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China's Battle to Police the Web 171

Posted by Zonk
from the losing-battle dept.
What_the_deuce writes "For the first time in years, internet browsers are able to visit the BBC's website. In turn, the BBC turns a lens on the Chinese web-browsing experience, exploring one of the government's strongest methods of controlling the communication and information accessible to the public. 'China does not block content or web pages in this way. Instead the technology deployed by the Chinese government, called Golden Shield, scans data flowing across its section of the net for banned words or web addresses. There are five gateways which connect China to the internet and the filtering happens as data is passed through those ports. When the filtering system spots a banned term it sends instructions to the source server and destination PC to stop the flow of data.'"
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China's Battle to Police the Web

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  • SSL? Freenet? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by EdIII (1114411) * on Thursday March 27, 2008 @04:10PM (#22885766)
    I'm pretty impressed that they have the ability to scan the data in the first place. That must not be cheap, or easy.

    However, if it is only scanning for keywords why aren't people bypassing it with encrypted websites, Freenet, etc?

    I think if we were talking to some average Chinese students on the street we would get the real 411 on just how effective this "Golden Shield" really is.
    • Re:SSL? Freenet? (Score:4, Informative)

      by lamarguy91 (1101967) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @04:14PM (#22885836)
      Did you not read the full article? They already are.

      But there have been well-documented ways to by-pass China's firewall. One method involves connecting to a friendly computer outside China and using it as a proxy, to access websites that are banned.
      China cannot block every computer outside its borders so this method has proved popular with citizens wanting unfettered access to the net.


      I would like to know what else they are using. I might learn a thing or two from it.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Kalriath (849904) *
        Well, they could get a server in a datacentre in the US and either RDP or VNC to it. Since the only thing being transmitted then becomes images, the Shield wouldn't be able to do anything useful with it.
        • by Nullav (1053766)
          VNC over the Internet, through multiple regions? Wouldn't it be faster to just mail flash drives or build semaphore towers? (Hmm. I wonder if I can google by post?)
          • by Mercano (826132)

            (Hmm. I wonder if I can google by post?)
            Sorry, you can only google by GET. If you try to POST a search, you get error 501 Not Implemented.
        • by Nursie (632944)
          That would really suck as a solution due to the distances involved and the resulting latency. You want a friendly machine in US/other free space and to use SSH. Maybe Tor would work.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by IkeTo (27776)
        My understanding is that those the Chinese government really afraid of are those "naive" users. So if you display that you are not in this (major, at least that's what they'd think) set of users, say by using encryption, they no longer bother.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Nursie (632944)
        SSH

        Well, that would be my immediate choice. I do it from work sometimes if I don't their filters catching me.

        You need a cooperative machine outside the firewall. Then you ssh to it. SSH can act as a SOCKS proxy if you give it the "-D" option and a port number.

        Firefox and IE can both be set to browse using the proxy. Firefox even has a setting (in about:config or whatever it is) to do DNS through the proxy as well. Then everything is encrypted and travelling over a tunnel to the friendly box outside.

        Extremel
    • by sentientbrendan (316150) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @04:15PM (#22885860)
      on much more data, they just don't block people.
    • Re:SSL? Freenet? (Score:5, Informative)

      by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Thursday March 27, 2008 @04:19PM (#22885930) Homepage

      However, if it is only scanning for keywords why aren't people bypassing it with encrypted websites, Freenet, etc?

      The expats I've met in China use Firefox with the Tor extension. It slows things down, so they just normally browse, and then active Tor when they want to go to a banned site.

    • Re:SSL? Freenet? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by wbean (222522) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @04:22PM (#22885954)
      Well,yes, you can do that. But I have a friend who lives in Beijing and he tells me that if you use a vpn and have too much traffic across it they will shut it down. So the firewall is aware of the presence of the vpn and can measure the traffic. Furthermore, too much use of a vpn may cast suspicion on you.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by iminplaya (723125)
      I'm pretty impressed that they have the ability to scan the data in the first place. That must not be cheap, or easy.

      Good old American knowhow always gets you through the day.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Jekler (626699)
      Oppressing an entire population is never cheap. However, when that same population is scoured for the resources to oppress them the method pays for itself. Keeping the Chinese population ignorant of their government's workings keeps the wheels turning.

