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Chinese Version of Wikinews Blocked In China 87

Posted by timothy
DragonFire1024 writes with this story from Wikinews that says "access to the Chinese Wikinews website has been blocked in China. Wikinews can also confirm that the English version of the website is still available in China. ... Users using the social networking site called Twitter have reported that the site was "blockade[ed] today by the mainland" of China. Others, writing on the Wikimedia Foundation's mailing list also state that the Chinese version of Wikinews is blocked in major Chinese cities such as Beijing."
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Chinese Version of Wikinews Blocked In China

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  • Poor productivity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Matt Perry (793115) <perry.matt54@yah3.14159oo.com minus pi> on Sunday January 11, 2009 @05:06AM (#26406081)

    Just imagine if the Chinese government used all this effort on something that was actually productive.

    • Just imagine if the Chinese government used all this effort on something that was actually productive.

      Then they wouldn't need as much government and millions of deserving people would be out of work.

      • Re:Poor productivity (Score:4, Interesting)

        by mrmeval (662166) <mrmeval@NOSPam.gmail.com> on Sunday January 11, 2009 @05:36AM (#26406169) Journal

        It's scary that their government probably has more people in it than the US has citizens.

        • by MartinSchou (1360093) on Sunday January 11, 2009 @06:13AM (#26406275)

          Do you honestly believe that 25% of the Chinese population works for the government?

          • Re:Poor productivity (Score:5, Interesting)

            by mrmeval (662166) <mrmeval@NOSPam.gmail.com> on Sunday January 11, 2009 @07:56AM (#26406587) Journal

            I questioned that off the cuff comment because of your response and went looking. It really depends on how you define "works for the government" but most people view that as 'get a paycheck from government' and not a handout, slavery or forced labor.

            I don't have good figures so this is a guess based on light reading. China has a very large government structure. They have state owned banks and other state owned industries. Leaving out the forced labor and slavery I think I could reach 10 - 15 percent. If I add it in I'll exceed it.

            In my meandering I came across this small blarticle about the U.S. government's 'downsizing'. Enjoy.

            http://www.occams-razor.info/2003/01/the_true_size_o.html [occams-razor.info]

            • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

              by Ash Vince (602485)

              If you include all the industries we in the we just bailed out with state money maybe we are not too different.

              We in the west will quite happily turn to state ownership when it suits us judging by the recent banking and auto bail outs.

              The problem with our system is then when the good times roll again it will not be government that really benefits, it will be private shareholders. At least in the Chinese system of state ownership then the profits get absorbed by the government as well the losses.

              This is some

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by drinkypoo (153816)

                The problem with our system is then when the good times roll again it will not be government that really benefits, it will be private shareholders. At least in the Chinese system of state ownership then the profits get absorbed by the government as well the losses.

                Which would be okay if the government of China, you know, existed to serve the people. It does not. Like all governments it exists to self-perpetuate.

                As it is, what you basically said was "At least in the China you get fucked coming and going!"

          • by d12v10 (1046686)

            Yes.

          • Depends what you mean by works for.

            http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6692895.stm [bbc.co.uk]
            Some calculations have concluded that in East Germany there was one informer to every seven citizens.

            It's quite possible that the Chinese secret police have as many informants as this. Certainly people who have worked in China believe that informers are so common that you shouldn't talk about anything political sitting in quiet cafe for example.

            One in seven Chinese still means that there are less people working for the governmen

      • by wITTus (856003)
        I'm not that sure if the same system (democracy) works for china as it does in the US. Too many people with too much different opinions. I think China would immediately split up in many little nations...
    • But they are. They are keeping their population under control.
  • So what's next? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 11, 2009 @05:10AM (#26406095)

    I keep seeing "China blocked this" and "China blocked that" stories on Slashdot but I honestly want to know what the purpose is of reporting these blocks.

    How do we as a community move forward on this? What do we hope to gain by publicizing these blocks? How long will it take to make these gains? Is it true that most Chinese don't really care about the blocks?

