Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Censorship Government The Internet Politics

China Wants US-Owned Hotels to Censor Internet 279

Posted by timothy
from the because-china's-an-autocracy-that's-why dept.
jp_papin writes "The Chinese government is demanding that US-owned hotels there filter Internet service during the upcoming Olympic Games in Beijing, US Senator Sam Brownback has alleged. The Chinese government is requiring US-owned hotels to install Internet filters to 'monitor and restrict information coming in and out of China,' Brownback said Thursday. 'This is an insult to the spirit of the games and an affront to American businesses,' he said. 'I call on China to immediately rescind this demand.' US State Department spokesman Tom Casey said he wasn't aware of those specific requests from the Chinese government, but Brownback said he got the information on Internet filtering from 'two different reliable but confidential sources.' The State Department is apparently continuing dialog with China about freedom of expression."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

China Wants US-Owned Hotels to Censor Internet

Comments Filter:
  • by plover (150551) * on Monday May 05, 2008 @06:55AM (#23298962) Homepage Journal
    A senator quoting "reliable but confidential" sources on the internet? It's most likely from his pal, the Nigerian Prince, and also that nice wife of Mbutu Seke-seke. I've gotten reliable but confidential email from them, too, but they asked me not to talk to anyone about it.
    • by pjt33 (739471)
      The summary would be slightly clarified by replacing "on" with "about":

      Brownback said he got the information about Internet filtering from 'two different reliable but confidential sources.'
      • by Thanshin (1188877) on Monday May 05, 2008 @08:27AM (#23299710)

        The summary would be slightly clarified by replacing "on" with "about":
        I disagree:

        The Chinese government is requiring US-owned hotels to install Internet filters to 'maboutitor and restrict informatiabout coming in and out of China,' Brownback said Thursday. 'This is an insult to the spirit of the games and an affraboutt to American businesses,' he said. 'I call about China to immediately rescind this demand.' US State Department spokesman Tom Casey said he wasn't aware of those specific requests from the Chinese government, but Brownback said he got the information about Internet filtering from 'two different reliable but caboutfidential sources.' The State Department is apparently cabouttinuing dialog with China about freedom of expression."
  • I'm failing to see why this is a shock.

    Do these US senators expect Chinese hotels in the US to follow US law? If so, then why the shock?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 05, 2008 @07:06AM (#23299024)
      The way I see it, someone didn't do a proper business risk review when they made an investment in China, and now they are seeking help because things are not working as they planned.
    • Do these US senators expect Chinese hotels in the US to follow US law? If so, then why the shock?


      Hell, a lot of hotels in the U.S. aren't even owned by U.S. companies, their owned by the Japanese. That's true, at least, of every single hotel in Hawaii.

      Of course we expect these hotels to operate in accordance with U.S. law. Of course, the thing is that the Japanese tend to always seek excellenece in their endeavors -- and, in their view, excellence includes strict compliance with the law.

      OTOH, many hotels owned by American companies and individuals don't operate in accordance with U.S. law -- cleanliness standards that aren't up to state and federal health codes, employing undocumented workers as housekeeping staff.

      So uhh...what is it they're screaming and handwaving about again?
    • by Yvanhoe (564877) on Monday May 05, 2008 @07:38AM (#23299268) Journal
      The shock comes from China's promise to bolster freedom of expression and human right during the Olympic Games when Beijing was chosen a few years ago.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        really, they broken a promise? I'm shocked! I tell you, SHOCKED!
        As if those issue weren't know when the games were issued to China.
        Now every person who voted for giving the games to China is hiding the head in the sand playing the "didn't know" game...
        • by Yvanhoe (564877)
          Well, what is interesting is that sending US and EU athletes and officials to the Games is also just a promise...
      • by alan_dershowitz (586542) on Monday May 05, 2008 @08:29AM (#23299730)
        Why is this marked funny? Back in 2001 during their Beijing hosting bid, China promised precisely NOT to do this. They also promised total freedom of movement and reporting for international press, which they have also broken (see: Tibet.) China is hoping you all have short memories, but I forget nothing. I wish I could link to a news article with all the stuff they promised, but going back that far most sites charge for access.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          You see, this could all have been avoided if the IOC had chosen Toronto for 2008 rather than Beijing. Then we could all have had a nice, predictable Olympics games.
        • Tibet pre China (Score:2, Flamebait)

          by Colin Smith (2679)
          Feudal Theocracy.

          If they'd have had oil, they'd have been declared an axis of evil by now.