      Imagine keeping a worker in a basement turning a wheel that powers your house. If you use the energy he generates to power a lock on the door, and use a portion of that power to keep him from getting any information on how to quit working, the system pays fo
    • Re:SSL? Freenet? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Sigismundo (192183) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @05:08PM (#22886490)

      A Chinese colleague of mine explained a simpler way that some Chinese have used to get past the censors. For instance, the character fa [mdbg.net] of "Falun Gong" gets split into two characters. The left part (the three dots) represents water, so shui [mdbg.net] is used instead. Without the three dots, fa becomes qu [mdbg.net]. So rather than write Falun Gong, a message board poster might write Shui-qu-lun Gong. This could be figured out by a person reading it, but wouldn't be found by computer search.

      This was a while ago, and I assume that such a simple substitution would get figured out pretty quickly, but I thought it was neat.

      • by EdIII (1114411) *
        Interesting.

        Kind of like saying "Its Five-Oh" and "The Fuzz".

        It could be a lot harder to filter "street slang" when that begins to filter out legitimate terms used in everyday circumstances.
      • by icebike (68054)
        C001. Ch1n33s l33t !!!
      • Actually christian missionaries in China use similar methods of communication. If you send an e-mail to someone inside of China (or vice-versa) and include the word "Jesus" it'll show up blank. So you have to use other non-religious words to get your point across. That was a few years ago that I experienced that first hand. At the time I was surprised by the level of filtering. Now I just take it for granted :-/
        • by orasio (188021)

          Actually christian missionaries in China use similar methods of communication. If you send an e-mail to someone inside of China (or vice-versa) and include the word "Jesus" it'll show up blank. So you have to use other non-religious words to get your point across. That was a few years ago that I experienced that first hand. At the time I was surprised by the level of filtering. Now I just take it for granted :-/

          No way. The thing is that the Chinese reference the words to actual objects representing their meaning to do the filtering. Then they serialize them to string again, at the other side of the tunnel. In the case of any exception, they just catch it silently.

          In your case, it's probably a NullPointerException when trying to follow the reference of the word. You should try using "FSM" instead of that word.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      That must not be cheap, or easy.

      How dare they destroy Chinese culture!

    • Re:SSL? Freenet? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Squeeze Truck (2971) <xmsho@yahoo.com> on Friday March 28, 2008 @12:33AM (#22890224) Homepage
      If we were to compare governments to operating systems, the US would be Microsoft, Japan would be Apple and China would be Slackware. It really is the bazaar of societies.

      The "golden shield," like Beijing's attempt to control anything that goes on in China is completely ineffective. Westerners (who believe society is synonymous with government and law) look at China's authoritarian policies and believe that all Chinese people live under repression.

      That simply isn't the case. When Chinese people completely ignore international copyright law they aren't being selective; that's their attitude toward all laws. As the saying goes: heaven is high, and the emperor is far away. If authority can't see you or get to you, then it may as well not exist.

      If the government decides to go after you you can consider yourself proper fucked, but they only do that very rarely, and it's always against individuals or groups that really irritate them. If you keep your head low and don't do anything to inconvenience or embarrass the government they don't care what you do. 99.99% of people have never had to deal with the police, ever. Not even parking tickets. Even fewer have any kind of criminal record.

      That's how it is with internet censorship. The golden shield leaks like a sieve and everyone knows it. Since it's keyword activated you can get away with saying anything you want about the government so long as you abbreviate zhongguo zhengfu (Chinese government) to zgzf, and so on. The system is really only there as a passive (sometimes active) reminder from Beijing that a Chinese government really does exist and they really are in charge, goddammit.
  • bbc copied article? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ionix5891 (1228718)
    That article looks awfully familiar to the one that floated to on Digg few days ago, see http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200803/chinese-firewall [theatlantic.com] @ http://digg.com/tech_news/Why_Internet_Censorship_in_China_is_So_Incredibly_Effective [digg.com]
  • Censorship (Score:3, Insightful)

    by alohatiger (313873) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @04:11PM (#22885776) Homepage
    But of course, that's nothing compared to the terrible censorship we endure in America!!

    (I'm just tired of people complaining about this place becoming a police state)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by webmaster404 (1148909)
      I know you are sarcastic, but really although China has a ton of censorship, the US though says it doesn't have censorship and for the most part people believe that, China on the other hand most people know that it censors and will find ways around it. For the US most are blissfully unaware....
      • Re:Censorship (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Bryansix (761547) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @04:48PM (#22886236) Homepage
        I'm gonna have to say you are blissfully full of crap. What is censored in the US that you can access outside of it?
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Sancho (17056)
          There are different forms of censorship, and you're only focusing on one of them.

          One form is not allowing people access to content by blocking it. That's what China does.

