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Censorship Your Rights Online

Yahoo Agrees to Censor Chinese Portal 352

Posted by timothy
from the of-the-people-for-the-people dept.
Bonker writes: "This article at Salon indicates that Yahoo, as part of a larger pledge to 'purge the Web of content that China's communist government deems subversive', has agreed to censor 'pernicious information that may jeopardize state security and disrupt social stability' from its Chinese portal. Yahoo is one of about 300 other ISPs and websites who have signed the 'Public Pledge on Self-discipline for China Internet Industry'."
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Yahoo Agrees to Censor Chinese Portal

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  • So. (Score:3, Funny)

    by thewheeze (466050) on Monday July 15, 2002 @03:33PM (#3888543)
    What's going to happen when someone realizes the plans on how to build a rocket to get a man into space and in orbit are on a blocked website?
    • Easy (Score:5, Funny)

      by Tenebrious1 (530949) on Monday July 15, 2002 @04:00PM (#3888845) Homepage
      They'll post a question to "ask /." and we'll happily put list a few dozen mirrors and dozen posts will the full instructions listed "in case the mirrors are /.ed".

      Heck, we'll also tell them what's wrong with the plans, wrong instructions on how to correct the mistakes, right instructions on how to correct the wrong corrections, and how to make a beowulf cluster out of them.

  • by ZeroLogic (11697)
    They are a business, if they want to make money in China, then they need to play by China's rules.
    • by neocon (580579) on Monday July 15, 2002 @03:37PM (#3888582) Homepage Journal
      And if they wanted to do business in South Africa twenty years ago, they would have had to purge sites claiming blacks should have the same rights as whites, and if they wanted to do business in Nazi Germany, they would have to purge all articles written by Jews.

      Would you be okay with that, too? Or would you agree with me that there are some steps a business should not be willing to take?

      And if they do agree to this, how does this affect their argument here in the US that they are not liable for customer content because they can't control it?

      • As unpopular as this sounds, business and ethics (as we've seen) don't mix. If Yahoo wants to do business in China, they'll abide by China's laws. It sucks but it's true. Yahoo has every right to not do business in China if it chooses.
        • And I guess IBM was right in helping the Nazis?

          • Re:IBM (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Zelet (515452)
            Thomas Watson Sr. (who you say helped the Nazis did not sell tabulation machines to Nazi Germany during the war. He sold them to them before the war in hopes of turning the German government away from a path of war to a path of capitalism (it is documented in his personally writings. Once the war broke out, Germany took control of the IBM manufacturing plant in Germany and IBM no longer had a say in what they produced and for what purpose. A story that you might find interesting is here [usatoday.com]
            • by rodgerd (402)
              While Ford sent Hilter birthday presents as his company supplied German armed forces with they equipment they'd use to kill American troops. Was that OK, too?
          • And IBM is still at it.

            IBM funded Cisco to help build the filter proxies and firewalls for China.

        • I think you're missing the point. Economics can lead change (and often does.)
          For more on South Africa, look up the Sullivan Principles [globalsull...ciples.org] to see what I mean. Through requesting U.S. firms to abide by the Sullivan Principles, it helped bring about political change in South Africa.
          Of course, that means whites aren't safe there anymore, but that's another story.
        • Exactly. I am upset that Yahoo has chosen to do business in China, if this is what it entails.

          Of course, I am neither a customer nor a shareholder of Yahoo, so it makes no difference.
        • And we all have every right to not do business with Yahoos who support supressive governments. By "not do business" I mean not visit their web sites (fewer hits == lower ad rates).

          Of course, it's easy to boycott something that sucks so much I haven't used it in over a year anyway :-)

      • Would you be okay with that, too? Or would you agree with me that there are some steps a business should not be willing to take?

        Indeed. Perhaps we could get the former executives from Enron and Worldcom to provide some guidance on corporate ethics and responsibility?

        Perhaps we should get our own house in order before we start lecturing the Chinese government? (For the record, I think that the Chinese government is totalitarian and corrupt. Remember the Cultural Revolution and Tiannemin Square)
    • But shouldn't someone (a large company) stand up against this oppressions of their people who deserve to have information? I hope Google doesn't fall into this soon. It's truely terrible how these people are treated over there..

