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China Censorship Privacy Twitter Your Rights Online

Censorship of Chinese Social Media Is Real, Comprehensive 62

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the byline-redacted-due-to-subversive-messages dept.
chicksdaddy writes "Threatpost has a write-up of a study by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University that provides the first conclusive evidence that Chinese government censorship extends to social media sites like Sina Weibo, the popular micro blogging Web site that many have likened to a Chinese Twitter. 'The study ... found that censors in China delete around 16 percent of the messages submitted to Sina Weibo ... The study, released in March, concludes that "soft censorship" in China — the removal of controversial subject matter from blogs and Web pages — is at least as popular as hard censorship, like the blocking of offensive sites. The result is suppression of news about events or individuals that are deemed threatening to the ruling Communist party.'"
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Censorship of Chinese Social Media Is Real, Comprehensive

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 26, 2012 @08:05PM (#39480079)

    Why is any news of censorship in China a front page news story on slashdot? It's not news for nerds, and certainly not relevant to anybody not in China.

    Anyway, its a fact of life that the Chinese government censors, its not newsworthy or new to anybody. Why slashdot continues to naval gaze at China's censorship policies is a mystery. Stay out of their internal policies and affairs.

    • by Benji Minoskovich (1266090) on Monday March 26, 2012 @08:11PM (#39480141)
      ...said the underpaid, overworked Chinese web sensor as he enters his 13th consecutive hour of erasing individual thought from his cubicle in smoky, windowless Beijing office. Perhaps slashdot has a Chinese reader or two. That would make it their business.
      • by cpu6502 (1960974)

        I'd like to have that job. Bet it's real easy. Just sit in your air-conditioned cublicle & toss stuff down the "memory hole".

        "In the walls of the cubicle there were three orifices. To the right a small pneumatic tube for written messages; to the left a larger one for newspapers; and in the side wall, within easy reach of Winston's arm, a large oblong slit protected by a wire grating. This last was for the disposal of waste paper. Similar slits existed in thousands or tens of thousands throughout the

      • *censor
      • by unix_core (943019)
        I guess I don't really count as chinese, just though I'd mention I'm reading this article inside china without any proxy. Maybe he got sloppy after 12 hours or so. Actually, while a lot of chinese are certanly under-paid, I find that many local friends of mine just work 7 hours a day.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by phantomfive (622387)

      Why is any news of censorship in China a front page news story on slashdot? It's not news for nerds, and certainly not relevant to anybody not in China.

      We care what happens in China because they are fellow-citizens of the world. We want them to be happy too, and have freedoms and rights like the rest of us.

      This news is interesting because it's a LOT of censorship. A few years ago, I was in China, and a lot of people didn't know much about the censorship, some would even deny it existed. It's like the old saying, "you feel free until you want to do something you can't." If 16% of the posts are being deleted, that means nearly everyone is going to be havin

      • it's funny that you used the term oligarchy. I find that term so suitable for most so called democracies. Corporatocracy might work as well.

        As for why it is important. What happens to China can happen elsewhere. It sucks for them and it can suck for us in the future if we're not vigilant. It'd be certainly cool if we could make it disappear entirely.

        • it's funny that you used the term oligarchy. I find that term so suitable for most so called democracies. Corporatocracy might work as well.

          The point of democracy is this: if you want to change the people in power, you can. You don't need a violent revolution. With a democracy, if you are charismatic enough to get an army that would win a bloody revolution, then you are also charismatic enough to win an election.

          With China, it is not clear that they will make a bloodless transition of power. I hope for their sake they do, for "when elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers."

      • by synapse7 (1075571)
        I'd rather know what percentage of twitter posts are deleted in the US.
      • by daem0n1x (748565)

        I get lots of post censored in forums here in the Good Ole West, although they don't violate any of the website rules. They're deleted simply because they're politically controversial. Fortunately, that doesn't happen in Slashdot. Yet.

        I don't use Facebook, but some friends have reported having content disappear although it was perfectly legitimate, just because it wasn't politically convenient.

        Not mentioning newspapers and TVs sweeping inconvenient news under the rug while blasting the convenient ones.

        • Start your own website and stop your whining. No one is obligated to promote your idiotic views for you. Do it yourself.
          • by daem0n1x (748565)

            Wow. So much anger. Did I hit a nerve? Get a cold shower.

            You don't even know what my views are, why are you calling them idiotic? Trolling jerk.

            • You don't even know what my views are, why are you calling them idiotic? Trolling jerk.

              Oh no, I DO know what your views are. You consider Facebook deleting posts to be "censorship by the oligarchy," and equate it to forced government censorship by China. If you can't see the difference between what Facebook does and what China does, then you're either unaware in general, or too idiotic to understand nuances. Also, I would suggest being very skeptical about what your friends say about Facebook. Don't trust them until you see the evidence yourself.

