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Censorship Your Rights Online Politics

UN Officials Remove Poster Mentioning Chinese Firewall 409

Posted by kdawson
from the can-you-spell-hypocricy dept.
At a UN-sponsored Internet Governance Forum in Egypt, anti-censorship group Open Net Initiative was startled by a demand from UN officials to remove a poster mentioning Chinese Net censorship. When ONI refused the request, security personnel arrived and took away the poster. The group was promoting a new book, Access Controlled, a survey of Internet censorship, filtering, and online surveillance. A witness said, "The poster was thrown on the floor and we were told to remove it because of the reference to China and Tibet. We refused, and security guards came and removed it. The incident was witnessed by many." Here is a video of the removal.
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UN Officials Remove Poster Mentioning Chinese Firewall

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  • But hey... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bsDaemon (87307) on Sunday November 15, 2009 @07:07PM (#30109864)
    The UN would be better than ICANN, right?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      In the age of Barack Hussein Obama, the new American ideology is that all nations and all cultures have identical value. This ideology says that the quality of life (and freedom of speech) in Egypt and China does not differ from the quality of life (and freedom of speech) in Germany and France.

      This foolish ideology occasionally conflicts with hard reality: the security forces (of the United Nations) under pressure from the Egyptian people tear down the posters condemning Beijing's censorship of the Inte

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Toonol (1057698)
        In fairness, the notion that all nations and cultures have equal value has been prevalent in certain quarters (including higher education) for decades... at least in the (paradoxically) more advanced cultures. It's both foolish and dangerous, but it's nothing new with Obama.

        I think people mistake condemnation or criticism of some cultural issues with racism... as if decrying, say, the barbaric behavior of some middle eastern cultures was equivalent to being racist against Arabic people. It's ridiculous
      • by stephanruby (542433) on Sunday November 15, 2009 @11:19PM (#30111596)

        In Germany and France, freedom of speech is a basic human right. Anyone -- citizen and non-citizen -- in Germany and France is entitled to freedom of speech.

        Are you freaking kidding me? In France, you can't even wear a small catholic cross around your neck to a public school, unless it's well hidden under your shirt. And in both France and Germany, books like "Mein Kampf" and so-called nazi paraphernalia are banned (not that this does any good mind you, it only makes the extreme right feel more victimized and it drove that kind of market for that stuff underground).

        And in France at least, there is an unspoken understanding between the press and the government. You don't say anything to embarrass government officials, and you get to keep your job. In France, the government has so much influence over every area of life, it make life very difficult if any of its citizen gets out of line. By the way, I know this because I'm French, I was born in France, and I've lived part of my life in France.

        • by gowen (141411) <gwowen@gmail.com> on Monday November 16, 2009 @03:03AM (#30112644) Homepage Journal

          And in France at least, there is an unspoken understanding between the press and the government. You don't say anything to embarrass government officials, and you get to keep your job

          Right, whereas the "Free Press" in the USA is reknowned for its pioneering investigative work into Government. Oh no, wait, they're pretty much lackeys to the White House Press Office (and have been since Reagan). You can slander the non-US Press if you like, but at least they told the truth about the rush to war in Iraq.

        • by dunkelfalke (91624) on Monday November 16, 2009 @05:18AM (#30113244)

          In France, you can't even wear a small catholic cross around your neck to a public school, unless it's well hidden under your shirt.

          It is a good thing, really. First, a religious symbol isn't speech. Second, religion is a private thing of anyone. No reason to demonstratively exibit it to everyone. And third, a truly secular country doesn't endorce a particular religion. France seems to be a truly secular country to me.

          • by jacksonj04 (800021) <nick@nickjackson.me> on Monday November 16, 2009 @10:31AM (#30114952) Homepage

            I'm actually quite impressed with the French approach to religion in public. Either everybody can show their religion freely, or nobody can. Compare and contrast with the UK, where there have been instances of nurses being told to remove any and all religious symbology... oh, unless you're muslim, in which case headscarves are fine. Oh, and jews are cool with the skullcap. Whilst we're at it, sikhs can all wear turbans. In fact, just take off any christian symbols.

        • Even in US school speech is restricted to whatever the school want to restrict it to. One can argue to infinity whether freedom of speech should be universal and unrestricted , but it is NOT unbound. There are many example of restricted material of speech even in the US (try showing a boobs or yelling bad words in prime time). In France there is a law which say that school are SECULAR and no proselythism should be done. Whatever I always thought this was a very very good law.