    • Re:So what's next? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Yvanhoe (564877) on Sunday January 11, 2009 @06:31AM (#26406329) Journal
      Censorship is a subject of interest of Slashdot. It interests many people here, including myself. When Australia, US, France, Russia blocks a website of importance (or even a small website) for whatever reason, it is reported. What is gained by publicizing them is information. We know that if we go to China, Google won't yield trustworthy results about recent events concerning China. We know that Wikipedia, Wikinews or even Slashdot may be blocked. We know that Tor works to circumvent this. We know that the Chinese people is informed by biased media.
      • "or even Slashdot may be blocked"

        Hey, it's not! I guess it's because the techies working for the Great Firewall operator are Slashdot fans too, and apart from techies nobody really cares :)

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by im_thatoneguy (819432)

        It's also important to note that while the communist party doesn't like being undermined they are religious in their zeal to stamp out corruption. They recognize that they can't fully control the population and their presence must be desired.

        All of the people I talked to in China (even in private) seemed to be proud of their government and their country. They all got incensed when I made any sort of inquiry into what it's like to live in a communist nation or their thoughts about communism. "We are not c

        • Re:So what's next? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) on Sunday January 11, 2009 @08:42AM (#26406745)

          This is absolute bullshit.

          I live in China for several months a year and this is not even close to accurate. EVERYONE knows (and more importantaly/sadly ACCEPTS) the widespread corruption in China. Attempts at "stamping it out" are token attempts, at best. It is widespread and pervasive. At the end of the day, the CCP is about self preservation. Making any serious effort at killing off corruption cuts too close to the bone.

          Yes, Chinese are proud of their country, but better than half would bolt for the door if they were given the opportunity to go to Europe or the US.

          Best,

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by simonsleeper (1281582)

          All of the people I talked to in China (even in private) seemed to be proud of their government and their country.

          That's probably because you are a foreigner. They typically want to save faces in front of a foreigner.

          If you can read Chinese, take a look at the comments on those Chinese social news sites that has less moderation, you'll be surprised by how much the people hate their government.

          • by kohaku (797652)
            Meh. Look at most of the comments from Americans on Slashdot (I'm taking moderation to mean 'deletion of posts' or 'censorship' here: in any case, anti-government posts are frequently modded up on /.). You would think that most of the people here would jump at the chance to move to another country, wouldn't you?
        • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          multi-party system in America.

          I guess technically "multi-party" can mean two.

    • Re:So what's next? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by EdIII (1114411) * on Sunday January 11, 2009 @07:14AM (#26406447)

      Is it true that most Chinese don't really care about the blocks?

      Speaking as somebody that has been there they either 1) Don't know about the blocks. 2) Don't know what it is blocking in the first place (Internet is way beyond them) or 3) Know about the blocks and go around it like you would a small disgusting object on the sidewalk.

      It's a non issue for most Chinese. Plenty of /.'ers are going to make sociopolitical statements about this, but in China very few people really care.

      Those that want the information get it. From what I understand all the effort is pretty scary from a western point of view but is largely ineffective.

      P.S - The Internet is not the medium in which most information flows in China. It's cellphones. Most of the places in China that I went to, including some of the poorest parts where some manufacturing is being done, ALL have cell phone towers. I saw people that looked like 3rd world refugees after escaping those mines in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and they had cell phones in hand.

      I honestly believe all the important information about the government is being distributed amongst the people through that medium.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by DNS-and-BIND (461968)
        A big problem with your "ideas through cellphones" idea is that the government totally controls all telephone communications. You think NSA bugging was bad? How about when the system is built from the ground up with even more invasive capabilities (ability to block messages, interrupt conversations, etc).

        The internet police are pretty good about cleaning up forums. Sure it's whack-a-mole but they keep on whacking and keep the board clean. For the overseas disruptive internet sites, there is the great

        • by EdIII (1114411) *

          A big problem with your "ideas through cellphones" idea is that the government totally controls all telephone communications.

