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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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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @01:17AM (#30520646)

    The Chinese Route to Web of Free Porn?

  • 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].
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by A12m0v (1315511)

      China did block Wikipedia before. I can see them doing it again, and maybe this time permanently. Unless Wikipedia makes a China-friendly version.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blocking_of_Wikipedia_by_the_People's_Republic_of_China [wikipedia.org]
      http://shanghaiist.com/archives/2005/10/20/you_bastards_wi.php [shanghaiist.com]
      http://www.itworld.com/040614wikipedia [itworld.com]
      http://angrychineseblogger.blog-city.com/china_blocks_wikipedia_again.htm [blog-city.com]

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Your Virgin Killer link isnt NSFW because they don't use the "bad" album cover, but I'm speaking from an American perspective.

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

      Serious question here, since trying to Google it brings up too many polluted results(read: Asian porn) -- Is it legal or even possible to buy porn in China? Like, going to a store and buying magazines or videos? I'm trying to determine just how much of a red herring censorship due to "porn

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by _merlin (160982)

        You have been able to buy magazines of artsy nude photos legitimately for about three years now. Anything more explicit than that is illegal. That doesn't mean you can't get it, though - pr0n DVDs are very easy to find.

        • I have a website with tasteful art-nude images on it, among many other types of photography and artwork, and I have had the entire site blocked by filtering companies quite frequently. A friend who works at a government office found my website blocked, most recently. I don't hold high chances that it will be accessible in China any time soon.

          Invariably there is no distinction drawn between artistic nudity and images that would generally be classed as obscene or pornographic. This is a big problem her

          • Parent post is useless without pics! Links or I call BS! I demand you let (the male readers of) Slashdot decide!
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by ciderVisor (1318765)

            paying people per site to find 'pornographic' sites

            I think I've just found my dream job description.

      • 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 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 ProfessionalCookie (673314) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @05:09AM (#30521726) Journal
      I think you meant NSFC.
  • Heh (Score:5, Funny)

    by DrugCheese (266151) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @01:25AM (#30520696)

    Might as well remove all the salt in the ocean while they're at it.

  • Fresh start (Score:5, Funny)

    by syousef (465911) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @01:29AM (#30520730) Journal

    Fresh start today. Hundreds of fresh young....

    never mind

  • by SlightOverdose (689181) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @01:34AM (#30520754)
    No no no, Don't give Conroy and the religious nuts behind the Australian 'Clean Feed' any ideas. They've already done enough damage
    • The commies and the christians are at it again.

    • by Whiteox (919863)

      Yeah. I'm pretty sure that Slashdot will be filtered out sometime in 2010. Maybe the Aussies deserve a special mention - perhaps a day of remembrance, you know - the good ol'e days BC (Before Conroy) ':)'

  • by Nebulious (1241096) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @01:35AM (#30520762)
    This is a terrible mistake on the Chinese government's part. Just because every ruling party member likely looked at pornography as a child and became terrible people does not mean that every person who sees pornography in their childhood will grow up to be just as cold, calculating, and authoritarian.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @01:35AM (#30520766)

    So China institutes a one-child-per-family policy. Due to social and traditional reasons, male children are far preferred. As a result, the population is already skewed male, and continuing to trend that way.

    Now China's blocking the porn? How do they plan on dealing with the ah, excess males? Send them off to war?

    • by _merlin (160982) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @01:43AM (#30520796) Homepage Journal

      The illegal prostitutes do a roaring trade. It's a huge industry.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        It also probably holds sway over many of the officials who are involved in the censorship decisions.
        • I read a while back that the Chinese Army owns many prostitution parlors. I would imagine that many of the officials are also involved.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by mjwx (966435)

            I read a while back that the Chinese Army owns many prostitution parlors.

            First off, there are no prostitution parlours in China, there are a multitude of Massage parlours and Karaoke bars instead.

            Secondly, the Chinese Army, the PLA as in the organisation would own nothing of the sort however the individual officers, mostly the higher ranking colonels and generals would own them personally. The Army as an organisation would have no stake in it what so ever. Now in most of Asia being an officer in the ar

      • by wvmarle (1070040)

        Most of the single men are poor, and can not afford to go to a hooker.

