China Plays Innocent: It's Never Censored The Internet And Arrested Journos Have 'Legal Problems'

from the who-us? dept

For many, many years it's been well established by research reports and people who actually are in China, that the country censors an awful lot of the internet (often referred to as "The Great Firewall" of China). Recent reports have shown that there are tens of thousands of people employed by the Chinese government as part of the program to monitor the internet and internet usage, but that much of the "censorship" is done not by official government decree, but by making it clear that ISPs will get in trouble if they don't block certain sites. That makes it so the ISPs themselves choose what gets blocked, and they do so aggressively, as any failure can cause trouble with the government.

Of course, by passing it off to the ISPs, rather than the government, it lets government officials stand up and make statements denying that there's any internet censorship at all. Instead, the official notes that sometimes people "have trouble accessing" certain sites, but that's "a different problem." When the surprised moderator at that session asked for clarification, the official said there's nothing to clarify since they don't have any restrictions. Of course, it's interesting that right before he says all this, it sounds like he's going down the typical path stated by Chinese officials in the past that the blocking is simply a way to "protect" users, since he says: "We need to also protect tourists in our country. And I have to say that I am a Chinese citizen, and I feel that I need to be protected. For example, we are threatened by terrorism. We do need protection." But then he immediately claims there's no restrictions. As for the issue of arresting journalists who the government is unhappy with, he again brushes that off, saying: "We have hundreds of journalists in China, and some of them have legal problems. It has nothing to do with freedom of expression." Right.

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  1. identicon
    Sanguine Dream, 31 Oct 2006 @ 11:26am

    Sounds familiar...

    I'm not fluent in the language of lawyer, politicial, or corporate big wig but this sounds just like any other official, lawyer, or CEO that beats around the bush of an issue so that they can avoid actually saying something that may hold them resposible in the future. Two words: Plausible deniability.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. icon
    mmrtnt (profile), 31 Oct 2006 @ 11:33am


    I am truly relieved to hear this!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    misanthropic humanist, 31 Oct 2006 @ 11:44am

    pot kettle

    Self censorship is not unique to China or obviously repressive regimes. DMCA provisions work in exactly the same way. Content carriers and ISPs are kept in a climate of fear that causes them to self censor. Part of this process is to deliberately obfuscate the law. By making laws so complex, changing them so fast and making sure the courts and judges take an ambiguous position a climate of fear is maintained in which good people who are merely cautious become the unwitting tools of highly oppressive policies. We do the same thing here, in Europe and the USA. We censor but do not have the courage to call it what it is.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    smokebreak, 31 Oct 2006 @ 12:20pm

    current affairs

    I know this isn't the topic, but iraq says it needs 100 billion to help in repairs in the article above. I just thought it funny, because the government will probably help them with this. the us population just hit 300 million people. if you break it down, that means the gov. is spending $333.33 per person if they comply with this request......., and this is on top of what they already spent, and dosen't include that out of 300 million people, probably 50 million are too young to pay taxes

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Oct 2006 @ 12:53pm


    What he said may be true, they don't use SOFTWARE to filter the internet, they use routers. Now I realize there is very little difference in using a routing table to block IP's and a piece of software, they are playing the technicality game.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Mushroom, 31 Oct 2006 @ 1:20pm


    I feel so bad....because I am a Chinese. Our government can lie just about anything. what's worse, they lie and look straight into your eyes......

    I hope the outside world would understand, the government doesn't represent us, we are much better than our government make us look like.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Joe America, 31 Oct 2006 @ 1:36pm

    bad part 2

    Well Im American and I feel bad because our government will lie about anything. Whats worse is they make elaborate and often viscious plans against even its own people with the intent to lie about it.

    I hope the outside world understands, our government doesnt represent us. In fact it purposely tries to divide us to maintain a certain level of campaign funding. Americans are much better then their government makes them look but often times Americans fail to do our duty as members of a democracy and our government has escaped our control.