          I think "totally" is a massive overstatement of their capabilities there. They simply don't have the resources. Land line telephone systems are practically non-existent when compared to cell phones. All of the small towns and villages are responsible for their own infrastructures and it is vastly more cost effective to erect some cell phone towers and hand out cheap handsets than

          • I've been on the ground for a couple of years now. I even run my own [censored] magazine. I occasionally get to see the mechanisms of control in action, and they simply don't fuck around when it comes to national security. There have been a few demonstrations, and they get cleaned up right quick. This doesn't even count the huge number of pro-Communist citizens, who will enforce the government's will without any prodding.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      *yawn*

      Child of Chinese government lackey studying abroad fails to see the utility of reporting censorship while living large on the spoils of corruption. Big surprise....

      I can confirm that the English version is available in Beijing while the Chinese version isn't.

      And yes, you're right that most of the clods here just don't care that their news is fondled en route to their tv/monitor/radio/etc. In that sense, the cretins with guns have won.

      Best,

    • Well I was going to enter in to this discussion but access to Slashdot was blocked in my country.
  • I bet they just drool and masturbate to the thought of just being able to blatantly do this shit, instead of having to slowly erode freedom with all the speed of a glacier.
  • https://secure.wikimedia.org/$PROJECT/$LOCALE/wiki/Main_Page [wikimedia.org]

    (Don't click on it. Expand the macros yourself :)

    It works in China as I can confirm it.

    • https://secure.wikimedia.org/$PROJECT/$LOCALE/wiki/Main_Page [wikimedia.org]

      (Don't click on it. Expand the macros yourself :)

      It works in China as I can confirm it.

      https won't help you if the operators of the Firewall decide to proxy it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by gzipped_tar (1151931)

        Well, SSL is not intended to be a silver bullet. It can be used to prevent MITM attacks or packet inspection (i.e. content-based censorship). It is not used to defeat other attacks e.g. DoS (simply dropping connection to the "offending" hosts, which has been done before).

        I'm just pointing out a method to "route around it". I believe that no censorship is 100% effective -- there's always a way out. In this case, switching to HTTPS suffices.

  • Hong Kong (Score:4, Interesting)

    by pha7boy (1242512) on Sunday January 11, 2009 @05:30AM (#26406151)
    works fine in Hong Kong. both the Chinese version and the English version.
    • by eebra82 (907996) on Sunday January 11, 2009 @07:39AM (#26406533) Homepage
      Dear Sir/Madam,

      Please note that we are working hard to provide you with state of the art firewalls. As you may know, the internet consists of literately THOUSANDS of web sites and it is becoming increasingly difficult for us to tell you what you may and may not read.

      Kindly report this issue to the authorities and we will take the necessary steps to ensure that your REGULARIZED FREEDOM is maintained at the highest level.

      Best regards,
      Mao
    • by Mozk (844858)

      Hong Kong is not generally regarded as part of mainland China, though. It is technically a Special Administrative Region [wikipedia.org] and is essentially autonomous in most aspects. Any comparisons between mainland China and Hong Kong are therefore irrelevant.

  • by 4D6963 (933028) on Sunday January 11, 2009 @05:32AM (#26406157)

    If I understand correctly the situation in China, the main reason why the Chinese people let the Communists in power is their double digit yearly economic growth. Since the recent economic downturn, it seems very unlikely that China will manage to maintain a satisfactory growth, which would trigger unrest.

    A quick googling brought up this recent article [msn.com] which seems to confirm that what's been predicted since the global economy crashed through the floor is bound to happen in the near future.

    So the blocking of Wikinews in China fits in the picture in the damage control part of it, that is pretty much "let's make sure as little of our people learn what's currently happening in our country right now". Failing to control the information about protests across the country means empowering these movements, and the stakes are the future of Communism in China as a whole, although it won't go without a fight either.

    • by Hal_Porter (817932) on Sunday January 11, 2009 @10:42AM (#26407179)

      If I understand correctly the situation in China, the main reason why the Chinese people let the Communists in power is their double digit yearly economic growth.