          Another way to censor is to fine people who display unwanted content. The US uses this to keep "bad language", images of a sexual nature, etc. off of non-premium television stations.

          Another form of censorship involves controlling the media. The current administration does this primarily by blacklisting reporters who don't play nicely. A
          • by Bryansix (761547)
            The Internet is one big free speach zone. That's my point. I'm not going to broaden this discussion to include all kinds of censorship like self-censorship (which you and I do all the time by the way, it prevents me from calling you and asshole and it prevents you from calling me a tosser) or propaganda or even playing nice. My point was that our Internet access is not censored. If I wanted to go on the most anti-US website out there I could and as long as I didn't make a threat on someones life or threaten
            • by Sancho (17056)
              That's fair, I guess, though I don't think that it's reasonable to only discuss one facet of life if you're concerned about a police state (which the original poster explicitly mentioned.)
          • Banning demonstrations are also a form of censorship, and another form that the US engages in. Search for "free speech zones" for a better understanding.

            Last time I looked, people could stand in front of the US capital and spew all the crap they want. No one runs them over with tanks [wikipedia.org].

            Free speech zones != banning a demonstration. It's keeping the demonstrators from disrupting the rights of others who attend whatever convention is being protested. It keeps attendees safe from physical harm. Too many time

            • by Sancho (17056)
              Gotcha. Shoving protestors into an area where they cannot be seen isn't censorship. Check.
              • Right...not seen...except by world-wide and US media that goes down there to ask their opinion.

                Check mate.
                • by Sancho (17056)
                  I wasn't using it as a chess term, I was using it as a in "checking an item off of the list of things which are censorship, since apparently it isn't."

        • What is censored in the US that you can access outside of it?

          09 f9 11 02 9d 74 e3 5b d8 41 56 c5 63 56 88 c0

          • by Bryansix (761547)
            I can't decode that? Is it in ASCII?
            • I can't decode that? Is it in ASCII?

              It's a decryption key for HD-DVD. There was quite a fuss about it last year when some hackers derived and published it. That hexadecimal number is an illegal circumvention device, and telling you about it is a violation of the DMCA. That, of course, is censorship. Incredibly ineffective censorship, but censorship nonetheless. Censorship which is also why, having first installed an OS distribution, you have to download additional libraries from free countries before you

      • For the US most are blissfully unaware....

        I don't disagree with you. Certainly the US has the capacity to censor as much as they want but thus far the main culprit has been self-censorship of various forms.

        Most Americans never reach beyond news.yahoo.com or time.com. Clicking on a link that takes them to The Register may be as far afield as they are likely to get. As distilled as these news sources already are, they are getting worse as the economics of the news business forces newspapers and press

        • by Bryansix (761547)
          The lesson here is to know when you need to look beyond Main Stream Media (MSM) for information. For one thing Slashdot agregates news from a wide variety of sources. Many times I learn about news a day or two before the MSM start coverage of it. In addition you have to be willing to view blogs from time to time while taking what they say with a grain of salt until the story is confirmed. I pride myself on my ability to search out the facts on any given news story because of my willingness to look at all ki
        • Re:Censorship (Score:5, Interesting)

          by VJ42 (860241) * on Thursday March 27, 2008 @06:06PM (#22887114)
          Being a Brit, I love comparing US news sources to others around the world, including those of our "enemies", and I regularly find that news sources from the USA are very introverted compared not only to the BBC [bbc.co.uk], but even Al Jazeera [aljazeera.net] and Chineese State news [cctv.com] are more outward looking (even if somewhat biased). It's not just the news of our enemies either I look at other allies [france24.com] news, they too are less introverted than their US [foxnews.com] equivilents [msn.com]. And it's not that you can't produce quality news from around the world, compare the versions of CNN:
          http://www.cnn.com/ [cnn.com]
          http://edition.cnn.com/ [cnn.com]

          But who would think to put "edition" at the beginning of a URL?
          • by TitusC3v5 (608284)
            I think what we're seeing here is less of an issue of US news introversion and more of an issue with the general American populace not being interested in what happens outside their country's borders.
    • Too bad (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 27, 2008 @05:21PM (#22886620)
      (I'm just tired of people complaining about this place becoming a police state)

      Some things may not be *as bad* in America as they are in China, but they can still be *bad*.

      In fact, we are seeing a slow but stead erosion of various civil liberties.

      Yes, things could be worse, but that is no reason to avoid making them better now.