           
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by neoform (551705)

          I forget nothing

          Oh yeah? What color is my tie?
        • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 05, 2008 @09:57AM (#23300748)
          http://multimedia.olympic.org/pdf/en_report_299.pdf [olympic.org]

          THEME 16: COMMUNICATIONS
          AND MEDIA SERVICES
            Concept & Communication
          The Beijing communications strategy is based on
          a desire to provide greater opportunities for more
          people to share the excitement of the Olympic
          Games.
          It was confirmed to the Commission that there
          will be no restrictions on media reporting and
          movement of journalists up to and including
          the Olympic Games.
        • by CodeBuster (516420) on Monday May 05, 2008 @10:41AM (#23301320)
          If there is one thing that reporters really don't like it is having their ability to speak and report freely curtailed. You can bet your bottom dollar that if China follows through with this policy then they will be called out on it by western journalists during the games and reminded of their previous assurances. The 2008 Beijing Olympics are shaping up to be the most politically charged games in a generation, even the Moscow games of 1980 and the subsequent Soviet boycott of the Los Angeles games in 1984 did not draw as much world wide attention and controversy as the upcoming Beijing games have. The Chinese are proving to the world once again that they have a tin ear for international public relations with their handling of the torch relay and the Tibet issue.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by makomk (752139)
            Except for the journalists working for companies owned by Rupert Murdoch (he really doesn't want to upset China - in the past, he's done things like kicking a BBC TV station off a satellite in the region he owns because it's annoying the Chinese government). Then there's the ones working for mega-corporations with interests in China - they'll have pressure on them to not do anything too controversial.

            I suspect most/all of the US TV news stations have reasons not to upset the Chinese government. The newsp
    • Because they are obliged to not censor during the Olympics. This would actually be one of the things that would get the EU and the US to reconsider their participation in the games, Tibet certainly won't. The Olympic committee (I believe it may be one of those preconditions of holding the games) is obliging China to not restrict (at least) journalists.
      To be honest they should just wait until the games begin, then censor everyone themselves. Which they already can and do.

      We'll censor our athletes, cause we
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by clodney (778910)
      ArsTechnica has an article on this topic, and they point out that the allegations don't make any sense - Internet access in China is already filtered at the ISP level.

      Unless these hotels are buying direct connections to a provider outside of China (and why would they?), they are already behind the Chinese Great Firewall and subject to its filtering.

      Conversely, for China to honor its agreement about allowing unfettered Internet access during the Olympics, they will need to open up the wall for these hotels.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by rockout (1039072)

        Unless these hotels are buying direct connections to a provider outside of China (and why would they?)

        I dunno, maybe so that their guests who requested unfiltered access to the Internet could get it while they're in China for the Games?

        I could easily see media companies getting together and being willing to pay a premium to a willing hotel so that their reporters could have unfettered access to the Internet during their stay. I could also see how China might get wind of this and decide they don't like it.

    • by Henry V .009 (518000) on Monday May 05, 2008 @09:28AM (#23300396) Journal
      This isn't a shock. It's called putting pressure on the Chinese to grant basic human rights to their citizens by using the Olympics. Sorry that you don't feel it's important.
    • Bad Reasoning (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 05, 2008 @09:47AM (#23300628)
      I've seen this argument a lot, and it is terrible. It goes like this:

      "We expect foreign businesses to follow our rules. Therefore we can't criticize anyone else's rules."

      I hope the flaw is apparent. We ALWAYS have the right to complain about nasty rules -- including our own nasty rules! That's right, if we force foreign businesses to do awful things then we SHOULD be criticized for it. Likewise, we have the right and duty to call out other countries when they pull this stuff.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Randall311 (866824)
      I don't think that the Chinese government wants to sensor the hotels connectivity is the big surprise here, after all it is the law over there and any business should be expected to follow suit.

      OTOH I think the big surprise here is that the Chinese government doesn't filter the internet themselves at the ISP level. Why do they even need to ask for the hotel's cooperation on this? I was under the impression that the Great Firewall is implemented at the ISP level? Interesting... if this is not the case t

  • So you're saying that the Chinese authorities wants the hotels that operate in China to follow Chinese laws and regulations? Shocking!

    Next you're going to tell me that American citizens have their right to bear arms violated when they're in Europe.
    • by AndersOSU (873247) on Monday May 05, 2008 @07:32AM (#23299212)
      I wouldn't worry about it too much. Senator Brownback just wants the internet requests from American hotels to move unimpeded through the NSA operated rooms at the telecoms.

