My uncle just sent me an online article quoting a Chinese official asserting that they don’t censor the internet in China and I didn’t find the Chinese official’s comments all that surprising and the article was even less interesting. But what I did find interesting are the ridiculous comments that people wrote in reaction to the article. Here are the comments:
China’s Internet-filtering regime
A Chinese government official received incredulous stares at the United Nations summit when he claimed that no Net censorship existed in China at all. However, very few cases of Net censorship are as carefully and publicly documented as the Great Firewall of China.
What are your thoughts about China’s Internet-filtering regime?
1.1. China allows….
their subjects to see the stuff they don’t censor.
1.2. Clearly, this guy must have been a holdback…
…from the era where the Communists honestly believed that whatever they said became the operative reality. Global democratized communication destroyed that era almost 2 decades ago.
1.3. Sure, they don’t censor. As long as it is their politics and propoganda.
Why Me Worry?
Anything that goes against their oppresive commie regime will be blocked and any attempts by Chinese nationals to view “non-communist related materials” will result in serious jailtime, if not charges of treason. It’s like Iran claiming to need a nuclear reactor for “peaceful purposes” when most of their citizens live in mudhuts and tents like cavemen. Sure they don’t censor, just like the middle east isn’t exporting terrorism.
1.3.1. A minor correction,
Iran is not a third world country, Whist I yes they are an oppressive regime but I do insist on being correct.
Iran isn’t a first world country (like the US AU and Japan) they fit in the middle (second world) most people live in cities with electricity and running water they just don’t have access to all the amenities we take for granted like, entertainment on demand, good education and health systems (we have those in AU) phone access is somewhat limited (think 1940’s Brittan). Most people don’t live like cavemen, in fact they have some good scientific institutions (geo-sciences especially, which completely avoids the religious and political aspirations) just not very many places for students, most who finish go overseas for a post grad (we get a lot of them in AU).
Also the main reason that Iran does not need an nuclear reactor is the amount of oil they are sitting on coupled with the fact that nuclear technology is dangerous. This reason is cited by European diplomats.
1.4. China Censor?
They do not censor they just block. This way they are protecting their population from spam. LOL
1.5. And the UN wants to administer the net
My concern is that the UN is blasting the US for wanting to keep control of the oversight of the net. If the UN were to administer the net, China would be one of the primary players to control decisions on censorship. And since they don’t censor the net in their own country, they wouldn’t have any problem doing exactly the same thing for other repressive regimes, like Iran.
1.5.1. Of course the UN wants control!
But don’t just believe alone when I say the UN wants to be able to censor the Internet. They themselves say it at the very end of the UN Declaration on Human Rights:
(1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.
(2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.
(3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
To me, it was surprising to see just how brainwashed and clueless the Chinese are to their own situation. I’m not putting them down – I truly feel sorry for them.
It also makes you wonder in what other ways the government is controlling them. Sure, every government has some sort of control over its people, but the spin doctors in the US ain’t got nothin’ on the Chinese!
Not to open a can of worms, but thinking of how the Chinese don’t know what they don’t know, it makes me wonder what things that my own government might be hiding from me “for my own good”. What falsehoods might they have me believing via the evening news?
1.7. One of my sites is unavailable in China
I have a very small social networking site, mainly a supplement to LinkedIn, www.buildyournetworks.com.
Believe me, there is nothing of social significance, controvercy, etc. Just some profiles of open networkers.
I have had a number of recent Chinese direct contacts on LinkedIn tell me that they have not been able to access the site.
I suspect we have here an example of the old, if it is not approved it is forbidden mind set.
Jon Williamson IT Manager, Webmaster, Candidate Recruiting
Williamson Employment Services, Inc.
213 Hilltop Rd.
St. Joseph, MI 49085
Are you LinkedIn? If so, send me a connection request!
If not, visit my profile at https://www.linkedin.com/in/jonwilliamson for information.
Visit our jobs page at http://www.williamsonemployment.com/jobs.html
My Main Phone: 269-353-4735
Cell Phone: 269-325-5559
Corporate Office: 269-983-0142 or 800-226-6801
Other IM contact information available on request
1.8. We should wait for someone from China to reply.
I’m sure they have access to this forum, don’t you think?
1.8.1. it’s very typical
this is so typical the only one sided story. and none of you have been to china and used the internet there, and yet you are all “experts” now of this issue. how lovely, once again prove you americans are whole bunch ignorant and arrogant ppl ever live on the planet earth.
126.96.36.199. Perhaps you should investigate before you accuse
Of course, if you are in China, you can’t read the pages I will point you to:
Precise: selected Sites on politics, religion, sex, alcohol, humour, dating, music are BANNED.
