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Censorship Your Rights Online

China Shuts Down 17,000 Internet Bars 599

Posted by timothy
from the cheaper-than-carnivore dept.
Astin writes: "According to this article, Chinese authorities have shut down more than 17,000 Internet bars for failing to block Web sites considered subversive or pornographic. Out of the 94,000 Internet bars in China, 17,488 have been shut down and another 28,000 were ordered to install monitoring software soon. Of the 27 million Internet users in China, about 4.5 million rely on these bars. Foreign news organizations fall under the category of 'subversive'."
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China Shuts Down 17,000 Internet Bars

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  • What a shock, who'd have thought that China would have bad Human Rights Practices [state.gov].
    • Highlights of the above report:
      • crackdowns on religion
      • harsh treatment of political dissent
      • falun gong practitioners put in detention, sentenced to "reeducation-through-labor" camp, incarcerated in mental institutions or killed
      • extrajudicial killings
      • torture
      • forced confessions
      • arbitrary arrest and detention
      • mistreatment of prisoners
      • lengthy incommunicatdo detention
      • denial of due process
      • a judicial system that denies defendants basic legal safeguards
      • restrictions on freedom of speech and the press
      • restrictions on freedom assembyly and freedom of association
      • restrictions on freedom of movement
      • violence against women, including forced abortion and sterlization
      • trafficking in women and children
      • massive abuses in Tibey and Xinjiang
      • a lack of worker rights
      • forced labor in prison facilities
      • child labor
      The list goes on, and details are provided. Check out what goes on in the country that makes your shoes for such a good price.
      • I'm sure that you'll notice the irony that increasingly many of these things are now happening here in the USA as well. Go figure.
  • Why is anyone really surprise by this move by the Chinese government? It's not like they're known for being a bunch of liberals after all - just ask some of Falun Gong for instance how they treat ideas that they don't like. No, the Chinese government may like to talk about their progressive nature and "liberalising" (heh) their country, but the truth is they're as big a bunch of Reds as the Soviets ever were.

    How is though that the US is prepared to kiss ass in order to trade with them when we spent close to fifty years fighting the Red menace before? Modern USia has quite simply lost any semblance of morality and ideology other than the dollar and a kind of rabid Christianity. Whatever happened to fighting the good fight against communism because it threatened the freedoms we fought so hard to win?

    Are our principles now to be sacrificed because we want cheap Chinese products? Can this country sink any lower?

    • by easter1916 (452058) on Wednesday November 21, 2001 @12:23PM (#2596593) Homepage
      I think you answered your own question; The good fight stops when it's bad for business.
    • "Whatever happened to fighting the good fight against communism because it threatened the freedoms we fought so hard to win?"


      Because the people in China need to feed their families and earn an honest living. Because if the USA were to "(fight) the good fight" due to some moral docterine our economy would collapse almost instantly as we alienate Singapore, China, Vietnam, and every other "freedom hating" regime on the planet. Because, when it comes down to it, we have to make the best that we can and help the most people possible.

    • Imagine that sort of banning of certain books, films or even thoughts happening in the USA? Never! [let.rug.nl]
    • "Fighting the good fight" against communism ended when Nixon went to China and began a policy of detente, as well he should have. China is indeed guilty of some horrible human rights violations, as are most countries, but I don't think another protracted cold war will solve much of anything. What I think Bush, or at least his advisors, correctly realize is that a country that is open to two-way trade is a country that is open to the most powerful weapons of democracy: interaction. I would bet that putting a McDonalds in Moscow has done more Russia-US relations than any number of summit meetings.

      I find it somewhat odd that you speak of rabid Christian morality and ideology and then complain that the US policy towards China isn't sufficiently idealistic or moral in it its dealings with China. Which way did you want it?

      RC
    • How is though that the US is prepared to kiss ass in order to trade with them when we spent close to fifty years fighting the Red menace before?


      The U.S. has spent years trying NOT to make it easy for China to trade with the world (and join the WTO) because of it's human right's violations. I do not know how you can all of a sudden say we are "kissing ass" to trade with them. The ONLY reason we trade with China is to allow their people to feed themselves. Other than that, it's cheap labor... but we get that from Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Korea, Taiwan, etc (and any other countries I can insult today ;)

      • it's cheap labor... but we get that from Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Korea, Taiwan, etc

        It's odd that you would include Canada in that list. Canadians do make less money on average, but not the huge amount less than people from the other countries, and 80% of Canadians enjoy a higher standard of living than 80% of Americans. It's quite a scam. What's more important, the raw numbers of currency units that you make, or the quality of life that you enjoy because of it? By your logic, Mexicans are better off than Canadians or Americans because they make so many pesos.