          And in France at least, there
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by anarchyboy (720565)

            By the way, I know this because I'm French, I was born in France, and I've lived part of my life in France. Except that you are not right, and I am a french, I have lived there 25+ years. The only point where you are right is that we do not have "freedom of speech" as open and unbound as the US, but we *DO* have a liberty of expression.

            If you speech isn't open and unbounded does that make it compact?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Jesus_666 (702802)

        If a Chinese agent attempted to tear down similar posters in Germany, the German police would arrest the Chinese nitwit and throw him into prison for a few days.

        Actually, they'd probably just escort him off the premises and he'd get an order to stay away* for the remainder of the conference (and possibly longer).


        * I think it's interesting that the German language has two words for this while the English one doesn't (at least non I can find right now). The German words are "Hausverbot" (the owner of the p

    • No us that aren't in the US, definitely. To you in the US, perhaps not. But hey, China owns the US anyway, so... ^^

    • Re:But hey... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Idiomatick (976696) on Sunday November 15, 2009 @09:21PM (#30110852)
      Devil's Advocate here:

      - You don't know what this has to do with UN policy, it could be a cautious guard that doesn't want anyone rocking the boat during the group. Seems decently reasonable.
      - I saw no other posters at the convention. The poster could have been wildly inappropriate. If I went to a dinner about abortion methods for doctors where the topic was to discuss efficient safe methods. And I brought a big ass jesus loves your baby poster to the event it sure as hell would get taken down.
      - Maybe the guard was an idiot... Who knocks a poster onto the floor? Taking it away makes sense, so fine do that. But the fact that the guy knocked it onto the floor hints that he was a bit of a nutter. Which would point to him not being the absolute representative of the UN.
      - Do try to apply occam's razor.

      Anyone else want to play devils advocate with me. The raw emotional responses on /. are a bit worrisome. Lets not all jump to conclusions out of how bad this COULD be.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by lorenlal (164133)

        - You don't know what this has to do with UN policy, it could be a cautious guard that doesn't want anyone rocking the boat during the group. Seems decently reasonable.

        Not rocking the boat would likely involve not making a scene such as this. In fact, the net effect is that more attention was drawn to the Great Firewall.

        - I saw no other posters at the convention. The poster could have been wildly inappropriate. If I went to a dinner about abortion methods for doctors where the topic was to discuss efficient safe methods. And I brought a big ass jesus loves your baby poster to the event it sure as hell would get taken down.

        It's possible that the poster was making a stir. I (obviously) don't know what it said, so we'll leave the inappropriate option out there. But in the example, the big ass Jesus poster would probably be left alone at an event like that. Granted... If they took down the Jesus poster, then the backlash and the PR that could be generated from that would b

        • Re:But hey... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Idiomatick (976696) on Sunday November 15, 2009 @10:57PM (#30111442)
          "Not rocking the boat would likely involve not making a scene such as this. In fact, the net effect is that more attention was drawn to the Great Firewall."
          That doesn't say much though. /. has thousands of Streisand effect stories. But that doesn't mean people are informed of it, in fact the opposite is true. Even really educated people screw it up.

          "the big ass Jesus poster would probably be left alone at an event like that."
          I don't know... If the topic were the right and wrong of abortions and other groups had posters then that would be fine. I think the interesting thing is that it looked to be more of a meeting with refreshments and conversation afterward. Much like a play or concert. If someone showed up to the refreshment area with a poster I imagine they'd be asked to leave...

          "He was UN security that was called in after a request to remove the poster. There was someone who thought it was a bad idea to criticize the Great Firewall."
          Again this lines up with the not wanting to cause any problems at the event theory. At international events the kinds the UN hosts they need to be very politically correct. Certainly allow the debate to be lively within said bounds. I can imagine one side showing up with banners and shit to a debate would be frowned upon. And UN events with many countries need to be even more careful. This isn't an unreasonable goal. And it is not siding with the Chinese, it just keeping the event moving.

          Anyways we didn't even get to hear the spat between the guard and the poster guy. We know little about the event. We didn't not listen to the other side. No matter what the case we cannot pass judgment with so little to go on.

