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Censorship The Internet

China Allows Access to English Wikipedia 219

Posted by Zonk
from the welcome-back-folks dept.
LinuxLefty writes "Reuters is reporting that Chinese authorities have lifted the ban on the English version of Wikipedia. The Chinese version of the site is still blocked, as are English-language versions of politically sensitive topics such as Tibet and Tiananmen Square. 'The move comes after International Olympic Committee (IOC) inspectors told Beijing organisers that the Internet must be open for the duration of the 2008 Olympics and that blocking it "would reflect very poorly" on the host country. China's government, keen to avoid sparking social discontent, keeps a tight watch over the media and often blocks or censors popular Web sites and forums where dissent may brew.'"
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China Allows Access to English Wikipedia

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  • wikipedia? (Score:5, Funny)

    by benburned (1091769) on Sunday April 06, 2008 @03:39PM (#22981830)
    citation needed ;)
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by hukado (1268018)
      China will lose this battle. I cannot understand how they hope to contain information. Do they hope that their people just won't speak English. Its insane and hopeless, better to live in a free society, warts and all. Peace.

      hukado at Products [personafile.com]
  • by 26199 (577806) * on Sunday April 06, 2008 @03:40PM (#22981838) Homepage

    ...and all that stuff.

    Since it seems incredibly fitting, here is the Wikipedia article on Internet censorship in the People's Republic of China [wikipedia.org].

    • by kesuki (321456) on Sunday April 06, 2008 @03:43PM (#22981862) Journal
      "Information wants to be free!"

      What everybody forgets to mention is that 'Information' is the nickname of a convicted felon, of course he wants to be free, he's in prison and he hates being locked up.

    • by gnutoo (1154137) * on Sunday April 06, 2008 @03:47PM (#22981896) Journal

      Westerners in the Olympic Village will see something very open and free but it's all a put on. The Atlantic had a good article about this not long ago. The great firewall of China is extensive and fine grained enough to block individual page views at random. It's enough to eliminate public discussion on many topics and it's enough to round up potential subversives. Information in China is not free because people in China are not free.

      • by coaxial (28297) on Sunday April 06, 2008 @05:27PM (#22982540) Homepage
        Obligatory Karma Whoring: The Atlantic article [theatlantic.com].

        Not only is this a transparently empty gesture by the CPC, but I believe it has absolutely no downside for the CPC. It's English. The only people that are going to looking at it are foreigners and they're going to leave after two weeks. The indigenous population isn't going to bother, simply because they're much more focused on the simplified-chinese version. Also, don't discount how the population has been cowed into self censorship. No doubt thanks to Jingjing, Chacha, and the thousands of true believers [danwei.org]. (There's ALWAYS true believers.)

        Honestly, I don't think the Chinese people want freedom and democracy. I think they're too busy making money and improving their lives. Don't rock the boat, we've got a good think going. Let it be. It's human nature. As Juvenal observed [wikipedia.org]:

        Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man,
        the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time
        handed out military command, high civil office, legions - everything, now
        restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things:
        bread and circuses
        • Honestly, I don't think the Chinese know shit because that's what their leaders feed them. I think they're too busy making money to worry about improving their constituents' lives.

          Fixed that for you.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by electrictroy (912290)
          >>>"Juvenal here makes reference to the Roman practice of providing free wheat to some poor Romans as well as costly circus games and other forms of entertainment as a means of gaining political power through popularity."

          Gee.

          That sounds extremely familiar. Of course the American Founders were well-versed with Roman politics, and they had designed the constitution specifically so politicians could NOT give away free food to the poor, in order to buy votes. (Too bad it didn't work.) Now we have a
        • > I don't think the Chinese people want freedom and democracy. I think they're
          > too busy making money and improving their lives

          I hate to put it this way, but do you even know why the Tienanmen Square event happened? Why there were protests in the first place, and why the leaders felt the need to suppress the protests by military force? (hint: Wikipedia is a good enough source for those two questions)

          It's only because there are substantial political, cultural, and ideological hurdles that most have set
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by MopedJesus (1266412)
        You know, if 1.3 billion Chinese can't take control of their country away from government run amok, what chance do a few hundred million Americans stand?
        • by 1u3hr (530656)
          You know, if 1.3 billion Chinese can't take control of their country away from government run amok, what chance do a few hundred million Americans stand?

