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China Blocks YouTube Over Tibet Videos 343

Posted by Zonk
from the stopping-the-signal dept.
Screaming Cactus writes "Internet users in China were blocked from seeing YouTube.com on Sunday after dozens of videos about protests in Tibet appeared on the site. 'Chinese leaders encourage Internet use for education and business but use online filters to block access to material considered subversive or pornographic. Foreign Web sites run by news organizations and human rights groups are regularly blocked if they carry sensitive information. Operators of China-based online bulletin boards are required to monitor their content and enforce censorship.' The blocking added to the communist government's efforts to control what the public saw and heard about protests that erupted Friday in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, against Chinese rule."
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China Blocks YouTube Over Tibet Videos

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  • How long... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Alexx K (1167919) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @05:09PM (#22767634)
    before China blocks Slashdot?
  • by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Sunday March 16, 2008 @05:13PM (#22767656) Homepage
    I've traveled to China a few times, and encounter plenty of Chinese students at my university. All seem to be aware that their government is authoritarian and has done some terrible things, in spite of all the blocking. Nonetheless, without exception every Chinese person I've spoke with on the issue insists that a hard line is needed to keep the country together. Since the Chinese population, for cultural and historical reasons, seems okay with what's going on, is blocking the Internet even necessary?
  • by aleph42 (1082389) * on Sunday March 16, 2008 @05:21PM (#22767690)
    The effects of controling the medias are subtle and effective, and every succeful control will also convince the population it is itself necessary.

    Take the example of Russia: the elections were cheated (some small towns were 105% pro government...), but even perfectly fair elections would probably show that a majority (like 55%) think Putin was a good leader. But thinking that 95%, of the country agrees with the government will make you more prone to agree yourself, whereas at 55% you'll start beleiving that alternatives exist.

    I could also speak about Fox in the US, and the necessity for antiterrorist laws.
  • Va China (Score:1, Interesting)

    by ndnspongebob (942859) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @05:22PM (#22767700)
    China is becoming a bigger and bigger enemy by the day. First, its all the hacking into our government and then trying to control tibet. I mean they're going after the Dalai lama, the peoples religious leader, have some respect or decency at least. I don't see how China is fit to host the Olympics. Do the athletes know that people are dying in tibet just so China can run the Olympic torch through tibet? Its all messed up. They are not ready yet. All that without even touching on censorship. And so from now own, I will refer to China as Va China.
  • urgh (Score:4, Interesting)

    by clragon (923326) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @05:22PM (#22767702)
    Before everyone presses the reply button and start typing "FREE TIBET!", could slashdotters please read this [theatlantic.com] article first?
    Read all three parts of it, the author summarizes both sides of the issue in order for people to see that the Tibet issue is much more than just a communist regime bullying an occupied region, for example:

    Another aspect of the Chinese duty in Tibet is the sense that rapid modernization is needed, and should take precedence over cultural considerations. For Westerners, this is a difficult perspective to understand. Tibet is appealing to us precisely because it's not modern, and we have idealized its culture and anti-materialism to the point where it has become, as Orville Schell says, "a figurative place of spiritual enlightenment in the Western imagination -- where people don't make Buicks, they make good karma."

    But to the Chinese, for whom modernization is coming late, Buicks look awfully good. I noticed this during my first year as a teacher in China, when my writing class spent time considering the American West. We discussed western expansion, and I presented the students with a problem of the late nineteenth century: the Plains Indians, their culture in jeopardy, were being pressed by white settlers. I asked my class to imagine that they were American citizens proposing a solution, and nearly all responded much the way this student did: "The world is changing and developing. We should make the Indians suit our modern life. The Indians are used to living all over the plains and moving frequently, without a fixed home, but it is very impractical in our modern life.... We need our country to be a powerful country; we must make the Indians adapt to our modern life and keep pace with the society. Only in this way can we strengthen the country."

    I know I might be modded offtopic but the discussion of Chinese censorship of Tibet videos will no doubt lead to the discussion of Tibet vs China itself. I'm just asking everyone to please form their opinion after looking at both sides of the issue, and how each side feels about it. Try not to base your opinion solely on just what you hear news.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 16, 2008 @05:28PM (#22767734)
    It depends on what you mean by 'necessary'.

    Is blocking necessary to satisfy human rights? No.
    Is blocking necessary to keep the country together? Maybe.
    Is blocking necessary to maintain a hard line? Yes.
  • by rucs_hack (784150) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @05:30PM (#22767740)
    There you've hit an interesting point.

