Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Censorship Businesses China United States Your Rights Online

China Using Net Censorship As a Trade Weapon? 111

Posted by Soulskill
from the nobody-likes-censorship dept.
angry tapir writes "The Chinese government is using Internet censorship as a trade weapon against U.S. tech companies trying to do business there. China's ongoing censorship of the Internet is applied unevenly, with foreign companies often facing stricter rules than their Chinese counterparts, said Ed Black, president and CEO of the Computer and Communications Industry Association, to the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China. (Of course, a lot of countries aren't thrilled by U.S. net censorship efforts.)"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

China Using Net Censorship As a Trade Weapon?

Comments Filter:
  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Friday November 18, 2011 @10:53AM (#38098944)

    They took yer job, U.S. government!

    • by ackthpt (218170) on Friday November 18, 2011 @11:09AM (#38099228) Homepage Journal

      They took yer job, U.S. government!

      Not sure if this is meant cynically or in humour, but the Chinese government is highly creative and quite indirect when it comes to the tit-for-tat of diplomacy. They've been at it for a bit longer.

  • see how the American Government like it!

    • by booyoh (2511204)
      Is just a new weapon that the US doesn't have... YET.
      • by ackthpt (218170)

        Is just a new weapon that the US doesn't have... YET.

        SOPA: Punish the man for the sins of a few.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by poity (465672)

      This is nothing like SOPA. The only similarity one can draw is that they're both using unethical methods to protect domestic businesses. However, the Chinese government is protecting their businesses from legitimate competition, whereas the US government is protecting their businesses from illegitimate competition (piracy).

      • Re:SOPA in action (Score:4, Insightful)

        by cpghost (719344) on Friday November 18, 2011 @11:47AM (#38099718) Homepage
        What is legitimate and what isn't, is often in the eye of the beholder. Or did you mean "legal" (as opposed to "legitimate")?
      • by fa2k (881632)

        This is nothing like SOPA. The only similarity one can draw is that they're both using unethical methods to protect domestic businesses. However, the Chinese government is protecting their businesses from legitimate competition, whereas the US government is protecting their businesses from illegitimate competition (piracy).

        If you allow each country to define "legitimate" for themselves, there is a great similarity between SOPA and this stuff on such an abstract level.

      • Re:SOPA in action (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Tastecicles (1153671) on Friday November 18, 2011 @12:03PM (#38099984)

        I don't quite get how sourcing labour in one country then exporting the fruits of that labour to another (think Chinese kids putting iPads together for $0.10 a day to get around US employer taxes then those iPads being sold for upwards of $600 or whatever in the States) can in any way be considered legitimate. OK, so it keeps Chinese kids off the streets (laughably), but child slavery does nothing for the esteem of the country, its perceived Human Rights record (I can tell you right now that the UK is no halo'd angel when it comes to Human Rights), nor its "carbon footprint" compared with per capita GDP.

        Pedant point: the term "piracy" has been co-opted by the Entertainment and Media industry from its original meaning which referred to crimes against the Person and Ship committed on the High Seas. The co-opted meaning refers to the unauthorised bootlegging (ie copying and distribution) of recorded works. It has nothing to do with rape and pillage and murder on the High Seas, but it invariably carries a harsher sentence because why? Because E&M owns Government (and writes the rules to serve itself - what would you do in that position?), and E&M controls the flow of information.

        When you control the flow of information you can make people believe what you want them to believe and get it to the point where any oppositional thinking is regarded as delusional paranoia, rejected and mocked by the masses, any repitition of which is further regarded as inflammatory and slanderous. Many of those historically considered as evil (Mussolini, Hitler, Gadhafi, Hussein) knew of those techniques and used them to advantage in ways that would (and do) give DHS and MI5 wet dreams.

        • by fsckmnky (2505008)

          When you control the flow of information you can make people believe what you want them to believe

          About the only valid accurate point in your rant.