        BTW, you might be surprised to learn that although the Canadian dollar is only worth about US$0.62 for foreign exchange, it is worth about US$0.80 for goods purchased in Canada (purchasing power parity).
    • The more the Chinese people taste freedom, the move they'll crave it. Supporting their economy with trade helps by giving people jobs, (slowly) improving their standard of living, and introducing elements of our culture. Granted, China is somewhat a different beast than the was USSR, but I suppose the hope is that the same quiet collapse will happen--that one day, everyone will more or less say 'screw this,' then pack their bags and go home.
  • Huh. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Karen_Frito (91720)
    How long until we see "17,800 Internet Cafes in the United States were shut down last week due to the newly passed Eagle Act, which requires blocking all pro-terrorist sites."

    ?
  • by ApheX (6133) on Wednesday November 21, 2001 @12:19PM (#2596560) Homepage Journal
    People are complaining about the loss of civil liberties and privacy in the US with the wake of the 9-11 attacks. But be thankful that we still have freedom of speech and press and that we aren't getting government filtered content stuck down our throats. I am suprised that though a lot of china is so technologically advanced, their society is not...
    • Doesn't mean I should accept what they're doing to us because it's not as bad as what China's doing to their people. Wrong is wrong, no matter the extent thereof.
      • Matters of Scale (Score:3, Insightful)

        by JJ (29711)
        I agree that it should concern every US citizen when the government plans to impinge on the rights of any US citizen, but my concerns can be allayed at times. Is a little more border control warranted? I think yes. Should student visa holders receive greater scrutiny than at present (currently zero)? Again, I'm okay with that. What China does is attempt to completely silence all contrary viewpoints, especially the free press. I'm much more concrened about that, than anything Ashcroft has dreamt up lately.
    • Most of China is not at all technologically advanced, the rural areas are still practically pre-Industrial. Perhaps you are thinking of Japan?

  • Normal Students? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Talisman (39902) on Wednesday November 21, 2001 @12:21PM (#2596576) Homepage
    From the article:

    "Some youths will submerge themselves in Internet bars for long periods, playing unhealthy games and adversely affecting their development as normal students."

    If porn and video games do not make for normal students, I dare say that there has never been a normal male child, ever. Sex and games occupied most of my time while I was a student.

    And I'm plenty normal. Just ask my psychiatrist.

    Talisman
  • by Mannerism (188292) <keith-slashdot@Nospam.spotsoftware.com> on Wednesday November 21, 2001 @12:25PM (#2596608)
    The most telling point in the article:

    The government wants to encourage the Internet's growth as a commercial medium. But Beijing fears its other use as a forum for political dissent.

    Now let's revisit the second sentence:

    But Washington fears its other use as a forum for terrorist activity.

    So, Beijing mandates NetNanny, and Washington mandates Carnivore.

    Yep, sure am glad I live in a society completely unlike China.

    • Re:Fear the Net (Score:4, Redundant)

      by isa-kuruption (317695) <kuruption@kuru[ ]on.net ['pti' in gap]> on Wednesday November 21, 2001 @12:59PM (#2596858) Homepage
      Well, if it's so bad here, move to China. It's nice you compare the freedoms you have here to that of the lack of freedoms in China and look at one particular incident with a response of "why the U.S. is like China" sarcasm.

      Your comparison is wrong. Carnivore is not an idea of censorship, it is an idea of monitoring. These are 2 seperate things. You can view all the porn you want, just some guy in the FBI will know about it. There is no constitutional amendment for "privacy" and although it's a nice thing to have, no society *ever* has had the level of privacy that some of you privacy fanatics want. Again, move into the mountains of Colorado without running water or electricity and carry a shotgun... you'll get PLENTY of privacy.

      While we can argue carnivore all day long, as we have on several occasions, it's nice to see that people still think the U.S. is such a bad place to live. I mean, there are plenty of other places to go. If you don't like it here, move. While our government monitors your Internet activity to protect the people, other countries like Somalia don't even have a real government. Maybe you should move there where it is "less restrictive" on your rights as a human being.
      • Re:Fear the Net (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Borealis (84417)
        I don't seriously think most people are complaining that the USA is a *bad* place to live, merely that it is not necessarily on a path to being better.

