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Censorship Government Your Rights Online

The Chinese Route To a Web Free of Porn 420

Posted by kdawson
from the regarding-babies-and-bathwater dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Despite repeated 'for the children' campaigns, the Western Web as a whole has provided little or no isolation of pornography. This is why the Chinese are now attempting to march to a place where no country has been before: a Web without porn. Recent regulations have included closing down 'vulgar' mobile sites, disconnecting 'obscene' servers, and restricting domain registrations. Yet the breaking news for Monday is that China is planning to enforce a whitelist on foreign domains: in particular, any e-commerce will have to register locally and obey Chinese law before they get whitelisted. Domains will otherwise be 'irresolvable' to Chinese Internet users. Meanwhile, the government is promoting this campaign heavily, calling it a 'fresh start.' It seems the Chinese may have to do without the Internet, before they can rid it of porn."
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The Chinese Route To a Web Free of Porn

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  • Really? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rbcd (1518507) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @01:19AM (#30520656)

    Yet the breaking news for Monday is that the China is planning to enforce a whitelist on foreign domains: in particular, any e-commerce will have to register locally and obey Chinese law before they get whitelisted.

    Where does it say that? Citation needed!

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn&gmail,com> on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @01:21AM (#30520662) Journal
    NSFW warning on all following links!

    So that takes care of wikipedia.org or are they censoring en.wikipedia.org differently than zh.wikipedia.org? Because while an English [wikipedia.org] versus Chinese [wikipedia.org] article may be more "culturally sensitive," there's still some unavoidable images [wikipedia.org] no matter how different they are from the original [wikipedia.org]. If they've never had to deal with the artwork versus pornography issue, they're soon going to discover that banning National Geographic for images of unclothed peoples is just not educationally sound.

    Looks like we've got a new amusingly painful chapter ahead of us for Chinese internet users.

    As a side note, I don't know if we ended up covering this story but citizens apparently can't register domains anymore either [slashdot.org].
  • by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @01:47AM (#30520826) Homepage
    Yes. Go to any DVD shop and ask for "huang de DVD" (yellow DVD, in Chinese yellow means porno, think "blue movies"). They have them behind the counter. They're not that great, mostly Hong Kong and Taiwan actresses. Pretty generic scenes. Funny though, all the male pornstars have small cocks.
  • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @02:18AM (#30520974) Homepage Journal

    I think that while the Chinese Government wants to have the Internet, they want it to be a simple "connect A to B" affair. Working that way it is easy to regulate.

    They may have many problems with porn but one problem I can see is the anonymity it tends to involve. The large scale exchange of image files can lead to the creation of meta communication channels using stenography. The net result is that the social networks within the internet become harder to track and analyse.

    I can understand why that would present problems for an authoritarian government.

  • by Interoperable (1651953) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @02:28AM (#30521014)
    It also probably holds sway over many of the officials who are involved in the censorship decisions.
  • by plasticsquirrel (637166) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @03:00AM (#30521174)
    I live in China, and most of the time English Wikipedia works fine. However, there are occasional times when I will search for something, and the whole site will be unreachable for a few minutes. Today I went to this page: Maitreya [wikipedia.org], and before the page could fully load, my connection was mysteriously reset. I was frustrated, but eventually I could connect again and other Wikipedia pages were accessible. Just to check to make sure there really was something strange, I just tried accessing the page again after several hours of otherwise-functional Wikipedia access. Same thing, and now I can't reach Wikipedia again! And now after a few minutes, I'm reading about other things without a problem. But I still have not been able to access the Maitreya page.

    This leads me to believe that there is a proxy that uses dynamic filtering that watches web page contents. "Maitreya" is a really tame page, and it's just about a Buddhist figure, and I never have any other problems with normal religious pages. However, there have been several movements and cults throughout history where the member will claim to be Maitreya (the future Buddha). There is a section on the Maitreya page that covers this ugly / strange side, so I'm guessing that any talk about cults may have the clamp on it. The way pages are filtered is pretty strange here. For example, half of the Google Images results will typically be missing. This may be because the government tries to only block out image results, but Google constantly adds new servers to host them.

    You can forget about Blogger, YouTube, Facebook, etc. They are all blocked here, but nobody cares in China because they use different websites. It's more of a pain in the ass than anything -- it's not really going to comprehensively censor anything, but it certainly makes using the Web a more frustrating and needlessly-limiting experience for any foreigners.

    The big thing now being pushed by the government in China is morality, and I actually agree with that emphasis. That is, taking the high road of governance and focusing on culture rather than overt methods of control and regulation. This idea is totally in harmony with China's ancient humanistic culture and the original teachings of Confucianism and Daoism. However, contrived morality by means of censorship is not really encouraging people to be kinder, more caring, or otherwise more ethical. It is not going to help people to develop notions of justice or equality, or to nurture individual consciousness of one's own actions.
  • by BitZtream (692029) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @03:44AM (#30521354)

    Really, you'd rather live in China than the US?