      (I'd be much less depressed if I were going for a funny mod...)
      • by cryfreedomlove (929828) on Monday May 05, 2008 @09:24AM (#23300332)
        That's an easy little pot shot for you to take from whatever comfortable perch you are posting from.

        As for me, I'm against censorship. If China does it then I am against it. If the USA, where I live, does it then I am against it. Injustice by my government, in this case 'NSA operated rooms at the telecoms' does not deny me the right or obligation to speak out against injustice anywhere else. So, I denounce this move by China. Not because they are the 'other team', but because censorship is wrong, period. I also denounce those little NSA rooms at telecoms in the USA, because censorship is wrong.

        I'm motivated by justice, not geo political team sport. How about you?
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by AndersOSU (873247)
          Oh don't get me wrong, I'm motivated by by maintaining civil liberties everywhere. My post was a remark on the hypocritical statement by (the arch-conservative) Sen. Brownback (R-KS) who is outraged by China's censorship but sees the monitoring of our electronic communication here in the US as essential for protecting our freedoms....

          As I said, it's depressing.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by LoverOfJoy (820058)
            Just because Brownback is ultra conservative does not mean he's fine with willy nilly eletronic monitoring to "protect our freedoms" Why don't you read [thinkprogress.org] what Brownback [washingtonpost.com] has said about Bush's wiretapping? Maybe it'll cheer up that depression of yours just a bit.
            • by AndersOSU (873247) on Monday May 05, 2008 @03:10PM (#23304344)
              First, thanks for the information. Second, I'm astonished that Brownback isn't dutifully towing Bush's line. Since he is highly ranked in my list of least favorite senators, I assumed (my bad) that he couldn't possibly be even beginning to approach the right side of this issue.

              That said, Brownback's criticism is very mild, basically saying we should hold hearings, and he voted yea [senate.gov] on the deeply flawed Senate FISA bill that grants the telecoms immunity for their illegal spying on American citizens.
    • I agree with you. It's a peculiar POV the one asserting that someone's property overrides the land it's located in.

      Nonetheless I recall local newspapers (Italy) covering the visit of the Dalai Lama, with local sponsors retiring at the last minute because they were pressured in doing so by the chinese. Making me decide that there are no 2008 olympic games for what I am concerned.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Zeinfeld (263942)
      I am somewhat surprised that the US hotels would be required to enact censorship, the Chinese state is good enough at that itself. As far as stopping outbound communications goes, fat chance, no censorship filter can do anything with SSL trafic.

      Next you're going to tell me that American citizens have their right to bear arms violated when they're in Europe.

      You know, a guy called Timothy McVeigh spent three months complaining about that very issue across Usenet. See the thread 'No rights in the UK' on De

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      actually theres a section in the foreign policy act that pretty much says "if you fuck up in other countries your at their mercy" its honestly something like "all americans are required to follow the country they are visiting's laws and if they commit a crime they are subject to their laws and regulations" which of course means if we try to bring a gun into another country and they have anti gun laws your either going to get turned away at the border or arrested within the border then the only right you hav
  • skeptical (Score:5, Insightful)

    by quenda (644621) on Monday May 05, 2008 @07:02AM (#23298998)
    This is a bit hard to believe. How could the hotels possibly censor any better than the gov't backbones?

    And the Chinese have never really worried about foreigners with VPNs. Its the locals that need to be kept in control.

    I think this senator got his information from the same reliable sources that found proof for Iraqi WMDs.

    • Re:skeptical (Score:5, Informative)

      by spooje (582773) <spooje AT hotmail DOT com> on Monday May 05, 2008 @07:23AM (#23299142) Homepage
      Most filtering isn't done at the backbone level, it's done at the small ISPs that are located in the major apartment complexes. The government gives them directives and it's up to them to impliment them. This is why some complexes will have access to sites (like wikipedia) while others in the same city won't.
    • by Bios_Hakr (68586)
      My guess is that they aren't filtering backbones. The equipment you'd need to filter at the OC levels would just be too expensive. They probably mandate that all ISPs install local filters. Probably at their own cost. Then, they have a political officer who comes around to check things every now and then.

      Also, since the filtering is happening at lower levels, the elite can get unfiltered connections straight from the telecoms without rousing suspicion for demanding filer removal.
    • by Gerzel (240421)
      Oh I have no surprise in that China would indeed officially have such a law requiring the censorship, it just makes sense, and that some official did indeed make an attempt, but I don't think they'd push the issue as it would only hurt them more than it would ever help.