        Just because you're an american doesn't mean you can't complain about freedoms and privacy being taken from you. On the contrary, I think it's your duty to stand up for your rights.

        Nations must balance the rights of the people vs. the need to prevent bad people from causing mayhem. The fact that many people believe the government is neglecting the rights of the people in an (arguably misguided an ineffectual) effort to prevent crime is probably an indication that the scales have tipped too far in one direction.

        America is a fine nation. I can't honestly rate it vs. other nations having lived here most of my life (the remainder being spent in Canada, which is almost identical). I believe that it is quite possibly one of the best places to live, but that does not prevent me from finding the actions of some of our "leadership" somewhat less than optimal.
      • move into the mountains of Colorado without
        running water or electricity and carry a shotgun... you'll get PLENTY of privacy.

        Tell that to the unabomber. He couldnt even mail out a letter without people banging on his door, and then transporting his house to a secured facility.

  • by Exmet Paff Daxx (535601) on Wednesday November 21, 2001 @12:28PM (#2596632) Homepage Journal
    The Chinese government did this, to a lesser degree, in July, shutting down 2000 internet cafes [newsfactor.com]. They'll continue to do this, as public anonymous entrance points to the internet are much harder to track and discipline; the user is usually long gone by the time you examine the logs.

    There's a great quote from this article:
    a Web site published opinions expressed by Communist Party leaders that excoriated the effects of "online heroin" on its masses, particularly on its youth

    If the Internet is "online heroin", slashdot is "an online jet-powered crackpipe burning a two ton ball of primo Detriot crack, laced with LSD, PCP, Ecstasy, and some weird shit we've never seen before".
  • by Ieshan (409693) <ieshan@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Wednesday November 21, 2001 @12:33PM (#2596672) Homepage Journal
    Actually, I can't say that it would be illegal in a "bar", but in a cybercafe environment, by law in MA at least, you're required to have internet filtering which blocks nudity and other "offensive" content. In a restricted, over 21 environment, perhaps this isn't such an issue, but in a mall or a place with any sort of store window, police complaints and actual orders to shut your business down can be handed out with very little discrimination. I know, I net-admined one for a year.

    My friend and I recieved, on one occasion, a visit from the local police department, concerning that children had acceess to our machines and that our machines could be set to display objectionable content. The woman who had filed the complaint did not actually see objectionable content or had an experience where her child did, she merely voiced the possibility that it could happen.

    Police seem to take this sort of stuff seriously. I'm not sure why it's any surprise that a government particularly against free speech would have a slightly more aggrevated reaction.
    • True for porn (not unreasonable in a public place), but in China the "subversive content" would include foreign newsfeeds as stated in the article.

      I would call this an abrogation of a fundamental freedom, but that's just me.

  • In The Lexus and the Olive Tree [amazon.com], Thomas Friedman writes about the globalization of information. Globalization is a two-edged sword: it enables you to compete more effectively, which improves your economy and standard of living. But it also makes it harder to keep up walls and isolationist policies.

    China realizes that they have to have Internet connectivity for its economy to grow and compete with the rest of the global market for products and services. In the long run, it's chasing after windmills with these restrictions. Once a critical mass of Internet users is reached, there will be less support for any administration that tries to enforce such rules.

    It's just a matter of time.
  • by GNU Zealot (442308) on Wednesday November 21, 2001 @12:45PM (#2596759) Homepage

    Taken from http://www.usembassy-china.org.cn/english/sandt/ne treg.htm [usembassy-china.org.cn] :

    Section Four -- No unit or individual may use the Internet to harm national security, disclose state secrets, harm the interests of the State, of society or of a group, the legal rights of citizens, or to take part in criminal activities.

    Section Five -- No unit or individual may use the Internet to create, replicate, retrieve, or transmit the following kinds of information:

    (1) Inciting to resist or breaking the Constitution or laws or the implementation of administrative regulations;

    (2) Inciting to overthrow the government or the socialist system;

    (3) Inciting division of the country, harming national unification;

    (4) Inciting hatred or discrimination among nationalities or harming the unity of the nationalities;

    (5) Making falsehoods or distorting the truth, spreading rumors, destroying the order of society;

    (6) Promoting feudal superstitions, sexually suggestive material, gambling, violence, murder,

    (7) Terrorism or inciting others to criminal activity; openly insulting other people or distorting the truth to slander people;

    (8) Injuring the reputation of state organs;

    (9) Other activities against the Constitution, laws or administrative regulations.

