the others, Ms. McLaughlin said she had received a message from Yahoo on March 25 indicating that her account had been disabled because, according to an automated message, “we have detected an issue with your account.” Ms. McLaughlin said she had contacted Yahoo but that she had yet to receive an explanation of what happened. “Someone is clearly targeting journalists,” she said. “It makes me feel very uncomfortable.” …… (more details from The New York Times)

Posted in China, email, Human Rights, Internet, Journalist, News, People, Politics, Technology, World | Comments Off on Western Journalists’ Yahoo E-Mails Hacked in China

Google e-mail accounts of foreign reporters hacked in China, sources endangered

Posted by Author on January 19, 2010


Reporters Without Borders, Jan 18, 2009 –

Reporters Without Borders is deeply disturbed and outraged by cyber-attacks on the Google E-mail accounts of several Beijing-based foreign journalists. The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China (FCCC) sent its members a note today alerting them that at least two foreign news bureaux in Beijing have been the target of attacks by hackers.

The warning follows Google’s revelation that the Gmail accounts of several dozen Chinese human rights activists were the target of sophisticated attacks in December.

“The hackers who targeted foreign journalists based in Beijing were probably trying to get contact details and information about the human rights activists who talk to the international press,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Compromising these reporters’ communication methods endangers and intimidates their sources and constitutes a serious violation of their privacy, their professional work and their freedom to provide news and information.”

The press freedom organisation added: “We firmly condemn these attacks and we call on the ministry of industry and information technology to provide an explanation.”

A Beijing-based journalist whose account was hacked told Reporters Without Borders told Reporters Without Borders that his emails were being forwarded to another, unknown account. “I have the feeling that my privacy has been violated,” he told Reporters Without Borders on condition of anonymity. “And so many people have been put in danger by these leaks, it’s terrible.”…… (more details from Reporters Without Borders)

Posted in Beijing, China, email, Human Rights, Internet, Journalist, Law, Media, News, People, Politics, Technology, World | 1 Comment »

China Authorities Behind Google Attack, Researcher Claims

Posted by Author on January 15, 2010


By Gregg Keizer, Computer World, January 15, 2010 –

Computerworld –  The malware used to hack Google is so sophisticated that researchers brought in by the company to investigate believe the attack code was designed and launched with support from Chinese authorities.

According to Carlos Carrillo, a principal consultant for Mandiant, a Washington D.C.-based security incident response and forensics firm, the attack against Google last month was “definitely one of the most sophisticated attacks I’ve seen in the last few years.”

Mandiant was called in by Google to look into the attack, and Carrillo was the project manager for the Google investigation. During an interview Friday, he frequently chose his words carefully, saying that there was much he couldn’t discuss because the work was ongoing.

“The malware was unique,” Carrillo said. “It had unique characteristics … it was … let’s just say it was unique.”

Other researchers who have examined the malware have also come away impressed. Thursday, Dmitri Alperovitch, vice president of threat research at McAfee, called the attack code “very sophisticated” and added, “We’ve never seen anything this good in the commercial space. In [attacks on] government, yes, but not commercial.”

But what does that kind of expertise mean?

Carrillo is convinced that, given the sophistication of the code, it was produced with support from Chinese authorities. “This wasn’t on the level of Metasploit,” Carrillo said, referring to the open-source penetration testing framework whose exploits are often used by hackers to craft malware. “This wasn’t something that a 16-year-old came up in his spare time.”

When asked if the code quality pointed toward Chinese state support, Carrillo answered, “I would say so.” He declined to elaborate.

Mandiant was called in to investigate the attack on Google “early in the process,” said Carrillo, who refused to get more specific. McAfee’s Alperovitch said that time stamps in the malware’s command-and-control log files indicated the attacks began in mid-December and ended Jan. 4, when the hackers’ servers were shut down.

In the announcement Tuesday that its corporate network had been hacked and intellectual property stolen, Google said the attacks had been discovered in mid-December. Google also said the attacker tried to access the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists, a move that — along with increasing censorship of the Web by China’s government — has prompted it to reevaluate its business in the country.

Carrillo also provided additional information to the still-sketchy framework of the attack, saying that the exploit of a vulnerability in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer was not the only vector used by the hackers. That seemed to back up Microsoft’s assertion that the IE bug wasn’t the sole cause of the break-ins…… (more details from Computerworld)

Posted in Business, China, Company, Computer, email, Google, Human Rights, Internet, News, Politics, Software, Spyware, Technology, website, World | 1 Comment »

Chinese Human Rights Activists Claim Their Google Emails Were Hacked

Posted by Author on January 15, 2010


By Malcolm Moore in Shanghai, The Telegraph (UK), 15 Jan 2010 –

The activists, who include one of China’s foremost artists and a Tibetan student in the United States, came forward after Google announced it had suffered a “highly sophisticated” cyber attack in December, whose goal was to gain access to its email service, Gmail.

Google has since said it is preparing to quit its Chinese business and Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of State, has demanded an explanation from China for the attempted hacking.

Ai Weiwei, who is best known in the West for having helped design the Bird’s Nest Olympic stadium in Beijing, said that two of his Google email accounts had been hacked by “unknown visitors” who read and copied his emails.

Mr Ai, who is also a vociferous activist, said he had no proof that the Chinese government had been behind the hacking attempt. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Activist, Artists, China, email, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Internet, Lawyer, News, People, Politics, Social, Technology, World | 1 Comment »

China Hosts 44.8% of The World’s Malware-infected Websites

Posted by Author on September 5, 2007


According to a report released Monday by antivirus company Sophos, China– including Hong Kong– hosted 44.8 percent of the world’s infected sites in August. The U.S. ranked a distant second, hosting 20.8 percent of sites that contain malicious code, reported by CNET News.com

Some new spam tricks revealed by Sophos on its website:

Spammers continue to find new and more devious ways to evade detection. Recent tricks include using attachments such as PDFs. These can contain clickable links, which makes this file format particularly attractive to spammers as links to malicious URLs can be included.