      If the opposite were true I'd not be surprised either.
      • by TheLink (130905)
        I believe this is just Brownback doing the usual politician thing. Olympics time + Evil China = political mileage.

        Hotel internet access in china has been censored and _logged_ for a long time already. It's been the law and requirement there. It's not just because it's the Olympics.

        I know this because the company I work for does internet access for hotels. Some countries (Singapore, China, Italy) logging is mandatory, seems in other countries logging is illegal (Taiwan?). So we try to comply to each country'
    • Re:skeptical (Score:5, Interesting)

      by audunr (906697) on Monday May 05, 2008 @08:17AM (#23299608)
      While visiting an Internet cafe in China, a friend of mine used her university VPN connection to be able to browse sites that her university has subscription access to. Some time later, a guy comes into the cafe and asks her to leave. Politely, but still, if the reason was her VPN use then that's really, really scary. And probably happens every day...
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by quanticle (843097)

        Its probably not the VPN use per se. After all, China has lots of Western business people in it every day, and many of them will use a VPN to connect to their corporate offices. Most likely someone saw her browsing unapproved websites and mentioned it to someone who had the authority to do something about it.

  • seriously... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by night_flyer (453866) on Monday May 05, 2008 @07:02AM (#23299000) Homepage
    what did the US (and any other freedom loving person) expect when giving the Communist Chinese the Olympics?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Ngarrang (1023425)
      Yeah, I have to wonder, as well. Maybe the world was so naive as to believe the Olympics would change China's way? China doesn't care what the world thinks and has proven this time and time again. What political expediency was hoped to be gained from this move has failed.
      • I suppose Brownback won't lose any political points by railing against the freedom-suppressing Chinese government.
    • by Per Abrahamsen (1397) on Monday May 05, 2008 @07:59AM (#23299456) Homepage
      IOC doesn't even pretend to care about freedom. All they care about is money, while pretending to care about sport. [ Quite unlike the US, which only cares about money, while pretending to care about freedom. ]
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by makomk (752139)
        Actually, there's more to it than that. There was an interesting article in Private Eye about the IOC president at the time China was given the Olympics, Juan Antonio Samaranch [wikipedia.org]. Basically, he's a fascist who was a strong supporter of China's bid for the 2000 Olympics a couple of years after Tiananmen Square. (He even did a photo-op cycling around the square as part of his support. He also gave the highest IOC honour to Chen Xitong, the leader of the 2000 bid, then-mayor of Beijing, and the person responsibl
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sm62704 (957197)
      Lots of questions, no answers. How ar ethese "US Hotels"? They're on the other side of the globe from the US!

      I wish we were as intolerant of the multinational corporations as the Chineese. But then again, Sony and BP and the like all run the US's goivernment anyway, so it's not surprising.

      But I wish we, the people still had control of our government. I'd sutre like to see more factories here.
      • by quanticle (843097)

        While I'm all for greater regulation of corporations (especially with regard to environmental practices and shady finances), can you tell me what sort of government regulation (short of outright nationalization) would have prevented the loss of manufacturing jobs to other countries? The third world has such a huge comparative advantage over the US in terms of manufacturing costs that it would require truly draconian measures to stop the export of manufacturing.

        • Re:seriously... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by sm62704 (957197) on Monday May 05, 2008 @10:50AM (#23301428) Journal
          can you tell me what sort of government regulation (short of outright nationalization) would have prevented the loss of manufacturing jobs to other countries?

          Sure. You could remove all tax breaks from any company building plants elsewhere. You can lay tarriffs. You can pass laws preventing non-citizens from owning all or part of any US business. You can use the "bully pulpit" to name and try and shame owners of companies that move factories overseas.

          There is even more that could be done, given the will.

          Of course, to do this you would have to have not sold the US government to business interests in the first place, and you would have to tear down the US's national religion (worship of money).
  • ...seeing stegonographic and other kinds of tools proliferate in China so that the whole censorship policy is rendered completely moot.
    If they had some kind of translator to take a message and encode it in a Chinese version of rhyming slang [cockneyrhy...lang.co.uk], how nifty would that be?
    Particularly if the product could appear pro-Communist. I guess pictograms would render such a project "non-trivial".
    Loyal to the Group of 17 [urth.net] would be so proud of the Chinese government.
    • by Phybersyk0 (513618) <phybersyko@sto[ ... g ['rmd' in gap]> on Monday May 05, 2008 @08:02AM (#23299472)
      This isn't too likely as many Chinese still do not own personal computers. Many obtain their access to the net via internet cafes. If you get your access at a cafe it kinds sucks because you are required to prove that you're 18 or older, which means you must present identification, which is recorded with the workstation you use and subsequently the IP address and time in which you used it.