        This is partly because the male/female ratio is worst in the poor countryside (boys are extra important on farms, as they can help with the heavy work, plus the more traditional values and desire to keep the family line). Secondly, women have a preference for better-off men. Women like to "marry up", while men don't mind to "marry down". In Western society we see the same effect but then at the "high end": successful career-women who can

    • by BitZtream (692029)

      Male children are not preferred. They WERE. The skew has changed the preference so that now girls are preferred.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by initialE (758110)

      Coming from a nation full of chinese immigrants, I think the main problem of the one-child policy is that it does not end up in a lot of abortions, hidden children or what not, the main problem is that the family structure is totally broken down. The children are now the bosses, the little kings, leading to an entire generation of sociopaths and socially-inept people. Think of this - what if everyone in your country did not have a brother or sister? Where do you learn your family values?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Rich0 (548339)

        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 som

  • by istartedi (132515) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @01:35AM (#30520768) Journal

    Afer a thorough review, being very careful to make sure that there is absolutely no sexual connotation whatsoever, we have determined that all but the following are prohibited:

    Binary 1. No. Dammit. OK. Zero. Dammit!!! Nevermind.

  • by Phil_At_NHS (1008933) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @01:40AM (#30520790)
    The person who brought this story up is an idiot if they believe this is all about "porn." Yes, in the Tianamen Square incident a lot of people got screwed, but I would not call it "porn." Anyone want to take bets about how many sites concerning that particular obscenity will get blocked by these new initiatives? "Porn" my ass. It is about control. Plain and simple. Control to let the evil murdering bastards that run that country continue to do so. period.
    • by Spad (470073) <slashdot@NOSpam.spad.co.uk> on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @03:50AM (#30521370) Homepage

      As other people have pointed out, China is already openly and unashamedly blocking and censoring political and cultural information it doesn't like; this is actually primarily about porn, which the government sees as corrupting and immoral.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @01:42AM (#30520792)

    Glad I live in Australia, where freedom of speech rules and the population wouldn't put up with this bullshit. Oh wait ...

    • Australia's censorship is awful but at least it's proposed to be a blacklist not a whitelist.
      • by quenda (644621)

        Australia's censorship is awful but at least it's proposed to be a blacklist not a whitelist.

        ... at first. What happens when they find out blacklists don't work?

        Greetings, you have selected a website that has not yet been vetted. To continue you will need to
        1) declare that to the best of your knowledge the site does not contravene Moral Standards.
        2) provide you Australia-Card number and password.
        Substantial penalties apply to false declarations.

  • Repress the fuckin' - Repress the people.

  • Why are they so obsessed with blocking porn? Are they really that prudish? And I though the US were the ultimate prudes (and hypocrites) when it came to sex.

    It doesn't hurt anyone or break down society as near as I can tell. Plus, you can't stop the natural human natural instincts which hormones produce, short of requiring all men to take drugs to suppress the desire (Half-Life 2's suppression field anyone?)

    The ONLY reason I can see for their obsessiveness with blocking porn is that it can be used as the ba

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by DNS-and-BIND (461968)

      USA the ultimate prudes?!?! Whaaaaaaaat? Where the F did that one come from? The USA has one of the most liberal sexual attitudes this side of Amsterdam. Legal nude beaches, legal pornography on satellite TV, 100% unrestricted internet including all the dark parts (and internet porn can get really really dark), as well as unrestricted travel and emigration for those who find America a cesspool of good morals. Hell, all you have to do is go south of the border, you'll find no shortage of men who won't m

  • The web's pretty much all full of free porn.
  • by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @02:05AM (#30520918) Homepage

    China (and the rest of the world to a lesser extent) is slowly moving away from the "default accept" ideology of the free, open internet and towards a network where only approved devices can connect. Slashbots will rave and foam at the mouth about that "censorship is interpreted as damage" meme but it's sadly out of date. The Chinese can and will control what filth reaches their people. Sure, VPNs will be there...for a while at least...but the average Zhou won't bother with it.

    It's hard for a lot of bicoastal Americans to understand - and even more difficult for transnational progressivist Europeans - but the Chinese people really do love their country. And their country has one government, which is the best government China has ever had. Ever since Deng Xiaoping ditched university Marxism and took the Communist Party on the capitalist road ("socialism is not poverty / to get rich is glorious") life has only gotten better in China. For all the bad press the Chinese government gets, they really are trying to do right, by their own standards. The problem arises when blinkered Westerners insist on judging China by "universal" standards. In fact, these "universal standards" have their roots in the Enlightenment...which China didn't have.