The links in spam email lure users to compromised webpages, where spyware and other malware is automatically installed on the users’ computers.

Once infected, compromised computers can be used to steal confidential data and trade secrets or to spam out millions of emails. In June, SophosLabs™ identified nearly 30,000 new malicious webpages daily.

“Sophos security threat report: Update July 2007” can be downloaded from this page: Trends in malware threats

Posted in China, Computer, email, Hong kong, Internet, Law, News, Software, Technology, Virus, website, World | Comments Off on China Hosts 44.8% of The World’s Malware-infected Websites

Yahoo Asks Court To Dismiss Lawsuit Filed by Chinese Writers – “It is a political case”

Posted by Author on August 28, 2007


Jonathan Richards, The Times, UK, August 28, 2007-

Yahoo! has asked a US court to dismiss a lawsuit accusing it of “aiding and abetting” torture in China by releasing information that led to the imprisonment of dissidents.

The search company said yesterday that the legal action was “a political case challenging the Chinese Government” which had no place in the US courts. It said that it had merely been obeying the law when it gave Chinese authorities the registration information of a user who had promoted democracy in a forum.

The company was responding to a lawsuit filed in April by the wife of Wang Xiaoning, a writer with a Yahoo! e-mail account who was jailed for ten years in 2003 after he was found guilty by a Chinese court of “incitement to subvert state power.”

Yahoo! was referred to ten times in the court’s verdict, and the company has acknowledged handing over information – including to the content of e-mails sent by Mr Wang – when requested to do so.

In a filing with a federal court in San Fransisco, Yahoo! said: “This is a lawsuit by citizens of China imprisoned for using the internet in China to express political views in violation of China law. It is a political case challenging the laws and actions of the Chinese government. It has no place in the American courts.”

While Yahoo! “deeply sympathised” with the plaintiffs and their families and “did not condone the suppression of their rights and liberty by their Government,” the company said it had “no control over the sovereign Government of the People’s Republic of China, the laws it passes and the manner in which it enforces its laws.”

The dissidents had “assumed the risk of harm when they chose to use Yahoo! China e-mail and engage in activity they knew violated Chinese law.”

Another of the dissidents involved in the case, Shi Tao, was convicted in 2005 of divulging state secrets after he posted online a Chinese Government order forbidding media organisations from marking the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square uprising.

“Free speech rights as we understand them in the United States are not the law in China,” Yahoo! said. “Every sovereign nation has a right to regulate speech within its borders.”

Legal experts said that the case, which is being brought under the Alien Tort Claims Act and the Torture Victim Protection Act, would face difficulties because of US courts’ unwillingness to get involved when foreign nationals fell foul of laws in their own countries.

When the Torture Victim Protection Act was passed in 1992, the first President Bush said that there was a danger that US courts could become embroiled in disputes in other countries. “Potential abuse of the statute would give rise to serious frictions in international relations,” he said at the time, and would be “a waste of our own already overburdened judicial resources.”

Morton Sklar, executive director of the World Organization for Human Rights USA, which is representing the dissidents, told the New York Times: “It is not the Chinese Government that is the defendant here. It is Yahoo!, for their part in this process. They gave the pieces of information that allowed China to take these actions.”

Several internet companies, including Google, have been criticised for blocking politically sensitive content from their Chinese sites.

– Original report from The Times : Yahoo!: we did not assist torture in China

Posted in Business, censorship, China, Company, Economy, email, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Internet, Journalist, Law, News, People, Politics, USA, World, Yahoo | Comments Off on Yahoo Asks Court To Dismiss Lawsuit Filed by Chinese Writers – “It is a political case”

U.S. Congress to Probe Yahoo’s Role in China Censorship

Posted by Author on August 3, 2007


By John Letzing, MarketWatch, U.S, Aug 3, 2007-

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — Congressional investigators plan to examine Yahoo Inc.’s possible misrepresentation of its involvement in the jailing of a Chinese dissident, according to a statement released Friday by the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Committee staff “will investigate whether officials from the Internet company Yahoo misrepresented the company’s role in a human rights case in China that sent a journalist to jail for a decade,” Chairman Tom Lantos said in the statement, referring to Chinese journalist Shi Tao.

Shi was jailed after he posted an account of a government crackdown on democracy activists online, and Yahoo provided Chinese authorities with information about his email account, the statement said.

“It is bad enough that a wealthy American company would willingly supply Chinese police the means to hunt a man down for shedding light on repression,” Lantos said in the statement, adding that, “Covering up such a despicable practice when Congress seeks an explanation is a serious offense.”

“We expect to learn the truth, and to hold the company to account,” Lantos said.  (…… more details from MarketWatch’s report)

Posted in Asia, censorship, China, Company, email, Freedom of Speech, Hong kong, Human Rights, Internet, Journalist, Law, News, People, Politics, search engine, Shi Tao, Social, USA, World, Yahoo | Comments Off on U.S. Congress to Probe Yahoo’s Role in China Censorship

Yahoo sued by 2nd Jailed Journalist in China

Posted by Author on June 11, 2007


By AFP, 11 June 2007, from Myadsl.co.za –

The mother of a Chinese journalist serving a 10-year jail sentence on Sunday called for US Internet giant Yahoo to be penalised for handing authorities the information that led to his conviction.

Shi Tao was convicted of divulging state secrets after he posted a Chinese government order forbidding media organisations from marking the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square uprising on the Internet. Police identified him using information provided by Yahoo.

Shi’s mother, Gao Qinsheng, told a press conference she hoped Yahoo would be punished for its actions.