    Section Six No unit or individual may engage in the following activities which harm the security of computer information networks:

    (1) No-one may use computer networks or network resources without getting proper prior approval

    (2) No-one may without prior permission may change network functions or to add or delete information

    (3) No-one may without prior permission add to, delete, or alter

    materials stored, processed or being transmitted through the network.

    (4) No-one may deliberately create or transmit viruses.

    (5) Other activities which harm the network are also prohibited.

    Section Seven The freedom and privacy of network users is protected by law. No unit or individual may, in violation of these regulations, use the Internet to violate the freedom and privacy of network users.

    • State organs (Score:3, Interesting)

      (8) Injuring the reputation of state organs;

      So, is it legal to say that the organs that the State extracts from executed prisoners are the best organs money can buy?
    • (5) Making falsehoods ...
      (7) ... or distorting the truth to slander people
      8) Injuring the reputation of state organs;

      In other words, TELLING THE TRUTH is also illegal when it injures the reputation of gov't agencies. For instance, mentioning that the reason the elementary school exploded was that they had the kiddies making fireworks to be sold at a profit (true story, AFAIK)...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 21, 2001 @12:49PM (#2596791)
    I was actually surprised just how much Internet penetration there was. Basically, everywhere I went there were Internet cafe's, and most of them worked pretty well. There were definite brownout periods, but when things worked I was only paying about $20 Chinese per hour (a couple of bucks USD) for decent speed Internet access.


    The funniest time was when I went with my wife to her hometown, in southern China. In a city of 100,000 people (which they call a village in China), I was the only non-Chinese person who had been there in over 2 years. People turned and stared at me wherever I went (my in-laws were joking that they should have charged admission to see me). Yet just down the street was a perfectly functional Internet cafe.


    These things happen slowly, but they do happen. Don't think for a second that Chinese dissedents can't figure out how to use encrypted proxies or whatever, to get information in or out, just as easily as we western geeks do to get around stifling workplace rules...

    :-)

  • This story illustrates a wider problem internationally, that of regimes which quell any sort of human rights and freedoms. US & Allies are currently engaged in a war in persuit of one man, accused of murder. The side affect of this (which is widely publicised in the Canadian press) is that Afghan citizens (especially women) are regaining many fundamental freedoms. However, liberating oppressed people was clearly not the intent of the war.

    If one man is worth starting a war over, then isn't it also worthwhile to fight for people's freedom? Saudi-Arabia, China, Pakistan, and Indonesia are amongst the nations that the west does business with, and yet the oppress billions of people. Why can't we justify war with these countries, or even extreme trade embargoes, if only to ensure their people's freedom? How many barrels of oil or cheap shirts is a woman/man's freedom worth??

    I'm not making an anti-US statement here. Canada, Britain, the EU, and australia, amongst others, are exactly the same.

  • by Mustang Matt (133426) on Wednesday November 21, 2001 @12:50PM (#2596801)
    Maybe that will slow the flow of spam nailing my servers.

    It seems like the Chinese can't (or don't want to) figure out how to secure a mail server.

    Are there any Chinese readers here that can explain this? Anytime I have spam problems originating within the U.S. I have about a 99% chance of getting a cooperative ISP that fixes the problem within a few hours but because of the communication barrier I have no luck pursuing this overseas (generally China).

    Short of blocking all traffic from .cn I don't know what else to do. Anyone have any suggestions?
    • by Tackhead (54550) on Wednesday November 21, 2001 @02:23PM (#2597347)
      > Short of blocking all traffic from .cn I don't know what else to do. Anyone have any suggestions?

      Bounce all mail from China with:

      "550 FCJHV URTIG HRVCP JRIUA KQWHB - covert channel located, transmitting message block UYMPW"

      ...and use a cron job to regenerate the blocks of random letters every couple of hours.

      After enough bounced spam with apparent cryptographic content, the Chinese government will "fix" the relay for you. Or they'll "fix" the relay's administrator.