          Also I'm a /. nerd too... I hate the GFoC as much as anyone else. I'm just saying keep it in check and approach this thing logically guys.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Dachannien (617929)

        But the fact that the guy knocked it onto the floor hints that he was a bit of a nutter. Which would point to him not being the absolute representative of the UN.

        Wadsworth: Professor Plum, you were once a professor of psychiatry, specializing in helping paranoid and homicidal lunatics suffering from delusions of grandeur.
        Professor Plum: Yes, but now I work for the United Nations.
        Wadsworth: So, your work has not changed.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Sunday November 15, 2009 @07:07PM (#30109870)

    Anyone who thinks the U.N. exists in any way to help with human rights is insane. All you have to do is look at the list of nations on the U.S. Human Rights panel...

    The U.N. exists to exert and expand U.N. control, wherever possible (just like any large organization, government or otherwise). Helping people is at best a secondary motive and sometimes not even not even a motive at all.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Josh04 (1596071)
      If it exists to exert and expand UN control, it's doing an utterly terrible job of it.
      • by wizardforce (1005805) on Sunday November 15, 2009 @07:16PM (#30109958) Journal

        Let's hope it stays that way.

      • by qbzzt (11136) on Sunday November 15, 2009 @07:26PM (#30110024)

        There are three ways to expand one's power:

        1. Convince people to give you power.
        2. Trade for it, which requires having something to trade.
        3. Use violence or the threat thereof to get people to do what you want.

        The UN doesn't have anything useful for #2, and "you and what army" for #3. #1 is the only option left to them, and sovereign nations are not very easy to convince to give up their power (except, maybe, for post-National Europe).

        • by Culture20 (968837)

          There are three ways to expand one's power:

          1. Convince people to give you power.
          2. Trade for it, which requires having something to trade.
          3. Use violence or the threat thereof to get people to do what you want.

          The UN doesn't have anything useful for #2, and "you and what army" for #3. #1 is the only option left to them, and sovereign nations are not very easy to convince to give up their power (except, maybe, for post-National Europe).

          This very article shows that they're willing to do #3. Sending guards to literally tear down a piece of paper that is potentially offensive to China...

          • by qbzzt (11136)

            I'm sure they are willing to use violence. But for anything that matters, it's a question of "you and what army". The UN doesn't have a military force, it has national military units that the national governments allow it to borrow.

      • Yes, thankfully (Score:4, Interesting)

        by SuperKendall (25149) on Sunday November 15, 2009 @07:27PM (#30110038)

        If it exists to exert and expand UN control, it's doing an utterly terrible job of it.

        We are all lucky that the natural state of bureaucrats is one of ineptness.

        But the U.N. is doing a lot more behind the scenes than you realize, the recent inter-nation secret copyright treaty is one facet of that... people here care a lot about copyright issues which is why you know about it, but how many OTHER similar secret multi-national treaties are being drafted that you and I know nothing about?

    • by socsoc (1116769) on Sunday November 15, 2009 @07:16PM (#30109952)
      Like the rest of the world, the U.N. would like to think that China and their human rights abuses don't exist.
    • by hey! (33014)

      Josh04 is right; it doesn't exist to exert and expand *UN* control.

      Actually, it exists to make the exercise of unbridled power a trifle less inhumane and a great deal cheaper. Basically, it works like this. Imagine we have a country that is so powerful that it can do anything it fricken' wants to and nobody can stop it. Let's call our imaginary country "Upper Slobovia". US decides it wants something to happen. It could go to war, but instead the UN security council sits down and "debates" the US wishes

    • by Anpheus (908711) on Sunday November 15, 2009 @08:09PM (#30110378)

      And our complete apathy towards the largest international diplomatic body are helping... how?

      I mean, at least for citizens of the United States to complain about the UN is almost hilarious. Our previous ambassador wanted nothing more than to tear the whole thing down. Half the nation thinks diplomacy is for little girls and real men point missiles at each other until a vein pops or someone blinks.

      If we want to improve it, we need to contribute to the process. If we refuse to contribute, and then someone in the UN does something stupid, or goes against US foreign policy, we have no room to complain.

      Your discourse helps no one and all it does is promote a helpless fatalism in international politics.