          A century ago China was a monarchy. Then it went through 50 years of invasion and civil war and ended up a communist dictatorship. But in the last 20 years it has become startlingly more free and democratic -- it still has a very long way to go, but it's going in the right direction. The US however, seems to be heading in the wrong direction. We can only

      • Information in China is not free because people in China are not free.

        Which is why I'm surprised so many leaders on the left are pushing so hard for socialist programs. They don't seem to realize where that route takes us.
        • Social equality? End of corporate involvement in government? Free health care and schooling? Stop me if I've guessed it...
  • Boycott the Olympics (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 06, 2008 @03:41PM (#22981852)
    I'd be so happy if some protest group succeeds in stealing or putting out the torch. Giving the Chinese the Olympics is the worst awarding mistake since 1980.
    • by SerpentMage (13390) <ChristianHGross AT yahoo DOT ca> on Sunday April 06, 2008 @03:44PM (#22981870)
      The issue here is not that China was given the Olympics. But the issue here is that China is squandering their opportunity to show that they have come along...

      No, instead what we see is a totalitarian state that pretends to be capitalistic... Yeah whatever... Though they never fooled me once, hence why I refuse to invest in any Chinese corporation.
      • by KDR_11k (778916) on Sunday April 06, 2008 @03:46PM (#22981892)
        Oh they look pretty capitalistic to me, that doesn't contradict the totalitarianism.
      • by WindBourne (631190) on Sunday April 06, 2008 @04:01PM (#22981996) Journal
        America has exported large number of jobs to China. EU has started doing the same. That means that unless you live off this planet, that you are buying Chinese product. More importantly, you are supporting them, unless you are actively checking everything that you buy.
        • by das_magpie (1149995) on Sunday April 06, 2008 @09:35PM (#22984200)

          Believe me, I do.

          I have real problems buying ANYTHING with the famous and hopeless 'Made in China' label attached to it.

          I spend extra time to seek out products made in the West.

          Its my own stupid fault if I actually pay for a product thats made in China and expect it to work and last.

          I even try to find western made electronic components if I can, German stuff I find superior and it is plentiful in certain fields.

          Its getting frustrating here in Australia with quality tools, brands like Stanley and Makita have begun to sell out even more and it is becoming increasingly difficult to find tools that are made in the west, for some that might not sound like a problem but for me I frequently use drills etc and to have them pike out constantly is expensive and its a major waste of materials as they just end up in the bin constantly, poorly made products have a major impact on the environment, everything becomes so disposable its just ends up in a landfill.

          What scares these days though is food that is "Made in China" here in Australia supermarkets have created there own brands ie "Woolworth's Select" and If you read the back of the packets a huge amount of their product comes from China and surrounding countries, fair enough if my new cordless drill does not work properly but when my Fruit and Veg has problems, I have problems.

          I recommend trying to seek out quality products, most things I own now have been manufactured in the west I feel more relaxed going about my day to day activities knowing my chisels wont blunt or break whilst working on soft pine and my food is not going to contain MSG and my dogs toys aren't painted with toxic goo.

          Lately NOTHING I have purchased in China has been good quality and lasted and I always end up regretting buying the product and feel guilty and ripped off when it ends up in a landfill after a week of use.

          Off topic I know but I thought it was an important point to make.

          • Yeah, I am the same way. I do a lot of woodworking around the house. I buy very few tools from China. I bought an air pump from China about a year ago (paid 150), and will have to buy another a new, though it has been used rather sparingly. I think next time I will spend the extra 100 and buy something that will last more than a year.