    China is barking huge, and its population is equally on the large side (Ha! Fear my accurate numerical statements...). They can't just be mostly sheep with a few wolves running things.

    I've known quite a few Chinese students, courtesy of the US making it harder for Chinese students to study there. This is great, it's brought vast, vast amounts of cash in from China to universities in the UK, thanks for that one guys..

    Anyhoo, these Chinese people, while here, have just the same net access as anyone else, and they are for the most part, belonging to the middle to upper classes in China. Just the sort of people you'd think they'd want to keep ignorant (middle class people have started all revolutions in modern times), and yet they make no effort to do so.

    Doesn't quite map, does it...

    It seems to me we have a large amount of 'we don't really understand what the fuck is going on in China', that frequently gets combined with a bunch of preconceptions which are probably quite inaccurate.
  • by Colin Smith (2679) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @05:32PM (#22767746)
    This is where something like Usenet is still better than "The Web". It doesn't even require tcp/ip to function and therefore has no centralised control. With something like an NNTP server running on every phone, over bluetooth, it would be pretty much impossible to prevent the spread of information.

    Walk past someone in the street and your phone syncs it's "newsgroups" with the other phone. The smartphones around these days are coming with 2Gb of storage and 300MHz processors. More than 100,000 are being purchased per day in China.

     
  • Re:How long... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @05:34PM (#22767758) Journal
    Considering that Slashdot still only supports a tiny subset of unicode (not including the Euro symbol) I think there's more chance of the grandparent learning to write Chinese than there is of Slashdot actually accepting it in posts...
  • by Doviende (13523) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @05:45PM (#22767820) Homepage
    It seems to me that there's a pretty big language barrier that prevents us from hearing much from most chinese internet users. The ones i met in china tended to stick to purely chinese sites, which i found quite hard to read with only my basic level of chinese.

    ("if we get some chinese comments, perhaps people here can translate them")
  • by microbox (704317) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @05:46PM (#22767822)
    Just because you take it as propaganda doesn't mean that others don't have a more leveled response to this statement. For example, you could take it as saying: "what is going on with this type of morality?". If a person condones authoritarian rule, what is the need for censorship? Yet these people seem to do both? This statement is about the human condition, and not politics. Personally I think a lot of official chinese statements express an embarrassingly amorale attitude.
  • Why only Tibet? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jasonmanley (921037) <jman@math.com> on Sunday March 16, 2008 @05:48PM (#22767838) Homepage Journal
    I'm not trying to bait or anything but I am curious. Why does the internet community give so much energy to the liberation of Tibet but they don't do the same to the USA, South Africa, Australia etc that are overrun and controlled by accupying colonial powers. Yes they may be 'democracies' but if you go and speak to a native aborigony and ask them about it I think that their perspective would be different to that of some slashdotters. There are occupying forces all over the world and all throughout history - I just wonder why we choose to make a fuss over Tibet when there are injustices in our own backyard that we are choosing to ignore.
  • by Doviende (13523) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @05:50PM (#22767846) Homepage
    well shit, son. All the unicode chinese chars i wrote in that posting got nuked. i guess we won't be hearing from any chinese commenters any time soon.
  • by grassy_knoll (412409) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @06:02PM (#22767890) Homepage
    There seem to be some in the business community who think democracy would dilute their control over the government and, perhaps, thereby their profits.

    This story from the International Herald Tribune [iht.com], while specifically about Hong Kong, seems to illustrate the concept:

    Equally, many business leaders -primarily members of the tycoon class, as they are known - show little interest in any political arrangement that would dilute their long-established ability to influence government, regardless of how swiftly Hong Kong is changing.


  • by imkow (1021759) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @06:10PM (#22767958) Homepage


    Being a chinese , the life is very tough.

    ,
    the fact i can still get on the internet is something gratefully granted by the gov. i wouldn't dare to raise a trouble.

    in china, any public voice that does not sound "harmonious" will be "harmonized". everything is for building a "harmonious society".

    ,
    many websites has been "harmonized", which have become a common practice..

    youtube,
    through some technical means the youtube site can still be reached, but that's only to geeks like me.
  • Re:craziness (Score:2, Interesting)

    by TehDuffman (987864) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @06:19PM (#22768018) Journal

    Why do you assume that it is political spam? Unless you are Chinese I doubt you know enough to judge what is happening in there. People have their own opinion, although it may be based upon great misinformation you cannot just assume that to be the case. Also, unfortunately there is no such thing as "The Truth".