      P.S.: Get over yourself and your conspiracy theories. "Never attribute to malice that which can adequately be explained by stupidity" should be "never attribute to a massive conspiracy that which can be adequately explained by one middle-manager overreacting." I'm guessing one middle-management-esque official in the UN saw the poster, took unnecessary authority of the situation and demanded that it be taken down. When he didn't get his way he called guards whose job is to listen to higher ups, who did as their job asks without questioning their "boss". And the result was a petty diplomatic incident wherein someone overreached and may even get punished for acting hastily and calling yet more attention to Chinese censorship.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Jiro (131519)
        <i>I mean, at least for citizens of the United States to complain about the UN is almost hilarious. Our previous ambassador wanted nothing more than to tear the whole thing down.</i>

        Huh? That's like saying "it's hilarious that you complain about that restaurant's food, when you don't even want to eat there".

        Having complaints about the UN is <i>why</i> Americans want to tear it down.
    • by jmorris42 (1458) *

      > Helping people is at best a secondary motive and sometimes not even not even a motive at all.

      The UN actually does a good job doing what they were designed to do. It is just that most people were misled as to what they were designed to do. Look at how the UN was organized, one nation state, one vote in a world where most were unfree hellholes. The UN is thus essentially a Parliment of Tyrants, by design. So look at it's output and you will see it is actualy doing a good job of advancing the march of

    • by sasha328 (203458) on Sunday November 15, 2009 @10:47PM (#30111364) Homepage

      From the UN Charter (the treaty that established it in the 1940s) as a successor to the League of Nations:

      This is from Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]

      Chapter 1, Article 1 of the UN Charter states

      The Purposes of the United Nations are[1]

            1. To maintain international peace and security, to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace;
            2. To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace;
            3. To achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion; and
            4. To be a center for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends.

      Chapter 1, Article 2 of the UN Charter states

      The Organization and its Members, in pursuit of the Purposes stated in Article 1, shall act in accordance with the following Principles:[1]

            1. The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members.
            2. All Members, in order to ensure to all of them the rights and benefits resulting from membership, shall fulfill in good faith the obligations assumed by them in accordance with the present Charter.
            3. All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.
            4. All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.
            5. All Members shall give the United Nations every assistance in any action it takes in accordance with the present Charter, and shall refrain from giving assistance to any state against which the United Nations is taking preventive or enforcement action.
            6. The Organization shall ensure that states which are not Members of the United Nations act in accordance with these Principles so far as may be necessary for the maintenance of international peace and security.
            7. Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter; but this principle shall not prejudice the application of enforcement measures under Chapter Vll.

      Two phrases: 1- "Peace and Security" and 2- "the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members." define and determine why it is so slow to act and is usually ineffective when it comes to "sovereignty" issues. It's technical arms (which usually don't threaten any sovereignty) tend to be quite good.

    • by Jeian (409916) on Monday November 16, 2009 @01:43AM (#30112316)

      A few years ago, as a student, I got to go visit the UN's Geneva campus, sponsored by one of the various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that has a presence at the UN. While I was there, I got to go sit in on one of the meetings regarding the formation of the Human Rights Commission. (Committee? Council? I can't remember.) During the meeting, representatives from one of the other NGOs in attendance started to hand out flyers encouraging action in Darfur.

      The representative from Sudan was not pleased with this, to say the least, and demanded they cease distributing the flyers. The NGO in question was informed that they were not to do that, and that they'd be removed if they continued to do so.

      The UN is a farce when it comes to doing anything useful about human rights.

    • by jandersen (462034) on Monday November 16, 2009 @05:32AM (#30113306)

      The U.N. exists to exert and expand U.N. control, wherever possible

      It would be funny if it wasn't so tragic, the way certain Slashdotters seem to think, if "think" is indeed the right term.

      First UN: they don't exist to promote democracy, freedom or any other such ideologically charged ideals - UN is there to promote communication between governments, primarily; everything else secondary to that. When things like emergency aid occur, they are happy consequences of the cooperation that springs from the effort to communicate in an orderly manner. It is also a voluntary organisation - nations choose to participate, they are not forced to do so, and UN doesn't make laws or enforce anything, which is one of the reasons, I suspect, why we so often see that countries make promises and later ignore them.

      It is of course nonsense to say that UN "exists to exert power"; that is just one of those sweeping statements that show that you don't know and don't want to know what you are talking about - you just want to spit your gall out on anything or anybody who isn't there to defend themselves. If you want to do something constructive, go and find out where that comes from instead of inventing scapegoats.