      I think that we should all come up with as many ways to circumvent China's "Wall" as we can. I don't see why the US is concerned with people's rights only in certain places, and never China.
      • But wouldn't it be a bit arrogant of a company to impose its values (i.e., information wants to be free, no filters = good filters) on other cultures that may see things differently?

        The thing the Internet seems to lack is a Prime Directive, that says it will not interfere in the local decisions of people. Instead, it has to be one size fits all.

        Not defending China's record on human rights, but isn't SOME internet access better than NO internet access? Filters are notoriously "leaky" anyway, if citizens have access they'll find a way around the filters.
        • The thing the Internet seems to lack is a Prime Directive, that says it will not interfere in the local decisions of people

          We all live on the same small planet and can trace our ancestors back to the same small tribe of African hominids with names like Ogg and Ugh. As time goes on, we getting more and more connected to things that happen half way around the world. There's really isn't many truely local decisions anymore.
      • isnt yahoo powered by google? so basically this would mean that yahoo is filtering the results returned by google and then giving the filtered results to the censored oppressed slavelike citizens of a China which is ruled by fucked up lame ass commie bastards - chinas gov should be overthrown and all the rulers should be drawn and quartered.

    • If China wanted them to hand over blueprints to export-controlled sensitive technologies, should they just do that, too?

      Frankly, the US government ought to add these filtering systems to the list of forbidden exports, since their only purpose is to aid governments in opposing our way of life.

      • "If China wanted them to hand over blueprints to export-controlled sensitive technologies, should they just do that, too?"

        No, china should just hafta ask Clinton. After all he did hand over nuclear secrets when the data was "stolen" from los alamos.

        Remember when China threatened to bomb us if we interfered with their taking over taiwan? no... that cuz large media didnt report it.

        Remember when there were reports of Chinese soldiers on the CA - Mexico border dressed as Mexican Army?

        Remember when China had supposedly stated that they have been gearing up to go to war with the US in the next 20 years?

        Remember when Clinton handed over control of the PANAMA FRICKING CANAL to the Chinese?

        Take a look around you and see how much this country relies on china for our daily resources and everyday life.

        No think about how many flipping people they have to throw at a war.

        Who's in control? fuck china. and no Im not racist - I dont care who they are - the chinese government is totally insane and dangerous.
        • No, china should just hafta ask Clinton. After all he did hand over nuclear secrets when the data was "stolen" from los alamos.
          Actually, all the leaks involved happened during the Reagan-Bush era, although they came to light during the Clinton presidency.

          Most of them resulted from the outsourcing of hitherto government programs to businesses like Raytheon and Haliburton.
    • your comment is appropriate for your handle.
  • by isomeme (177414) <cdberry@gmail.com> on Monday July 15, 2002 @03:34PM (#3888551) Homepage Journal
    And somewhere, John Ashcroft is moaning with envy...
    • by Anonymous Coward
      And somewhere, John Ashcroft is moaning with envy...

      The parent is modded as funny, but is insightful as hell. We can bash the censor going on in China all we want, but most of us know that slowly the US is going that way.

      Just check the analogies between Minority Report and The US Terrorist Act published a few weeks ago. I know, it's just a fiction movie, but it's so damn eye opener.

      I must say, I'm not from the US nor in the US, and maybe (I can be almost certain) the country I'm in is a lot worse in many aspects, but you can't say no longer US is the land of the free without something telling you you are lying to yourself.
  • Hmmm... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by YahoKa (577942)
    What do you think people in the 60's would have done if a corporation supported the "commie bastards?"
    • Well Yahoo could do 2 things: take a little bad PR in the USA or not attempt to be the major portal for the largest potential internet user market. Today a little bad PR doesn't affect them much. I think, though, in the 60's there probably would have been enough complaints that they would have pulled out their Chinese portal.

      Although, this is from someone born in the following decade...
  • by SimplyCosmic (15296) on Monday July 15, 2002 @03:35PM (#3888557) Homepage
    I guess that means the west will never learn that Calgon's detergent was that laundrymat's "ancient Chinese secret".

  • I guess the chinese will just have to do what we here in the good ol' U S of A do to get uncensored material, use google.ca [google.ca]

  • So where are the links? Would google cache links still work for the pernicious content?
  • At least they did it to help them "stableize" their society and not for just making money. I'd hate a company that did that SO much I'd cancel my free e-mail with them in protest.

    Or maybe open a few hundred more.... Hrmm...