    Aaah, kinda lost my point there. Anyhow, I'm no panda hugger but you simply have to put yourself in their shoes. A mere seventeen years ago socialism couldn't even provide clean drinking water and now China is the world's largest market for Rolls-Royce automobiles. This doesn't mean that the Communist Party of China will be relinquishing power anytime soon, though. They still maintain control over the economy via the allocation and issuance of business licenses and the denial of debilitating foreign influences, such as pornography.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MichaelSmith (789609)

      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 pr

      • Hmm. You're coming at this from the wrong viewpoint. Regulation of socialist morality and the regulation of crimethink are under the reguation of different ministries, you see. The bureaucrats that block porn because it is degrading are not the same bureaucrats that block facebook because it allows people to organize. You have to think like they do. The Chinese government is actually not all-powerful.
  • I'll bet SSH tunneling will be illegal, and will be considered evidence on its face that you are Up To Something. I wonder what the penalty will be.

    On the other hand, the Chinese government does like money, and lack of SSL would make it rather hard to move money around via the Internet.

    Either way, this is going to be about as successful as Prohibition was in the USA.

    steveha

  • I think it is time for some Western (particularly U.S.) corporations to man up, "do less evil", and tell China to put it where the sun doesn't shine.

    Let them grow up ignorant, with half an internet. It's their choice.
  • is that with China, there's no pandering talk about "freedom" and "civil liberties." Chinese citizens know exactly what's up, whereas your average American still thinks they have freedom.

    You think this is a provocative claim? It's not. The way the state deals with internet regulation is a perfect illustration. In China, you are forcibly blocked, end of story. Simple, efficient. In the US, law enforcement doesn't stop you outright, but instead they track you only to prosecute your ass later. Massive a

    • 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'.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cowboy76Spain (815442)

      It makes me sick of people saying that Western Countries are worse than China just because they are not perfect.

      First of all, nobody is saying that, by registering, you won't be prosecuted by the Government. If you register, post things in favor of Falung Long, the Dalai Lama, the Tiananmen students, be sure you'll be prosecuted. No need for you to post false statement, putting verified truths that harm no one will put you in trouble. Registering does not bring safety to you, it brings security to the Gover

    • by whancock (1651145) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @04:10AM (#30521446)
      Honestly, I've heard this argument so many times and there always seems to be something wrong with it. What you are doing here is comparing two entities with the direct knowledge that it is theoretically impossible for any of them to be perfect. You then use this as a basis for your attack, essentially stating that since none can be perfect, that they must all be the exact same. What you are missing is degrees. Do you honestly believe that a system founded under the notion of absolute power is essentially the same as one where at least some running it believe in limitations? Where in one people discuss ways to prevent abuses of power, and in the other they take it for granted? No system will ever be perfect, but some are trying harder than others.
      • 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.

  • Calling It Now (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bistromath007 (1253428) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @02:55AM (#30521156)
    In six years, this will be the whole internet, everywhere. They'll probably just stick it into ACTA.
  • So you're going to make other parts of the Internet who want to do business with you follow your laws for businesses? I'm not really sure why thats supposed to be a bad thing.

    Honestly, I'd be fine with that for the US really. 99.9% of the population would be fine with it, not that many people buy outside the country anyway, and you'd drastically cut down on the usefulness of spam links to exploiting websites since they are either easy to cut off if they are repeat offenders or simply go after if they are

  • The Chinese government is just got tired to block every page against it on Internet. So it decided to simply close it!

    One province had lost Internet Connection for more than 8 months and this is just the beginning.

  • by Ryanrule (1657199) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @05:07AM (#30521714)
    I'm fairly sure that if they took all the porn off the Internet, there'd only be 1 website left and it would be called "Bring Back The Porn"
  • by vorlich (972710) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @08:02AM (#30522392) Homepage Journal
    collapse under its own weight. No matter how many IOU's it has from the USA, the Communist Party of China only remains in power as long as it has a booming economy. The present economic miracle in China is a very recent phenomena and mostly results from the simple arithmetic of raising living standards from nothing to something which always appears to be a large increase. When the economic bubble bursts (and it will) the various factions within the CP and the Red Army will carve their own piece of the Chinese pie to the exclusion of all other interests. By that time, the great firewall and this nonsense won't make any difference.
    Then Ikea will invade.
  • by cenc (1310167) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @08:43AM (#30522616) Homepage

    Sorry, the rule that foreign e-commerce web sites have to register with the Chinese authorities and hosting porn is illegal has been around for many years. It was part of the law when I lived there over 5 years ago, and the "porn" excuse was well known cover for cracking down on politically sensitive issues. Nothing that I can see is new or interesting in this report that was not just as true 5 years ago.

    Moderators are letting a lot of crap slip through these days.

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