            I have been thinking that a good idea for a product is a quick lead detector. I do not have the time to devote to it, but I figure that some cheap paper type test that simply
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by LingNoi (1066278)
        No, it's worse. Our governments are helping the Chinese take away our freedoms specifically for these games.
      • by SL Baur (19540) <steve@xemacs.org> on Sunday April 06, 2008 @04:50PM (#22982298) Homepage Journal
        The issue *is* with Beijing being given the Olympics. Beijing is a dirty, polluted city - far, far worse than the infamous LA smog. They had armies of people clearing the landscape of litter when I was there (a week before the Olympic Committee came).

        I recall the ridiculous discussions about having the Marathon held in the LA area when the Olympics were held there in 1984 due to air pollution issues. Bah. Beijing is worse and LA has gotten better.
        • by smithwis (577119)
          I was in Beijing just over 2 months ago(Around the time of the big freeze) and you'd be amazed at how much they've cleaned it up. The amount of building work going on in that city is tremendous. With new train lines coming and a push to move the major polluters out of the city I don't think you'd recognize the city you described.

          I did notice some smog when we flew into the city, does any meteorologists in the crowd know how cold fronts affect smog? Don't get me wrong things in Beijing are not peachy but
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Iamthecheese (1264298)
        There [angelfire.com] are [wordpress.com] other [ittoolbox.com] examples [commondreams.org] of [wikipedia.org] totalitarian [theregister.co.uk] capitalist [csmonitor.com] countries [wikipedia.org].

        capitalist!=free
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by MrKevvy (85565)
      re: "Giving the Chinese the Olympics is the worst awarding mistake since 1980."

      Which was the worst awarding mistake since 1936. What is it with up-and-coming tyrannies getting the Olympics anyways?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Olympic Games were not originally supposed to be a "Free World"-only event, and the criteria for hosting the games do not include any specific form of government.

        Whether it is good or not is another matter.

      • by SL Baur (19540)
        Yes, you are right. This is indeed the second coming of the 1936 Olympics.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by SL Baur (19540)
      This was marked as a "Troll", but it's correct. Some day in the future, this Olympics will be regarded the same as the 1936 Olympics. Sometimes the truth hurts.

      I was in Beijing the week before the Olympic Committee went there. You slashdot members grep my posting history, I've posted here what I saw at that time.

      I won't be watching these Olympics on TV.

      (The best part of my trip to Beijing was seeing the airplane on the tarmac ready to take me back home to Tokyo and Freedom).
    • by theurge14 (820596)
      It's not a mistake, it's politically oriented. The same people who cry foul for "bringing politics into the games" are the same people who picked China to host merely for political reasons. The Olympic committee is among the most corrupt in the world.
    • by AndGodSed (968378)
      Absolutely. I went to yahoo.cn and typed in random words (tibet, dalai lama, communism is evil... you know non offensive stuff...) and at first it was blocked - a flakey internal server error. And after I figured out that an allowed search followed by a blocked search I could get hits for tibet and dalai lama etc, but then suddenly I couldn't access yahoo.cn

      Those Bastards!
    • by PinkyDead (862370)
      Because the Olympics are being hosted in China, it is an opportunity to exert massive pressure on the Chinese government to reform. We are seeing day in, day out reports of how China is being forced to act differently because of the spotlight that is being placed on them. This Wikipedia move is just one, as is the uncomfortable pressure that Tibet is now capable of putting on the Chinese.

      China is quickly becoming one of the leading powers in the world - getting to a point where they won't care what you th
  • True story. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by VShael (62735) on Sunday April 06, 2008 @03:47PM (#22981898) Journal
    I shared a hospital room with a Chinese kid once, about 10 years ago. He had got sick while travelling in Europe. It came up in conversation that he thought China was fantastic in every way, and when I asked him about the massacre at Tienamen Square, he said "What massacre?"
    That was the first time I really understood just how amazing the Chinese governments control of information is.
    • Re:True story. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Sunday April 06, 2008 @05:41PM (#22982638)
      when I asked him about the massacre at Tienamen Square, he said "What massacre?"