Her comments came after Shi’s name was added to a lawsuit filed against Yahoo and its Hong Kong subsidiary in the United States by another Chinese cyberdissident, Wang Xiaoning.

Information provided by Yahoo was also used to convict Wang, who is serving a 10-year prison sentence for “incitement to subvert state power”. The two are suing the company for breach of their human rights.

Hong Kong legislator and pro-democracy campaigner Albert Ho, who has campaigned on the issue, said the case could become a class action lawsuit.

Lawyers believe information provided by Yahoo has enabled Chinese authorities to convict at least four journalists and campaigners.

Ho, who became involved after Shi’s mother approached him for help, said he had also filed an appeal against a ruling by the Hong Kong Privacy Commissioner that Yahoo did not breach Shi’s rights.

“It is academic really because Shi Tao is in prison. But we want to seek some redress against Yahoo,” said Ho.

The US corporation defends its action on the grounds that it has to comply with China’s laws to operate there.

In an emotional address, Gao said her son was a dedicated journalist who had been victimised by the authorities.

She was in Hong Kong on her way back from South Africa, where she collected a press freedom award on behalf of her son.

She said he had been kept under close surveillance in jail and had suffered skin disease and stomach problems, although he appeared in good spirits.

The 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre remains one of the most taboo subjects in China, where the official line is that authorities put down the “political disturbance” to safeguard economic and social stability.

This week three top editors of a Chinese newspaper were sacked over the publication of an advert saluting the mothers of victims of the massacre.

AFP
original report from Myadsl.co.za 

Posted in Albert Ho, Asia, censorship, China, Company, email, Hong kong, Human Rights, Internet, Journalist, June 4, Law, News, People, Politics, Shi Tao, Social, Speech, Technology, Tiananmen, USA, World, Yahoo | 1 Comment »

Golden Pen of Freedom Awarded to Jailed Chinese Journalist

Posted by Author on June 5, 2007


World Association of Newspapers (WAN), June 4, 2007-

Shi TaoThe award to Shi Tao, who was imprisoned after the American search engine company Yahoo provided information to the Chinese authorities that led to his arrest, was made today, 4 June, the 18th anniversary of the massacre.

” Even today, most Chinese know nothing about what happened that day. The Communist regime continues to prevent the Chinese media from talking and writing about it openly and honestly and will go to great lengths to silence any such revelations and to severely punish those who make them,” said George Brock, President of the World Editors Forum, who presented the award.

“Shi Tao, whom we are honouring here today, has learned this to his own great cost. He revealed what the state did not want known and he pays the price in prison today,” he said.

The award was accepted by the mother of the jailed journalist, Gao Qinsheng, who said her son was “a direct victim of the shackles of press freedom.”Mother of Shi Tao

The Golden Pen Award “proves that my son is indeed innocent. He has only done what a courageous journalist should do. That is why he has got the support and the sympathy from his colleagues all over the world, who uphold justice, the colleagues who have been concerned about Shi Tao who has lost his freedom, been locked up in prison,” she said. The full text of her remarks can be found at http://www.wan-press.org/article143…

The award was presented Monday during the opening ceremonies of the World Newspaper Congress and World Editors Forum, the global meetings of the world’s press, which drew more than 1,600 newspaper executives and editors from 105 countries to Cape Town, South Africa.

WAN also announced a campaign to win the release of Mr Shi and dozens of other journalists and cyber-dissidents in Chinese jails, to keep the cases in the forefront of news coverage in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics next year.

Mr Shi is serving a 10-year sentence on charges of “leaking state secrets” for writing an e-mail about media restrictions in the run-up to the 15th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre in 2004. The e-mail was picked up by several overseas internet portals — and also by Chinese authorities, with the assistance of Yahoo. The internet service provider gave state security authorities information that allowed them to trace the message to a computer he used at the newspaper where he worked, the Dangdai Shang Bao (Contemporary Business News).

“How the Chinese authorities traced this e-mail, and discovered that Shi Tao was the author, is a cautionary tale with widespread implications for on-line privacy, and for the way that western communications companies do business in their understandably difficult dealings with repressive regimes,” said Mr Brock.

“While those who do business around the globe must often deal with non-democratic countries, we believe that new media companies that provide more and more of the means for global communications have a special responsibility” he said. “They have an obligation to ensure that the basic human rights of their users will be protected, and they must carefully guard against becoming accomplices in repression.”

Mr Brock’s full remarks can be found at http://www.wan-press.org/article143…

Mr Shi distributed information that had been sent to his newspaper by the Chinese authorities, warning journalists of the dangers of “social destabilisation” and risks linked to the return of certain dissidents to China for the commemoration of the massacre, in which democracy supporters, mostly students, were brutally gunned down by Chinese troops on 4 June 1989.

Mr Shi, a poet as well as a journalist, had published numerous essays and political problems relating to social problems in China on pro-democracy web sites. He worked as a reporter, editor and division director at several newspapers, joining the Contemporary Business News in 2004 as an editorial director and assistant to its Chief Editor. He resigned from the paper in May 2004 to become a free-lance journalist and was arrested six months later.

He is one of dozens of journalists and cyber-dissidents in prison in China, the world’s largest jailer of journalists.

The award to Shi Tao has already provoked the ire of the Chinese authorities. The official China Newspaper Association has demanded the award be withdraw because a Chinese court “handled the case according to law and made the appropriate sentence” and that China’s constitution protects press freedom.

“We are not impressed by this argument,” said Mr Brock. “If the law makes it possible to send a journalist to jail in such a case, the law should be abolished immediately since it contradicts every conceivable international standard and convention on freedom of information and human rights.

“As for the claim that the Chinese constitution protects freedom of speech, this guarantee is nothing more than a mere fiction. Such freedoms simply do not exist in China. Indeed, if they did, Shi Tao would not be in prison today, nor would dozens of other journalists.”

