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Censorship The Internet News

China Sets New Rules On Internet News 340

Posted by Zonk
from the automatic-for-the-people dept.
auckland map writes "China set new regulations on Internet news content which ban the spreading of any news with content that is against national security and public interest. Established news media needed permission to run a news Web site, while new operators had to register themselves with government information offices. This move further widens a campaign of controls Chinese government has imposed on web sites, communication, leisure and businesses." From the article: "The state bans the spreading of any news with content that is against national security and public interest ... [internet news sites] must be directed toward serving the people and socialism and insist on correct guidance of public opinion for maintaining national and public interests."
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China Sets New Rules On Internet News

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  • by CyricZ (887944) on Monday September 26, 2005 @07:27AM (#13649638)
    Time and time again "national security" is shown to be the antithesis of freedom. Be it in China or the United States, putting such a focus on protecting "national security" results in severe harm to the liberties and life of the nation's citizenry.

    • How can this post be redundant? It's in the first 3 posted for the story. Moderators - if you don't like someone's opinion, either say so or apply an appropriate moderation. Kindly look up the meaning of the word "redundant."
    • No, not reall (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Moraelin (679338) on Monday September 26, 2005 @07:49AM (#13649773) Journal
      The problem isn't "national security" as such, and there's nothing wrong with a community (country-sized or any other size) protecting itself.

      The problem is that "national security", "patriotism", ironically even "democracy", are also the first excuses someone reaches for when they want to take your freedom away. No, let me rephrase that: the problem is that the people tend to get stuck on some _words_ instead of their _meaning_.

      E.g., people are raised to rant and rave about how they have a right to free speech, but don't actually know what that right means. ("Congress shall make no law...") Most think it means the exact _opposite_: that they're allowed to troll a board or shout obscenities at the neighbour, but the government is still allowed to censor anything. I mean, duh, it's the government, of course they're supposed to tell us what to do and what not to do, right? Wrong-

      E.g., people are raised on ideas like that patriotism means they must obey and do their duty, but they lose focus of: to whom. Hint: it means to the country, not to one particular party or leader. Sometimes the patriotic thing to do might actually be to disobey a bad leader.

      And so on.

      So you're left with whole generations which have been raised basically with a Pavlov's dog kind of reflex. You ring the bell, the dog does something by reflex, without thinking. Same here. You say "patriotism", people get a knee-jerk reaction to obey anything. There's a whole bunch of magic words that just trigger a reflex, without much thinking or questioning.

      And it should come as no surprise when some people do come along and use them to their own interest. It's like having a big red button that says "push here to get an immediate advantage." Is it any surprise when some people come and push it?
      • Re:No, not reall (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Saven Marek (739395)
        reminds me of when cheney said "we have to expect to give up some liberties in the name of freedom"

        all words and no meaning.
      • Re:No, not reall (Score:2, Informative)

        by the_mind_ (157933)
        No, let me rephrase that: the problem is that the people tend to get stuck on some _words_ instead of their _meaning_.

        There is a word for it: Doublespeak [wikipedia.org].
      • by Bogtha (906264)

        The problem is that "national security", "patriotism", ironically even "democracy", are also the first excuses someone reaches for when they want to take your freedom away. No, let me rephrase that: the problem is that the people tend to get stuck on some _words_ instead of their _meaning_.

        The sad thing is that this isn't a new problem, but some people seem to be unable to learn from the past. I hope most people here have read Orwell's thoughts on the matter, but for those of you who haven't: Politic [resort.com]

    • Precisely, claims to preserve "National Security" are exactly what take people with authoritarian biases into office.

      Suppose some major $SHIT happens in $COUNTRY, which was not caused by some natural factors. The public will be understandably angry and will demand some $ACTION to be taken to appease their own fears.

      I mean, what else can some $GOVERNMENT do? It is only natural that they will take some actions to improve "National Security". Once whoever is in command get to that point, it becomes a slippery

    • Honesty in government is good for national security, good for socialism, etc.

      It can probably be argued that most governments would fail except for the fact that people work to make them work, and the quality of the government is very dependant on the people in the system.