      I'm not sure I agree with the phrase "let the Communists [stay] in power". At the end of the Cold War it seemed like the Communists would lose power in China just like in Eastern Europe. Vast student demonstrations took place in Beijing during Gorbachev's visit, similar to the ones in Europe that brought down communist governments in a couple of months. The difference was that the Chinese government managed to find soldiers willing to put crush the demonstrations later.

      It was only after this that the Chinese Communist Party abandoned the communist economic system for a version of fundamentalist capitalism. They kept their monopoly on power though. The rapid growth is somewhat misleading - it only applies in cities and only along the eastern provinces of China, not in the vast rural heartland. There China is still extremely poor. Corrupt local party official regularly level bogus taxes in a way reminiscent of gangsters charging protection money. There are regular 'Mass Incidents', the Chinese governments term for abortive uprisings.

      http://www.nautilus.org/fora/security/08065YuYu.html [nautilus.org]

      Recently, a series of mass incidents took place in China. These incidents demonstrate some of the social conflicts within China. First there was the "Weng'an Incident" on June 28, 2008. During this event a police station and a county government office building in Guizhou province were assaulted and torched by the local populace. The chaos started in Weng'an County when people who were dissatisfied with the investigation into the death of a local student gathered at the county government offices and the public security bureau. While officials were handling the case, some people unfamiliar with the exact context of the event surrounded the police station and the office buildings of the county government and Communist Party Committee. The protesters smashed and torched many offices and some cars. The chaos lasted for seven hours and involved thousands of people.[1]

      Second was the "Fugu Incident" on July 3. A driver of a farm vehicle in Fugu, Shanxi jumped into the Yellow River to avoid being checked for traffic violations by the police. Local authorities fished his body out of the river two days later, and were then pursued by angry kin of the dead man, who demanded to know why they were not told of the discovery of the body and demanded to have control of the corpse. The two sides struggled over the body, which attracted many spectators and evolved into a clash between villagers and the police.[2]

      Third, the "Huizhou Incident" on July 16. During this incident more than 100 people attacked police officers over the controversial death of a motorcycle driver in Huizhou, Guangdong. The driver's family members said that he was beaten to death by the security guards of Shangnan Village, but local police were told that he died from a traffic accident. The unrest lasted from early morning to 1 pm. Seven members of the group, which had also overturned a police wagon and raided a police station, were arrested.[3]

      Fourth was the "Menglian Incident". On July 19, rubber farmers attacked police who had been sent to arrest alleged instigators in a conflict with rubber plant managers in Menglian, Yunnan. Forty officers were injured and eight police vehicles were burned during the conflict and two farmers were shot dead by riot police.

      The numbers of Mass Incidents have been growing for years, even when the economy was booming. Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council, thinks that

      http://www.mac.gov.tw/english/english/macpolicy/risk961228.htm [mac.gov.tw]

      Statistics have shown that the number of mass incidents in Chinaâ"including t

      • by 4D6963 (933028)
        Thanks a lot for clearing my misconceptions, I thought that the civil unrest was a recent movement. Have this honorary +1 Insightful point ;)
      • by mqduck (232646)

        At the end of the Cold War it seemed like the Communists would lose power in China just like in Eastern Europe. Vast student demonstrations took place in Beijing during Gorbachev's visit, similar to the ones in Europe that brought down communist governments in a couple of months. The difference was that the Chinese government managed to find soldiers willing to put crush the demonstrations later.

        It was only after this that the Chinese Communist Party abandoned the communist economic system for a version of fundamentalist capitalism.

        Not true, really. Remember the Cultural Revolution? It was primarily against the "capitalist roaders" in the Party. When Mao died, the capitalist roaders quickly seized power (which explains the very clear denunciation of the Cultural Revolution by the government ever since) and have steadily been dismantling public ownership ever since.

        • Not true, really. Remember the Cultural Revolution? It was primarily against the "capitalist roaders" in the Party.

          To the extent that the Salem Witch trials were against witches.