WAN, the global association of the newspaper industry, has awarded the Golden Pen annually since 1961. Past winners include Argentina’s Jacobo Timerman (1980), South Africa’s Anthony Head (1986), China’s Dai Qing (1992), Vietnam’s Doan Viet Hoat of Vietnam (1998), Zimbabwe’s Geoffrey Nyarota (2002), and Sudan’s Mahjoub Mohamed Salih (2005). Last year’s winner was Akbar Ganji of Iran.

The Paris-based WAN, the global organisation for the newspaper industry, defends and promotes press freedom world-wide. It represents 18,000 newspapers; its membership includes 77 national newspaper associations, newspaper companies and individual newspaper executives in 102 countries, 12 news agencies and 10 regional and world-wide press groups.

Inquiries to: Larry Kilman, Director of Communications, WAN, 7 rue Geoffroy St Hilaire, 75005 Paris France. Tel: +33 1 47 42 85 00. Fax: +33 1 47 42 49 48. Mobile: +33 6 10 28 97 36. E-mail: lkilman@wan.asso.fr

Posted in Beijing, censorship, ceremony, China, email, Event, Human Rights, Incident, Internet, Journalist, June 4, Law, Media, News, Newspaper, People, Politics, Shi Tao, Special day, Speech, Tiananmen, World | Comments Off on Golden Pen of Freedom Awarded to Jailed Chinese Journalist

Yahoo Sued For Providing Private User Data To China Authority

Posted by Author on April 20, 2007


By Adam Tanner, Reuters, Apr 18, 2007-

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – A Chinese couple sued Yahoo and its Chinese affiliates on Wednesday, alleging the Internet firms provided information that helped the Chinese government prosecute the man for his Internet writings.

Wang Xiaoning was sentenced to ten years in prison last year for “incitement to subvert state power” after he e-mailed electronic journals advocating democratic reform and a multi-party system.

His house and computer were searched in 2002.

In the complaint filed in U.S. District Court for Northern California, Wang and his wife Yu Ling charged the Internet firms turned over details to prosecutors that helped identify him to authorities.

“While in custody, Plaintiffs were subjected to torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, including arbitrary, prolonged and indefinite detention, for expressing their free speech rights and for using the Internet to communicate about democracy and human rights matters,” the filing said.

The suit, advanced by the World Organization for Human Rights USA, based in Washington D.C., said Yahoo benefited financially by working with authorities. China is the world’s second largest Internet market.

“Defendants had every reason to know and understand that the electronic communication user information they provided to authorities could well be used to assist in the infliction of such abuses as arbitrary arrest, torture, cruel, inhuman or other degrading threat and prolonged detention and/or forced labor,” it said.

In a statement, Yahoo said it was distressed that Chinese citizens had been sent to prison for expressing their views on the Internet.

“However, the concerns raised about the Chinese government compelling companies to follow Chinese law and disclose user information are not new,” it said. “Companies doing business in China must comply with Chinese law or its local employees could be faced with civil and criminal penalties.”

The lawsuit came on a day Yahoo shares fell more than 11 percent after the Internet firm’s earnings announced on Tuesday fell below expectations.

The suit names Yahoo, its Hong Kong subsidiary and Alibaba.com, China’s largest e-commerce firm, as defendants. California-based Yahoo bought a 40 percent stake in Alibaba for $1 billion in a 2005 deal.

Yahoo said the U.S. government should seek to lobby for political prisoners in China.

“We call on the U.S. Department of State to continue making this issue of free expression a priority in bilateral and multilateral forums with the Chinese, as well as through other tools of trade and diplomacy, in order to help secure the freedom of these dissidents,” the firm said.

– original from Reuters: Chinese couple sues Yahoo for man’s imprisonment

Related:

Chinese Dissident’s Wife Arrive in US to Sue Yahoo, 07 March 2007

Posted in China, City resident, Company, Dissident, Economy, email, Human Rights, Internet, Law, News, People, Politics, Social, Speech, USA, World, Yahoo | 3 Comments »

China’s Great Firewall: Web is Used as a Weapon by Authorities

Posted by Author on March 11, 2007


Rowan Callick, theaustralian, March 12, 2007-

An internet search can lead to jail in China, where the web is used as a weapon by authorities. Sites are blocked, emails monitored and all users registered. Rowan Callick investigates.

A US businessman negotiating in Beijing with a large state-owned Chinese company was startled to discover that the morning after he sent an email back to head office about a certain issue, his counterpart opened their discussion with that same topic. This happened day after day, and he was convinced that his emails were being intercepted and passed on.

It shows that while China is building a relentless case that it is the rising global superpower of the 21st century, progress is being deliberately constrained within that most 21st century of institutions, the internet.

A more sinister case emerged last week when the wife of a Chinese dissident jailed for publishing articles on the internet announced plans to sue US-based internet company Yahoo for allegedly helping to put her husband in jail in China. After arriving in Washington last week, Yu Ling said Chinese police arrested her husband, Wang Xiaoning, partly because Yahoo’s Hong Kong office gave Chinese authorities information about his email accounts. Paris-based Reporters Without Borders says China has imprisoned at least 50 individuals, including Wang, for their activities on the internet.

Armed with a survey that states one in seven teenagers is in danger of internet addiction, China has launched a nationwide campaign against the threat posed by online games and is funding a network of rehabilitation clinics for internet addicts.

This continues the Government’s determination that even the world wide web will be adapted to conform to its control. “The Government should play a guiding role in progress. Some enterprises will take advantage of any loopholes,” Kou Xiaowei, deputy director of the audiovisual and internet publication department of the General Administration of Press and Publication, told People’s Daily newspaper.

The speed of the internet in China is sometimes glacial and access is restricted by a secret army of “net police” whose numbers are said to have swollen to 40,000.

