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Censorship Government The Internet Politics

China Forces Websites To Register 587

Posted by Zonk
from the glad-we're-based-here dept.
Rodrigo Strauss writes "The Inquirer has the story that individual owners of websites and blogs must register with the government or face a shut-down. Apparently they will begin monitoring of all sites, both commercial and personal, beginning this month. Site owners have until the end of the month to register. The BBC has the story as well." From the BBC article: "'The internet has profited many people but it also has brought many problems, such as sex, violence and feudal superstitions and other harmful information that has seriously poisoned people's spirits,' said a statement on the MII website, explaining why the new rules were necessary."
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China Forces Websites To Register

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  • by SeanTobin (138474) * <.moc.liamtoh. .ta. .rtnuhdryb.> on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @12:49PM (#12748278)
    everyone knows that this is really for the good of the PeopLE. the internet hAs poiSonEd our country as a wHolE and we must not alLow it to subvert our years of history, and tradition or Pollute our culture. i aM glad that our nation is taking a stand to assurE we stay united through this and any other time or crisis.
  • The Chinese Internet (Score:4, Interesting)

    by 14erCleaner (745600) <FourteenerCleaner@yahoo.com> on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @12:50PM (#12748289) Homepage Journal
    I wonder how long it will be until China just disconnects itself from the global Internet?
    • Don't laugh - you'll be getting this in the US soon enough...
    • Werent they working on their own version of IPV6? One that wasnt compatible with the rest of us.

      If they mandate that at all the ISPs, then they are effectively cut off.

      But hey, internet isnt a 'human right'. So they can make any rules they like.
      • It is right that China wanted their own IPvX version that was non-compatible with the normal IPv4/IPv6 standards. They called it IPv6 at one point but since that means something else to the rest of the world they eventually started calling it IPv9. Then someone realized it all was a bad idea (apparently) and nobody has mentioned it in a year or so (they may have a staff of a hundred working full-time on it secretly for all I know, but I *think* it's dead). More here: http://www.circleid.com/article/646_0_1_ [circleid.com]
    • They won't. Email and web access are too important for commerce.

      Gerv
      • They won't. Email and web access are too important for commerce.

        Yes, but they can make it so that you need a "special license" to access the Internet. Said license would be limited to those approved by the goverment, or those that can prove that they need it for work/research purposes.

        These connection could be monitored and any encryption would need a backdoor access for the goverment.

        Any other connection to the internet would be deemed illegal.

        There would still be a "National Net" for everyone else,
  • by izznop (884116) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @12:50PM (#12748291)
    Remember everyone, despite seeming very capitalist lately, China is communist. This wouldn't be even an article if it happened in Cuba.
    • by Jack Taylor (829836) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @12:55PM (#12748370)
      I think you'll find that true communism in the spirit of Marx doesn't have anything to do with censorship.
      • I think you'll find that true communism in the spirit of Marx doesn't have anything to do with censorship.

        You are correct. The censorship is an afterthought that was developed to keep "communism" going when it was discovered that almost nobody would willingly stay committed to it. It goes hand-in-hand with the small elite class continuing to run the government (which is also not part of true communism).

      • I think you'll find that true communism in the spirit of Marx...

        Would one of you commie appologists please tell the rest of us which communist country DOES follow the "spirit of Marx". Because every single time one of these communist nations turns into an oppressive hellhole we're told they aren't really doing it right, not really communist... etc.

        The truth of it is that this is the end result of any nation that treads the path of communisim. Once you give the government that much power, once it

        • Once you give the government that much power, once it can decide what you may or may not own, once it can decide that someone or something else is more deserving of something YOU own, then tyranny is inevitable. I don't care if the original goal of the government was Economic Justice or Aryan Supremacy, in the end they will all end up the same.

          Sadly, this is the result of any government whose citizens allow it too much power... and the nature of government is that it will always seek to increase its power
        • Yes! Communism WORKS! Remember that one month in Paris? There's just a few bugs to get worked out.

          The REAL issues are:

          1) No one's done it right yet.
          2) There's always one bad apple...
          3) For some reason people still horde currency and gold.
          4) The general populace are uneducated and therefore unable to decide this for themselves.
          5) 'The MAN' won't let it just happen, man...
          6) Beating people into submission doesn't seem to make them want to share more (funny thing, that).
          7) Marx wasn't a big fan of privacy ri
      • " I think you'll find that true communism in the spirit of Marx doesn't have anything to do with censorship."