        • by poity (465672)

          Firstly, you are conflating moral legitimacy in labor exploitation with legitimacy of having a competitive and distinct product in an open free market. Yes, Apple loses moral legitimacy when they source from exploitative suppliers. However, that is not in any way related to the sort of legitimacy under scrutiny when we speak of legitimacy in terms of foreign companies competing with domestic ones in the Chinese market. I'm happy to agree with you on the issue of Apple's moral failings, and I'm sure we'd rar

        • by StikyPad (445176)

          Pedant point: the term "piracy" has been co-opted by the Entertainment and Media industry from its original meaning which referred to crimes against the Person and Ship committed on the High Seas.

          Pedantic counterpoint: "Piracy" has carried that meaning for over 300 years now. It's a bit late to worry about it now.

          http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=pirate&allowed_in_frame=0 [etymonline.com]
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_infringement#.22Piracy.22 [wikipedia.org]

      • by anyGould (1295481)

        This is nothing like SOPA. The only similarity one can draw is that they're both using unethical methods to protect domestic businesses. However, the Chinese government is protecting their businesses from legitimate competition, whereas the US government is protecting their businesses from illegitimate competition (piracy).

        I'd say a better comparison is that China is protecting their businesses at the expense of foreign businesses, while the US is protecting their businesses at the expense of... their other businesses.

        And of course, if I was in China's shoes, I would be cheerfully putting the boots to US companies, since the US has abdicated any sort of moral authority in the matter.

  • Shocking. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday November 18, 2011 @11:08AM (#38099218) Journal
    This just in: China still operates under non-trivially mercantilist policies; US continues to cede moral high ground on issue as fast as possible at behest of entertainment industries.

    News. At. 11.
  • why do these politations fail to understand this. piracy has been around forever and its not hurting there bottom line it never has. before pcs it was vhs and audio tapes. before those it was books. these companys refusing to upgrade to the new ways of the heavly connected world and offering shit product is whats really hurting them. i just got asked by my buddy today do you wanna go see a movie whats playing i replayed crap. its just there hot butten when there investors go wtf is going on why is your comp
  • Maybe it is time for the WTO to set some anti-sensorship restrictions. Not that what is happening in the U.S. couldn't happen at the international level.

    • Re:WTO sanctions (Score:4, Interesting)

      by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Friday November 18, 2011 @11:35AM (#38099558)
      That would be difficult, given that China is a member of the WTO. Have been for ten years. A quite influencial member at that. If the WTO did set such restrictions, they would doubtless include a vague statement along the lines of 'States have a right to protect their cultural values through appropriate regulation' that could be interpreted as a licence for China to do whatever they like.
  • Tariff the B@stards! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tablizer (95088) on Friday November 18, 2011 @11:24AM (#38099438) Journal

    Enough playing Tiddly Wings with China. Tariff them until our trade between them balances. If we keep rewarding lopsided trade, it will keep happening.

    Plus, the US gov't can use the revenue right now.

    • How about we just fire up the printing press to insane levels and make them choose between rampant inflation or maintaining their currency's exchange rate?

    • Consequences (Score:4, Insightful)

      by sjbe (173966) on Friday November 18, 2011 @12:13PM (#38100144)

      Enough playing Tiddly Wings with China. Tariff them until our trade between them balances.

      That's fine. How do you plan to deal with the large increases in prices of a huge number of goods? A lot of goods are made in China because of cost and it is highly non-trivial, not to mention expensive, to relocate all of that production. Much of the burden of the increased costs of goods will fall on the low income portion of the the population.

      Riding your high horse isn't without a cost.

      Plus, the US gov't can use the revenue right now.

      What revenue? You think there would be no consequences? Raise prices suddenly on a wide variety of goods and you are almost certainly going to send the US economy into the tank again. Tax revenues would plummet much more than any money that would be raised from tariffs.

      • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

        Stuff from China is poor quality and has a high markup. I think the low income portion of the population (that spends almost all its money on rent/transportation/food anyway) wouldn't mind paying a little more if it meant they got factory jobs. Should also help with the government's courageous battle against deflation.
        • Stuff from China is poor quality and has a high markup.