      As a bonus, you can know that the more time the Chinese government's thugs spend chasing wild geese, liquidating incompetent sysadmins, and decrypting random noise, the less time they'll have to oppress their own people.

  • by fmaxwell (249001) on Wednesday November 21, 2001 @12:51PM (#2596811) Homepage Journal
    From this story:

    "Out of the 94,000 Internet bars in China, 17,488 have been shut down and another 28,000 were ordered to install monitoring software soon. Of the 27 million Internet users in China, about 4.5 million rely on these bars."

    From a previous Slashdot story:

    "Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a longtime proponent of censorware, introduced the amendment...Essentially it says that any school or library which receives federal funds to build its network must install censorware. Since these funds are the chief way that poor and middle-income areas bring the internet into public institutions, effectively this means that only rich counties will have the option of an uncensored internet."

    I'm so glad that I don't live in China, where the government attempts to censor public internet access.
    • Is the government just as guilty of censorship for not allowing Penthouse magazine on the racks in a public library?

      I suppose so, but most rational people would consider that a reasonable and desirable amount of censorship. After all, we don't want parents forbidding their children to go to the library because they have porn on the shelves.

      As long as they are censoring "obscene" material and not "subversive content" then there is no real ethical problem (as long as we can agree on the definition of obscenity, but that's another kettle of fish.)

      It's just too bad that censorware doesn't really work.

      • Porn is kept in a separate section, because just like cigarrettes, there is a law against *purchasing* the items. Kids don't get arrested for smoking or looking at porn, just attempting to *buy* those products. Censorware won't be legally justified unless there is a law that first makes it illegal for certain types of people to see "obscene" behavior. Of course local courts are free to do whatever they want, and they should. Just don't let the federal government make blanket proclamations. If the federal government really thinks this needs to be done, let it be fought out in the courts (where it will lose at the federal level).
      • I suppose so, but most rational people would consider that a reasonable and desirable amount of censorship

        There is no such thing as "reasonable" or "desirable" censorship. Censorship is Censorship is Censorship. That's that. "Reasonable" and "desirable" censorship differ so wildly from person to person that it is absolutely ludricous to try and come up with a "standard" level of censorship.

        most "rational" people would rather see porn banned outright, does that mean we should outlaw it? we live in a REPUBLIC. That means the rights of the minorities may not be trampled on by the will of the majority.
  • by supernova87a (532540) <kepler1@h o t m ail.com> on Wednesday November 21, 2001 @01:05PM (#2596892)
    I'm an American, and you know, I never fail to be fascinated/frustrated at how vigorously other Americans attack China. Who said that our system is the best? And who are you to criticize another country for providing for its people in the best way they deem possible? It's not like the leaders are in it for the fun of it -- good god, they have to serve 1.2 billion people! Let me see you manage a country that large, by giving people all the same freedoms we enjoy here. We have enough trouble already, with only 1/5 the population... If you think about it, it's like people here have been programmed to hate China just because it's one of the few remaining "Communist" countries around. Do we really need another enemy? Why create one when China doesn't want to be an enemy? Never mind that their increasingly capitalist structure has given far more people over there opportunities than can be said about some of our population here. When you criticize China, are you doing so because you've really thought about the issues, or because that's all the media has told you to do here? Sometimes the freedom of thought is more quashed here than in less-priviliged, knowledge-embracing countries...
    • Why create one when China doesn't want to be an enemy?

      I don't suppose you've read any of their national press, particularly after their fighter jet rammed a recon plane in international airspace. China has been regarding the US as THE ENEMY for quite sometime.

      Never mind that their increasingly capitalist structure has given far more people over there opportunities than can be said about some of our population here.

      Compare that to Taiwan, which started from worse circumstances and is ahead of the PRC about 10 to 1.
      • How would you feel if your country had constant surveillance flights right along the international boundaries (which you don't agree with, btw - you feel they're further out).

        I think you'd be just a tad testy if the Taliban was flying recon off Seattle, or the Soviets had planes growling around off Miami, these barely visible specks in the sky reminding you day in and day out - they're watching you.

        Both sides provoked that spyplane incident. Don't be fooled.
    • Who said that our system is the best?


      Not me, but I will firmly claim that it is much better than China.


      When you criticize China, are you doing so because you've really thought about the issues, or because that's all the media has told you to do here?