        No, not communism, but Marx's socialism does. And as he says that communism is only possible once all countries change to socialism, this one is a very Marxist move.

        Disclamer: Note that I said Marx's socialism, not genral socialism. There are plenty of interpretation of the words "communism" and "socialism". I'm using the ones created by Marx.

        • Marx argued that censorship was logically absurd in that it made regular officeholders, unfamiliar with the fields being censored the supreme arbiters on them. To quote, "The real, radical cure of the censorship is its abolition. For it is a bad institution.". Learn some Marx before you talk about it in the future. :P

      • No, but it has to do with creating a new type of society which must include THE NEW MAN to work. THE NEW MAN is the concept they created in communist Romania where I grew up. That's where the mind control and all the stupid stuff that follows starts.

        May you be communist, capitalist, socialist, christian, Jewish, Muslim or whatever else you want to be, please stop telling people what to do!
      • Very true. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jd (1658)
        I think you'll also find that censorship occurs in all countries, and that much of it is ludicrous. (Look at the list of books banned in various parts of the US - "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe"???)

        In general, philosophies are rarely corrupt - if there is corruption, it is usually with an interpretation, an individual or (most often of all) both. The underlying ideas are usually not that bad, though there are always exceptions.

        Americans, especially, are bad about seeing the defects in others and

        • I think you'll also find that censorship occurs in all countries, and that much of it is ludicrous. (Look at the list of books banned in various parts of the US - "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe"???)


          Banned where?

        • Re:Very true. (Score:3, Interesting)

          I think you'll also find that censorship occurs in all countries, and that much of it is ludicrous. (Look at the list of books banned in various parts of the US - "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe"???)

          Do you really fail to see the difference in a school or city banning a book, and a state or federal government banning a book.

          How many books has the federal government of the US banned?

          Zero.

          Americans, especially, are bad about seeing the defects in others and ignoring their own.

          "Especially"? No, no
        • Re:Very true. (Score:3, Informative)

          by stonecypher (118140)
          I think you'll also find that censorship occurs in all countries, and that much of it is ludicrous. (Look at the list of books banned in various parts of the US - "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe"???)

          Er. What are you talking about? The US has very strong anti-censorship laws. The only grounds under US law under which you may be censored are the dissemination of technology which poses a serious hazard to national security (nuclear weapon designs are the canonical example.)

          Maybe you're confusing sc
      • by rossifer (581396) * on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @01:18PM (#12748713) Journal
        Well, Marx actually railed against Mercantilism or Syndicalism (where the merchants are/own the government and use that power to maintain their position/income/power). He thought that "true capitalism" was a pipe dream and pure propaganda to keep people from complaining about the influence of business in government (he remains completely correct to this day). As an aside, Marx would have been appalled by all of the varieties of Communism and Socialism that have appeared and claimed foundations in his writing.

        China has a largely capitalist economy with significant private ownership of capital but has an authoritarian system of government. The censorship, repression, imprisonment, and torture of citizens for expressing sentiments contrary to the official position has very little to do with the private or public ownership of capital and everything to do with the authoritarian aspects of their government.

        I'll refrain from pointing out trends in the US government towards a more authoritarian model. The reality of that transistion is that the US merchants who exert so much control over our government would only allow such a thing to happen if 1) they believed it would improve their profits and 2) they could retain control of the new system.

        Regards,
        Ross
      • I think you'll find that true communism in the spirit of Marx doesn't have anything to do with censorship.

        Marx's Communism has everything to do with imposing it's moral view on people. It naively believes in some ultimately authoritative truth that would be revealed to people if the circumstances were correct. That's why all Communist States have legal systems that are structured around the State as a parent, a teacher of morals. It's to fashion the perfect people in order to bring about the "True Communi
      • Red Bloc implies Lenin/Stalin/Maoism, not straight Marxism or any other Marxist ideology.
      • True communism in the spirit of Marx also doesn't have anything to do with REALITY.