    What drugs are you taking that make you think your country is vastly different than the US? It may be different, it may have some situations that are better, but it'll have some that are worse.

    'Freedom' in most of the 'free world' is roughly the same, just different benefits and restrictions, but overall the same.

    The problem I have with your post is you act like the US is horrible and that some other country is far better in this respect. Go ahead, pick a country, point out all the ways its 'better' and I'll turn around and point out an equal number of ways its worse.

    I'll start to believe America is horrible when people start leaving, which last I checked, was not one of America's 'problems'.

  • by wickerprints (1094741) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @07:08AM (#30522218)

    Perhaps you're right. I don't really know because I've lived in the US most of my life and I don't know what it's really like to live in China. But based on what I've been told by those who have lived there both by citizens and expatriates, the Western media has painted a rather distorted picture of daily life in China.

    But the reason why I am specifically responding to your post is that you are basically saying that intentions count, and I disagree with this, especially as it pertains to the individual. I don't care that the US likes to hold up a piece of paper and talk about lofty ideals. I care about what actually happens, and the eight years under Bush's reign has proven just how little intentions are really worth. Everything from the response to Katrina, the creation of TSA, warrantless wiretapping, no-bid contracts, the healthcare debacle...it is all utterly rotten to the core. Time and time again, the law is upheld for the rich. If you are of modest means, there is no justice for you because you can't afford it.

    The goal of the US system is not to uphold freedom. It has increasingly become a game played by the rich and powerful to see who can consolidate more power and influence under the pretense of freedom. Is that worse or better than the specter of a communist state? I honestly don't know. But what I do know is that I do not want either.

  • by Rich0 (548339) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @09:12AM (#30522776) Homepage

    Not just a brother or a sister - no aunts, uncles, or cousins either.

    Your ONLY relations (at least legally) are parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. Or, from the other a single child, a single grandchild, etc.

    For a typical child with four living grandparents, on their birthday their entire family is in attendance, and that is the only birthday any of them will attend that year so they spend their entire annual birthday budget on them. If you ever perceived single children in the US as being somewhat spoiled, just imagine single-grandchildren.

    In 20 years the country is going to have a VERY interesting social dynamic.

  • by thisnamestoolong (1584383) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @09:31AM (#30522892)
    Who says they aren't ready for it? Who is to say that any of this is even harmful? I know that the mantra has been repeated time and time again throughout our society that seeing images of sexuality is harmful to children, but is there any evidence of this? I feel that it most likely comes from the false Judeo-Christian value system that has been drilled into our heads from before we knew how to talk -- the one that tries to tell us that everything related to sex is bad (at least until you are married) and that we ought to feel bad for being human. You could make at least as powerful a case (if not more so) for this mentality being the cause of harm and you could for pornography, methinks.
  • by happy_place (632005) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @09:52AM (#30523030) Homepage
    So your basis of a moral country is their promotion of homosexuality?
  • by thisnamestoolong (1584383) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @11:18AM (#30523884)
    I will say this very slowly for you in case you don't get it -- We. Are. Hardwired. For. Sex. Our ancestors evolved from microbes to microbiologists simply by being the best at reproducing and passing on their genetic information. That means that no matter what happens in life, we are always going to be obsessed with sex. Nothing can change this. Moralization comes off as incredibly hollow and vacuous, particularly to children. The best thing we can do it proper education. Instead of trying in vain to hide this information and coyly telling our children to just say no, we should be open about all the information, and give them all the solid, factual reasons that they are better off waiting for a while. My parents gave me the birds and the bees talk at a very young age, and if they had to refer to a 'penis' or a 'vagina' would use the proper word, rather than trying to hide behind some silly childish euphemism. Kids may not be fully developed, but they are remarkably perceptive. They can tell when they are being treated with respect, and are more than sophisticated enough to appreciate it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @11:41AM (#30524152)

    Uh, gay marriage is banned in China as well.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @01:10PM (#30525328)

    So, can gay people get married in China and adopt kids?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexuality_in_China

    "In April 20, 2001, the Chinese Classification of Mental Disorders formally removed homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses"

    "slight majority disagreed with the proposition that an openly-gay person should be a school teacher, and 40% of respondents said that homosexuality was "completely wrong"

    "During the evaluation of the amendment of the marriage law in the Chinese mainland in 2003, there was the first discussion about same-sex marriage. Though this issue was rejected, this was the first time that an item of gay rights was discussed in China."

    So stop your US bashing and nationalistic tantrums. Your comment is no better than the original tantrum. The bottom line is, most of Europe, Canada and US are much more TOLERANT of gays and lesbians than rest of the world, including China and Japan. If you are gay, you are much better off in the US than you are in most rest of the world simply because you can't be discriminated against and that's the law.

    Simply the fact that it was gays were considered mentally ill until as recently as 2001 tells me China is not exactly tolerant place! As another example, Japan has no laws making homosexuality illegal. Why is it that there is very few open gay, high ranking people in Japan? The answer is they are in the closet, just as the gays of China.

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