  • by Bieeanda (961632) on Sunday November 15, 2009 @07:09PM (#30109882)
    Yes, I can. Unfortunately, it looks like kdawson can't.
  • by qbzzt (11136) on Sunday November 15, 2009 @07:13PM (#30109930)

    The UN prefers the interests of member governments over western ideals? I'm shocked! Shocked!

    Seriously, imagine the Republican Party leadership, and/or the Democratic Party leadership, if they never had to stand for elections. How much would they care about our interests? Now, remember that most of the UN doesn't belong to our culture either. Why would a bunch of government employees, mostly from dictatorships of one kind or another, be opposed to censorship?

  • So the United Nations established under Western ideals has averaged to the point where they are no better in protecting our values of plurality and free-thought than China? Really? Color me shocked, guess those trade balances are more important than whether or not some person gets their head smashed-in in the back room.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by qbzzt (11136)

      The UN was originally the alliance of anti-Nazi powers: US, UK, and USSR. Out of the three, two were western. Now, however, most countries are not western and not interested in becoming western.

      I don't see why the US is paying 22% of the costs [un.org].

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by headkase (533448)
        The sad part is how well the US and UK have been respecting Citizen rights lately. Maybe the issue is systemic instead of an isolated act of stupidity.
        • The issue is systemic. Since torture, rape, collective punishment,and trade in nuclear weapons technologies are prohibited, and yet member nations commit them as federally sanctioned acts (and the US is not innocent, most clearly in torture in Afghan and Iraqi prisoners lately), the failures are clearly system.

          It's just the alternative that's so much worse: can you folks imagine if the current US Imperial wars were not constrained by the lack of UN support, especially if we'd gone on from Afghanistan to cha

  • Hypocrisy (Score:4, Funny)

    by Marcika (1003625) on Sunday November 15, 2009 @07:19PM (#30109976)

    from the can-you-spell-hypocricy dept

    Well, someone here obviously cannot...

    Posted by kdawson on 23:04 15th November, 2009

    That explains it, I guess.

  • react to a poster about a book.
    How do they react to torture ?
    How about some freeze frames and a name/country of all the people?
    Expose the Anglo and Francophone "just roll it" bureaucrats in their respective capitol cities. This is what your tax $ pays for.
    With enough press, they might be recalled.
    Protst the respective foreign ministries and demand a better quality of representative for your part of the world.
    A minister for foreign affairs up for re election, remind the electorate of his/her track rec
  • by Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) on Sunday November 15, 2009 @07:26PM (#30110030)

    One need only look at the "aid" money China lavishes on Africa in exchange for sweetheart deals to buy their natural resources to know why this happened.

    Is anyone really surprised?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by couchslug (175151)

      "One need only look at the "aid" money China lavishes on Africa in exchange for sweetheart deals to buy their natural resources to know why this happened."

      Good idea on China's part, and we should be doing the same. Our rules of engagement will be our undoing, for we do not live in a virtuous world and virtue towards those not of our own culture has no reward.

      China is the superpower of the future because it acts in the interests of Chinese. Their progress since 1948 has no historic parallel anywhere, despite

  • by Concerned Onlooker (473481) on Sunday November 15, 2009 @07:28PM (#30110040) Homepage Journal

    The video itself was very mild in content. A bunch of people standing around looking at a poster that had been knocked down. But the awful moment came when the guard removed the poster and you can hear people actually clapping. It so reminded me of that quote "So this is how liberty dies, with thunderous applause."

  • by NoYob (1630681) on Sunday November 15, 2009 @07:30PM (#30110054)

    "We condemn this undemocratic act of censoring our event just because someone is trying to impress or be in the good graces of the Chinese government.

    That's what happens when you owe a lot of money to someone or want some of their money.

    Up next: China takes back Taiwan and the US Government does nothing.

    Now just remember that when you go to put all those Christmas gifts (Made in China) on your credit card (in a very circuitous route:Financed by China).

    Yep! Now who's the Super Power, again?

    • by 0123456 (636235) on Sunday November 15, 2009 @07:57PM (#30110266)

      Yep! Now who's the Super Power, again?

      The US government prints pieces of paper which Americans send to China. The Chinese make actual useful stuff and send it to America in return. Americans end up with a pile of useful stuff, Chinese end up with a pile of pieces of paper.

      Who's getting the worst of the deal here?