    • China is capitalist from one end of the Great Wall to the other and back again. Only an ignorant or a member of the Party would argue and only the ignorant would believe it.
    • Yet another example of someone not understanding the difference between communism (an economic system) and totalitarianism (a political system). They may sometimes go hand in hand, but you can easily have totalitarianism (of which this is an example) without communism. Why, I've even seen it growing in market-based economies.
      • you can easily have totalitarianism (of which this is an example) without communism.

        Quite right... unfortunately, the reverse doesn't seem to be true. I've yet to see an example of a communist government that wasn't totalitarian.

    • With a Communist mafia government, you don't have to choose between "Communism" and "Capitalism". Nor do you with a Capitalist mafia government. It's all just BS to get people to go along with robbing and killing them for the mafia's benefit.
    • Cuba would have to have computers and a 'net connection first.
    • by Colin Smith (2679) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @01:47PM (#12749146)
      It's been called communist, but it's really just a totalitarian dictatorship.

  • Sex? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @12:50PM (#12748297)
    And since when this is a problem? How did they reach 1.3 billion?
  • by Animats (122034) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @12:52PM (#12748327) Homepage
    Will this include major China-based spammer services like Black Box Hosting [blackboxhosting.com]? "Our offshore bullet proof web hosting plans allow bulk email hosting, spam friendly web hosting and bulletproof host."
    • There are lots of spammer sites hosted in China. Try it out... look through your spam box, pick up IPs given in URLs and do a whois lookup. You will find that most of them are physically located in Asia.

      Some of them are on professional spam hosting services (see ROKSO) but there are also many running on compromised machines, even spam zombies. Does this mean that if we report such sites to the Chinese government, that they will imprison some kid who had a virus infected computer that's aiding in hosting a
    • The Chinese government is only concerned with activities they percieve to be a threat to themselves or their current system. They are not concerned with having their ISPs be good net citizens. I would imagine they are just fine with these services, since they bring money in to China.
  • by winkydink (650484) * <sv.dude@gmail.com> on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @12:53PM (#12748337) Homepage Journal
    My colleagues and I have found it much more difficult to download email from the US while in the PRC in the past month.
  • Is all I have to say, I'm rather disgusted by this. And what do they do after you register? Can your site be shut down if they don't "agree" with your site (ideas)? And they should know they cannot regulate this outside of sites served from China, so what's the point? This just annoys me.
    • And what do they do after you register? Can your site be shut down if they don't "agree" with your site (ideas)?

      To put it bluntly: yes. And if your ideas are controversial and you refuse, the sanctions will probably be severe. Don't forget that you're talking about China, where human rights is still an almost mythological term, and when dissidents are shot the invoice for the bullet goes to their family.

    • This just annoys me.

      Not to troll, but why? Are you running a website in China that might be restricted by this? If your website is somewhere like, Ohio, then this has nothing to do with you. So, why does it annoy you? Perhaps your favorite website is a Chinese website that might get shut down? If so, can't you work with the owners to move it to an American server?

      It just seems to me that the /. crowd always says that no nation can make laws to control the Internet, but then gets annoyed when a count
  • "Poison people's spirit" in other worlds "It will stop making them naive little hate mongers we can control". Not to insult the Chinese or anything but when you live in a world of ignorance you become a happy little smurf and just do what you're told. Statements like the above just prove that the "happiness" is forced upon them by the government and not happiness at all.
  • other harmful information that has seriously poisoned people's spirits

    In the US we just call these Web sites that suck.

    How about the Chinese government assign a site rating at the time of registration? Maybe it would clean some of the rabble out.
    • I would propose:

      ***** - You get kickbacks from the govt
      **** - You are tolerated
      *** - You receive a random beating once a month
      ** - You receive daily beatings
      * - Your family receives a bill for the bullet that was put in the back of your head.
  • superstitious (Score:3, Insightful)

    by null etc. (524767) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @12:55PM (#12748378)
    The internet has profited many people but it also has brought many problems, such as sex, violence and feudal superstitions

    I like how feudal superstitions rank amongst the top threats to a Communist government.

    "In order for our government to work, you're not allowed to think like that, nor be presented with such ideas."

    Such a government seems like it would have to rely upon barriers that prevent intercommunication of popular ideas amongst its citizens, especially with such a large population. Wouldn't it be interesting if 1984 became true in China?