    Oh well its been about 200 years.. thats almost the same timing that rome switch between democracy and dictatorship. Maybe its our time.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    TJ, 31 Oct 2006 @ 1:44pm

    Re: bad

    The world knows the truth about the Chinesse people. They are a great people, with a strong history. They can not be blamed for the actions of their government.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Charlie Potatoe, 31 Oct 2006 @ 2:24pm

    how dare you compare the american government to the chinese...our government would never look us in the eye and lie to us...they always look in the other direction..
    .it used to be they looked at China ..or the Soviet Union..but never at they look at Iraq or Korea...but trust me, they don't look us in the eye..
    And besides that, i'm not sure that anyone could tell which direction Pea-Eye Bush is looking anyway...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Solo, 31 Oct 2006 @ 3:43pm

    Re: bad

    Well, Mr Mushroom, that is pretty much a given. The Chinese Government does not represent the Chinese people, it rules them. They call their own country the People's Republic of China, but the model is dictatorship.

    Only in a democracy can, to some extend, the government claim to represent the public (under the assumption of political freedom and fair representation)

    And no, I'm not saying democracy is the answer. It has its own problems.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Stu, 31 Oct 2006 @ 4:12pm

    "We have met the enemy, and they is us."

    "Political language, and with variations this is true of all political parties, is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind."
    George Orwell, 1946

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    They are us, 31 Oct 2006 @ 4:40pm

    misanthropic humanist

    Doubleplusgood Stu.

    The corollary of Pogo that avoids a schism for me is,

    "Men are at war with each other because each man is at war with himself." Meehan

    In other words, we know we are sick and sinful, but unable to stop hating ourselves for it. Most men take one of two choices, to embrace the sickness and become evil in life, or to turn the hatred outwards by projection. Very few have the courage to face themselves.

    As for dear George spinning away in his grave, I think he was slightly autistic, with a propensity to dissect language far beyond practical semantics and meaning to ordinary folk, much like Chomsky. I would say language is always a liar, but then I'm a slightly autistic mathematician. Most of Science is an effort to add solidity to pure air (eg. quantum mechanics).

    What sets political talk apart from other language is a deep and profound arrogant hypocracy that makes murder and abuse not just acceptable but heroic when performed on ones behalf, while evil and inhuman when directed against you. It is a complete lack of understanding of subjectivity and relativity.
    In short the politician is somebody so utterly disconnected from empathic feelings that they actually do not grasp the paradox of their ideas. The word psychologists use for that is "psychopath".

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    China Law Blog, 31 Oct 2006 @ 8:56pm

    Just Like the Good Old Days

    Reminds me of when the governments in China and Russia would claim there were no plane crashes or mining accidents in their countries because admitting to these things would mean the people were not actually living in a socialist paradise. Must have been no censorship back then either.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Stephen, 1 Nov 2006 @ 5:52am

    China's firewall is so evil. It's much better to sue people in other countries for activities that are legal where they were performed. Why doesn't America make it's own firewall to keep it's citizens abiding it's own laws instead of sue people for behavior outside of their sovergn borders? If the activity of the site is illegal in your country how should law enforcement respond? By building a wall around the site or arresting the owners when they go on vacation? China has the right idea even if it's for the wrong reasons.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Alan, 1 Nov 2006 @ 7:09am

    So in the U.S.

    But the real question is 'can they play poker online?'. Because while the U.S. doesn't censor it (and certainly not without debate), us Canadians are looking for some new playmates.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Nov 2006 @ 5:52pm


    Pea-eyed how dare you.. Pea brained

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Another Coward, 2 Nov 2006 @ 2:02pm

    Re: Spect your President.

    Even if you didn't vote for him. Things can always be worse, look at the french with Chirac, look at Iraq with ... sure he's been taken down?
    Well if the good guys are gone, at least we have the funny ones left.
    Talking about china, Has anybody looked up "Tianenmen" on
    I heard that we get pictures of "Tankman" and china doesn't.
    I noticed that China does now, Some germans with "".
    Censorship is getting harder even for the Chinese.
    Then again I wasn't in china when I did the search.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    Bob Lock, 5 Nov 2006 @ 4:55pm

    Re: bad

    What do you mean bad?

    Has China attacked Iraq, Afganistan,
    caused war between Iran and Iraq
    gone to vietnam and korea
    Helped suppress Palestinians
    Bullied lied extorted corrupted and manipulated

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    tommy, 5 Dec 2006 @ 11:56am


    ilove you

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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