  • Its times like this that alot of the anti US rants just seem... trival. Freedom of speech is by far the most important freedom and America(for the most part) does a damn good job.
  • They found a way to make money capitalisticly against communism.
  • *sigh* (Score:2, Insightful)

    by caveat (26803)
    before y'all atart bitching about how yahoo is now depriving people of the right to free information, remember they're a for-profit business, out to make a buck...and in spite of all the ethical issues, china has a potential market of a BILLION consumers. hell, if i were in their shoes, i'd do the Morally Wrong Thing, since it would make me a Heaping Shitload Of Money. plus now they won't get sued by the chinese like the french are doing, for distributing content that's against said country's laws. anyway, in all honesty, i'd rather see companies doing this than underreporting $4bn of profits.
    • The Chinese do not sue those who break their laws. They "re-educate" them and charge you for the bullet if you fail the final exam.

      That being said, this will most likely only affect the Chinese portion of Yahoo. The American version can be as subversive as they ever were.

      Seriously, if you're relying on Yahoo for your news, then maybe you should check out some other portal.
  • I relize that this is a huge blow for privacy concerns the world over and seems outrageous to me. However, I have to question if this policy really has much effect on browsing habits? Can't the people just go to "www.yahoo.com" or my.yahoo.com or CNN, or.... Catch my drift? I would think the opressed people will always be able to find away around the constrants placed on them.

    As Dr. Malcom says in Jurassic Park " Life finds a way." ;)
  • Looks like Plutocratic American Companies have no problem w/ the Fascist elements of China's Government*.

    Big Surprise. This is two heads of a the same monster...

    NewsFlash: Corporations are devoid of morals. They would sell your organs for $0.10 if you fell asleep in their lobby**

    *Which i believe is not 100% terrible, outside of the censorship and lack of soviet(look-it-up)-style rule - i rather like state ownership of capital.

    **I Heard that somewhere today (here?) thought it was dead-on-scary-as-hell-funny.

  • by Bonker (243350) on Monday July 15, 2002 @03:40PM (#3888614)
    Scarily enough, it goes on in the U.S. too. Take a good, long hard look at Walmart Corp. They are one of the nation's largest redistributors of magazines and other periodicals... so large, in fact, that if Walmart refuses to carry a magazine for a month, it can break a publication financially.

    Combine that with the fact that Walmart has always upheld a rather fraudulent reputation that it is interested in the concerns of senior citezens, religious organizations, and 'family-oriented' concerns, and you end up with something pretty scary. Walmart has been known to refuse to sell books, games, CD's and magazines that had any kind of content deemed innapropriate. Quite a few of the magazines in the U.S. have to run their covers and editorial content past Walmart for approval before they can go to press.
    • Quite a few of the magazines in the U.S. have to run their covers and editorial content past Walmart for approval before they can go to press.

      So, whats the problem with that?

      People trust WalMart. Lots of people delegate their trust to WalMart, and hope that WalMart represents them well enough.

      Should WalMart carry stuff that is patently offensive to its customers? If I made a magazine called "Actual Human Entrails", which featured centerfolds of actual human organs, should they carry it? I bet that magazine would sell big in certain circles.

      So are you claiming that Walmart should carry my magazine? If they don't, are my rights being violated? Am I being censored? Is WalMart bad because they won't sell my magazine?
      • So, whats the problem with that?

        I would have thought it reasonable obvious! Policing the content before they agree to sell it potentially gives WalMart an un-acceptable degree of control over what information is available, and how it is presented. Who elected WalMart to the position of official censor? What gives WalMart the right make those decisions?

        What if the Waltons decide that they really don't like abortion, and pressure magazines to adjust their content accordingly. Would that be smart business sense? I suspect that if it were microsoft pressuring MSNBC to present the Beast in a more favourable light, the howls of outrage would be deafening.
        • Policing the content before they agree to sell it potentially gives WalMart an un-acceptable degree of control over what information is available, and how it is presented.
          Only to WalMart customers. Not to everyone else. Their policy is clear, ungarbaled, and forthright: we censor that which we don't like.

          Who elected WalMart to the position of official censor?
          Everyone who shops their, of course.

          What gives WalMart the right make those decisions?
          Everyone who shop their, of course.


          What if the Waltons decide that they really don't like abortion, and pressure magazines to adjust their content accordingly.
          Okay. Probably, considering the crowd and demographics that WalMart sells to. Whats the big problem?