      An old example is the idea of a government run by the inmates of a insane asylum. No matter what system you used, the government would still be psycho. This argues that there are more psychos running businesses and in government than many

  • by mshiltonj (220311) <<mshiltonj> <at> <gmail.com>> on Monday September 26, 2005 @07:27AM (#13649639) Homepage Journal
    This is a pefect template for the the FEC to use when they decide to regulate political blogs [slashdot.org]. Free speech is guaranteed through censorship.
  • How primitive (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    In America, we just have all news produced by a relatively small set of companies that are politically sympathetic to the ruling political power. That way, it's automatically censored. No governemnt bureaucracy to get in the way. As always, we're the leaders.
    • Re:How primitive (Score:3, Informative)

      by Shihar (153932)
      Right... all the news is controlled by one evil corporation. I think you forgot a word in there.

      "In America, we just have all TV news produced by a relatively small set of companies that are politically sympathetic to the ruling political power."

      Type the following into google. Liberal News, Socialist News, Communist News, and Conservative News. Then merrily wander your way over to your favorite podcasting website and just pick through the various news types you can pick.

      Besides, TV news (outside of Fox N
  • by TripMaster Monkey (862126) * on Monday September 26, 2005 @07:29AM (#13649651)


    The Reuters copy is a bit spotty in its coverage...more information can be found here [nytimes.com], here [expressindia.com], and here [infoworld.nl].

    Interesting quote from the third source listed above:
    Under the new regulations, Internet news sites are encouraged to report news that is "healthy" and promotes economic and social progress, Xinhua said. In addition, the Shanghai Daily newspaper reported that any news Web site that reports "false or distorted information" will be fined up to 30,000 renminbi (US$3,701) under the new guidelines.
    • Rather than quoting quotes about 'the story'...why not just go see it.

      China tightens supervision over online news services [xinhuanet.com]
      BEIJING, Sept. 26 -- Online news sites that publish stories containing fabricated information, pornography, gambling or violence are facing severe punishments or even shutdown.

      These new measures were part of a new regulation on online news services, jointly introduced yesterday by the State Council Information Office and the Ministry of Information Industry.

      "We nee
  • by It doesn't come easy (695416) * on Monday September 26, 2005 @07:32AM (#13649666) Journal
    The last great communistic/socialistic/whatever government on the planet. This is akin to the Berlin Wall or the Iron Curtain. Now we have the Digital Curtain (I just made that up, heh, or maybe I read it and subconsciously made it my own -- who knows...).

    Wonder how long they can stand up to the onslaught of information not controlled by the state?
    • by metternich (888601) on Monday September 26, 2005 @07:46AM (#13649758)
      The last great communistic/socialistic/whatever government on the planet.
      Hardly... While there is still some remenants of the old state-run economy, China's increasingly capitialistic these days and has been so for some time. Heck, they recently changed the rules so capitialists can join the Chinese Communist Party. I think "Authoritarian" is the word you're looking for, and there are plenty of other countries that word would also describe.
      • Bingo. It's very easy for Americans and Western Europeans to look at China and say, "Oh, they're Communists, that explains it." But they're not any more, by any reasonable definition. The scary thing to me, as an American, is how quickly China and America are converging on the "authoritarian capitalist" model; to pull out the obligatory Orwell reference, I suspect that right now it's the turn of Oceania and Eastasia to gang up on Eurasia. Somewhere down the line, of course, the alignment (both political
      • I wonder how long it will take for the consolations Yahoo, Microsoft, et al have made to make the web "safe" for Chinese browsers are imposed by the Department of Homeland Security to make us safe from internet terrorists.
    • I would have thought it was an inward extension of the Great Firewall of China
    • Now we have the Digital Curtain

      Actually, it's usually referred to as "The Great Firewall of China [wikipedia.org]".
  • by Surur (694693) on Monday September 26, 2005 @07:33AM (#13649671) Journal
    In the west you dont even know when "public opinion is being guided" in supposed national interest.

    Surur
    • In the west you dont even know when "public opinion is being guided" in supposed national interest.

      Speak for yourself. It's pretty obvious.
      • Indeed, it really is quite obvious. I mean, look at the recent and ongoing Iraq war. 95% of the European, Canadian, Australian, etc., citizens saw it for the sham that it was, even if their respective governments did not (or chose not to).

        It seems that the only people who were tricked into supporting it were the moronic rednecks and the most right-wing extremists in non-American countries. Otherwise, basically everyone saw it as it really was. And this was with a mainstream media that does not actually inve
        • Actually, quite a few of us Americans saw the Iraq war for what it was as well, a sham. Unfortunately, the current administration has done an excellent job of charaterizing anybody who's not for the war as anti-American.

