How China's Attempts To Censor The Internet Are Failing

from the nice-try dept

Just as Bono is claiming that the world should look to China's success in censoring the internet as a good example of how other countries can fight unauthorized internet file sharing, the Wall Street Journal is reporting on just how badly China's "war" against the internet is going, noting that the more it tries to censor, the more trouble it's having in doing so:
The Internet has enabled more Chinese to have more access to information today, and given them greater ability to communicate and express themselves than at any time since the founding of the People's Republic.
Because of that, even as China tries to crack down, it simply leads to more people figuring out ways around the barriers:
But for each critic the authorities stop, more rise. "There are simply too many people," says Xiao Qiang, a scholar who studies the Chinese Internet at the University of California at Berkeley. "They can do that to a very small group ... but the approach certainly is not good enough to intimidate all the voices online."

Mr. Xiao points to the example of Liu Xiaobo, detained in December 2008 for his role in creating Charter 08, a sweeping call for political and legal reform in China. Mr. Liu was sentenced on Christmas Day to 11 years in prison for subversion. But since his detention, thousands more Chinese have signed Charter 08 through Internet sites that disseminate the document.
That's not to say that the government hasn't become good at cracking down on things it doesn't like, and the article certainly notes just that the government is "losing," not that it has "lost." However, it also points out that rising voices of complaints are having an impact, noting how China's "Green Dam" plan to install internet filters on all PCs was eventually stopped due to public protest over the idea. So, yes, the government has continued to censor the internet in China, and many users have more trouble reaching certain sites or types of information, but that does not mean that internet censorship works or that it's been successful in suppressing opposition content and discussion online. No matter what Bono believes.

Filed Under: activism, censorship, china, great firewall, internet


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  1. icon
    Laurel L. Russwurm (profile), 4 Jan 2010 @ 4:14pm

    out of the realm of luxury: the internet is a necessity

    Ah... the point is that even China can't afford to be unplugged.

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