              Also, I'm not mad, this is entertainment.

    • by meowris (1988866)
      Hi, here is a regard from your fellow Chinese reader.
  • by bigredradio (631970) on Monday March 26, 2012 @08:07PM (#39480103) Homepage Journal
    I am glad there is finally proof. I wasn't quite sure that the PRC would be censoring websites. Now if we can just get proof of that moon landing thing...
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Just watch the "myth busters" episode it is OBVIOUS they were paid off...

    • by timeOday (582209)
      Studies like this are for people who like a little more detail and hard facts than "DUH, CHINA=BAD"
  • Uh... (Score:2, Offtopic)

    The story below this article on Slashdot reads Congress refuses to let Bruce Schneier testify. Read between the lines people.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The fact that you were able to read that story below shows the difference between the two countries.

      Congressional testimony doesn't mean much, it's mainly for show, not for getting new information.

      • Re:Uh... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Charliemopps (1157495) on Monday March 26, 2012 @09:41PM (#39480663)
        Freedom of speech doesn't mean much when your political leaders don't listen to it. In China, they simply delete information they do not want to address. In the United states they ignore it, or more often then not, drowned it out by creating fake controversies. I know, lets drag some athletes in front of congress to talk about steroids as if anyone cared. Or pretend like they have the power to ban some music. How about we get some hedge fund managers to take the 5th over and over again while congressmen pretend like they aren't taking money under the table from them at the same time? It's ridiculous. And now the president can even order a US citizens death without judicial review. How are we all that different than China? Oh that's right, we're in debt up to our eyeballs, have no potential for future growth and want to fund free healthcare, free internet and trains no-one will ride with money we don't have... that's how we're different.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          How are we all that different than China? Oh that's right, we're in debt up to our eyeballs, have no potential for future growth and want to fund free healthcare, free internet and trains no-one will ride with money we don't have... that's how we're different.

          There would be plenty of money if not for the waging of wars.

          • No there wouldn't. We didn't PAY for the wars. We borrowed the money. Even if we hadn't waged any of the wars we've had since the first gulf war we wouldn't have any more money, because we never paid for any of them, we just stuck them on the national debt. We are currently 15.5 trillion dollars in dept. Your share is $50k. Think about that.
        • Re:Uh... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 26, 2012 @09:51PM (#39480729)

          Freedom of speech doesn't mean much when your political leaders don't listen to it. In China, they simply delete information they do not want to address. In the United states they ignore it, or more often then not, drowned it out by creating fake controversies

          This is the dumbest conception of Freedom of Speech that I've heard in a while.

          You have freedom of speech, you don't have the right to force people to listen. Which is good because otherwise I might have to read the rest of your post, where you draw a false-equivalency with China, sprinkled freely with fact-free pessimistic predictions of the future. You fail at the basic logic fallacies Richard Feynman warned about [lhup.edu]

          • I didn't address my conception of freedom of speech in my post. I addressed how meaningless it was to have freedom of speech in an environment in which our political leaders are basically had picked for us and completely ignore everything we say. There is absolutely no difference between our 2 political parties. Irrelevent of who is elected in the next presidential election, our president, whomever they may end up being, will do the exact same thing. We'll invade the same countries, we'll spend the same amo
            • by Anonymous Coward

              I addressed how meaningless it was to have freedom of speech in an environment in which our political leaders are basically had picked for us and completely ignore everything we say.

              Well then. There's nothing like reaffirming your own misunderstandings by repeating them, is there. When can freedom of speech be more important than when the ruling class ignores the people? How else can you find out about injustices, if people can't tell each other about it? "The pen is mightier than the sword," a true saying, which is why tyrants the world over suppress freedom of speech.

              And you really should read the Feynman thing [lhup.edu]. It'll help fix some of your cognitive biases.

            • will do the exact same thing. We'll invade the same countries, we'll spend the same amount of money on projects that will go no-where.

              I have info for you friend, the reason we do that is because voters want those things. The day a senator gets booed after he stands up and say, "I brought 200million dollars and 10,000 jobs to this region!" is the day politicians will stop spending money on projects that will go no-where.

          • by kwoff (516741)

            You have freedom of speech, you don't have the right to force people to listen. Which is good because otherwise I might have to read the rest of your post, where you draw a false-equivalency with China, sprinkled freely with fact-free pessimistic predictions of the future. You fail at the basic logic fallacies Richard Feynman warned about [lhup.edu]

            Nice appeal to authority there.

        • Re:Uh... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by poity (465672) on Monday March 26, 2012 @10:48PM (#39481013)

          Freedom of speech doesn't mean much when your political leaders don't listen to it.

          The freedom of speech is MOST important when leaders don't listen, because with it one can spread his/her thoughts, create ripples in society, and begin a movement. When that movement changes society, government has no choice but to follow. Perhaps in this case of your pet causes you can make the argument that society changes too slowly for your liking, but that's not a criticism of the value of the freedom of speech.