          • by mqduck (232646)

            When the Witch Trials ended, did witchcraft start growing in Salem? No? Not a good analogy then.

            • There weren't really any capitalist roaders in Mao's China either - it was far too repressive a regime to allow any opposition at all. The Cultural Revolution was quite literally a witch hunt.

              • by mqduck (232646)

                1) The capitalist roaders were in the regime. 2) Like you said, they weren't allowed. That's what the Cultural Revolution was all about. It certainly wasn't to win favor with the masses, which the government already had. I suggest you look at what those the Cultural Revolution was waged against did upon gaining power (in other words, Deng Xiaoping on).

                The Cultural Revolution was an attempt at countering the natural tendency of feudalism to make way for capitalism, a far-fetched idea that obviously failed. T

                • Wow, so when some commie dictatorship kills millions of people every single one of them must have been guilty of the crime they were accused of, rather than just being in the wrong place at the wrong time?

                  I'm in Taiwan at the moment and I've met people who escaped from China during the Cultural Revolution. It was nowhere near as rational a period as you seem to believe, presumably having read some dodgy pro Marxist website written by someone in Berkeley that can't read Chinese.

                  Maybe for your next trick you

                  • by mqduck (232646)

                    I never called it a rational period, but neither was it a random aberration of history as you seem to think. I suggest reading what I wrote instead of reacting out of anger.

                    Let's take another example from history. I'm sure we both agree that the Third Reich was an entirely negative event in history. Yet you have no hope of understanding or learning anything from it if you refuse to look at how it resulted from the struggle between socialism and capitalism in Germany.

                    • I never called it a rational period, but neither was it a random aberration of history as you seem to think. I suggest reading what I wrote instead of reacting out of anger.

                      Let's take another example from history. I'm sure we both agree that the Third Reich was an entirely negative event in history. Yet you have no hope of understanding or learning anything from it if you refuse to look at how it resulted from the struggle between socialism and capitalism in Germany.

                      That's not true either. The Third Reich wasn't about the 'struggle between socialism and capitalism'. Socialism and capitalism are abstract ideas, they don't struggle.

                      Rather the Third Reich was the result of one man's struggle to become Führer. You've been reading too many Marxist historians.

    • by mqduck (232646)

      If I understand correctly the situation in China, the main reason why the Chinese people let the Communists in power is their double digit yearly economic growth. Since the recent economic downturn, it seems very unlikely that China will manage to maintain a satisfactory growth, which would trigger unrest.

      I would agree with this statement. However, when the Chinese people become disillusioned with capitalism, where are they going to turn? The irony of capitalist China being led by a "Communist" party only grows larger.

  • by visible.frylock (965768) on Sunday January 11, 2009 @05:37AM (#26406177) Homepage Journal

    Wait till they start learning the tricks of Western governments. IOW, less emphasis on blocking and more emphasis on spin, misdirection, and obfuscation. Of course, all governments use both to different extents, but the Western governments are masters at the latter. At least with blocking, the government gives away the fact that something is being hidden.

    block : encryption :: spin : steganography

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Yvanhoe (564877)
      My Lai, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo... The things published in maintream newspapers about these subjects are not the kind of thing the government would like to hear. Sure, when the govt says something, newspaper publish it. But the information is not "the truth is X" but "the government said X"
    • by mqduck (232646)

      But that only works in the West because the people here are already complacent. I mean, we had a presidential election stolen in the homeland of democracy and the extent of popular protest was a lot of hanging chad jokes that, admittedly, weren't censored by the government.

      China has a situation ready to explode (though not in the way we in the West expect it to be). The government does all this censorship because it's *scared*.

  • to see what happens when, as eventually has to happen, a major Chinese language website is hosted outside of mainland China.  It's really a crapshoot where the next Chinese Facebook or whatever will actually pop up geographically on the globe, given the extent of their diaspora.