          That's complete nonsense which doesn't stand up to even the basic scrutiny. I've been to China myself and been in factories where they make parts for Dell, Emerson Electric, and about 10 other Fortune 500 companies with well deserved reputations for good to excellent products. While there is of course some shoddy production from China there is a lot of very high quality manufacturing as well - every bit as good as anything in the US.

          I think the low income portion of the population (that spends almost all its money on rent/transportation/food anyway) wouldn't mind paying a little more if it meant they got factory jobs.

          Imposing tariffs won't bring jobs back and we're not talking about "a lit

          • Imposing tariffs won't bring jobs back

            It will, so long as manufacturing locally is less expensive than manufacturing overseas with tariffs apply, but still cheap enough to turn a profit. USA is a big enough market to be ignored.

          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            While there is of course some shoddy production from China there is a lot of very high quality manufacturing as well - every bit as good as anything in the US.

            Sure, everything is made in China, and there's plenty of capable manufacturing in China, but on the other hand, I've never EVER seen anything from a Chinese brand that wasn't canned crap. So one might argue that the Chinese never make anything worth a shit unless someone forces them to.

          • by Tablizer (95088)

            America's comparative advantage is marketing bullshit to ignorant consumers. It may pay the bills, but rots our soul and makes us unpleasant liars.

      • by Duhavid (677874)

        "because of cost and it is highly non-trivial, not to mention expensive, to relocate all of that production. Much of the burden of the increased costs of goods will fall on the low income portion of the the population."

        True, but it was expensive to move it all to China to begin with, and that worked.

        And, bonus, to go along with the uptick in costs, we might well have an uptick in employment. And those poor people might have a bit more money to offset the increase in prices. They did manage to get by befor

        • by sjbe (173966)

          And, bonus, to go along with the uptick in costs, we might well have an uptick in employment

          Huh? Increasing prices will increase employment? What universe are you living in? Increasing prices in the face of competition pretty much has exactly the opposite effect. Burying our head in the sand an pretending China doesn't exist isn't going to magically make things better. Furthermore increasing prices on some goods like steel makes everything you make out of those goods more expensive. It hurts economic growth in a very easy to demonstrate way. There is a reason virtually all economists think

          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            Huh? Increasing prices will increase employment? What universe are you living in?

            If you increase the prices of foreign goods then you can increase the price of local goods. This is the same reason why a family of Texas oilmen would want to make war in oil-producing countries even if they can't get their hands on the oil which is there.

          • by Duhavid (677874)

            "Huh? Increasing prices will increase employment?"

            If the prices on the import items go up, that will leave room for local sourced items to become competitive.
            Never did I call for us to bury our heads and ignore China.
            And things wont get magically better. Ignoring the fact that jobs are in a sad state because we are moving them to China and India and other places doesnt help.

            "Furthermore increasing prices on some goods like steel makes everything you make out of those goods more expensive. It hurts economic

          • by Tablizer (95088)

            Actually, the economy is doing "fair" right now. The rich are doing fine and profits are up. It's just that the middle class and poor are hosed.

      • by Tablizer (95088)

        How do you plan to deal with the large increases in prices of a huge number of goods?

        Jobs are more important than cheap trinkets in my opinion. Actually, the manufacturing costs are often less than half the final purchase price on most items. True, the trade-off choice between jobs or cheap is a political decision and some may want it the other way. Idle people tend to get into trouble, and their skills rot.

        Raise prices suddenly on a wide variety of goods and you are almost certainly going to send the US ec

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by number17 (952777)
      Back in 1998, Bob, head of the US company ACME, outsourced manufacturing to China. Bob loved this as his costs went down and his profits went up. He's now living the American dream.

      Tablizer, says lets tariff them and Obama agrees.

      Bob now has to pay a tax (tariff) on the goods he manufactures in China. Bob really likes living the American dream. In fact he's currently on an expedition to the North Pole. Moving production back to the US sounds like work for no gain. "Raise the prices" he says. "I'm too
      • by slamb (119285) *

        That's a silly argument. Let's assume you're right: Bob has made his fortune, no longer cares about profit, and won't move back. Well, if the head of the company no longer cares, that's a short-term problem that will be resolved by the market. So let's look first at Carol, who still produces things in the US (there are some of these left) and is considering moving to China today. She sees we're about to create a tariff on goods manufactured in China (or even are just thinking about doing so) and hesistates.