The internet in China suffered a setback when a Boxing Day earthquake (7.1 on the Richter scale) 15km south of Taiwan caused 20 crucial fibre-optic cables, 3km under the sea, to snap, triggering a crash of communications across the Asian region, since most of its infrastructure takes that route to the US, the chief global online hub.

This underlined the frustration felt in China by businesses and individuals whose livelihoods depend on fast and reliable international internet connections.

It also reinforced the natural response of Chinese internet users to shift from overseas sites to the increasingly crowded ranks of Chinese copycats, which are much faster and easier to use than their foreign competitors.

China now has 137 million internet users, 91million have broadband and 17 million have wireless access. This is the second biggest group of netizens in the world after the US.

But after the earthquake, business on China Netcom, the country’s second biggest telecommunications corporation – all such companies are government-owned – collapsed to 20 per cent of normal levels.

Sina.com, one of the country’s dominant websites, said 97 per cent of its users reported difficulties in accessing overseas sites after the quake and 57 per cent said their lives and work had been seriously affected.

During this five-week downtime or slow-slowtime, clicking on a local site, especially one operated by a government-controlled company or agency, was akin to a driver being ushered by the police on to a freed-up, dedicated overtaking lane during a typical Chinese city traffic jam.

There are few engineers capable of finding – through grappling hooks – then fixing such broken cables, each less than 20mm in diameter. The cable companies also needed submarine robots – costing $5 million a time – to rebury them after they had been repaired by hand.

Until the end of January, 11 ships were anchored above the cables, in often heaving, wintry seas, demonstrating that cybercommunications remains at times dependent on the collaboration of very traditional forms of communication and transport.

But fixing the cables didn’t fix the problem in China. There are just five locations in China through which all international internet links must pass: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Tianjin and Qingdao. The gatekeepers are the internet service providers, which have been appointed as deputies by the net police and are expected, and required, to sift through all traffic, including emails, to prevent subversive and “vulgar” content circulating in China.

President Hu Jintao recently told a meeting of China’s 24-person politburo that the Communist Party had to “strengthen administration and development of our country’s internet culture, maintain the initiative in the expression of opinion on the internet and raise the level of guidance online. We must promote the civilised running and use of the internet and purify the internet environment.”

Users of internet cafes must register their names and identity card numbers before they can go online, even to play games. And the Government is moving to require ISPs to obtain the true names and details of all 18million bloggers, even if they invent blog names.

For all the huffing and puffing of China’s imperial-style censors and controllers, alert and nimble-minded people – who are to be found in disproportionate numbers among the netizen population – will always find a way around. But only a tiny number will ever take the time, effort, expense and trouble to traduce the Communist Party.

Andrew Lih, a former academic at Columbia and Hong Kong universities, a former software engineer and a leading commentator on China’s media ecology, says: “Censorship is always a cat-and-mouse game, but in this case the mouse doesn’t have as many resources as the cat.”

In China, he points out, the router that steers packets of online data is also the censor. Very neat. And routers made by US company Cisco “are at the heart of this operation”.

Internet users receive no message explaining that a site or a particular piece of data they wish to view is blocked, let alone why. Usually the screen merely registers a technical error with a phrase such as “connection reset”, or says merely that the site, or the data, is unavailable at present, so it is impossible to tell if it is intentional.

Then a time-out follows, so it usually takes several minutes before the user is able to gain access to the site again, especially frustrating if it is a search engine such as Google.

The term most often used for this structure is the Great Firewall of China. Lih says “It’s a cute moniker, but not a great metaphor”, because it is essentially a filter, not a barrier that would suggest it is as easily skipped around as the real Great Wall was, by successions of invading hordes from the north.

The metaphor also suggests the Great Firewall is only aimed at keeping out messages from or about forbidden groups or topics, chiefly the Five Poisons: Taiwan, the independence movements of Tibet and of the Muslim Uighurs of Xinjiang, the democracy movement and, of course, Falun Gong.

But the net police are also very active in “purifying” the domestic web, too, including through filters that automatically block messages or data packages containing certain words. Lih says: “If you want a licence to operate as an internet service provider, then there are certain things you must do. If the Government observes then declares that your filtering is inadequate, your licence is in jeopardy.”

On the other hand, since there has never been an acknowledgment that the Great Firewall exists, it is awkward for the Government to punish people who seek ways around it.

A diplomat with China’s mission in Geneva, Yang Xiokun, told a UN internet governance forum there last year: “We don’t have software blocking internet sites. I’m not sure why people say these things. We do not have restrictions at all.”

Such statements ensure there can be no public debate in China on the issue, or outside, with Chinese representatives. The issue becomes instead a matter of assertion and counter-assertion.

Western and chiefly American internet corporations know how real the filtering is. Yet if they are to gain access to the Chinese market, they must behave as Chinese internet firms do, including filtering unacceptable information at the country’s five “choke points” of international routing.

This has damaged the reputation of companies such as Yahoo and Microsoft. Google co-founder Sergey Brin admits the company’s acceptance of filtering of its search engine in China was “on a business level, that decision to censor was a net negative”.

Some Western companies have gone further and provided Chinese authorities with elements of the technology they use to exert their control; for instance, through software that reveals the location of users.

Besides acquiring help from the US in refining its scrutiny expertise, China has poured considerable resources into innovation in this area in which, alone, it can claim to lead the tech world, but in a manner that remains a closely and successfully guarded secret.

The access that Western internet giants have gained to the Chinese market has not yet done them a lot of good. Chinese rivals were mostly set up as straight copycats but are more closely attuned to domestic interests and are not only in the lead but are gaining market share. They include Google’s rival Baidu, Yahoo’s rival Sohu, eBay’s rival Alibaba, and MSN’s rival, qqonline.