      For home access in larger cities like Shanghai, adsl is the way to go, and you purchase time, and you get a static IP. Also traceable to you.

      I was in China for a couple of weeks immediately following the recent Tibet fracas (which is quite perplexing if you listen to all 3 sides of the discussion).

      Based on my personal observation, The "Great Firewall" isn't so much a firewall (which in my eyes connotes address/port blocking) but it's more the corporate content filter. Too many keywords and your transmission gets squelched.

      Example: The first day I tried to use myspace.com and I couldn't get a single word to load. The next day, Myspace would load, I could log in, but when I selected the option to update my personal Blog, I got half a page of unrendered HTML code. I didn't even bother after that.
  • On the other hand. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by deniable (76198) on Monday May 05, 2008 @07:03AM (#23299010)
    I'm sure the American government has never asked foreign owned businesses to do anything they wouldn't like. I love the smell of politics in the morning. It smells like hypocrisy.
    • It smells like hypocrisy.

      Hypocrisy doesn't smell anywhere near as good as napalm. Say, that gives me an idea...

      • I think using napalm on a senator is a bit extreme. You could at least try voting against him next election first...
  • Their country (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nighty5 (615965) on Monday May 05, 2008 @07:07AM (#23299026)
    Their rules.

    If you don't like it, then leave.

    If you want somebody to blame, then direct it to the International Olympic Committee. Each country took a vote and China was selected.

    Like or not....

    • Re:Their country (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Eravnrekaree (467752) on Monday May 05, 2008 @08:35AM (#23299778)
      Not a good argument. For many chinese trapped in china, leaving is not an option. Free speech is a universal and inalienable right of all human beings no matter in which country they live. It is our responsibility, and that of the UN and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,to pressure their government through diplomatic means to make reforms to guarantee, the people free speech and that they will not be punished by the government for what they say.

  • by mikelieman (35628) on Monday May 05, 2008 @07:07AM (#23299028) Homepage
    Why not pull out our athletes out of the games until China adopts a default policy of Freedom and Liberty?

    Fuck that Censorshit!

    I'll take good old US Style Blanket Surveillance any-day!

    Thanks AT&T! For keeping us safe by spying on us for the Bush Gang -- even if it is completely unlawful to do so!
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by 91degrees (207121)
      Because that would be counter productive.

      This story wouldn't have come up at all if China wasn't hosting the Olympics. Pulling American athletes out of the games isn't going to harm China, and will make the US look petty.

      Many nations boycotted the Moscow Olympics in 1980. This had absolutely no effect on the USSR's invasion of Afghanistan. It's better to find another way to protest against China that would actually cause some sort of harm.
    • "Why not pull out our athletes out of the games until China adopts a default policy of Freedom and Liberty?"

      Why do you hate Krustry the clown?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Think of the athletes, particularly ones competing in age-sensitive sports such as gymnastics. It's very uncommon for a gymnast--who likely trained for many hours a day for their entire childhood--to get to compete in more than two Olympics. More than three is almost unheard of (though there are rare exceptions like Oksana Chusovitina).

      Taking away one Olympics from these athletes for political reasons would be highly unfair to them.
  • Happening already. (Score:5, Informative)

    by martin-k (99343) on Monday May 05, 2008 @07:08AM (#23299038) Homepage
    How is that different from what's happening now? I stayed at the Hilton in Beijing (supposedly property of an American company) last year, and they of course filtered the net connection. No boobie pages, some political pages didn't work; even SSH connections were impossible for one whole day during my stay.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Stephan202 (1003355)
      If they only filter by port, you could open up port 443 (HTTPS) for SSH, in addition to port 22. It is unlikely that they block that port. I did this once for a friend who was in Armenia at the time. Worked for him.
    • by sm62704 (957197)
      supposedly property of an American company

      Unless it's privately onwed (and I don't know if it is or not) it's not an American company, it's an international company. If a single foreigner owns a single share of stock, it's a multinational corporation and has no right to call itself an "American" company.
  • When in Rome... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by flajann (658201) <flajann&linuxbloke,com> on Monday May 05, 2008 @07:11AM (#23299062) Homepage Journal
    When in China, do as the Chinese wants you to.
    Don't like it? Then don't do business there.