      Depending on who you believe, between 30 and 300 people died during the Tiananmen Square incident. About a million were killed during the Cultural Revolution. The "Great Leap Forward" killed more than 30 million. People in the West think Tiananmen was a big deal because they saw it on TV, but they are ignorant of earlier events that killed a million times as many people. This past summer, there were riots over land rights in several Chinese provinces that probably killed more people than died at Tiananmen. How many people in the West know (or care) about that? In the context of Chinese history, the Tiananmen Square incident was a blip.

      • by bluemonq (812827)
        Somewhat offtopic, but how many Chinese citizens do you think know about the Great Leap Forward? And how good do you think the coverage was of the land riots?
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by MightyMartian (840721)
          Well, the Great Leap Forward showed the mastery of propaganda that Mao had mastered, though to be fair, he lost considerable influence afterwards, basically having to create a second revolution to gain back his position. I think a good many Chinese know something fairly bad happened, though it's not even clear that the Communists knew how many people died, because so many lower level functionaries lied to their superiors about the number of deaths. At the end of the day, no one knows how many people died,
          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by iminplaya (723125)
            No Western government, no matter how hard it tried, could hide that many deaths.

            How many indigenous Americans died as all those folks from the Old country moved west?
            • I wasn't aware that it was, in fact, a secret. The estimates put it at a few million, though smallpox had probably caused a much more significant decimation, and had reached the Plains long before the settlers. The major instrument of the Amerindian genocide was disease. The worst part about all of this, of course, was that no one even tried to keep the killing of Indians a secret. It was much lauded until the last few decades of the 20th century (watch any incredibly racist Hollywood film up until abou
      • Re:True story. (Score:5, Informative)

        by niktemadur (793971) on Sunday April 06, 2008 @08:00PM (#22983650)
        The "Great Leap Forward" killed more than 30 million.

        Since many people probably don't know about it, I believe it's worthwhile to expand on that incredible humanitarian catastrophe a bit more. Mao's government put several key factors into play in the late 1950's:

        1. The Great Sparrow Campaign, in which the population was summoned to act as human scarecrows, to keep seed-eating sparrows in flight until they fell dead from exhaustion. The result was that locust populations, with their main predator virtually gone, ballooned in size.
        2. The Chinese government's adoption of Soviet charlatan TD Lysenko's "ideas" of agriculture innovation, which included planting more densely than normal and plowing up to 2 meters in depth.
        3. Mao's campaign to dramatically increase China's production of steel. A mobilized Chinese population proudly tossed their pots and pans into village foundries, in turn creating sub-standard alloys that could not be exported nor even used locally for industry. While the population was involved in this misguided activity, many of the nation's crops were left unattended. In a nutshell, complete failure on both fronts.
        4. Unusual drought and floods for two full two years, with the locusts swarms kicking into full gear.
        5. General incompetence by the Chinese authorities, along with an attitude of suppression and ass-covering.

        The result was that between 20 and 42 million people (some put the accurate number closer to 38 million) died of starvation, some areas of China sliding into cannibalism. One final astonishing fact is that not a single photograph of the famine's onslaught exists, every one of these people died in complete and utter obscurity, a massive yet faceless famine the second half of the twentieth century. For some reason, I visualize George Orwell's ghost hovering over all of this.

        It's a truly sobering lesson to think that even as these people cheered the flocks of agonizing sparrows falling from the sky, they were summoning imminent, untold suffering upon themselves.
      • I don't think it was actually a "blip". People seem to focus on the number of deaths rather than the real issue at hand. Not that I think that number is "insignificant", but you miss the point by saying "X was worse than Y because he killed more people".