Wikipedia has a Chinese version, allwiki, and the English-language original is unobtainable in China because of its uncompromising entries on issues such as the June 1989 massacre in Beijing. As a result, it is impossible to access Wikipedia at all. The entry on kangaroos always draws the same response: “The page you are looking for is currently unavailable.”

The BBC website is also blocked, for reasons that remain clouded. Lih says that denying all access to such sites is a comparatively blunt operation. “But keyword filtering is very sophisticated. It is an automated process, but with human minders. And there is good evidence that the keywords are always changing according to news events. We don’t know a lot more than that, though we’re looking at shadows.”

Even more complex, he says, is the system through which users are sometimes automatically redirected from blocked overseas sites to approved pure domestic alternatives. “You’d have to have pretty good guanxi (connections)” to benefit from this process, Lih says.

There are other beneficiaries. Filtering through keywords can also allow scrutineers to obtain strategic information while permitting the message to pass.

Encryption may be one partial protection against filtering for it cannot be banned altogether since banks and other key institutions require it. But regulations are in place that theoretically greatly restrict its use.

One of the routine downsides of this operation is that even for people who would not dream of typing in the name of a pernicious cult, the whole system is being slowed by the filtering process. Even with broadband and wi-fi, you may as well make a cup of tea while you wait for an utterly uncontentious site to appear.

If there’s another earthquake off Taiwan during the Beijing Olympic Games next year, the foreign media will become more of a threat to public order than the Five Poisons.

Rowan Callick is The Australian’s China correspondent.

original report from  The Australian

Posted in censorship, China, Company, email, Human Rights, Internet, Law, Life, News, Politics, search engine, Social, Speech, Technology, website, Wikipedia, World | 2 Comments »

Chinese Dissident’s Wife Arrive in US to Sue Yahoo

Posted by Author on March 10, 2007


By VOA News, 07 March 2007-

The wife of a Chinese dissident jailed for publishing articles on the Internet says she plans to sue U.S.-based Internet company Yahoo for allegedly helping to put her husband in jail in China.

Speaking with VOA’s Mandarin Service Wednesday after arriving in Washington, said Chinese police arrested her husband Wang Xiaoning, partly because Yahoo’s Hong Kong office gave Chinese authorities information about his e-mail accounts.

Yu Ling said she has come to the United States to sue the company for damages and to demand an apology.

In 2003, Wang was sentenced to 10 years in prison for publishing what China’s government called “subversive” articles on the Internet.

In recent years, human rights groups have accused Yahoo of providing Chinese authorities with information that has led to the imprisonment of several dissidents.

Yahoo and other Internet companies say they have to obey Chinese laws to do business there. They also say that their operations in China benefit millions of people who otherwise would have no Internet access.

Paris-based Reporters Without Borders says China has imprisoned at least 50 individuals, including Wang Xiaoning, for their activities on the Internet.

original from VOA News

Related:
How Yahoo assist Government Censorship in China, Human Rights Watch

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WAN Rejects China’s Request to Withdraw Award to Chinese Journalist

Posted by Author on March 9, 2007


The World Association of Newspapers, France, 8 March 2007-

Paris- The World Association of Newspapers has rejected a request by the China Newspaper Association to withdraw a prestigious press freedom prize that was awarded to journalist Shi Tao, who was imprisoned for writing about restrictions on the media in the run-up to the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.

The China Newspaper Association had protested to WAN against the decision to award the 2007 WAN Golden Pen of Freedom to Mr Shi, claiming that the Chinese court “handled the case according to law and made the appropriate sentence” and that the Chinese constitution protects press freedom.

In rejecting the request, WAN CEO Timothy Balding said: “We are not at all impressed by the fact that this and other cases were dealt with ’according to the law’ and by courts. If the law does indeed make it possible to send a journalist to jail in such a case, the law should be abolished without delay, since it would be in contradiction with every conceivable international standard and convention on freedom of information and human rights.”

“The Chinese constitution may well, as you note, guarantee the ’people’s freedom of speech as well as press freedom’,” Mr Balding said in a letter to the Chinese association. “Unfortunately, this guarantee is a mere fiction and such freedoms simply don’t exist in China, as I’m sure you are perfectly aware. Indeed, if they did, Shi Tao would not be in prison today and nor would dozens of other journalists.”

Mr Shi is serving a 10-year sentence on charges of “leaking state secrets” for writing an e-mail about media restrictions in the run-up to the 15th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre in 2004. The e-mail was picked up by several overseas internet portals — and also by Chinese authorities, with the assistance of Yahoo. The internet service provider gave state security authorities details of Mr Shi’s e-mail usage that ultimately allowed them to trace the message to a computer he used at the newspaper where he worked, the Dangdai Shang Bao (Contemporary Business News).

“It is completely absurd to characterize Shi Tao’s actions as leaking state secrets,” Mr Balding said. “He distributed information about censorship orders given out to the media by the Propaganda Department. The orders instructed them how to cover the 15th anniversary of the Tiananmen events. Are such orders perhaps the freedom of the press that your constitution allegedly protects? No, of course not, which is why Shi Tao took the courageous decision, which any professional reporter in a democracy would also do, to disseminate this information.

“I must add, frankly, that we are greatly disappointed that your organization, which is supposed to represent newspapers and to protect their interests, finds that sending a reporter to jail for 10 years is ’an appropriate sentence’, ” said Mr Balding, who provided the Chinese association with details of the cases of Mr Shi and eight of the many other journalists imprisoned in China.

Read the full exchange between the China Newspaper Association and WAN here.

The Golden Pen of Freedom will be awarded to Mr Shi at the 60th World Newspaper Congress, 14th World Editors Forum and Info Services Expo 2007, to be held in Cape Town, South Africa, from 3 to 6 June. More than 1,500 newspaper publishers, chief editors and other senior newspaper executives are expected to attend the events, the global meetings of the world’s press (www.wan-press.org/capetown2007).

