How China Censors Chat Rooms, Discussion Lists

from the self-censorship-has-its-cracks dept

The fact that China blocks plenty of websites has been well documented. Clearly, there are people in the Chinese government responsible for making sure certain websites are inaccessible. But how do you censor more dynamic content in discussion groups and chat rooms? There were some headlines about how the various web companies in China agreed to self-censor those discussions, but that still leaves open the question of how good they are at stopping “dangerous” ideas. Online Journalism Review has a fascinating article about someone who is testing the boundaries to find out what kinds of messages can get through the censors, and how long they last online. Since the censors are human, it seems to vary quite a bit – but when done right, he says you can get quite a lot of information out there, if only for a short while.

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Comments on “How China Censors Chat Rooms, Discussion Lists”

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dorpus says:

Grass roots censorship

A lot of discussions about censorship in China seem to forget that intelligence gathering in China is done on a mostly informal basis, where informers from the community rat on their neighbors. So long as betrayal or social climbing is a part of human nature, this system will always succeed. Anyone from China who boasts about outsmarting censors is very likely an informant himself. The Chinese have spent thousands of years deceiving each other in the most cynical ways.

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