          I suspect that if it were microsoft pressuring MSNBC to present the Beast in a more favourable light, the howls of outrage would be deafening.
          Not from me, since MSNBC is just one network in a vast sea of cable news outlets and web news outlet. If MS creates the "MS Propaganda Network" which broadcasts MS propaganda 24-7, should I care? Nope. Because I won't watch it.


          Its called freedom. We have it here in the US. If you don't like WalMart's choices and decisions regarding content, then please, PLEASE take your business elsewhere. Is that so hard for you to understand?
      • For the July 4th holiday, I spent a few days in a town in the Midwest. Downtown looked pretty dead, and everyone shopped at the Wal-Mart by the highway.

        At one point I checked out the magazine section at the Wal-Mart, to catch up on the world. No such luck.

        Outside of Time and Discover, there were absolutely *no* magazines that involved politics, current events, or any level of deep thinking. Everything was geared toward teenage girls, monster-truck fans, and needlepointing nannies. There was no Economist, Atlantic, or Harper's. I didn't even see US News or Newsweek. There certainly wasn't anything cutting edge or progressive.

        Out of curiousity, the next chance I had, I checked out bookstores in the local yellow pages. 'Local' meaning a large rural area, about 50 miles by 100 miles. There is one medium-sized town in the area, and they have a Waldenbooks and an independent bookstore. But outside of that, the 5,000 sq. mile area held no other general-purpose bookstores. Just two children's bookstores, and around 10 Christian bookstores.

        When Wal-Mart's the only game in town, after having driven most or all other retailers in town out of business, I think a new level of civic responsibility falls upon them. Similar to the way that a scrappy little operating system company in Albequerque can do as they wish, but when it moves to Redmond and becomes the dominant monopolist of the industry, new rules apply.

        I'm not arguing for a law per se, but I think Wal-Mart, by taking over whole regions (one of their in-store slogans is "Why shop anywhere else?"), has now placed an ethical burden on itself.
      • In a competitive market, there may be no problem, because you can take your business elsewhere (Apart from the obvious question about an informed citizenry).

        In a world where WalMart acts as an effective monopoly in many US towns and cities, there is no competition and no alternatives.

        And WalMart, as a company that relabelled clothes manufactured with Chinese prison labour as "Made in the USA" seems on pretty shaky ground to be making moral decisions.
        • And WalMart, as a company that relabelled clothes manufactured with Chinese prison labour as "Made in the USA" seems on pretty shaky ground to be making moral decisions.
          I agree. Which is why I do not trust Walmart to make those decisions for me.

          Second, this is utter and complete BS about Walmart being an "effective monopoly". Simply untrue. NOT TRUE. First, you can order virtually anthing via phone/web and have it delivered by UPS/FEDEX/Other Ground Carrier. Second, there are alternatives, just in many cases its inconveinent to travel a distance to go to them.

          But to claim that WalMart has no competetion or is an effective monopoly is simply and patently untrue.

          I dare you to find me ONE place in America that is so isolated, so cut-off, so desolate that shopping at Walmart is the only alternative.
    • >Scarily enough, it goes on in the U.S. too. Take >a good, long hard look at Walmart Corp. They are >one of the nation's largest redistributors of >magazines and other periodicals... so large, in >fact, that if Walmart refuses to carry a >magazine for a month, it can break a publication >financially.

      >Walmart has been known to refuse to sell books, >games, CD's and magazines that had any kind of >content deemed innapropriate.

      I'm sorry, but some people (including myself) shop at Warmart specifically because they have this policy. I love being able to walk around and not being bombarded with the latest "shock" CDs and soft porn "fashion" magazines.

      I'm sick of people on Slashdot abusing the term "freedom". Freedom is Wal-mart choosing not to buy crap CD's and magazines and freedom is me shopping at Wal-mart because I don't want anything to do with that stuff.

      What freedom is not is self-righteous individuals like yourself taking it upon themself to tell Wal-Mart and the millions of people who shop there what to do. Just don't shop there.

      And its not like there isn't competition or other choices (KMart, Target, the mini-mart, the Internet).

      Brian Ellenberger
      • When WalMart goes into a little town in the middle of a bunch of little towns and so dominates the market that all the little independent distributers of various wares get put out of business, it hurts the people living in those areas in their freedom of choice.