Try going to China and surfing for Falun Gong, Dalai Lama, Tianamen square
They also monitor internet chat rooms.
1.8.2. Reading you in China
I’m an expat living in China. Internet censorship here drives me crazy!! It is impossible to get on the BBC website at all, wikipedia was blocked for a long time and recently they just unblocked the English-version (though who knows how long that will last?). Google is often blocked as was Gmail for a while on and off.
The stupid thing is, the people who want to, know how to get around these blocks anyway, and the people who don’t are usually so believing of what the government tells them anyway that no matter what they saw on the internet, they would probably write it off as another country trying to bad mouth them.
1.9. Absolutely Funny
The China PRC will never openly sdmit they are filtering the internet. They tell the world they are not and they really do expect us to believe them.
Are you crazy? No documentation or openness about their filtered internet? That will never happen. Anyone caught breaking the rules well be dealt with immediately and you can be sure he will not do it again.
On the other hand, you mmay never see him again either.
Look around in China and you will see very few police. You will see military people doing the police duties
Do not be confused>>>Think Communist dictator nation.
1.10. The Gullible West
Again, we see how taken the west and the US is as it relates to China. On almost every front China is making huge gains to position itself as a mojor gobal player. The control that it exercises over the internet in their country and the american IT companys falling all over themselves to do business there shows that they have us right where they want us at this point in their long term strategic plan.
1.11. Its a little from column A and a little from column B
as DCARNILLSMITH pointed out sometimes we get different content or cant get access to pages (I cant access a few US and EU sites in australia).
sometimes this is because the site is set up to deliver you the AU or CA page instead of the US page (gamespot and bbc) sometimes its because the site blocks you (admins can choose to block Chinese or Australian IP’s). Mostly its because the Internet is best effort delivery system not guaranteed delivery. this happens to me (in Australia) a bit when accessing sites that are a fair distance away (and generally set up on cheaper connections).
Not to say there is no censorship going on, but its not the only reason.
But I know people who grew up in Hong Kong, (up until 2000 the British ruled it) and they tell me that almost nothing changed when HK changed hands. Censorship certainly isn’t as bad as we westerners make out, apparently we’re quiet alarmist about censorship according to my Chinese college. Also China is only half way to being a first world country. Internet access is not available in the entire country, particularly in rural and remote areas.
Edit: Just to say that I don’t believe anything I read in the news these days, if I want the truth I talk to someone who knows.
I have two computers. One one when I download things I register with a U.S. address, with the other I register with my real address and guess which one lacks alot of content, yes, the one with my real address. Is this a case of censorship? I am not talking “sophisticated” programs per se, real player, media player, even updating Google etc. Try it yourself, register outside the U.S. and a lot of radio, TV, music etc., is not available.
Oh, I live in CANADA and can see the U.S. from my window!
I was so charged by these comments that I went to the trouble of actually signing up for an account just so that I could reply and set these people straight. As such, here is my response:
I live in Shanghai, China and daily my friends and I complain about things in China (mostly the spitting, dirtiness, and noise) but never is internet censorship among our complaints. I actually think the slow speed of the internet is more annoying (only 100Mbps). Of course a few sites are blocked (like Amnesty and Radio Free China-a podcast) but I’ve never had any problems with BBC or Google and recently, as the person in Beijing mentioned, http://en.wikipedia.org was unblocked. Furthermore, the links sent by JamesRL about Google or internet censorship in China came through fine when I looked them up here. And with a proxy server there’s no reason not to access sites you want. (JamesRL, it helps if you spell Tiananmen correctly and China is actually a fairly liberal society when it comes to sex and alcohol.)
I definitely agree with the Beijing person’s comment that those who are capable and want to know can easily use a proxy server (or whatever means) and look up ‘blocked’ websites. And the others are happy living in Chinese propaganda bliss.
As for ianwyu’s comment, you should not be so fast to judge Americans until you have inquired what your (presumably) countrymen in China know of the outside world. It’s is far less than most Americans, and the sad thing is they don’t even care. I do agree with you that many of the comments on this post are erroneous, but my opinion is that it is mostly techies trying to prove they know something about something other than IT.
As for the opinion that the Chinese official is so delusional or brainwashed that he actually believed what he was saying, that is doubtful. He was just repeating the official party line about internet censorship and treatment of journalists and in doing so, probably boosting his status within the party.
As to other forms of censorship in China and issues regarding the people’s knowledge and opinion, I have written blogs about these topics. If you’re interested, please feel free to visit my blog and search for these articles. http://TofflerAnn.com I would also like to point out that I’ve written some rather controversial or critical posts about the Chinese government and my blog is still visible in China.
Happy interneting Chinese friends.