    While I don't like censorship in the least, I also don't like US hegemony either -- either by the government or the businesses. China -- its people and its government -- need to work out their own issues with regards to privacy and censorship and freedom of access to information.

    Oh well -- China has the US by its financial balls, so all I see coming out of this is a bunch of whining on the US part with little to no real action.

    And of course, the question of what form any possible "action" would take, anyway? Pulling out of the Olympics? That's not fair to all those athletes who devoted a good portion of their lives preparing for this event.

    Gotta love geo-politics.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      "Oh well -- China has the US by its financial balls..."

      One could easily swap "China" and "US" in the above statement, and it would still be true. If the American economy collapses, then China will lose their biggest customer. Consider it a form of mutually-assured financial destruction.
  • by weave (48069) * on Monday May 05, 2008 @07:19AM (#23299106) Journal
    Aren't all of these hotels behind the Great Firewall of China anyway? How are they getting their Internet connections if not? Something doesn't sound quite right about this. I don't see how they can NOT be filtered, even if they didn't want it.
    • I'm just guessing but maybe it has something to do with using VPN tunnelling to connect to other networks outside of China?
      • by weave (48069) *
        Good guess, but I find it hard to believe a hotel there would go to that trouble myself.
        • Just think of the Chinese Internet as "Broken.' If I was running a hotel for foreign businessman, I would do my damndest to ensure that the internet was secure and reliable. If my guests can't be assured that they'll be able to communicate without fear of corporate espionage, my internet would be nothing more than a toy.
          But, I'm not a hotelier.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 05, 2008 @07:20AM (#23299110)
    Let's work on freedom of expression in the USA before we go telling China how to run their country. It's sick in this day and age that you can get arrested for flag burning, protesting outside of a "free speech zone", or because you criticize the rulers a little too loudly. Until we fix these things, I think a little Internet filtering in another country is the least of our worries.
  • by value_added (719364) on Monday May 05, 2008 @07:21AM (#23299126)
    The press release can be read in its entirety on the official Sam Brownback [senate.gov] site.

    Seems a fair enough position for a politician to take, given that he sits on one or more subcomittees that are involved with international/human rights types of issues.

    On the other hand, he is a Republican.

    And he's from Kansas.

    If you're not prepared to fill in your own joke, the Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] on him should give you some ideas.
    • by OS24Ever (245667) * <trekkie@nomorestars.com> on Monday May 05, 2008 @07:37AM (#23299258) Homepage Journal
      Having grown up in Kansas and voted against him every chance I had I don't like the guy, and the company he keeps.

      That being said..

      one of his children is adopted from China. he puts his money where his mouth is sometimes, and I respect him for that sometimes.

      But ...

      Just look at his voting record. He's voted to force the installation of the same software China wants to use. It seems extremely hypocritical and headline grabbing move to me, instead of something true.

      We are no longer the land of the free and the home of the brave, and that's the way it is and we like it apparently, because no one will make any effort. We like being the land of the monitored and home of the scared. It's not a big deal, and it's to stop the terrorists.

      China's doing it because they're mean. We're doing it to protect you, so we're ok. That's the politicians logic for you.
    • Also, remember [youtube.com] that Sam Brownback was one of three repbublican presidential candidates who does not believe in evolution. That tells me he is either a liar or stupid. Either way you can't trust him. My guess he feels the Latino xenophobia is wearing out so now he thinks the Chinese would make a better target.
  • Newsflash! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by johannesg (664142) on Monday May 05, 2008 @07:27AM (#23299166)
    In China, even *Americans* must obey Chinese law! Gee, who would have thought?

    Don't like it? Your options are:

    1. Don't do business there.
    2. Ask them to change their laws. Good luck with that.
    3. The Iraq thing. Good luck with that too.

    A hotel is not an embassy; Chinese law applies within its walls.

    • Or just bring your own satellite dish, Chinese firewalls can't block that ;-)
      Looking forward to the day that public spectrum wireless technologies can be propogated for 10's or 100's of miles. Then China's boarders will have Internet leaking in from every corner. They're facing a losing, not to mention, stupid and expensive battle. Only a question of time.. tick, tock, tick, tock.

      And trying ot hack other countries? That is seriously stupid. Wait till the Russians and Israilies get wind of that, j00'll be be
  • by Tom (822) on Monday May 05, 2008 @07:27AM (#23299168) Homepage Journal
    No matter how much you dislike the chinese government's position, what this is nevertheless is enforcing rules on them, in their own country. Who cares if the hotels in question are "US-owned"? Would you accept that "chinese-owned" factories in, say, Texas, operate according to chinese rules?