          If you want to have an interesting discussion, here's a question to ask. Why has the American government banned journalists from taking pictures of the coffins of soldiers killed in Iraq returning to Dover AFB?

          A seperate discussion could be focused on the fact that we're spending billions
        • I hear what you are saying about the self censorship of mainstream media. However, there is still a key difference regarding freedom of expression between China and the United States. In the USA you can start a blog that is critical of the war. You can start this blog without asking permission of anyone and you won't be punished by the government. Can you really say the same about China?

          Remember that the great thing about the internet is it's de-centralization. Anybody express themselves to a large au
        • "95% of the European, Canadian, Australian, etc., citizens saw it for the sham that it was, even if their respective governments did not (or chose not to)."

          95%? REALLY?

          No, not really, so why lie?

        • Yeah right, and you are seeing exactly what you want to see. Like those massive protests about the iraq war. I don't call a few hundred protesters massive.

          The fast majority of the west doesn't give a damn about iraq. All they know is that europe is being overrun by muslims and that they are not happy with it. Oh and that gas prices are going through the roof.

          It is very easy to look at the media and see a definite slant to events in the world. I seen pro-muslims claim that newspaper X was anti-muslim and

    • Some of us do realise when the bell rings; stopping oneself from salivating however is a somewhat more difficult exercise. In the UK the political agenda is re-enforced through the media on a daily/ hourly basis (I believe the US has good old fox-news). Over here, soap operas such as East Enders and Emerdale feed the masses their daily message for social betterment - today it's racial intergration; tomorrow it's stealing state benefits - the list goes on. Tune in to BBC 1/ ITV 1/ Channel 4 & 5 between 6
  • by Anonymous Coward
    In China it's one party. In US it's Military Industrial Complex and it's entertiment division (washington).

    Ah yes. Whe have Michael Moore, they have Jackie Chan.
  • by RyanFenton (230700) on Monday September 26, 2005 @07:43AM (#13649730)
    China seems usually slow to use their power - they try asserting control over something carefully. Markets, freedoms, social networks - they can all be controlled, as long as you assert yourself very slowly over decades. They seem to have had some level of respect for the Internet, though it has gotten away from them in many ways, they're likely very used to that with social networks. But, like with America, the exceptions aren't so dangerous as converting the easilly convinced that the freedom of the internet is not as important as loyalty to the state.

    Now, they seem to be getting more confident over their control - or else just want to send the message that they are confident. Is this confidence real, is it a false message, or could they be fooling themselves? I for one can't know - but it seems fairly conservative compared to the controls they could exert. It remains to be seen how they will enforce this, or try to make these new rules matter in the minds of their citizens.

    The other source of confidence, of course, would be in the inability for outside forces to act against the growing market importance of China. China has done a great job of controlling the markets they act conservatively to control - now they get to reap the growing political benefit of that control. Perhaps eventually, their sheer political mass may allow them to finantially eliminate critics afar... I for one fear the day they begin to truly adopt intellectual property laws. Not because they are an especially malicious force compared to other governments, but because they are humans concentrating a great ammount of power, who may begin to assert ownership of ideas more powerfully than ever before.


    • "China seems usually slow to use their power"

      Unless you're a protesting student and they happen to have a tank handy. China respects the Internet for its financial power. They seek to use the aspects of the net that they deem beneficial and reject those they believe may support opposition to their control. The financial power represented by their huge potential market is their best tool to influence foreign powers. They can't really use military force against the major Western powers due to geographical
    • It may be that they are getting confident. It may also be that they are beginning to panic. Or it may be a sign of some slight power shift in the leadership of the party. Then again, it could just be few isolated hard-liners in some ministry of information of whatever they call it trying to test water and see what can they get away with. Heck, this is Slashdot, one can even speculate about invisible hand of Microsoft trying to tip the ballance and then claim that with Windows, you can get much tighter contr
  • by gamer4Life (803857) on Monday September 26, 2005 @07:48AM (#13649765)
    China is NOT a "communist" country.

    They have an authoritarian government with a capitalist economic system. "State capitalist" is the more correct term. (authoritarian states are not necessarily communist, although the reverse is generally true).