        I do think the Tienanmen Square is a historically significant event even in context of Chinese history and from the Chinese perspective. Firstly, tanks in front of Tienanment Square isn't something you'd see every day. Secondly, and more importantly, the Chi
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Whereas Millions of American adults have no idea that around 1 million Iraqis are lying dead for large international corporations to profit. Tieneman square? 7000 Deaths according to NATO (One of the higher estimates).That they are living in "The Land of the Free" Despite having no large party representing anything other than fascist interests, having no independant press, infact the only right they have, is to sue anyone for anything essentially.
    • by the_olo (160789)
      How old was the kid? Somehow other posters got the idea he was 10.
    • by Electrum (94638)
      when I asked [a Chinese kid] about the massacre at Tienamen Square, he said "What massacre?"

      What happens when you ask Americans about the massacre at Kent State [wikipedia.org]?
      • by jackbird (721605)
        Funny, I saw a two-hour documentary on Kent State with a detailed timeline and interviews with guardsmen who were on the scene, students who were wounded, and tons of still and movie footage, on state-sponsored television (PBS). Furthermore, I could swear some gentleman wrote a hit song about the events (a Mr. Young, I believe) which is frequently played on the radio even today. General ignorance in the population (of which this is a pretty poor example unless you only ask people under about 40) is not th
  • by WK2 (1072560)
    China is unblocking the English version of Wikipedia again? And they're still not allowing the Chinese version? And they did it silently, because they never admitted to blocking it in the first place? Didn't this happen last week?

    dupe
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by fondacio (835785)
      Not sure if you're being serious, sarcastic or ironic, but: last week the news was that the English versin of the BBC News website was unblocked, this week it's Wikipedia. And in case you still feel like you're suffering from deja vu, yes, we've been here before. I remember that last year, when I lived in China for three months, Wikipedia was blocked. However, soon after I left in June or maybe even a few days before my departure, the English version was unblocked. Apparently, it got blocked again in the in
  • None of the dissenters speak English anyway.
    • So, why not, at least during the time of the Olympics, copy and paste the Chinese version to the end of the English counterpart articles?

      The Chinese government would then either have to live with it or re-block the English pages.

  • China Olympics (Score:4, Insightful)

    by backslashdot (95548) on Sunday April 06, 2008 @03:54PM (#22981952)
    If the Chinese government keeps up this bullshit, people are going to call for boycotts of companies that advertise during the olympics, and that will reduce their revenue (because it will diminish the value of advertsising during hte olympics).

    Even the Dalai Lama himself has firmly said that the Olympics should not be boycotted.
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/03/18/2193461.htm [abc.net.au]

    He has the most to lose if China's government gets more powerful.

    I agree with him, I personally don't believe a boycott of the current olympics or advertisers is warranted in this case. The olympics is the one time every four years when athletes of all nations can come together. That serves more for global peace and understanding than petty quarreling, protests, and boycotts. Note, if there was serious shit going on I'll be the at the front of the protest line.

    We need China to open, isolating them further will not be helpful. It's better the Chinese (people not govt.) be exposed to how people of other cultures are and vice versa.
    • Re:China Olympics (Score:4, Interesting)

      by no-body (127863) on Sunday April 06, 2008 @04:20PM (#22982114)
      Wasn't in the Greek origin of the Olympics that it could not happen if there was war going on? So, the warriors had to stop fighting so the contests could happen.

      I miss that kind of integrity....
    • Re:China Olympics (Score:5, Interesting)

      by LingNoi (1066278) on Sunday April 06, 2008 @04:28PM (#22982148)

      . The olympics is the one time every four years when athletes of all nations can come together. That serves more for global peace and understanding than petty quarreling, protests, and boycotts. Note, if there was serious shit going on I'll be the at the front of the protest line.
      "It doesn't separate, but unites the combatants in understanding and respect. It also helps to connect the countries in the spirit of peace. That's why the Olympic Flame should never die." -Adolf Hitler
    • by vertinox (846076)
      I agree with him, I personally don't believe a boycott of the current olympics or advertisers is warranted in this case.