      I criticize the Chinese government because they are fundamentally hostile to individual freedom, believe that the citizens exist to serve them, and have no reservations about abusing their people to maintain their power. Yes, I know you can list things the US government has done that are not good, but the magnitude of the abuses is not comparable. Even the fact that you can criticize the US in this forum is a testament to the freedom that you enjoy here that you would not in China.

  • The Chinese leadership says that the Internet represents a threat to traditional Chinese culture, but it doesn't make sense. Imagine a world where China was as wired as the US...


    [wavy dream sequence effect]


    Spam floods Chinese in-boxes: "A no-money-down real estate opportunity for YOU, comrade!" "Refinance your hut today!" and "OMG! ULL CUM! HOT PROLETARIAN AXXXION!"


    American Internet porn companies begin to target this new market, making downloadable titles featuring the likeness of Chairman Mao Tse "Swollen" Tung [ridiculopathy.com].

  • Note to the Chinese (Score:3, Interesting)

    by KupekKupoppo (266229) on Wednesday November 21, 2001 @01:15PM (#2596939)
    If you're going to sites that are not in Chinese, use the Babelfish translater as an impromptu proxy.

    Just tell it to translate the page you want to see from Chinese to English (or such), and it will ignore all the non-Chinese characters on the screen. So you'll get the website.

    People have been using that to bypass filters at work for quite a while.

    -k.
  • All you DMCA and privacy whiners, take note. It could be worse.
  • Why can't we have both subversive AND pornographic websites?

    Smash the state! Hot Asian teens!

    Then again, "Asian teens" probably isn't so interesting over there.

  • by xanthig (538198) on Wednesday November 21, 2001 @03:28PM (#2597716)
    I always find it interesting how subjectively the Slashdot community reads the news. I've lived in China for most of the last three years doing manufacturing management, which has taken me to many a middle of nowhere china and big city alike. And it constantly amazes me the kinds of myths that float around regarding Internet use in China.

    First, Internet cafés are ubiquitous, and yes most of them are dimly lit holes with 12 computers sharing one ISDN line, or sometimes a 56k modem. Generally there are no bathrooms, the dimly lit room is filled with cigarette smoke and the whole place is grimy as the bathroom of your local pub. I.e. typical China, outside Beijing/ Shanghai/ Guangzhou. There are of course nice internet cafés in the big cities, like the one in shanghai that proudly displayed the chair President Clinton once sat it to surf the web, but those places are the exception.

    Now just like any industry, there's licensing involved and in a Chinese Internet Café that means registering with the Chinese Bureau of Post and Telecommunications. Part of the Café license is the understanding that you'll filter all unsuitable content, which mostly consists of pornography (highly illegal in any form), actual dissident sites (yes they do exist, our government happily cracks down on the same sort of thing here) and yes BIG name foreign media. By big name I mean NY times, CNN, BBC, Washington Post etc. Anything that's local, or my mother wouldn't think of as a news source- i.e. Slashdot, Guerrilla News Network or the Economist, are not filtered at all.

    Of course being a big place with a lot of people, regulation of this sort of thing isn't ubiquitous, which means that it's not that difficult to find Cafés that don't filter CNN and what not. They're just officially banned. And of course all bets are off when one uses any sort of proxy. Now the unofficial level of restriction raises and lowers depending on current circumstances. For example when we "accidentally" bombed the Chinese embassy a couple of years ago, the restriction was quite high. Chinese people were pissed at foreigners and the restriction level went up. On the flip side, after the Sept. 11th attack, they had an unofficial moratorium on the restriction of foreign news, which got extended all the way through the APEC conference.

    When we hear that the Chinese government cracked down on internet Café's allowing subversive content through, what it generally means is the Cafés were letting in pornography. Most Chinese couldn't give a damn about foreign news, and of the few that do, the number that have the ability to read English is quite small. On the other hand the number of people who would be looking at pornography is quite large.

    On average I would even venture to say that the aggregate level of information freedom of PR China is equal to or even greater than that of the United States when one takes into the account the development of intellectual property law. The Chinese didn't even have a concept of property when they opened up 20 years ago, so they sure as heck don't have a concept of IP, something that we're still struggling with, today. Hence buying pirated anything- software, music, movies- is many times easier than buying the officially licensed thing.

    None of this is to say that the Chinese aren't being oppressed with regards to their online freedoms; it's just that the oppressors aren't nearly as strict as our own news tells us.

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