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 15, 2009 @08:19PM (#30110460)

        Actually, that's not at all how international trade works. It's more akin to:

        1. An American company wishes to buy shitty goods manufactured in China.
        2. The American company buys renminbi using American dollars.
        3. The American company spends the renminbi to buy the shitty Chinese goods.
        4. The Chinese send to America the shitty goods that come broken, or end up breaking soon after.
        5. The Chinese have both the dollars and the renminbi, and all the Americans got was some shitty, poorly-manufactured plastic toys.
        6. The Chinese use those American dollars, as they still have perceived value in some areas of the world, to buy land, factories, natural resources and other property in Africa.
        7. The Americans still just have shitty plastic toys and the Africans have near-worthless currency, but the Chinese have African land, factories, gold, oil, coal, and even people under their control now.

        The Americans lost. The Africans lost. The Chinese won.

      • by c6gunner (950153)

        Who's getting the worst of the deal here?

        It depends - if you assume that Americans are a bunch of unreliable, untrustworthy bastards, then yeah, China is getting the short end of the stick. On the other hand, China quite clearly isn't making that assumption.

    • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Sunday November 15, 2009 @08:09PM (#30110372)

      Up next: China takes back Taiwan and the US Government does nothing.

      I think it's unlikely the US would do nothing - but in any case, China would have a very hard time taking back Taiwan by force, unless they decided to repeatedly throw nukes at them until all the Taiwanese were dead. The only way China has to reach them is by ship, and Taiwan does have a significant military that possesses pretty much the same weaponry the US military has.

  • by mysidia (191772) on Sunday November 15, 2009 @07:33PM (#30110076)

    That the UN itself has become an arm of the chinese government, in censoring anti-censorship advocates.

    • by Nerdfest (867930)
      Some committees seem to have become branches of middle-eastern Islamic governments as well.
  • by nurb432 (527695) on Sunday November 15, 2009 @07:42PM (#30110146) Homepage Journal

    Prove it.

    No, i wasn't kidding. One of the dangers of having governmental entities in control of information, and most of it being recorded only digitally: "facts" are a variable commodity.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Hurricane78 (562437)

      Then again: Prove that anyone or anything except for yourself exists at all. ^^

      There are no facts. There is only relative information, obtained trough channels with trust relationships. (How much do you trust your source? And how much do you trust your own eyes? What you think you know is relative to your source and the trust in it.)
      If it is a "fact" (which it can't) is actually irrelevant.

      The question is, what it makes out of you, and what you make of it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Idiomatick (976696)
      ? The video on youtube didn't work for you. Or are you saying that video could have been faked since it was digital...
  • by ExRex (47177) <elliot AT ajoure DOT net> on Sunday November 15, 2009 @07:46PM (#30110170) Homepage
    That's not made clear in the article.
    Also, it was very odd the way everyone stood around the poster on the floor, not touching it or picking it up, as though it were a diseased, dead body which no one was willing to touch. So they called the police to come an take it away.
    Why didn't the folks promoting the book just stand it up again, I wonder?
  • by Gothmolly (148874) on Sunday November 15, 2009 @07:55PM (#30110252)

    When will the rest of the world wake up and realize that China is NOT your friend?

  • Another theory (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 15, 2009 @07:59PM (#30110288)

    Is it at all possible that rather than it being "anti-censorship", it was simply that they didn't want someone trying to hawk merchandise? Is it possible that the witness jumped to a conclusion and filled in the details for what he thought was a reason?

    I noticed in the video that the room didn't have any other posters advertising anything.

  • Roosevelt's compromise to have ALL the countries in the United Nations wrecked it from day 1. The only way you can have a real UN is to have a league of democracies. The only way we would have a genuine and meaningful UN would be to have something like an EU + USA + Canada + Australia, and leave Asia and Africa out of it.

    • Roosevelt's failure was that he actually thought utopia was possible. Only four years after WWII, the Soviet Union... one of the Security Council members... was bankrolling and assisting a campaign of conquest in Asia, starting with Korea.

      The reason why utopias do not work, and can never work, is their ignorance of human nature. You can't change it, and you can't get rid of it, and in governments, national policies are the instruments of human nature. You can no more "eliminate" war than you can eliminate a

      • It's also "human nature" to try and control abuses. Sometimes it works, too. There are people building schools and educating women in Afghanistan, as well as the idiots who createed the encouraged torture at Abu Ghraib. Don't just say "it's human nature" and give up, because there are some successes, such as the prevention of World War III so far.