        It's not all bad, and I realize that most people who live/shop around Walmarts are happy with them. But when the choice is driving an hour plus for an alternate outlet, for a teen, it is practically equivalent to gov't censorship. I'm sorry, but kids need to have an outlet. Parents always seem to disprove of their kids music. It's practically a right of kids. And Walmart takes it away.

        It's also a shame that so many people are too goddamn lazy to filter the world themselves and look to big corporations or big gov't (Ashcroft, et.al.) to do the job.
        • by betis70 (525817) on Monday July 15, 2002 @04:34PM (#3889219) Homepage
          >>But when the choice is driving an hour plus for an alternate outlet, for a teen, it is practically equivalent to gov't censorship. I'm sorry, but kids need to have an outlet

          Yeah but think of the great stories you will get to tell YOUR grandkids - "Why when I was a teenager, I had to drive 1 hour just to BUY an issue of Teen Beat."

          "Grandpa, what does 'drive' mean?"

          "Dang kids and these new fangled teleportation pads. You don't understand ... it was uphill, both ways, in a Geo Metro. It only had 3 cylinders [fade to mumbling]."
        • it hurts the people living in those areas in their freedom of choice.

          What is the alternative? Regulate what Walmart must sell? Cause I'm sure that would be a whole lot better. You even said yourself that big government isn't the answer.

          No freedoms are lost by Walmart's decision. You have the right to buy the same music or the same magazines either way.
    • by isomeme (177414) <cdberry@gmail.com> on Monday July 15, 2002 @03:54PM (#3888778) Homepage Journal
      While this situation sucks, it still doesn't approach the evil of government censorship. If Walmart drives your magazine out of business, you can still put your ideas out in other ways. If the government decides your ideas are illegal, then you have no recourse.

      That being said, it sounds like this particular example looks (or is being made to look) more like self- than imposed censorship. I would say this move by China is similar to the coerced self-regulation of movies and comics in the US. The threat of legally codified censorship was used to pressure those industries into the standardized rating system and the "comics code" respectively. This is a gray area between purely capitalist "censorship" like the Walmart case and "say that and I will shoot you" style direct legal censorship.

      If anything, I'd count this as a step up for Chinese government. They tend to go directly to the jackboots-and-guns stage rather than finessing issues like this, so using "voluntary" compliance here may be a good sign that things are beginning to loosen up over there.
    • Thats pretty funny. Even though Walmart is "fraudulently" not selling you pr0n, there are plenty of other places you can go. You are not mandated by the state to shop at Walmart. A quick look at Walmarts strong earnings report and you will see that a lot of the public agrees with their "censorship".
    • And PI got yanked because of corportate support.

      Freedom of speech exists, but sometimes there is a price to pay. It may be that you may not get on the product list at Walmart, it may mean you lose your job. But the one thing it does mean is the government won't lock you away for it.

      (or at least most of the time the government doesn't lock you away for speaking)
    • I don't mind companies selling censored content as long as it meets one stipulation: that the content clearly states that it is censored. Often times content is not labeled as such and in many places in the Midwest where Walmart is the only place to buy CD's, videos, etc, the people there often don't realize that the content they are experiencing is not what the artist/writer/etc. intended. I also think there should be a central registry where we can see what companies sell censored and what don't so we as consumers can make the appropriate decisions for ourselves. I would definitely only buy the uncensored versions. :)

      --Jon
    • That's not scary, it's just upsetting. No one is forcing anyone else to do anything. If Walmart's behavior were shown to decrease their profitability, then it would be scary. And a violation of their responsibility to their shareholders. Since they're not getting sued, I'll assume that's not the case and just keep going to my liberal news stand.
    • "Quite a few of the magazines in the U.S. have to run their covers and editorial content past Walmart for approval before they can go to press."
      Got a link to back that up? Since when does ANY publication routinely submit its content to outsiders before it will publish? Most editors and journalists would rather die first.

      More likely, WalMart makes its guidelines for carrying a publication known, and editors have a choice whether its mission is compatible with that.
    • Damn, nice troll. I feel like an idiot. Can't believe you got me to reply.
    • Uterly predictable, an clueless attack at Wal-mart. Wal-mart has the RIGHT to carry or not carry any legal products they wish for whatever reason they wish. They know their customers far better than any self appointed elitist, and if they feel a product will offend their customers then not carrying it only makes sense.