    Or has that already happened?
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Do you think that wrapping your comment in <tt> to make it monospace makes you old-school and thus automatically insightful or something? Thanks for breaking formatting for no reason, l33t boy. Anyway, it's pretty irrelevant where in the world it is; if it's outside China, it's only easier to block Chinese citizens' access to it. And if it were in the US we'd probably take it down if they asked anyway, since they are our most favored nation when it comes to trade.

    • My guess is the chineese government will give them a "cooperate or be blocked" ultimatum.

  • From a purely technical point of view, censorship never works. The truth of John Gilmore's famous quote "the Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it" roots deeply in the technical nature of the computer network architecture.

    As far as I know, every effort of Internet censorship has been broken.

    However some guy in the government has to justify the cost of censorship equipment/software/staff/etc. to his overlords and do something, no matter how silly it is...

    • by 4D6963 (933028) on Sunday January 11, 2009 @06:20AM (#26406293)

      In the context of damage control as the Chinese government is trying to do, the problem is not creating airtight censorship, because the news they try to silence come from mainland China itself, they just try to make sure as few as possible gain access to the news in question.

      Because for some reason, when you're pissed at your government because you emigrated from your village to not find a job and still be in a crappy situation, when you learn that people all across the country are protesting and on strikes, it makes you want to do the same thing. Revolutions are like Mexican waves, you can only help them happen if you know what your peers are up to.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by im_thatoneguy (819432)

        The trick though is with a country like China you can pay 1,000 people 1,000 dollars to read every news site and most major web forums in order to 'know what we know'.

        Updating a firewall with IP and DNS information is relatively trivial with solid reporting. Like you say you can't stop it all but you can stop anything popular. It's the paradox of counter-censorship. In order to advertise a piece of information to a large number of people-- a large number of people need to be made aware of the informatio

  • by retech (1228598) on Sunday January 11, 2009 @06:38AM (#26406343)
    Before you know it, they'll be just like the UK.
    • by EdIII (1114411) *

      Before you know it, they'll be just like the UK.

      Nah, they could never get THAT bad. I actually still have hope for China. The UK? Escape while there is not barbed wire and concrete fences around the populated areas.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by SupremoMan (912191)

        Escape while there is not barbed wire and concrete fences around the populated areas.

        Why would they use a fence? I assume they would just fill the surrounding waters with sharks... with laser beams.

    • by JoshuaZ (1134087)
      This comparison while amusing at first glance is inaccurate and inappropriate. The UK censorship has primarily focused on pornography. There's a substantial difference between censoring porn and censoring news sources that are reporting facts you don't like. I (and I suspect most Slashdotters) don't like either form of censorship but it should be clear that the Chinese censorship is far more damaging and far more injurious to human rights than the UK censorship is.
  • I just noticed this story is posted without the usual "from ... department" line.

    It's cool. I'd believe it's rather a message than a careless omission.

  • Just use Picidae to bypass the block. It takes the contents of a page, takes a screenshot of it while all links are converted to picidae links, thus making the whole site visible but filtering programs can't read the site.

    this page on picidae. [picidae.net]
    Picidae Homepage [picidae.net]
    Page that lets you browse the web over picidae [picidae.net]
    • by Xifeng (1425793)
      Great idea, except that Picidae is blocked in China too. As are most other proxies (anonymouse.org, anyone?)
  • by arthurpaliden (939626) on Sunday January 11, 2009 @12:46PM (#26407747)

    Go to ay school computer lab that has external internet access and blocks MySpace and FaceBook.

    Stay there all day and offer $50.00 to any kid that can get to one of those sites.

    By the end of the day you will be broke.

  • Users using the social networking site called Twitter have reported that the site was "blockade[ed] today by the mainland" of China

    Users using the electronic messaging technology called "email" also reported that the site was blocked.

  • It's probably because the Chinese goverment wants to control the news as much as possible, thus more open and free news sites would be considered harmful as they could leak news that the government doesn't want to have leaked out.

    It's funny how there's a whole Chinese Debian-based Linux OS and its use is encouraged when the Debian package repositories themselves contain plenty of news/media/proxy applications though...

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