    If you start a hotel in China, you know that you're in China, and that chinese laws and customs apply to you. You may not like them, for whatever reason. You may think they are inhuman and evil, but they are the law of the land.

    If you don't like it, there's a simple solution: Don't do business there!.

    But no, our corporate masters want to have it both ways. None of the large international corporations would want to leave the huge chinese market to the competitors.

    I don't support the chinese government in their position on censorship, oppression or the liberal application of the death penalty, but I do support them on their strong stand towards international corporations and anyone else messing with their internal politics. I think right now China is the only government not falling over backwards when some RIAA or Microsoft comes calling, and instead reminding them just who owns the land and the tanks.
    • But no, our corporate masters want to have it both ways.
      To be honest, they want to have it one way only - they don't give a flying duck about human rights or freedom of speech, in China or otherwise.
  • by r_jensen11 (598210) on Monday May 05, 2008 @07:31AM (#23299202)
    Dutch MP's are demanding that the US lifts its ban on prostitutes, calling it an affront to capitalism's oldest profession. Film at 11
    • by johannesg (664142)
      Also, Dutch-owned coffee shops in the US should legally be able to sell weed. It is, after all, legal in the Netherlands...

      I do realize that this will get a lot of "hell yeah!" reactions though ;-)
  • by Eravnrekaree (467752) on Monday May 05, 2008 @07:34AM (#23299230)
    It seems rather hypocritical for US politicians to criticize censorship in China when they refuse to do anything to stop censorshop right here in the US and often support it. I am referring to the lack of action being taken on net neutrality and prohibuting corporations from censoring the internet. People think that because its a corporation its not a real threat, but it is. These corporations become de facto governments when they can control so many resources, such as major communications infrastructure, these corporations through their policies can have the same effect as government in effectively limiting free speech.This is why ISPs must be common carriers and required to carry all information over them verbatim.

    Sometimes it seems the real reason the politicians criticize china is to cover up the fact that they allow censorship right here, and are representatives of the corporations that carry out this censorship. Politicians in the US take campaign donations from corporations, essentially the corporations elect them and they represent the corporations interest. Whoever has the best funding has the best chance of winning so corporations can control elections through who they give donations to. Add to that most of the US media is controlled by a few large corporate conglomerates who basically can filter and conspire to propogandise the ignorant and gullible public. People are not really the ones making the decisions anymore, the process is controlled by corporations and special interests, the american people are brainwashed into thinking they have a choice, when they really do not. You have a media which basically controls most of their information, and can tell them who to vote for, by excluding or including information you can control the available information they have to work with and thus their decision making. The way you make people think they have a choice is by giving them options, but controlling those options. A politicians campaign can easily be destroyed if their funding is withdrawn and the corporation and establishment can weed out those it does not like (like Kucinich, Paul, etc). The media simply ignores them or gives them a fraction of the attention of other preferred candidates.
    • by Dan541 (1032000)

      It seems rather hypocritical for US politicians to criticize censorship in China when they refuse to do anything to stop censorshop right here in the US and often support it. I am referring to the lack of action being taken on net neutrality and prohibuting corporations from censoring the internet. People think that because its a corporation its not a real threat, but it is.
      The United States is governed by corporate bodies as we have seen countless time in the past.

  • by forgotten_my_nick (802929) on Monday May 05, 2008 @07:38AM (#23299264)
    News flash for those that don't know. This is old news.

    The "westerners" only hotels in China are censored. It is a little less lax then normal Chinese hotels (for example you can watch BBC). But there is censorship and even other rules, for example the only chinese allowed on the hotels premises when I was there had to be working in the hotel.

    The censorship is more directed at the population though rather then to external sources.