      The types of media that Wal-mart chooses not to carry dosen't bother me, but some find it very offensive. Do we hear the same outcry because Wal-mart's policy also bans Racist material? No, the same type of people who decry Wal-mart for not carrying some soft porn tripe, would be up in arms if they opened their stores to selling anything and carried Neo-Nazi newspapers along side of the same materials they bitch that Wal-mart dosen't carry now.

      Don't like Wal-mart? Then don't shop there.

  • This is a shame. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    It amazes me that companies will put aside morals and values to make a buck in China. Yes, China is the largest untapped consumer group in the world, but the Chinese government has a histroy of its on subversive behavior. Perhaps when the government gets its head out of its ass and takes away MFN status from China we will see a change in China's treatment of its citizens. I guess maintaining a favorable GDP is more important than supporting the inalienable human rights we Americans feel are so important. I doubt Yahoo would ever do the same for North Korea and Cuba, but alas China has a billion consumers.
  • What I don't see (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Mr Guy (547690) on Monday July 15, 2002 @03:42PM (#3888642) Journal
    Is how submersive sites are judged.

    Looking at the agreement summary, it is OBVIOUS to me Yahoo would sign it. While we like to focus (and we do) on how evil the chinese government can be (and they are), this may not be the best example of that.

    What Yahoo seems to have agreed to:
    1) Don't host anything illegal to your target audience.
    2) Don't promote porn to China.
    3) Don't attempt to incite revolution.

    I'm sure once you take local laws into context (which their TOS already does, no doubt) it seems to be nothing they haven't already agreed to before.

    Go ahead, post pictures to yahoo of hardcore porn where someone uses a bomb as vibrator and explains how to make it. See your browser smoke as they pull the page as fast as they can, even on Yahoo USA.
    • I hear they're cracking down on all submersive sites. From now on, Yahoo can't link to any sites that discuss:

      • scuba-diving
      • submarines
      • skinny-dipping
      • Olympic diving
      • Jacques Cousteau
      • the Titanic

      I wonder if the Chinese government has organizational rabies - that would explain this weird hydrophobia that they seem to have now. Or maybe they just never learned to swim?

    • 3) Don't attempt to incite revolution.

      It should be "Don't attempt to incite counter-revolution" instead.

      China communist party insists that they are still at the stage of 'revolution' and any attempt to overthrow the present Government is considered 'counter-revolutionary'.

      Just fyi.
  • by gdyas (240438) on Monday July 15, 2002 @03:44PM (#3888669) Homepage

    When companies like Yahoo! look across the Pacific at a large group of people fed bullshit & held under the thumb of an oppressive dictatorship and all they can think of is how they can buddy up to the gov't in order to get a crack at these "new consumers", I'd say that we have larger corporate ethics problems than Enron, kids.

    Yahoo! Where your civil liberties are what your government tells us they are.

  • by RyanFenton (230700) on Monday July 15, 2002 @03:46PM (#3888685)
    ...Yahoo, an widely used index of web sites in general, has agreed to take down any links to sites that the government of China asks them to, no questions asked? No burden of proof needed, or system of challenging decisions made?

    From on point of view, this seems a pretty dumb decision on the part of Yahoo. But on the other hand, if Yahoo just agrees to the contract to get the support of the Chinese government, then happens to drag it's feet and "forget" to censor things, it's a nice beaurocratic turn around until the Chinese government catches on and cancells the agreement, by which time more Chinese citizens will have taken a liking to Yahoo.

    So, depending on how it's used and "enforced", this might yet be a good thing. :^)

    Ryan Fenton
  • Nothing New (Score:2, Insightful)

    by G0SP0DAR (552303)
    This happened to Yahoo! in France with auctions of Third Reich memorabilia, and Yahoo! severely censored itself to a far greater extent to prevent further controversy in France. How could it come as a surprise that the ChiCom's would follow suit?
    • If you think that what Yahoo agreed to in France was to censor itself to "a far greater extent", there is something wrong with your judgment. In France, Yahoo agreed to a very narrow set of restrictions having to do with Nazi and neo-Nazi material. The Chinese agreement, though, covers anything the Chinese state defines as subversive, which includes pretty much any criticism of the Chinese state. French people can read lots of criticism of the French government on yahoo.fr.

  • While Yahoo's actions are rather disgusting to me personally (I'd boycott them if I actually used them in the first place), they are also very typically capitalistic. This is actually a good thing in terms of the system we in the US adhere to.

