Chinese Internet Censor Defends Actions

from the speaking-up dept

One thing that had been pretty consistent since China first started filtering and censoring the internet was that its policies were never made clear and never discussed. Sites would arbitrarily be blocked, unblocked and reblocked repeatedly. Still, it seems that pressure on the government to explain what it was doing ratcheted up to another level back in May, when the government demanded that all websites “register” with the government, and any that didn’t would get shut down. This was also expanded to include various chat rooms and instant messaging services, where users were being told they had to register their real info. E-Media Tidbits points out that a reporter for the Nanfang Weekend actually was able to get comments on the policy where the director of the Monitoring Department of the Shenzhen City Public Security Bureau Network tries to explain why making everyone register is a good idea, giving the expected lines about the “dangers” of anonymity. The article is quite balanced, quoting others who talk about the value of anonymity as well, but in the end it comes down to the same thing you hear elsewhere when freedoms are being taken away: the state feels they need to “balance” freedom and security. Amusingly, it appears the censor himself recognizes that filters are no replacement for teaching your kids good judgment. He recently moved the internet-enabled computer in his house to the living room so he can see what his 12-year-old son is doing online.

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