    That is like people saying they cannot comment on American government or policies if they aren't American. We know that doesn't happen. Plus the fact is Tibet is as far as many in the world are concerned Tibet isn't a part of China it has simply been occupied for 50+ years now.

    I can also definitely see the Chinese government or hardliners going on YouTube and other sites to mod these videos down so no one sees them not just their people.
  • Re:Why only Tibet? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Deanalator (806515) <pierce403@gmail.com> on Sunday March 16, 2008 @07:04PM (#22768358) Homepage
    Tribal sovereignty.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tribal_sovereignty_in_the_United_States [wikipedia.org]

    Native American tribes have their own land, and can make/enforce their own laws.

    I am not sure if other countries you mentioned have similar setups, and of course the deal is not as good as some of the Natives would like it to be, but there is nothing like this in Tibet. China denies that Tibetans even want to be free. Even now they are blocking CNN and Youtube, along with countless other news sources. The goal is not to hide the protests from the Chinese people. The goal seems to be to retain the ability to paint the Tibetans as rebel separatists bent on destroying the Chinese empire.
  • Re:craziness (Score:5, Interesting)

    by orzetto (545509) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @08:37PM (#22769042)

    It is unbelievable the ratio of how many people are calling Tibetans liars and cheering on the Chinese. These are recent posts calling the Dalai Lama a terrorist ringleader.

    One of the reasons I am wary of this whole Tibet issue is that China happens to be the West's main economic rival, and now it is convenient for Western governments to support the Dalai Lama's cause. The Dalai Lama is not a democratically elected leader, and pre-1949 Tibet was not exactly the merry free independent country you see in Hollywood depictions. Most of the Tibetans were serfs and enslaved in all but name, serving the religious aristocracy of the Lamas.

    As long as China was an ally of the US against the Soviet Union, you did not hear much about Tibet or the Dalai Lama. Gone the Soviet Union, grown the Chinese economy, and hey presto! Here is a flurry of Hollywood movies designed to show just how ugly and mean the Estasians are, since Eurasia has always been our ally—right?

    See, one of the downsides of reading "Manufacturing consent" by Chomsky is that I start to see unsettling patterns like this one: a piece of news is convenient for the government, that piece is spun in the best possible way for the government by the same press that should be the government's watchdog. Of course it happens as well in China: I read some CCTV Web pages with the predictable pro-China spin.

    Now, where is the truth anyway? Well, obviously some Tibetans are quite angry. Some Tibetans have been assaulting Han Chinese [guardian.co.uk] (so much for the Buddhists who never raise a finger in violence), because of the rivalry between ethnic groups. So, as far as I can see, this is an issue of a group of people not liking another group of people, spun by every external party in their favour: the US say the Chinese are evil and the Tibetans are peaceful protesters, the Chinese say they are only criminals, and everyone else says whatever is most convenient for them.

    China has encouraged immigration of Han Chinese into Tibet for a long time, and the privileged Han are an obvious target for racial hatred for the underprivileged Tibetans. What the Chinese should have done is to follow the good old way to deal with separatism: throw money at the problem. Tibet has a ludicrously small population compared to China (not even three millions), and China could afford to subsidize separatism to death. That's what Italy did to fix the terrorism problem in South Tyrol, and, guess what, it worked just fine.

  • by holistah (1002858) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @09:52PM (#22769474)
    As a matter of fact, I read that as a result of the protests, chinese officials are blocking landline and cell phone access in tibet.
  • by hackingbear (988354) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @10:14PM (#22769586)

    As I talked to people in China while I lived there 2003-06, most people know about democracy of the Western world; they do complain their country's lack of democracy, but at the same time, they believe it does not necessary make things better and it is only something good to have in the future when the country gets prosperous. Think about it, they do have a point. Which of the following democratic countries (at least more so than China) are much better off than China: India, Mexico, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, and many easter European countries? These countries are not doing better in terms of corruption, equality, development, environment protection, education, health care, etc.. How do they fare comparing to Singapore and Hong Kong, both of which have little democracy to speak of?

    Their belief is that democracy won't work unless the country has reached higher level of prosperity -- i.e. massive middle class, otherwise democracy could be damaging.

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