  • Can get out with VPN (Score:2, Informative)

    by Big Frank (921537)
    Lived in Shanghai for two years until last month. I could always VPN out through the Great Firewall of China to a server outside China (in Japan). It was slow but reliable.
  • Freedom! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    And a billion Chinese looked at the BBC website, and asked: "What does it say? I can't read English."
  • It is not clear why China's net population, the world's largest, is suddenly able to view the BBC News website after years of being blocked. Nor is it clear how long the access will continue.
    I believe they may have just answered that question with this article.
  • This is just sad. I cant believe this type of censorship is still going on during this time in history.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 27, 2008 @04:16PM (#22885876)
    The Chinese censorship works by picking out key terms. So here's a simple way for you webmasters to really frustrate the censors. Everybody who's a webmaster for scientific and engineering and technical sites-- the ones that the Chinese really want their people to access-- here's what you need to do. Drop a couple of the forbidden terms in-- say "Free Tibet" and "Dalai Lama" and "Falun Gong" and "June 4 1989"-- at the end of your site. It can even be in white text on white screen; it doesn't matter if the humans can read it, as long as the robots can.

    Now the censors are rapidly going to discover that the firewall isn't working, because suddenly it's blocking all the stuff they want their people to be able to get to!

    • Im trying to bang this out quickly before Chinese class (I live in Beijing) so forgive the hurry:

      There is some site about Things White People Like on wordpress - and the whole site is blocked. Now using a proxy like StupidCensorship I can access the site - but somehow even through that there is something written on the TWPL: Asian Girls page that still gets blocked even through a proxy here!

      That and wikipedia is always blocked but answers.com (which 99% of the time HAS the wiki article within) is not blocke
  • by Scareduck (177470) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @04:16PM (#22885878) Homepage Journal
    I don't get why China gets as many breaks as they do, including Most Favored Nation status (permanently!). The 2008 Olympics are looking more and more like the 1936 edition.
    • China manufactures nearly all consumer electronics. And their domestic market is exploding. We need them more than they will soon need us.
      • by Bryansix (761547) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @04:53PM (#22886312) Homepage
        It's time to sever that tie. Chinese products even for consumer electronics are typically low quality, full of lead, and made by slave (by US standards) labor. Why companies get away with exporting all of their manufacturing over there when they get crap (literaly) in return is beyond comprehension. I don't mind stuff manufactured in Taiwan. At least that stuff doesn't break in a week. I'd like it even better if high tech manufacturing was done in the US but with equipment effecient enought to make it economical even when compared to China. I know it can be done. We just need some forward looking companies to jump on the bandwagon.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by lostokie (1229804)
        Wouldn't other countries pick up the slack if China lost most favored nation status and had to compete more fairly with other industrializing nations? Maybe even some of those jobs would move back to the US. China's advantage is lots of low cost manpower, and an extremely high tolerance for environmental damage. Many other countries have the same advantages. And US corporations may really want to get in on the ground floor of the newly growing markets in China, but currently the Chinese market doesn't m
      • You forgot that the United States owes China a LOT of money. It's like one of those old sitcoms where one of the characters owes another character a debt they can't repay so they just make them into their slave. Then they have them do silly things like give them foot massages, or paint their house, or look the other way on blatant human rights violations. Stuff like that.
    • Producing your own quality products in the US with US workers(or even a worker-friendly country) are 2 cardinal sins according to them.
      What's needed is someone who doesnt mind screwing over the (globalization happy)business community. We came close to having someone like that with Spitzer, and Strickland of Ohio fills that role here quite nicely. We already had the means and the know-how to do it quite well in-house. Bringing it back does not mean raking workers over the coals.

      We do not need them, f
      • Producing your own quality products in the US with US workers(or even a worker-friendly country) are 2 cardinal sins according to them.

        Well...duh. The US has much stricter environmental laws than China, so any industrial plants are going to have problems over here. They're going to be more expensive, if they're even feasible, meaning the costs of producing the goods goes up, and the prices that they must sell for in order to make a profit also go up. That computer you're typing on? You probably couldn't afford it if all of the parts had been made in the USA.

        Then there's the workers. In China, a person working in a factory for a full

    • by MacDork (560499) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @05:13PM (#22886520) Journal

      I don't get why China gets as many breaks as they do

      Because they hold over $1.4 trillion dollars in US debt? Because they could crush our economy by unloading that paper [telegraph.co.uk] and their dollar reserves on the open market? Because the US is still going to China to beg for handouts because we can't balance our budget? Because their population of men available for military service exceeds that of the entire United States? And possibly, because our leadership, world famous as staunch defenders of civil rights themselves, really doesn't give a shit about Chinese human rights abuses?

