China Again Denies Internet Censorship In Carefully Worded Rebuttal

from the tip-toeing-carefully-around-the-definitions dept

A week ago, people were surprised to see how a Chinese government official publicly stated that the country does not censor the internet, in spite of plenty of evidence to the contrary. It looks like this is becoming the official Chinese government line on the topic. Following the announcement from Reporters Without Borders that China was one of the “enemies of the internet” due to censorship, the Chinese government is again protesting the claim that they censor the internet. However, if you read the response, you can see that it’s very carefully worded to tip toe around the definition of censorship. The official stated: “As in other countries, the Internet is managed according to international standards, the law, and the self-management of Internet service providers.” It’s that last part where the trickiness is involved. China’s censorship policy has recently been focused on making it clear to ISPs that they need to censor access to “undesirable” content online. This lets the government claim that they don’t do any censorship at all — and that it’s simply “self-management” by ISPs in accordance with what makes sense. It’s a sneaky way of getting around the issue, but it’s not clear who they think they’re fooling with these claims. Perhaps just themselves.

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “China Again Denies Internet Censorship In Carefully Worded Rebuttal”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Ron (profile) says:

I Guess

… this means the ISP’s in China are free to determine themselves what is detrimental and what is not. Since the Chinese government does not censor the content seen by the Chinese public, then the public could just choose which ISP’s they want based on which ones provide the services they want including how much censorship was involved. Free market pressure would then take care of censorship as the ones that provided the desired level (or lack) of censorship would be the ones with the highest number of subscribers. Others would follow suit or go out of business. I applaude the Chinese governemt for its thorough understanding of free market ecconomy.

Toine says:

"I guess"

I fear it’s not as easy as that Ron…’s quite simple really, the ISP’s that don’t apply the desired level of censorship will get their plug pulled by the Chinese government. So free market is all fine up to the point where you offer a desired service (less censored internet access) underneith the stipulated threshold of the government.
In essence it means ISP will be more or less aggressive with censoring but will avoid at all costs getting shut down by the government for “subversive attitudes” or “not protecting the population from undesired outside corruption”
And once shut down it may take years before you are allowed to operate again…Chinese officials tend to take a long term view on punishing by revoking licenses.

B says:


“Of course we don’t censor! It’s all those mean ISPs that we send death threats to.”
China’s making one of those statements that someone makes when everyone knows they’re losing an argument. Pulls out technicalities that everyone sees right though.
Not to be negative, but if the Chinese did have access to the full unadulterated internet, the U.S. might see a price increase on many products if the common factory works learn such terms as “labor rights” and “minimum wage”.

Sanguine Dream says:

The problem is...

if the ISP are self-censoring their content and they decide to stop censoring then the government will shut them down for allowing acces to “inappropriate content”. So either way the government is censoring the net. I wish that some Chinese ISP would call thier bluff and open the flood gates of content but given how severe punishments are I don’t blame them for being scared into self-censorship. Just what does the Chinese government define as undesireable, inappropriate, or whatever when it comes to online content?

I know I live in a country mostly run by crooks (well they call themselves politicians) but damn.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...