    Lastly it is their country, even if like me you don't agree with this. If you don't like, then don't go to the country.
  • by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice AT gmail DOT com> on Monday May 05, 2008 @07:53AM (#23299386)
    In February 2006, the Hotel Maria Isabel Sheraton hotel (a franchise of the Sheraton group) in Mexico City was ordered by the US Treasury Department to throw out a group of Cuban officials who were staying there, because their presence violated US law and the Sheraton Group was an American company. In complying with the requirement, the hotel broke local law and faced $500,000 fines before the situation was smoothed over.
  • Would the USA have allowed Nazi Germany to host the Olympic games? I DON'T THINK SO.
  • by Jeremy Erwin (2054) on Monday May 05, 2008 @09:02AM (#23300098) Journal
    From the March 2008 Atlantic Monthly [theatlantic.com]

    In reality, what the Olympic-era visitors will be discovering is not the absence of China's electronic control but its new refinement--and a special Potemkin-style unfettered access that will be set up just for them, and just for the length of their stay. According to engineers I have spoken with at two tech organizations in China, the government bodies in charge of censoring the Internet have told them to get ready to unblock access from a list of specific Internet Protocol (IP) addresses--certain Internet cafes, access jacks in hotel rooms and conference centers where foreigners are expected to work or stay during the Olympic Games. (I am not giving names or identifying details of any Chinese citizens with whom I have discussed this topic, because they risk financial or criminal punishment for criticizing the system or even disclosing how it works. Also, I have not gone to Chinese government agencies for their side of the story, because the very existence of Internet controls is almost never discussed in public here, apart from vague statements about the importance of keeping online information "wholesome.")


  • by Sun.Jedi (1280674) on Monday May 05, 2008 @09:21AM (#23300290) Journal
    Since the issue of net filtering and censorship in China is largely a non-topic, I asked myself why should the Olympics make any difference when discussing individual Countries Law and expecting exceptions to those Laws. In short, what is so great about the present day Olympics?

    - Tradition? Seems to me the original spirit of the games has long been lost. It's all about advertising, ratings, and the almighty dollar bill. $10 hot dog, anyone?
    - Bragging rights? Aren't there 'World organizations' for this stuff already? Don't the best of the best already compete against each other?
    - Excitement? Watching some muscle-head lob a 15 pound aerodynamic (sortof) rock downrange just doesn't have the same pizazz as watching CNN-cam on the front end of a Sat-Killer [news.com]. Ditto on the ice thing with rocks and brooms (not the vulcanized rock [wikipedia.org], the other one [wikipedia.org]).
    - Nationalism? If they were proud of their country, why do some come to the USA to get professionally paid [wikipedia.org] only to be shipped back home to wear a different uniform for a few weeks? Seems hypocritical.
    - Achievement? Oh joy of joys, yet another feel good story about how a gymnast with a hangnail toughed it out. Compare that to the tanks [sinodefence.com] 'guarding' parking lot, I'm uninspired.
    - Pride? My valuable medals [google.com]. 'Nuff said.
  • by s7uar7 (746699) on Monday May 05, 2008 @10:10AM (#23300930) Homepage
    Rather than a country's athletes boycotting the games, why don't the media boycott it instead? China spends billions hosting the games and the only coverage they get (apart from that of the torch relay, which has been a PR disaster for them) is a couple of column inches reporting who won each event. No opening ceremony, no 'look at the country' type reports. Nothing.
  • by Ritchie70 (860516) on Monday May 05, 2008 @12:21PM (#23302494) Journal
    Back when Jimmy Carter was president, a good number of countries boycotted the 1980 Moscow Olympic games over the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The athletes at the time, as I recall, were devastated.

    It would be nice to see some countries put their money where their mouth is (including the US) and boycott the China Olympics.

    Not just over this Internet censorship thing; I'm more interested in the fundamental human rights issues than I am in whether they censor the Internet for visiting foreigners. As a basic fundamental principal and statement of support for human rights, events of worldwide importance and recognition should not be held in countries run by oppressive governments.

    I assume there's also some sort of preferred trading status between China and the US; that should go too. Why the hell do we need to be flooded with 80 billion tons of poorly made crap? (OK, I just made that statistic up.)

    Unfortunately, as so many other posters has said, the US no longer stands for principles and freedom. We stand for profit.

  • Sounds bogus (Score:3, Informative)

    by hackingbear (988354) on Monday May 05, 2008 @01:00PM (#23302960)

    This news sounds bogus to me, exactly because the Chinese government is already doing the censoring:

    1. The Great Firewall already blocks contents they don't like. So why would installing another filter at the hotel would work differently?
    2. If they want to censor incoming/outgoing traffic, they can just do so right at the hotel's Internet service provider. That would be more effective, simpler and more reliable.
    3. The hotel must have already logged each room's Internet activities. Why? If someone uses the hotel's connection to conduct frauds and criminal activities, the hotel must shield itself from liability anyway.

    While I dislike China's censorship, I think this type of news looks bogus, attempts to get media attention, and has the exact purpose of exaggerating the situation.

When all else fails, read the instructions.

Working...