    I chide the story submitter for not ending his submission with a question. Allow me to suggest on:

    "Could the Internet be the end of China as we know it?"

    • Become true?

      Dude, it already is. It's one of the countries 1984 was BASED on.
    • Re:superstitious (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mikers (137971)
      China _is_ 1984.

      1984 was Orwell's take on what Stalinism would look like in, well, the west.

      Last I checked, China is run by a Communist party (who has outlawed any opposition parties) and behaves much like (not exactly like) ex-Soviet communist states: secret police, limiting movement of citizens, tight control of media, deliberate misinformation to control citizens, imprisonment of large numbers of political prisoners, carefully limiting foreign visitors and tracking their movements in the country.

      Freed
  • Isn't this information already available for the most part from the Whois archives?

    I realise that Whois isn't very reliable, but in principle it should be correct for most domains.

    So this means that China isn't interested in sort of kind of knowing who is responsible for a web site. They want someone that will be responsible in the eyes of the law.

    This is likely a very clever way to force self censorship. If your name is registered, you'll make sure that there's no contra band on your web site.

    They'll p
  • How can they expect to solve many problems, such as sex, violence and feudal superstitions just by cutting off their internal websites??? Can't the Chinese surf to external sites, where such problems are rampant???
    • by pthor1231 (885423)
      Can't the Chinese surf to external sites, where such problems are rampant???

      No, they can't. They have to sign an agreement saying they promise not to view websites that have such material on them currently.

    • Can't the Chinese surf to external sites, where such problems are rampant???

      I don't have a source in front of me but I think that's illegal in China.
  • Patriot Act? (Score:2, Informative)

    by WindBourne (631190)
    I wonder how soon before congress will require US citizens to do the same via the use of patriot act or some other bill wrapped in the flag?
    • The USA bashers come out and distract everyone everytime there is an article on Slashdot that is critical of China. In the mean time, while we argue the distraction, oppression goes on in China. I'm sure the bloody handed fat cats in the PRC government love that.

      Respect for individual liberties and freedom of expression is not a team sport. This action performed by China is oppressive and if it happened here in the USA, then that would be oppressive as well.

      Why don't we argue about global moral absolut
      • And what will you say when the government starts pushing for all sex related sites to be registered under .XXX? Not porn sites, but Sex sites. Even those that are educational? Will you argue that our government has gone too far? Do not get me wrong. I am very opposed to what China is doing. I am simply showing the parallels that are being developed between these governments. Gitmo and Patriot act are just several small examples of the similarities between us.
  • 20 years later ... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    USA will be doing the same thing and we will have people give long lectures on how this is justified.

    "Show me your papers, Yuri!"

    • Yeah, I don't know if it will be 20 years, or 10.

      I think the really radical prediction is that about the time the US is imposing this level of control, China will be busy *disassembling* it.

      China's in a weird state right now, embracing capitalism on one hand, but still trying to stifle free-expression.

      The US is clearly working against capitalism and free expression-- but has a lot further to go.

      When china decides that its capitalist economy requires free expression, it will have another "cultural revolu
  • Yeah, "feudal superstitions" like "the king is a fink!" [tonystrading.co.uk] That's counterrevolutionary.
  • "The internet has profited many people but it also has brought many problems, such as sex, violence and feudal superstitions and other harmful information..." ...like religious freedom, political freedom, free speech, the unregulated sharing of knoledge and ideas, etc, etc. I mean honestly, is anybody really fooled by this? I'm almost ashamed that my country is actually doing business with these jokers.
  • by xiando (770382) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @01:07PM (#12748564) Homepage Journal
    Most of the worlds people who want to run a website are required to host it somewhere, and the hosting provider usually requires a billing address.. So the rest of the world are also not free to publish what they want anonymously, at least not truly anonymously, unless they are using Freenet or some other clever way to hide their identity. Registering with a provider is obviously better than registering with a government, but it is still registering... This being said, I do not quite understand what the China government thinks they are accomplishing here. It is the Internet, what prevents a citizen of China to host a anti-China website anywhere else in the world? I am sure at least some of the non-China hosting providers in the world are unwilling to provide any foreign government with customer information when asked...
  • In China, is half the population employed by the state to watch the other half, like East Germany was doing? A nation of voyeurs...
  • by nurb432 (527695) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @01:12PM (#12748628) Homepage Journal
    You cant practically run a 'normal' site anonymously anyway:

    - You register and get a Domain name..