    This is mostly bad for China -- no country ever got ahead by censoring what its citizens could see or hear. At the very least, they're insuring that they'll have a public ignorant of current affairs (and thus no gov't reforms, no progress on their upcoming corruption-caused AIDS disaster, etc). At worst, they've provided a system which will keep the average Chinese citizens in the cultural dark ages for another few decades.

    All governments *want* to do this sort of thing at one time or another; it's just that wise leaders (or at least, wise founders) can see past the immediate benefit to the long-term harm of these sorts of policies. Arresting social development and free exchange of ideas and information might make it easier for the elderly thugs that form China's government to cling to power a bit longer, but it will also keep China a third-rate country.

    Good job, dipshits.

  • by aftk2 (556992) on Monday July 15, 2002 @03:47PM (#3888703) Homepage Journal
    What I'm really concerned about is how this decision will effect those Yahoo commercials?

    "Hey...where'd you get such great information on Shanghai?"
    "...Yahoo..."

    "How'd you know it was going to rain today?"
    "...Yahoo..."

    "Hey...where'd you get that Ayn Rand essay?"
    "...Google..."

    And in run the secret police...

    Do You Yahoo? Not Anymore...
  • i guess that is why there isn't a chinese version of slashdot...

    how would china feel about poopbot & the other trolls???
  • What scares me is that we're starting to find out that big, monopoly capitalism is indeed compatible with big, totalitarian communism. Lies and propaganda to the workers, gilded perks to the bosses. In fact, monopoly capitalism may just be totalitarian communism that actually works right.

    The big difference it seems to me is that the communists have the balls it takes to grease party members when they fuck up, corporate guys just get paid off.
  • I guess what needs to happen is that a spammer needs to collect the emails of all the govt. officials responsible for this policy, and spam them with a bunch of "subversive" content, with the subject line being

    RE: The information you requested.

    then the monitors will have them all arrested, and they will have to repeal the law.... ;)

  • The new game (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jaymzter (452402) on Monday July 15, 2002 @03:55PM (#3888792) Homepage
    As a child of the cold war I love it when I get reminded of the good ol' days. China learned what the USSR never did. You can't make headway declaring "We will bury you!" from the podium of the UN. China knows, or believes, that the way to control America is through the pursestrings. As long as China continues to hold cash in front of American companies, there will always be a vocal lobby in Washington that will scream down any mention of the word ChiComm, and any punishment for China on its human rights record.
    America doesn't stand up for its ideals anymore unless there is no other recourse. It's sick and twisted, but business as usual.
    This article only reminds us that our government..err, companies are doing things that we wish they wouldn't. We shouldn't be outraged, we should be mobilized.
  • by MadFarmAnimalz (460972) on Monday July 15, 2002 @04:10PM (#3888953) Homepage
    In Australia [wired.com], apparently.

    When it's France, however, the folks from Yahoo stand up and defend [sfgate.com] their right to independent content. Strange dualism going on there, wouldn't you say.

    It also seems that all you need to get yahoo to pull certain content or messages is a few irate e-mails [bbc.co.uk]... Heck, even the Saudis have asked yahoo to regulate itself according to its government's preferences. /me scratches head.

    Where's the surprise?

    They've always been like this.

  • Is there a website that tracks what is banned? It would be interesting to see what yahoo or any site picks to ban from China.
  • by supernova87a (532540) <kepler1@@@hotmail...com> on Monday July 15, 2002 @04:37PM (#3889248)
    Why are people so quick to criticize China and so quick to forget America's abuses of "human rights" and "democracy"? This is a country trying to take care of 1 billion people. 1 billion people, can you imagine us doing that? We have 20 guys who decided to crash some planes, and the administration has already curtailed civil rights significantly.

    Despite what you may think, the government of the United States is not open to all opinions, and it is hardly a place where rational people are in control. Take a look at this link [slique.net] to see what the requirements are for people entering the US. They're not exactly being welcomed in a freedom-of-speech, tolerating sort of way, now are they?

    People seem to love picking on China because it's got the label "Communist" in it's name. I never ceased to be surprised at how much stupidity the word "communism" evokes among supposedly educated, rational people. How about all those countries who are our friends, yet commit far worse human rights abuses? Good for China, that it learned the lesson, "if you make products that people want, they could give a crap about human rights".