  • No big deal (Score:5, Interesting)

    by koan (80826) on Friday November 18, 2011 @11:24AM (#38099444)

    They fear outside influence on their populace, but the truth is China will eat its self politically from the inside out, you can not give your population a "taste" of capitalism and expect to maintain the same level of political control, it doesn't work.
    So rather than outside influences driving the change it will be the inside influences that do this, they went from “Practice Marxism and not Revisionism” to “Praise profit. Praise profit. Praise profit. Praise profit. Praise profit.”

    We live in interesting times.

    • Plus, with their one-child policy they're a demographic powder keg waiting to go off (eventually). Either they are going to have too many sex-selected men looking for women or they are going to have too few young people to support all the old people.

      Not worried about China. Ultimately, we want them to do well. Economics isn't always a zero-sum game.

      • by koan (80826)

        That excess of males concerns me, if you think about it an excess of sexually frustrated males makes for a great army, and the military is something China is growing as fast as their economy.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_budget_of_the_People's_Republic_of_China [wikipedia.org]

      • by anyGould (1295481)

        Plus, with their one-child policy they're a demographic powder keg waiting to go off (eventually). Either they are going to have too many sex-selected men looking for women or they are going to have too few young people to support all the old people.

        Or, they'll just reinvent the mail order bride business.

      • Actually, their one-child rule is supported by more than 2/3 of the chinese population. They KNOW that they are overpopulated. It will not hurt them to have that policy. The problem that they have is that they have been doing sex-selective abortions. As such, they have far too many males vs. women. That is also why Chinese gov. tolerates prostitution. BTW, India has the same issue. The difference is that now, dowrys are starting to go the other way (to the woman's family) and women are considered desirabl
        • I'm not saying anything about whether the one-child policy is popular or not. I'm saying it will create an unsustainable demographic trend.

          • Why not? By allowing their population to fall, they can move to sustainability. Growth is not sustainable.
    • Ah the old trickle down democracy theory. It hasn't worked and I don't think it will. Still it's another excuse to keep our factories over there and our fingers crossed over here, right?

      Right?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    How different is this from the US shoving "Intellectual Property Rights Chapters" down everyone else's throat in every Trade Agreement?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 18, 2011 @11:35AM (#38099564)

    We all talk about how terrible is Internet censorship in China, while in the meantime out own US congress (which by large does no longer represent the interests of US citizens) is considering laws to centralise control of the Internet, in the name of "security" and defending the interest of a small number of companies that heavily lobby on these regulations. This is happening right now, people. Wake up. You can keep criticising China, or maybe you can use that energy to do something about your own country. Or you can wait some years, and try to explain to your grandchildren why their freedom of speech is nowhere to be found.

    • by cpghost (719344)

      Or you can wait some years, and try to explain to your grandchildren why their freedom of speech is nowhere to be found.

      Look at it this way: earlier, dissidents from all countries used to host their sites in the US, because of the freedom of speech. In 10+ years, US dissidents will host their sites in countries like Ukraine, Russia, etc.., because of an out-of-control US government. And some of them already do: we call them file sharers here (or pirates, depending on perspective).

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You're preaching to the choir. Stop telling us to wake up, we already know.

    • I am sorry, but what laws are being pushed to 'centralize control' of the net?
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Well, we already have COPA (however you feel about it, it's centralization of authority) and the DMCA. There's plenty more where that came from. Anything that gives the federal government the power to regulate anything on the internet is centralization. So far things have worked amazingly well in the current model, with Net Neutrality as the first big problem that the industry can't solve, since the industry IS the problem.

  • by IWantMoreSpamPlease (571972) on Friday November 18, 2011 @11:49AM (#38099738) Homepage Journal

    (This is hinged of course on SOPA not passing)

    I see this as a mistake by the Chinese gov't. The american companies should come back here where we dont' have such (restrictive) practices.
    A win-win situation for us.