    This may be offtopic, but usually the conversation always manages to drift towards this anyways regardless of the original topic.
    • Indeed, although there is some movement away from direct state control towards private enterprise. The government is still prety authoritarian though, and I suspect that not many major private firms are being run by people who aren't also senior figures the party.

      My first thought on reading it was that it would be nice if their government started "serving the people and socialism".
    • by LexNaturalis (895838) on Monday September 26, 2005 @08:12AM (#13649909)
      I'm sure the Communist Party of China [wikipedia.org] would love to hear that news... ;)
    • Clearly China wants it both ways:
      They want the economic success of a capitalist free market
      They want to retain their authoritarian power

      They have a society awakening to their economic power. I wonder how well they will be able to keep that society "capped" as it rises. I know an "old" society can get lazy, and accept caps, but I think a new one will be exploring its limits, and find discomfort in those boundaries. In 5-20 years, I suspect China will be in for "Interesting Times."
      • The truth is that most of the "Asian Tiger" economies were under autocratic control during the initiation of their massive economic growth (South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore). However, all of those countries reached a point of economic development where autocratic control was no longer compatible with continued economic growth.

        I suspect in about 10-20 years, China will reach that same level of economic development when the pressure to democratise will be unstoppable.

        Already we see protests in China [acs.org] (more here [washingtonpost.com]
    • > China is NOT a "communist" country.

      That is easy for you to say as a means of splitting hairs, and really quite meaningless. According to Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] there is no agreed-upon definition of a "communist country". However, historically countries have been called such if they were run by a single party that adhered to the principles or Marxism-Leninism. This is quite certainly the case for China. The economic model a country follows can at best be considered a secondary symptom of being "communist."

      Even the p
    • I think the term you're looking for is a one-party socialist bureaucracy. China's not really communist anymore, but they are definitely socialist. Basically China is capitalist, except the government owns and operates all the key industries as if they were corporations, which makes them socialist.

      This only works because of globalization, China can control the entire industry in their country and compete with foreign corporations who don't have the benefit of being able to unilaterally set wage rates. China
  • The great irony (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Crixus (97721) on Monday September 26, 2005 @08:00AM (#13649833) Homepage
    What's great about the bulk of the media in the US is that they impose these limitations and bans on themselves, without having to have the government do it for them.
    • It doesn't matter what the bulk of the media do. The bulk of the media will always pander to the lowest common denominator, because that is the easiest way to make a profit in a free market. However, there are literally thousands (if not more), independent news sources in the U.S. who supply very accurate and fair news to a niche market.

      With China-like restrictions, that would not be possible. It is the difference between a well-informed minority, and total-propoganda state.
  • http://drudgereport.com/flash4.htm [drudgereport.com] FLASHBACK: HILLARY CLINTON SAYS INTERNET NEWS NEEDS 'RETHINK' Sun Sep 25 2005 16:52:50 ET China on Sunday imposed new media restrictions designed to limit the news and other information available to Internet users, sharply restricting the scope of content that can be posted on Web sites. In 1998 during a meeting with reporters, Hillary Rodham Clinton said that "we are all going to have to rethink how we deal with" the Internet because of the handling of White House sex
  • "They're rights online" I can't imagine too many Chinese would be able to get onto Slashdot.
    • They are rights online? Yes, the Chinese people embody the rights of others online.

      (For the record, I do understand that you are simultaneously joking about the shmeditors' inabilities to spell.)
    • I can't imagine too many Chinese would be able to get onto Slashdot.

      I'm reading (and writing this) from Shanghai, without using any proxy server.

  • by tiggles (301532) on Monday September 26, 2005 @08:16AM (#13649939) Homepage
    Let me be the first to say [No Carrier]

  • Interesting how they always include the word "people" in anything that is really not of the people. Note these names...

    Peoples Republic of China: The formal name of China is supposed to be a republic ran by people. In reality (outside of Hong Kong), the government of China is mostly a corrupt, power-hogging group of politicians.

    Supreme People's Procuratorate: The leading prosecutor in China, the name implies that this prosecutor is of and by the people of China. In reality, this prosecutor is nothing m

    • When the people are being beaten with a stick, they are not much happier if it is called 'the People's Stick.'