      I'd still boycott because of the commercialism involved in the Olympics. The IoC basically acts like a corporation for profit and sells its content just like any professional sports franchise.
  • by badfish99 (826052) on Sunday April 06, 2008 @04:00PM (#22981988)
    So: allow access to websites in a foreign language that most Chinese can't understand, for a period of - what - two weeks? And presumably keep a list of everyone who reads those websites? And then back to normal afterwards? Wow, the IOC is really helping to open up China to new ideas about freedom and democracy, isn't it?
  • The IOC is a bunch of hypocrites. They ought to tell VANOC the same thing for the 2010 games in Vancouver.

    Look what VANOC told me about the "openness" of the Internet:
    http://www.abandonedstuff.com/2008/03/03/a-pre-emptive-no-from-vanoc/ [abandonedstuff.com]

    They also aren't letting athletes blog openly about the Games, they can't talk about many things.
  • And? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by beefsprocket (1152865)

    I was in Beijing and Guangjou as a Westerner visiting those cities laster January (2007). I made a point of checking wikipedia and had no trouble viewing pages like the English Tiananamen square page. I'm not sure what the big deal is.

    From what I hear censorship is more or less being policed socially with less and less DNS interference. Instead of blocking a domain, the police or party representative goes to the internet cafe where activity is taking place (that's easy to trace to an IP etc.) and just ask

  • It appears that Wikipedia is in fact, still blocked in China. I was talking to a friend in Guangzhou and she is unable to access Wikipedia.

    Can anyone else verify that it is still blocked?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hayagriva (1260388)
      Just opened it now, in Beijing. Seems to be working fine. But of course, the Tiananmen Square Protest page is blocked, still. That's the keyword filter, still chugging along as usual.
  • Brainwashed (Score:2, Insightful)

    by coresnake (1215632)
    Yep, I have a Chinese friend who always speaks up for the government and everything as if it 'cannot be helped'. Once I asked them about Tiananmen square and they only knew that some students protested there, they didn't even know that anyone was killed! This is the kind of brainwashing and history erasing going on in China and it sickens me. If you control history you control the present..
    • by demachina (71715)
      "This is the kind of brainwashing and history erasing going on in China and it sickens me. If you control history you control the present.."

      Large numbers of American still think Saddam and Iraq had ties to Al Qaeda and had something to do with 9/11 because their government told them so. Fox News told Americans that Saddam had UAV's he was going to use to spray chemical and biological weapons on American cities. We still don't know how Anthrax from an American biological weapons lab was mailed to assorted
  • Since you said they were banned (Slashdot's editing system keeps choking on this; let's see if pulling the ideograms out and splitting it into two helps...)

    Tiananmen Square protests of 1989
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Jump to: navigation, search
    Tiananmen Square protests of 1989

    The Unknown Rebel - This famous photo, taken on 5 June 1989 by photographer Jeff Widener, depicts a lone protester who tried to stop the PLA's advancing tanks.
    Literal meaning: June Fourth Incident
    [show]Transliterations
    Mand
    • [edit] EU-US arms embargo

      The European Union and United States embargo on weapons sales to the PRC, put in place as a result of the violent suppression of the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests, still remains in place. The PRC has been calling for a lifting of the ban for many years and has had a varying amount of support from members of the Council of the European Union. In early 2004, France spearheaded a movement within the EU to lift the ban. Former German Chancellor Gerhard SchrÃder publicly a
  • by Cathoderoytube (1088737) on Sunday April 06, 2008 @06:37PM (#22983068)
    "inspectors told Beijing organisers that the Internet must be open for the duration of the 2008 Olympics and that blocking it "would reflect very poorly" on the host country"