    Course it'll never happen but it's nice to dream

  • by nimbius (983462) on Friday November 18, 2011 @11:49AM (#38099748) Homepage
    is the only time america cares about chinese government censorship is when it impedes the flow of the free market economy.
    we censor many foreign products from american consumption based on trademark or patent, we censor our media from covering the
    zucatti park raid, and even arrest them. our censorship prevented journalists from photographing returning c130 cargo planes carrying dead
    and wounded soldiers during the iraq war, and prevents us from knowing who presidents like George Bush invited to the whitehouse.

    our system is a revolving door of corporatocracy from which elites of the upper class are bred for leadership, much the same as china.
    rule-in-perpetuity by a single party is really no different than having only two parties to choose from, neither of which accomplish any meaningful
    longterm reform or change.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Stan92057 (737634)
      Your always free to move to The Communist Government Of China if you don't like life here in the USA. For our OUR faults Ide much rather live here. If you don't vote or take part in community government you have no right to complain. Its just that simple.
      • by Bucky24 (1943328)
        Running away (ie, moving to China) doesn't solve the underlying problem. Some people are actually willing to try and work for a change HERE.
      • No your entire post is bullshit of the rankest kind.

        Merely participating in the voting process you are handing over legitimacy to an illegitimate system. There is literally no point in voting when there are only two official parties, and they are both essentially the same with the exception of having a few different corporate sponsors.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Last time I was over there, I noticed Internet censorship varied city by city, and even in Beijing differently from one hotel to another. It might have a lot to do with the local service provider. Also, the service providers vary wildly from city to city. I don't believe there is a unified telco provider in China that provides you the ability to make phone calls in all cities, though that was two or three years ago.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Ask those people who run internet gambling sites who are being closed down because the US is censoring the net.

    Ask Wikileaks about US censorship on the internet.

  • by rchh (658159) on Friday November 18, 2011 @11:58AM (#38099894) Homepage
    Almost all big computer technology companies have a .cn website- for their Chinese consumers. When I was in China, I tried to open Apple's website in Chinese [apple.cn] and it would often not work or crawl. If I open the same website using an open proxy, it would work smoothly.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    China is selectively filtering and shaping its own internet traffic, including that of US companies operating in their country. Aren't these exactly the kinds of capabilities the US wants to give its own ISPs by preventing Net Neutrality, on top of forcing them to pay for the priority of their traffic?

  • Seriously. So what? The chinese gov. is in a COLD WAR WITH THE WEST. They are using economic cheats to win it. The problem is that we have loads of idiots who think that Chinese gov. is friendly to the west. They are about as friendly as Germany was in 1936-39, or USSR was in 1945-1949.

    Look, China has spies all over the west stealing technology. WHen they are not stealing, they simply buy and count on presidents like W to allow them to take it out (just one example from W was magnaquench; that allowed C
  • by MobyDisk (75490) on Friday November 18, 2011 @01:14PM (#38100930) Homepage

    Here, the Chinese government is deciding which businesses will be featured more prominently on the internet, which makes a big impact on that companies business. I keep getting called a tinfoil hat when I propose that ISPs could do the same thing. But here is a real world example of it. If you can filter and prioritize web sites, you can control business.

    Some Web content blocked from appearing on U.S.-based sites in China appears on Chinese sites, he said. In some cases, China has redirected searches through U.S. services to a Chinese service, and its censorship of foreign services drives consumers to Chinese alternatives, he added.

    The latter example sounds much like Verizon (and others) who redirect DNS lookup failures to their own search engine.

  • Facebook. Google. would you allow these companies, who is known to cooperate with the government of a country which is your rival, easy and free access to your national internet ? even americans dont trust facebook for example. why should china.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    without a real China bashing post on /. for almost a day, now I feel better.

  • like maybe have the USN use submarines to start sinking every Chinese cargo ship they can find and sink em in deep water so there is no chance of investigation or recovery, and take no prisoners and make sure the captain & crew all die so there are no witnesses, if China wants an economic war then lets give them one

As the trials of life continue to take their toll, remember that there is always a future in Computer Maintenance. -- National Lampoon, "Deteriorata"

Working...