The NY Times is reporting that the Chinese government appears to be raising the walls on the Great Firewall of China even higher
, shutting down a bunch of sites, limiting the ability to let individuals put up their own websites, and completely restricting the ability to offer third party mobile content. Here's where it gets sneaky. The Chinese government claims
that it's an effort to stop "piracy." And, indeed, some of the sites that were shut down appear to be sites related to file sharing
. But this is great for the Chinese government -- because US lobbyists and diplomats have been complaining about Chinese "piracy" for ages, even as US diplomats have complained about free speech restrictions online in China. So, by hiding a more massive crackdown behind the claim that the government is really "cracking down on piracy," China knows that the US can't complain too much. After all, it's been demanding a crackdown on piracy for so long. So what if that "crackdown" also massively limits the ability of individuals to communicate freely online?