    If you want to criticize others, I suggest that you first do some cleaning of your own house.
    • No nation is perfect, so spare me the "cast the first stone" routine.

      This is a country trying to take care of 1 billion people.

      Relevance? Are you saying that nations above a certain size can survive only by denying civil rights to their citizens?

      We have 20 guys who decided to crash some planes, and the administration has already curtailed civil rights significantly.

      Yes, and that's unfortunate. Note that there is quite a bit of opposition to these policies, and opponents are *not* arrested or shot. The Patriot Act is not a good thing, but to compare it to the actions of the Chinese government is ludicrous.

      They're not exactly being welcomed in a freedom-of-speech, tolerating sort of way, now are they?

      So the US doesn't grant citizenship to people who want to violently overthrow the government. Help, help, I'm being oppressed. And this is supposed to be some sort of moral equivalent to Tiannamen Square?

      People seem to love picking on China because it's got the label "Communist" in it's name.

      Actually, I "pick on" the Chinese government (not the citizens) because it's run by tyrants and murderers. Communism has nothing to do with it, aside from the fact that there's a very high correlation between communist governments and tyranny.

    • " People seem to love picking on China because it's got the label "Communist" in it's name."

      Do I hear a Pot calling a Kettle black?

      If the Chinese government acted EXACTLY the same way it does now, but relabeled itself the National Socalist Chinese Empire, and replaced "the prolatariat" in it's propaganda with "the Chinese race", the most ardent defenders of the Chicoms would become it's harshest critics, denouncing the same policies they defend today.

    • I pity you if you honestly and truly don't see a difference between using tanks to mow down pro-democracy activists, and a temporary restriction on some minor civil rights (oh no! longer lines at the airport!).

      People don't hate China because of the word 'communism'. People hate China because it kills its own people by the thousands, just for questioning the system. If that happened here, I'd be dead in about 8 seconds flat.
    • What high-grade crap that is.

      China's "taking care of" 1 billion people? Bullshit. Those 1 billion take care of themselves while the gov't drills them in what to think, what to do for a living, and how many children to have. Curtailed civil rights? Sure, the latest gov't excesses are wrong, but try disappearing into a jail for 1 or more decades where nobody can find you because someone overhead you saying the local mayor was a jerk. It's not an uncommon experience in that neck of the woods.

      The contention that the US government bears any resemblance to that of China is one that could only be made by a knee-jerk hippie asshole who's never known what it is to really be oppressed, to be publicly flogged for saying what you think, for having a family member rot in jail without a trial for unknown charges, to immolate yourself because it feels so hopeless, or to have to practice your religion in a dark basement with lookouts posted. Your mere mention of the two systems in the same sentence make my blood boil - how could you hold the rights maintained for you by this gov't in such low esteem? I have no idea, but the excressence you posted is exactly the sort of material you'd be imprisoned for if my gov't was as you imply it is. Your sad doctrine of moral equivalence makes me ill.

      Nobody's saying the US gov't is perfect, but it sure as hell isn't China.

    • Why are people so quick to criticize China and so
      quick to forget America's abuses of "human
      rights" and "democracy"?

      Why do you assume that anyone is forgetting anything?

      This is a country trying to take care of 1
      billion people.

      India is also a country of one billion people. They don't seem to find this sort of thing necessary.

      People seem to love picking on China because
      it's got the label "Communist" in it's name.

      How do you explain the fact the strongest criticism of China's civil liberties record comes from the Left?
  • Yahoo.com [yahoo.com] doesn't display adverts with 14 year old girls in sexual situations [ageofconsent.com], and Yahoo.de [yahoo.com] auctions doesn't sell Mein Kampf [amazon.com]. Local portals are localised. Every page on the web breaks some law somewhere; it's just that some make more effort to comply with a particular (and arbitrary) bunch of local morality and laws, so that they don't have to spend all their money on lawyers. Get over it.

  • There are pretty active campaigns in the USA to shut down MP3 trading, "warez", movie trading, etc etc. We all know how well that has worked. You can't get any of that stuff on the net anymore. :)

    Same deal here - as long as the net gets in to China, things that the government doesn't want the people to see will get in there too. Its the nature of the net, and the Chinese people are not stupid. If they want to see it, they'll find a way.

    Of course the government was going to try to throttle the information flow - that's what they do. This is one dike that is waaay to big for even their fingers, I think.

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