      -- Mikhail Bakunin

      Most authoritiarian governments refer to the country as "The People's Republic" of such and such. That way the government can say "see, its your country and we're going to crack down on your rights in order to save you!" This is a tell-tale symptom of authoritarianism, putting the state before the people.
    • What led you to believe Hong Kong's government is less corrupt than Mainland China's? Or that the government is "mostly corrupt"??? China is ranked [icgg.org] 71st out of 146 nations in corruption (the US is 17th) which isn't anything to brag about but doesn't quite jibe with your characterization, either.

      Anyway, big deal. China uses "people" in formal titles, so what? When Communism was strong (and these bodies were named) China certainly had a very strong social welfare program that you might associate with a "

      • Re:Peoples.... (Score:3, Informative)

        by TheSync (5291)
        When Communism was strong (and these bodies were named) China certainly had a very strong social welfare program

        You mean like the social welfare programs that starved 30 million people to death? [orbit6.com]

        China's move away from Communism trough free market reforms, and its expansion of exports to the US, has lead there to be about 200 million [chinadaily.com.cn] fewer people in China living on under $1 per day now than in 1990.

        I'm no apologist for China's continued lack of human and political rights, but at the same time at least the gov
  • Xinhua as the story [xinhuanet.com] too. Interesting quote: The public will help information departments at all levels supervise news sites. Anyone who finds unhealthy online stories can visit http://net.china.cn/ [china.cn] and report.
  • Cuba... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by LinuxInDallas (73952) on Monday September 26, 2005 @08:42AM (#13650134)
    All this crap from China and we still do business with them. Meanwhile Americans can't even travel to Cuba. What's the deal? Is it all economics?
    • Re:Cuba... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Shihar (153932)
      You need to wipe your fairytale land image of Cuba out of your head. China is ugly, but Cuba is worse. Cuba has absolutely no press outside the state run press and whatever the US blasts at them via the radio that isn't jammed. China is cruel to their disidents, but China in recent years has shown growing tolerance. There is absolutely no tolerance in Cuba.

      Yes, Havan is pretty, but so is Pyongyang. Show cities are pretty par for the course for repressive authoritarian governments. Cuba is an ugly plac
  • Why does Slashdot persist in posting such a waste of read? Listen, Folks, because apparently this is fscking news to some people. China is a communist nation. I know, I know, some of you sitting there with hand-over-mouth, agast that such could exist in this day and age but it's true. I'll pause while everything you've ever read on Slashdot about China comes crashing into focus.......
    ....
    Okay. Welcome to page 12, where the rest of the ENTIRE FSCKING WORLD HAS BEEN WAITING FOR YOU TO CATCH UP!
  • Another story about how a communist party does what communist parties do. How about a story when the Great Wall that separates China from--uh--China...never mind. How about a story when the Communist Party of China calls it quits and says it was just kidding for the last 80-odd years?
  • Free speech zone (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MECC (8478) * on Monday September 26, 2005 @09:17AM (#13650419)


    China is becoming one big free speech zone, [baltimorechronicle.com] George Bush style [washingtonpost.com]

  • and a lot of Chinese people regard ANY news source as not entirely trustworthy - even foreign sources. From what I saw, they got almost all their information via gossip or text message.
  • The Chinese people must be fiersome if the cowardly technocrats and the corrupt bureaucracy and army have to go this extent to hide reality from them.

    Any government fearful of its own people has no moral right to rule.

  • "The state bans the spreading of any news with content that is against national security and public interest"

    that quote could just have easily been attributed to bush...

    the only diff is that bush WANTS that but its not [yet] in place.
  • by BeanThere (28381) on Monday September 26, 2005 @10:22AM (#13650891)
    ... to this and other human rights abuses in China by, uh, giving $162 billion per year (and increasing) business to China, $55 billion dollars Foreign Direct Investment, and ship hundreds of thousands of US jobs to China.

    </sarcasm>

    Is China already too powerful/influental that nobody could influence them even if they wanted to? Or is it simply that nobody in the ruling class cares about human rights abuses as long as there is more money to be made?
  • Boo Hoo they mean (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gelfling (6534) on Monday September 26, 2005 @10:35AM (#13650995) Homepage Journal
    Seems a little misplaced to excoriate a country which has lifted more than 200 million people out of unimaginable poverty in the last 20 years. I suppose it's preferable to leave our gentle sensibilities in place and pave the streets with the corpses of those who starved.

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