  • Undemocratic? (Score:5, Informative)

    by mc6809e (214243) on Sunday November 15, 2009 @08:18PM (#30110454)

    "We condemn this undemocratic act of censoring our event... "

    The UN is a democratic organization and this act of censorship is completely democratic. It's wrong, but democratic.

    That should be a lesson to those that confuse freedom and democracy.

  • mall cops (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hey (83763) on Sunday November 15, 2009 @08:57PM (#30110706) Journal

    malls cops won't let you set up a stand in a mall... unless you pay rent and sign an agreement.
    Maybe these guys didn't do that.

  • by kimvette (919543) on Sunday November 15, 2009 @09:19PM (#30110822) Homepage Journal

    Someone please explain to me why China is getting treated with kid gloves? Their idea of human rights is atrocious and a billion+ people are living under oppression, with limited to no freedom of speech and no freedom of worship. They look the other way where child labor is concerned, and they have most favored trading partner status with several countries (meaning they pay little to no tariffs while not gtranting those trading partners the same privilege). Why we're in a race with China to the bottom is beyond me.

    Okay, well, I do understand that is a few politicians in the industrialized nations with clout who envy the power the elite in China have and desire the middle class to be expunged from existence so that everyone is dependent upon big brother, but how do the politicians in those nations justify their actions when questioned? They certainly won't admit the truth, I'm sure.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MichaelSmith (789609)

      Someone please explain to me why China is getting treated with kid gloves?

      Because if they go down we all go down and they know it.

    • by astar (203020) <max.stalnaker@gmail.com> on Monday November 16, 2009 @12:01AM (#30111826) Homepage

      limited to no freedom of speech:

      My impression is that the Chinese can pretty well say what they want, as long as it does not threaten the one-party rule.

      As far as child labor is concerned, I was not so sure, so I googled a bit. It appears that the national government is down on child labor (under 16), but local governments often turn a blind eye.

      Here is my reference:

      http://www.china-labour.org.hk/en/node/15889 [china-labour.org.hk]

      As various sources within the Chinese media have pointed out, documenting occupational health and safety problems among child labourers is inherently difficult because Chinese labour law bans child labour. One newly passed regulation makes the hiring of a minor punishable by a fine of 5000 Yuan per worker (cumulative per month of employ) and suspension of the employer's operating license. Other laws criminalize the placing of underage workers in potentially hazardous situations and forced bonding of a child for the purpose of labour (3). The problem lies not so much with regulation but lack of enforcement. Indeed, despite stiffer penalties, the problem of child labour has only become more serious in recent years. A growing economy coupled with a growing economic disparity provides a fertile ground for exploitation of societies most vulnerable members. Local governments, in a headlong rush to woo manufacturers into their districts are often reticent to enforce regulations against child labour, which might act as an impediment to local economic growth.

      The problem of juvenile labour in China is far too multifaceted to be summarized in black and white terms. To address these complexities, we suggest that further and deeper studies into the root causes of the problem be carried out. We see these root causes as being a growing economic disparity in China, a rapidly changing social structure, and a failure of the Chinese educational system to provide adequate and affordable education to all children. Until these issues are addressed, it is our belief that the problem of child labour in China will continue to grow, and as it does incidents involving the injury and death of juvenile workers will continue. (4)

      freedom of religion: I googled that. Here is an interesting article: http://www.religiousfreedom.com/wrpt/Chinarpt.htm [religiousfreedom.com]

      Not a good situation, but I think the statement no freedom of worship goes too far. But the Chinese government has rules, and we do too (for instance, tax exempt status requirements), The difference is that the IRS does not kill you. Perhaps from the wikipedia article, I note that the official complaint about the Roman Catholic church is not different than one that was popular in the US. Then, again, you may be too young to remember the JFK election campaign. Still, it would seem that the real issue is the role of the Roman Catholic church in the events leading up to the fall of the Soviet Union.

      middle class: I guess the Chinese now have more millionaires than the US. I suspect the middle class is developing nicely too.

      I am not sure how to classify the Chinese economy, but I suspect a lot of the problems come from the process of accumulation. Communist, socialist, or capitialist accumulation has not been pretty. It does not have to be that way, IMO, but the emperically the historical record is pretty clear.

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