      But what do I know? I'm just guessing here...

      • I don't get why China gets as many breaks as they do

        Because they hold over $1.4 trillion dollars in US debt? Because they could crush our economy by unloading that paper [telegraph.co.uk] and their dollar reserves on the open market? Because the US is still going to China to beg for handouts because we can't balance our budget? Because their population of men available for military service exceeds that of the entire United States? And possibly, because our leadership, world famous as staunch defenders of civil rights themselves, really doesn't give a shit about Chinese human rights abuses?

        But what do I know? I'm just guessing here...

        Ah we have yet another person who does not understand M.A.D. Mutually Assured Destruction. If China destroyed our economy, they would also be destroying their own, we are after all by far their largest market. If China stops giving us loans, we will be forced to stop spending so much, which would destroy their economy (but would only be a temporary setback for ours). If China was to militarily attack the United State and was caught doing so, the entire country would be black ash within 2 hours, unfortun

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by mjwx (966435)

          Ah we have yet another person who does not understand M.A.D. Mutually Assured Destruction. If China destroyed our economy, they would also be destroying their own, we are after all by far their largest market

          Sorry but Europe took over as their largest market a while ago. M.A.D doesn't work in this scenario (I'd argue that it doesn't work at all) as china is more than able to lose over 50% of its luxury economy (the goods they export, China is a primary producer just not an exporting primary producer) and

    • by MrSteveSD (801820) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @05:17PM (#22886576)
      Or this football match between England and Germany in Berlin in 1938. http://news.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/spl/hi/pop_ups/03/magazine_enl_1064218142/img/1.jpg [bbc.co.uk]

      Can you guess which team is doing the Nazi salute? It's the England team.
      • Can you guess which team is doing the Nazi salute? It's the England team.

        Both teams are saluting - and indeed why should they not? In 1938, the war was still a year off, and Hitler, though decidedly unpleasant, was not yet the genocidal monster history records.

        Nonetheless, legend has it that one of the England players has in fact rotated his hand 180 degrees, curled up most but not all of his fingers, and is giving Hitler the salute he deserves ;-)

  • Comcast??? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Shakrai (717556) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @04:17PM (#22885894) Journal

    When the filtering system spots a banned term it sends instructions to the source server and destination PC to stop the flow of data.'

    Comcast has service in China???

  • Borrowed Time (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Mongoose Disciple (722373) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @04:18PM (#22885912)
    I believe (perhaps naively) that this 'Golden Shield' will ultimately prove to be a failure, current methods to circumvent it notwithstanding.

    More than ever, information is becoming the lifeblood of a people. Without access to the full volume of information freely available to the rest of the world, China will fall behind in crucial ways. The filtering solution won't block out everything important, but it will block out some. Maybe someone mentions Tibet in his chemistry thesis and it's filtered for China, or whatever. There's a piece of information the rest of the world gets for free that a researcher in China might well miss.

    Ultimately I think China will decide it's in its best interest to allow the free flow of information into the country, and that in turn will help drive their country ever more towards modern democracy.

    Of course, I could be completely wrong. Maybe the future will end up like Red Dawn.
    • My suggestion is to sabotage their filtering. Everyone should put key words and phrases like "Free Tibet" on every page on every site, regardless of the content. Then nothing will get through! That'll show'em...
      • Won't work because your average English web pages are not blocked at all -- not even coverages of Tibet/FLG/Taiwan from CNN/NYT/WSJ. They don't care about English content much -- read some other comments I have posted. they blocked mpstly Chinese contents. Those who know English are the better-off class and not against their government.
    • I don't think It's in the current Chinese government to let china become a democracy....
  • i'm pretty shocked that all of China is served through only 5 gateways.
  • by downix (84795) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @04:31PM (#22886052) Homepage
    Such a system is inherently weak in that even crude encryption techniques render it worthless. Imagine, if you will, a basic anonymizer service using a 128-bit key system. Almost immediately, the robots and spiders would find your communications gibberish. Even the url visited would be garbled and useless. And to attempt to shut down the anonymizing service would be problematic should such a service be switched to a P2P setup, rendering it next to impossible to break.

    Absolutely pathetic come to think about it.
    • by glop (181086) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @05:04PM (#22886432)
      You are looking at it from a technical standpoint. There is also a human standpoint: people in China know that they are being watched, so they self censor the websites they go to in order to be sure that they stay out of trouble.
      It's a bit like when you are at work and you see some headline about the recent security problem at Facebook. You see Paris Hilton mentioned, so you stay clear from the link because you are not sure the article will be purely technical and not embarassing.