The Golden Pen of Freedom is WAN’s annual award recognising individuals or organisations that have made an outstanding contribution to the defence and promotion of press freedom. More about the award and its laureates can be found here.

The Paris-based WAN, the global organisation for the newspaper industry, defends and promotes press freedom world-wide. It represents 18,000 newspapers; its membership includes 76 national newspaper associations, newspaper companies and individual newspaper executives in 102 countries, 12 news agencies and 10 regional and world-wide press groups.

Inquiries to: Larry Kilman, Director of Communications, WAN, 7 rue Geoffroy St Hilaire, 75005 Paris France. Tel: +33 1 47 42 85 00. Fax: +33 1 47 42 49 48. Mobile: +33 6 10 28 97 36. E-mail: lkilman@wan.asso.fr

original report from The World Association of Newspapers

Posted in censorship, China, Company, email, Europe, Human Rights, Internet, Journalist, Law, Media, News, Newspaper, People, Politics, Shi Tao, Social, Speech, World, Yahoo | Comments Off on WAN Rejects China’s Request to Withdraw Award to Chinese Journalist

Cyber Officials: China Hackers Attack ‘anything and everything’

Posted by Author on February 14, 2007


BY Josh Rogin, FCW.com, VA, Feb. 13, 2007-

NORFOLK, VA. — At the Naval Network Warfare Command here, U.S. cyber defenders track and investigate hundreds of suspicious events each day. But the predominant threat comes from Chinese hackers, who are constantly waging all-out warfare against Defense Department networks, Netwarcom officials said.

Attacks coming from China, probably with government support, far outstrip other attackers in terms of volume, proficiency and sophistication, said a senior Netwarcom official, who spoke to reporters on background Feb 12. The conflict has reached the level of a campaign-style, force-on-force engagement, he said.

“They will exploit anything and everything,” the senior official said, referring to the Chinese hackers’ strategy. And although it is impossible to confirm the involvement of China’s government, the attacks are so deliberate, “it’s hard to believe it’s not government-driven,” the official said.

The motives of Chinese hackers run the gamut, including technology theft, intelligence gathering, exfiltration, research on DOD operations and the creation of dormant presences in DOD networks for future action, the official said.

A recent Chinese military white paper states that China plans to be able to win an “informationized war” by the middle of this century. Overall, China seeks a position of power to ensure its freedom of action in international affairs and the ability to influence the global economy, the senior official said.

Chinese hackers were responsible for an intrusion in November 2006 that disabled the Naval War College’s network, forcing the college to shut down its e-mail and computer systems for several weeks, the official said. Forensic analysis showed that the Chinese were seeking information on war games in development at NWC, the official said.

NWC was vulnerable because it was not part of the Navy Marine Corps Intranet and did not have the latest security protections, the official explained. He said this was indicative of the Chinese strategy to focus on weak points in the network.

China has also been using spear phishing, sending deceptive mass e-mail messages to lure DOD users into clicking on a malicious URL, the official said. China is also using more traditional hacking methods, such as Trojan horse viruses and worms, but in innovative ways.

For example, a hacker will plant a virus as a distraction and then come in “slow and low” to hide in a system while the monitors are distracted. Hackers will also use coordinated, multipronged attacks, the official added.

Chinese hackers gained notoriety in the United States when a series of devastating intrusions, beginning in 2003, was traced to a team of researchers in Guangdong Province. The program, which DOD called Titan Rain, was first reported by Federal Computer Week in August 2005. Following that incident, DOD renamed the program and then classified the new name.

That particular set of hackers is still active, the Netwarcom official said. He would not confirm whether the Titan Rain group was linked to the NWC attack or any other recent high-profile intrusions.

Other senior military officials have spoken out recently on U.S. cyber strategy, saying the country urgently needs to develop new policies and procedures for fighting in the cyber domain.

Current U.S. cyber warfare strategy is dysfunctional, said Gen. James Cartwright, commander of the Strategic Command (Stratcom), in a speech at the Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla., last week. Offensive, defensive and reconnaissance efforts among U.S. cyber forces are incompatible and don’t communicate with one another, resulting in a disjointed effort, Cartwright said.

Gen. Ronald Keys, commander of Air Combat Command, told reporters at the conference that current policies prevent the United States from pursuing cyberthreats based in foreign countries. Technology has outpaced policy in cyberspace, he said.

The United States should take more aggressive measures against foreign hackers and Web sites that help others attack government systems, Keys said. It may take a cyber version of the 2001 terrorist attacks for the country to realize it must re-examine its approach to cyber warfare, he added.

Netwarcom officials described their approach as an active defense, in which monitors build defenses around the perimeter of DOD systems, work to mitigate the effects of attacks and restore damaged parts of the network.

Meanwhile, the consolidation of DOD’s cyber resources is ongoing. Netwarcom works directly with the Joint Task Force for Global Network Operations, DOD’s lead agency on network defense and operations, a component of Stratcom.

Netwarcom, the Navy’s lead cyber agency, is moving from monitoring the networks to full command-and-control capabilities. The Air Force announced in October 2006 that it will create a Cyber Command, based on the infrastructure of the 8th Air Force under Lt. Gen. Robert Elder, at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., to coordinate its cyber warfare efforts.

In the end, the cyberthreat is revolutionary, officials said, because it has no battle lines, the intelligence is intangible, and attacks come without warning, leaving no time to prepare defenses. Education and training of computer users, not enforcement, are the most effective defense measures, officials said.

original report from FCW.com

Posted in China, email, Hacker, Internet, Law, military, News, People, Politics, Social, Technology, USA, website, World | 2 Comments »

Latest Report: China – World’s No. 1 Jailer of Journalists

Posted by Author on December 12, 2006


China has been the world’s No.1 jailer of journalists for the 8th consecutive year, with 31 imprisoned, reported in its annual survey published on December 7, 2006, by the Committee to Protectchina- no.1 jailer Journalists (CPJ). Cuba, Eritrea, and Ethiopia were the other top 4 jailers among the 24 nations who imprisoned journalists.

