The Bureacracy That Goes Into Censoring The Internet In China

from the tuttle-tuttle-buttle-tuttle dept

It’s no secret that the process for censoring the internet in China involves a huge bureaucracy of people. Earlier reports had it at 30,000, though we’ve seen some reports that put it at 40,000 (yes, internet censorship is apparently a growth business in China). So, perhaps it should come as no surprise that there’s quite a bit of bureaucracy behind Chinese internet censorship. Apparently a disgruntled censor leaked out the details behind the bureaucracy. Apparently, there are three agencies responsible for different aspects of online censorship: the Internet Propaganda Administrative Bureau, the Bureau of Information and Public Opinion, and the Internet Bureau. There’s also the Beijing Internet Information Administrative Bureau to handle all the internet firms located in Beijing. It’s all very organized. The Propaganda Agency is in charge of licensing news agencies — but the licenses aren’t to report news or do any, you know, reporting. The licenses are to report propaganda provided by the government. The Public Opinion group basically watches over what public opinion is saying and lets Party leaders know about it, so that a response can quickly be generated. The Internet Bureau, then, is where the real censorship takes place. As for the Beijing Internet organization, it meets with the big internet firms and tells them what news stories will be allowed or not allowed that week. There are a few other organizations involved as well, but the whole thing looks quite organized in trying to snuff out anything it doesn’t like online. Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s particularly effective, but that’s an entirely different story.

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Comments on “The Bureacracy That Goes Into Censoring The Internet In China”

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Saleh says:


The last sentence implies that the censorship isn’t effective, but that’s not the case at all. When I’ve been in China, it’s surprising at first how much information leaks through – you can actually get to web sites with historical information and criticism of the current government.

However, after a while, you notice that quite a number of controversial sites appear to be dead or slow. There’s no corporate proxy server style “This page is banned” message, just increasing flakiness in your internet connection.

This gives the appearance that things are fair and balanced, but shifts the mix of information. As a strategy, it makes the whole thing much more convincing, but skews the discourse enough to make those critical of the government look like they’re at the fringes.

Joe Duck (profile) says:

Censorship, American Style

Darn China – they should take our lead here in the USA, save money, and do their censorship the old fashioned way – by only funding and supporting news sources that cater to sensationalistic garbage and prurient nonsense. This approach also keeps the important news out of the public light, but we all get to pretend that we are actually paying attention.

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