    - You use your ISP's service..

    - "free hosting", still can track your IP..

    Guess its time for them to start using FreeNet. This is exactally the type of reason it was created.

    • ..and I can tell you this about the speed on FreeNet: Start searching for my website now, and it will be finished rendering by the time your grandchildren learn about this in their history class in school...
  • Middle east (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 3770 (560838) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @01:15PM (#12748685) Homepage
    Why don't we hear more about these things happening in the middle east?

    Some of the goverments there have even more to lose by their citizens seeing information from the outside world.

    Maybe it is because the general public in those countries not normally having Internet yet?
  • by binarstu (720435) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @01:20PM (#12748752)
    This article from news.com.com [com.com] details an Amnesty International report about the Western corporations who have been happy to help China set up its massive surveillance system. Those of us responsible for buying networking hardware for our companies may want to consider where we want our money to go. I would suggest supporting businesses who don't so blatantly assist in massively squashing basic human rights.
  • Keep this in mind (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Zak3056 (69287) * on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @01:25PM (#12748836) Journal
    Whenever I see a "I'd take the ruler of North Korea over George W. Bush" or even a simple "US is teh sux0r!" post, it always burns me up that those same people are remarkably silent when we see something like this.

    Yep, our nation has some serious problems right now, but we haven't (yet?) even come close to this kind of garbage. So for the next guy who says, "I can't wait for China to replace the US as the global superpower" all I can say is "be careful what you wish for.

  • and feudal superstitions and other harmful information that has seriously poisoned people's spirits

    Keep in mind that christianity is still seen as superstition in China.

    "Religion is the opium of the people".
    Mao Tse-Tung.

    No wonder they put superstitions (religions?) and poison in the same sentence.
  • How to Help? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jekk (15278) <mcherm@mcherm.com> on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @01:38PM (#12749023) Homepage
    I really feel for the plight of the Chinese people, and I believe that the ability to speak anonymously and read freely would go a long way toward enabling them to improve their government. But is there anything that I, as an internet-savy geek, can do to help?

    For example, I would gladly cooperate in a massive DOS attack on the great firewall servers... but it wouldn't work (firstly because they'd just block it, and secondly because taking them down would only isolate China, it wouldn't let info in and out).

    I would run a freenet server, except that (please correct me if I'm wrong here) my understanding is that with today's design the authorities can tell that freenet is being used... which is enough to silence people even if the authorities can't tell WHAT it was used for. My understanding is that freenet is being altered to meet this challenge, but that it's not there yet.

    So is there anyone out there in China.... no, make that anyone with a FRIEND in China who has suggestions of how I can help?
    • Re:How to Help? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by DigiShaman (671371) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @05:55PM (#12752144) Homepage
      I know someone living in Shanghai. When we talk over AIM or MSN, she explicitly states she does not want to talk about anything political. I asked her why. She said "Because it's best if I don't" or "Please don't ask me ok?, I shouldn't talk about such things". Needless to say, she is scared shitless about the government and the fact she might have her connection monitored via sniffing of packets.

      I'm not sure if the government can or would do this to such a degree, but the idea of talking about chinese politics has her spooked. And the fact she is spooked gets me worried too about the entire chinese population being oppressed.

      But...then came Skype and the tune changes. Because our VOIP connection is encrypted in real-time, she sings like a bird about her opinions of the chinese government. When she talks to me over Skype, she can't stop ranting and raving about how fucked up it is.
  • ...And, said the organisation, one blogger who contacted the Shanghai police to register was told there was no point in registering as independent blogs would not be granted permission to continue.

    The Shanghai police may believe this, or they might be just trying to avoid the burden of accepting registrations. Even if it is true, if every person who lives in China tries to register his web site, the authorities will be so overwhelmed with paperwork that they won't be able to tell which registrations ar

  • by leereyno (32197) on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @03:05PM (#12750244) Homepage Journal
    "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.
    The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political,
    economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State
    to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by
    extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State."

    - Joseph Goebbels

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