    Good to know the Olympic committee is all for standing up for human rights provided they're in town, and they're being paid lots of money, and those human rights only apply to people who are used to such freedoms in the first place. But seriously, if the Olympic committee gave a flying fuck about human rights they wouldn't have chosen China to host the Olympics.
  • by electronixtar (1042742) on Sunday April 06, 2008 @06:46PM (#22983132)
    Well, from a Chinese perspective of view like me, Chinese themself sometimes benifit from blocking. So, let's image the U.S. government oneday blocks some enemy website. What methods could you ever think of doing to bypass that? Now in China nearly everyone of experianced Internet users knows at least 3 ways of bypassing GFW, that's a good skill, I think. Yes, my government is not perfect, they are doing insant things, but it makes people to be critical & skillful. On contract, I heard that Germany government & media is lying & blocking the major Chinese website sina.com.cn during the Tibet riot, and some German even Convinced that shit. I guess they have no idea how to bypass a Content-filter system. Hmm, everything has two sides. Wise people always learn from that.
    • by Kopiok (898028) on Sunday April 06, 2008 @07:56PM (#22983606)
      While it may make internet users in China more skillful at getting around website blocks, it's not exactly a good thing that you need that skill in the first place. By creating the Great Firewall, they are blocking all inexperienced internet users from accessing this damning information. I assume in China that the vast majority of people are inexperienced internet users (same in the States too. :/). They are controlling the flow of this information to control the actions of their people, and it's causing more harm to Human Rights than it is helping computer literate Chinese to become inventive. You seem to have twisted this horrible violation of the freedom of peoples into a good thing by saying "at least some people know how to get around a firewall now!". Not exactly comparable subjects.
  • I wonder if people in China will get access to the Wikipedia entry [wikipedia.org] on the Panchen Lama to get some information about what happened to him, or if this will be among the pages that are still banned [tibet.com].

    I would write down here about the world's youngest political prisoner, who was seized by Chinese thugs as part of an organised attempt to destroy a religion, but I wouldn't want to get Slashdot banned too.
  • ... in a few months: "China Blocks Access to English Wikipedia"
  • by jandersen (462034) on Monday April 07, 2008 @07:53AM (#22987110)
    I know this is probably futile, but what the hell...

    We in the West enjoy democracy and freedom. Well, "enjoy" may be an exaggeration, but we have it, sort of. Does anybody on /. know how long it took for us to get these things? I don't know for certain, but I'm pretty sure it took generations. Part of the explanation is that those in power didn't always want it to happen, but another part is that democracy and political freedom are things that people need to learn, and it takes time. Just look to history to see how many times people have fought for freedom in a revolution, only to throw it away as soon as they've won. We in the West held on to it because of another revolution: the Enlightenment.

    So how can we imagine that any country can just slap democracy and freedom down in the middle of society and say "Here you go, chaps, have fun"? China and the Chinese go through that phase now, what we went through 100+ years ago, and they are doing it a lot faster than we did, not least because of modern technology, but a lot of things can go wrong if the government just let it loose. Thankfully the Chinese government aren't about to let foreign pressure push them around.

    What would happen if they did suddenly try to introduce full democracy and all the freedoms the Americans still only dream about? Just look at what happened in Russia: organised criminal gangs (the Russian mafia) grew very strong and tried take over, certain big companies grew extremely strong and tried to take over, the people in general suffered great need, and the government went in circles. Now they are returning to something closer to Soviet style strong-man government, because this is what the people seems to prefer.
  • As was pointed out here http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=499300&cid=22863446 [slashdot.org] they dont care if the English speaking population have free access to information, they are already part of the upper class and so don't care about the plight of the poor. This is reinforced by http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=513156&cid=22983132 [slashdot.org] which states the firewall is easy to bypass, but fails to notice that this is only by those that have the skill & will to do this.

    I spent all of yesterday at pro-

Numeric stability is probably not all that important when you're guessing.

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