100,000 Users Of Chinese Microblog Sina Weibo Punished For Violating 'Censorship Guidelines'

from the turning-online-into-offline dept

We've written a number of times of the various ways in which China tries to police its online world. These include punishing individuals, as well as imposing general rules that apply to everybody. Until now, it's been hard to tell to what extent the latter were just saber-rattling. Now we know, thanks to a new post on the Global Voices site:

According to the Beijing District Joint Platform Against Rumor, more than 103,673 Sina Weibo users have been penalized since August 2013 for violating the Weibo "community code of practice (CoP)" and the "Seven Self-Censorship Guidelines".

An official release alleges that among the penalized Weibo users:

1,030 distributed untruthful information
75,264 published personal attack comments
14,357 harassed other users
3,773 published indecent and obscene materials
9,246 engaged in other forms of misconduct such as copying other users' content

The newly implemented community penalties range from temporary account suspension to permanent deletion of accounts.
Numbers aside, what's interesting here is that the vast majority of users were punished for "personal attack comments" -- at least that's how things are presented:
As one netizen pointed out, "this is just an excuse to silence those who are critical of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)". Another user pointed out that the Party-sponsored online commentators are "immune to" the community rule even when they have launched personal attack comments against political liberals. It appears that the so-called "community" rule only applies to dissenting voices.
What's clever about this is that not only are people with inconvenient views silenced, but their protests are redefined to be the far less glamorous "personal attack comments". As Global Voices concludes, the net effect of these moves is that:
dissenters have been forbidden to speak out online and ordinary netizens are slowly being disciplined into behaving as passive consumers of online information through the imposition of "community code of practice."
In other words, the online world is slowly becoming like the offline one. Does that mean the Internet in China is on its way to being tamed? It seems unlikely, but only time will tell.

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Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    S. T. Stone, Nov 19th, 2013 @ 12:13am

    Something tells me you won’t hear about this over on Bloomberg News.

     

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

  2.  
    icon
    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Nov 19th, 2013 @ 1:11am

    dissenters have been forbidden to speak out online and ordinary netizens are slowly being disciplined into behaving as passive consumers of online information through the imposition of "community code of practice."
    The dream and aim of the **AA and **A parts of western governments too...

     

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

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2013 @ 1:16am

    The more they try to tame the Internet, the more likely the people will lose it, for they will eventually have nothing left to lose.

     

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

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2013 @ 1:39am

    an d this attitude is spreading to so called democratic countries, the USA and UK being but two!

     

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

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2013 @ 3:02am

    China just hates it when due process is enforced.

    No wonder Chris Dodd and out_of_the_blue like it there.

     

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

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2013 @ 5:07am

    Sounds like a sociopath's wet dream

     

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

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2013 @ 6:04am

    Re:

    Not only **AA and **A. Preventing opposition is politically a dreamworld for leaders since it would make their jobs so much easier.

    Also, anyone law enforcement/military-related would be thrilled on a professional level. It would make their jobs infinitely easier. Not to mention the relief on the lobbying companies, since it would be all about buying votes and nothing about defending the reasoning behind it!

    Many people benifit from censorship. There is a reason it is so popular...

     

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


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