The report shows that about three-quarters of the cases in China were brought under vague “antistate” laws; 19 cases involve Internet journalists. China’s list includes Shi Tao, an internationally recognized journalist serving a 10-year sentence for posting notes online detailing propaganda department instructions on how to cover the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown. The government declared the instructions a “state secret.”
CPJ’s annual worldwide census found one in three is now an Internet blogger, online editor, or Web-based reporter.

The roster of jailed Internet journalists includes China’s “citizen” reporters, the independent Cuban writers who file reports for overseas Web sites, and the U.S. video blogger Joshua Wolf who refused to hand over footage to a grand jury.

“China is challenging the notion that the Internet is impossible to control or censor, and if it succeeds there will be far-ranging implications, not only for the medium but for press freedom all over the world.” CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon said.

CPJ’s special report 2006 can be found here:

Internet fuels rise in number of jailed journalists

Posted in Blog, censorship, China, email, Human Rights, Internet, Journalist, Law, Media, News, People, Politics, Report, Shi Tao, Social, Speech, website, World | 2 Comments »

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.

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How Yahoo assist Government Censorship in China(3)

Posted by Author on August 19, 2006


(cont’d…)
Yahoo! user data employed by Chinese authorities to help convict critics: Yahoo! China provides a Chinese-language email service at Yahoo.com.cn. Independent tests have indicated, and Yahoo! executives have confirmed, that data for the Yahoo.com.cn email accounts is housed on servers inside the PRC.59 As of this writing, court documents obtained by human rights groups have shown that user data handed over by Yahoo! to Chinese law enforcement officials has assisted in the arrest and conviction of at least four people who used email accounts from the Yahoo.com.cn service. The four cases are as follows:

  • Shi Tao: The Chinese journalist was sentenced in April 2005 to ten years in prison for “divulging state secrets abroad.” According to court documents translated by the Dui Hua Foundation and released by Reporters Sans Frontières. Yahoo! complied with requests from the Chinese authorities for information regarding an IP address connected to a cn.mail.yahoo.com email account. The information provided by Yahoo! Holdings (Hong Kong) Holdings linked Shi Tao to materials posted on a U.S.-based dissident website. 60 (See Appendix III for full case details.)

  • Li Zhi: The Internet writer was sentenced in December 2003 to eight years in prison for “inciting subversion of the state authority.” According to the court verdict originally posted on the Internet by the Chinese law firm that defended him, user account information provided by Yahoo! was used to build the prosecutors’ case. 61 (See Appendix IV for full case details.)

  • Jiang Lijun: The Internet writer and pro-democracy activist was sentenced in November 2003 to four years in prison for “subversion.” According to the court verdict obtained and translated by the Dui Hua Foundation, Yahoo! helped confirm that an anonymous email account used to transmit politically sensitive emails was used by Jiang.62 (See Appendix V for full case details.) (to be cont’d…)

– From IV. How Multinational Internet Companies assist Government Censorship in China,
of “Race to the Bottom: Corporate Complicity in Chinese Internet Censorship,” by Human Rights Watch

Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Related:
Undermining freedom of expression in China, Amnesty

Posted in Activist, censorship, China, email, Internet, Journalist, Law, People, Politics, Shi Tao, Social, Special report, Speech, Technology, World, Yahoo | Comments Off on How Yahoo assist Government Censorship in China(3)

How Yahoo assist Government Censorship in China(1)

Posted by Author on August 14, 2006


Human Rights Watch, August 2006-

Yahoo! Inc.

“Our mission is to be the most essential global Internet service for consumers and businesses. How we pursue that mission is influenced by a set of core values – the standards that guide interactions with fellow Yahoos, the principles that direct how we service our customers, the ideals that drive what we do and how we do it… We are committed to winning with integrity. We know leadership is hard won and should never be taken for granted… We respect our customers above all else and never forget that they come to us by choice. We share a personal responsibility to maintain our customers’ loyalty and trust.”

—Yahoo! mission statement, reflecting on “Our Core Values”

Yahoo! was the first major U.S. Internet content company to enter the China market, rolling out a Chinese-language search engine and establishing a Beijing office in 1999.

“Self-discipline” signatory: In August 2002 Yahoo! became a signatory to the “Public Pledge on Self-discipline for the Chinese Internet Industry,” the “voluntary pledge” initiated by the Internet Society of China (see Section II, Part 2, above). Protesting the move at the time, Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth argued that by collaborating with state censorship in this fashion, Yahoo! would “switch from being an information gateway to an information gatekeeper.” Responding to the outcry from human rights groups, who pointed out that Yahoo! was not required by Chinese law to sign the pledge, Yahoo! associate senior counsel Greg Wrenn countered that “the restrictions on content contained in the pledge impose no greater obligation than already exists in laws in China.” In an August 1, 2006 letter to Human Rights Watch, Yahoo! stated that, “The pledge involved all major Internet companies in China and was a reiteration of what was already the case – all Intenet companies in China are subject to Chinese law, including with respect to filtering and information disclosure” (see Appendix xx for full text of letter). This is technically accurate as Microsoft and Google were not operating in China at the time. However, unlike Yahoo!, neither company has signed the pledge since beginning operations in China. (to be cont’d…)

— From IV. How Multinational Internet Companies assist Government Censorship in China,
of “Race to the Bottom: Corporate Complicity in Chinese Internet Censorship,” by Human Rights Watch, August 2006

Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Related:
Undermining freedom of expression in China, Amnesty

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