      No need for a 100% efficient filtering system to frighten people and cause them to self-censor.

  • by sakdoctor (1087155) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @04:51PM (#22886282) Homepage
    Read the comments by Chinese net users

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/7313998.stm [bbc.co.uk]

    They don't think that their media is at all biased. They believe "western" media is biased and has an anti-Chinese agenda.
    Too much fucking national pride is what it is. When I talk to Chinese people, in China, I often get this weird apologetic "our country is crappy in a socio-economic way", but "our morals and cultural values are superior to your hedonistic, non-family oriented foreign ways".

    It's creepy. Take a look at the China-daily forum if you have morbid interest. It's full of the craziest ranting racists I have ever seen...and I visited 4chan once.

    Bottom line is, I don't think the government oppressing the people with censorship should be looked at in such a simplistic way. There seems to be a need for the censorship for many people on some level. Like they can't take a single bit of criticism of their precious middle kingdom and it's 5000 (actually 50) year great history.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Hatta (162192)
      That sounds a lot like the attitude of most Americans towards their media.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      And where do they learn this?

      From government sponsored schools and press releases.

      They are victims of sweet sweet propaganda, so yes, you can blame the government. This is how totalitarianism works. China wants to block the internet to prevent it's people from finding the logical holes in their education.
    • I feel the same way when I go to the U.S.! Let those morons fight it out I say!
    • It's about shame (Score:3, Insightful)

      by microbox (704317)
      Like they can't take a single bit of criticism of their precious middle kingdom and it's 5000 (actually 50) year great history.

      They can't take criticism, because they are suppressing so much shame. It's the natural human condition - when you feel that pain inside of you, you reach for pleasant dreams and feelings of superiority to make it go away. The louder the racist/nationalist, the bigger the mental image they are attached to. People create that mental image for a reason.
  • If I had my way, the individuals within the Chinese government responsible for this censorship would be hanged, drawn, and quartered. I'd release videos of the executions on youtube.

    It is so easy for people to forget how fragile their rights and freedoms are. Unless you're willing to fight for them, to the death if necessary, then they are little more than indulgences on the part of the powerful.

  • Why don't they spent a little time on capping the flow of spam and brute force attacks? Greylisting and RBLs block nearly all the spam, and I've just created netfilters to block all traffic that isn't what I consider "core" (dns, smtp, web) from China due to the huge amount of brute force dictionary login attacks on my systems via ssh and ftp.
    • Because China's economy grows when the Chinese make money, which reinforces the current power structure -- even if they're just stealing it from westerners in elaborate (or not-so-elaborate) wire fraud scams. However, when the Chinese people are made aware of the current power's abuses, they are more likely to rebel; this undermines the current power structure.

      The powers that be don't care about justice; they just want to remain in power.

  • by WoodstockJeff (568111) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @05:49PM (#22886930) Homepage
    Hmm... a list of these banned words and phrases would make a good source of text to use in response to the HELO/EHLO dialog on an SMTP server... Have China block a compromised computer from accessing your server automatically!
  • by NotZed (19455) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @06:26PM (#22887314)

    Would you be capable of filtering all of China's net access using off the shelf boxes and some custom software, or would it need some specialised network hardware?

    Are Cisco for (an obvious) example, supporting this censorship through hardware and/or software?
  • Ob. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by billcopc (196330)
    Fuck China.

    Oh, sorry! Did I offend anyone ? I didn't say fuck the Chinese. As wrong as it feels to my libertarian gut, a part of me wants to reach in there and shake people until they revolt against their abusive government. How many gazillion chinese people are there ? Surely enough to overthrow the system and actually enjoy all the money they've earned by producing the rest of the world's retail goods. Freedom, competition, tolerance for all.
    • by hyades1 (1149581)
      If you've ever seen what a basic machine gun and other weapons misleadingly classified as "small arms" can do to an unarmed, unprotected human body, you might be more inclined to extend a little sympathy to those millions of Chinese folks. Personally, I think I might be a bit of a coward about getting my guts blown out through my spine for choosing to shake my fist at a soldier who happens to like the government just fine.
  • Slashdot (Score:2, Interesting)

    Does anyone know if they get Slashdot there? In fact, if there's anyone in China reading this it would be great to hear what you think.

Things are not as simple as they seems at first. - Edward Thorp

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