        • Re:Uh... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by poity (465672) on Monday March 26, 2012 @11:06PM (#39481091)

          Reading your post again, it seems as if you believe the purpose of the freedom of speech is to beg government to do what you want. I think if you believe that, you've already thrown your hands up in defeat. Defeatist thinking like this is already endemic in the Chinese populace, you can call it the Mei Ban Fa syndrome -- when you speak to Chinese people about politically charged issues, the most common answer is "mei ban fa" (can't be helped), as in "we're just the rabble, government won't listen" Americans would do well to not infect themselves with it.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          America is a republic. The political leaders don't have to listen to you. You voted them in as your representative. If you don't like how they do their job, vote them out next time. Just because someone you don't like got reelected, isn't proof the system does not work. This is also a democracy. You don't get everything you want.

          And this system IS different than China. If you had written those words as a Chinese citizen, you would be eligible for a free trip to a work camp for the rest of your life. The fac

    • by murdocj (543661)

      yeah, that's right, it's exactly the same, all of Schneier's posts and articles are being removed by the USA govern.... O... whups, sorry, in fact there's NO CONNECTION between the Congress not wanting to listen to someone testify and the Chinese government censoring the entire Internet to maintain their iron grip on power. None, Zero.

  • If you lived there you'd know this. Everyone in china does.

      That is why they are less afraid to post subversive Ideas at times than Americans: their posts will just be deleted by someone making 1RMB a post (15c - an actual figure). As opposed to Americans who I find self censor much more as they know everything they ever type is being specifically cataloged by the NSA.

    • by ihatewinXP (638000) on Monday March 26, 2012 @08:19PM (#39480207)

      By the way:

      Net censorship in china is not specifically nationwide. It is done by province. So in Beijing you can read "x" but not in Chongqing and versa vice.

      And again most of the censors are just "kids" really. No Older than 30 most of the time. So a bit more tuned in - and prob better at their job than adults would be.

      I always heard it was between 5 mao or 1 kuai per post deleted. As there was an attempted coup last week of imagine some kids are getting PAID this week....

  • Poetry. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Caerdwyn (829058) on Monday March 26, 2012 @08:18PM (#39480197) Journal

    There is a certain poetry in the fact that this article appears immediately after the TSA/Schneier hearing article [slashdot.org] in which the TSA's silencing of Bruce Schneier's testimony against it in Congress is discussed.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      At least the Chinese government is honest about its repression of "controversial" ideas. We in the USA are just living in the State of Denial...

    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Tuesday March 27, 2012 @04:12AM (#39482191)

      Then you have a serious problem in terms of your perception.

      I am not saying in any way shape or form that I think congress's choice is a good one. However this is NOT silencing the man. He is free to speak his mind on and off line and he does, with great eloquence. He is free to testify in any other venue he is asked to testify in, including the lawsuit by EPIC against the TSA. He is free to write his congressman about how fucking stupid it is that he was invited and then uninvited, and to do so without fear of repercussion. He is free to (and hopefully will) go on the news and out this to the country.

      What it comes down to is congress is having the hearing, they can listen or not listen to who they want. That is their right, it is their hearing. They owe it to their constituents to get the best available testimony and I encourage everyone who is represented by someone who is involved in removing him from the witness list to do what is in your power to ensure your congressman does not return next term. However it is their right to listen to who they want, or to just not have a hearing at all.

      This is real, REAL different than the government suppressing political speech on the Internet. If they'd had his blog shut down, or blocked Slashdot from linking to it, then hell yes it would be the same. As it is they are doing what all to many people do, including you and I: Listening to what they want to hear, not the whole truth. That is poor job performance, it isn't censorship.

    • i wish i could vote this post up X1000
  • Good thing I have access to tudou. Thanks China! ;-) Any other video sites I should check out to get around the censoring?

  • our Chinese counter parts must have a million mod points.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 26, 2012 @09:34PM (#39480633)

    ...just asked someone who works at a Chinese IT company. I live in Beijing and have a friend at a local social networking site - they receive a list of words every month, anonymously, and they know what they have to do with it. I imagine it involves an SQL query featuring "DELETE FROM".

    But Chinese netizens always find a way around it, whether through homonyms, synonyms or even numerical trickery (see May 35th).

    • But Chinese netizens always find a way around it, whether through homonyms, synonyms or even numerical trickery (see May 35th).

      They shouldn't need to.

    • If it is anonymous, cant someone else send you fake and embarrassing one?

  • 'cause I think I just heard someone say "Weibo."
  • The best slave is the one who thinks he's free. Soft censorship is so much more effective than hard censorship. I'm surprised it took the Chinese so long to figure it out.
  • ... before the Great Firewall of Australia is put in place: fuck Hu Jintao and his Communist Party

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