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Chinese Government Perplexed By Internet Cafes 342

morn writes: "BBC News is reporting, from a recent article in the Beijing Review, that debate is hotting up in China over the burgeoning Intenet cafe industry. Up to 15% of children in large cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou are now said to be using the cafes. The government appears to be worried, and is overseeing the installation of 'information purifiers.'" (Read More)

"In a debate published on the Beijing Review's website, Communist Party officials warned of "online heroin", saying access to pornographic sites and "illegal games" in internet cafes pose a threat to the country's younger generation, who are becoming blighted by the "online poison". It is being said that "Some teenagers are so deeply entrapped by such internet cafes that their minds are severely distorted."

Scholars are arguing against any sort of curtailing of the cafe business, but against strong words like those, do they stand much chance?"

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Chinese Government Perplexed By Internet Cafes

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 29, 2001 @04:13PM (#257271)
    Works for most other things.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 29, 2001 @05:53PM (#257272)
    Censorship in china is very bezare at times. It comes in waves and fashions. And the internet is the latest fad. There is a irresistible urge to control for both political and socio-cultural reasons. Perhaps that is what happens after thousands years of emperors. Yet on the other side, is the great emphasize placed on education and knowledge. Top-down control vs. bottom-up learning. bound to collide. As china try to kill its nacent internet industry through censorship, and possibly through the creation of entirely new private nets, cut off from the world. things will come to a head.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 29, 2001 @06:24PM (#257273)
    Would any (presuming this information has not yet been 'purified') care to comment?


    All your spyprane are berong to us. ^^
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 29, 2001 @08:20PM (#257274)
    Statement 1: China has changed a lot in the 20 years.

    Statement 2: The Chinese government is extremely repressive against Falugong and Tibetan nationalists.

    I don't see how statement 2 has anything to do with statement 1. One problem with Western media that the they give the impression that because the Chinese government is repressive against political dissidents (true) that the entire country is one giant prision camp and that everyone hates the government and wants to overthrow it (not true).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 29, 2001 @09:13PM (#257275)
    So you're saying China has changed a lot since the (ongoing) repression of the Falun Gong? They've changed a lot since the Tinnanmen (sp?) Square massacre? They've freed Tibet, and havent' been doubling their Military spending every few years?

    As much as America when it comes to repressing religions suspected of promoting Satanism (or variants thereof) among our youth, as much as the Ruby Ridge/Waco standoff, as much as our government in handling the acquisition of Hawaii and overthrowing their monarchy, and as much as our current military spending increases.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 30, 2001 @02:22AM (#257276)

    China is run by a small group of people who control power by terror

    Unlike the USA which is run by a small group of people (the media and corporations), who rule by deception and propaganda.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 29, 2001 @04:50PM (#257277)
    It is being said that "Some teenagers are so deeply entrapped by such internet cafes that their minds are severely distorted."

    replace "such internet cafes" with "the internet" and that describes 95% of the slashdot crowd

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 29, 2001 @04:55PM (#257278)
    This sounds just like what the U.S. government is doing to public libraries - forcing them to install filter ("information purifying") software because of the threat ("poison") to kids.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 29, 2001 @04:57PM (#257279)
    What the hell is "information wants to be free" supposed to mean, anyway?

    Taken literally, it's obviously not true. So what the hell is it? It doesn't mean creators of information want it to be free, because there are so many that obviously don't.

    Does it mean "computer geeks want information to be free"? Kind of a pointless statement if so.

    This isn't a troll, though I guess it is a flame. I really do want to know what it's supposed to mean.

    I suppose it just means "information should be free", only stated belligerently instead of intelligently.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 29, 2001 @08:28PM (#257280)

    Curiously, my experience has been that the Chinese who are most connected to the internet tend also to be the most nationalistic and Anti-American Number of reasons. People who are connected to the internet tend to get a stronger sense of how weak China is in comparison to the United States. They tend to be younger and more energy and less sense.

    The internet might lead to the fall of the Chinese government, but not necessarily in a good way. During the recent spy plane incident, most of the government censorship was aimed at people who thought that the Chinese government was too weak and conciliatory toward the United States.

    So what could happen is that the internet could cause the current Chinese government to fall and get replaced by one that is much more expansionist, nationalistic, and anti-American.

    Be careful what you wish for,,,,,,

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 29, 2001 @09:38PM (#257281)

    The Chinese government is a lot less clueless about the internet than people here think. They've tried to attack the network and the clients for a while, but this doesn't work very well. So their efforts are largely focused on the servers, and this tends to be quite effective.

    Suppose slashdot was a site in China. The way that it would work is that the moderators of the site would take into account political factors when deciding what articles to post and how to moderate responses. Responses that went past certain lines (for example if someone posted an article supporting Tibetan independence) would simply be deleted by the moderator.

    Slashdot would go along with this sort of moderation, because if they didn't moderate articles in this way, then the police would come and shut the site down. It's not enough to just move the servers overseas, because as long as the people running the servers are in China, the police can come and have a nice talk with them.

    It's a rather effective system. Sure people could put together a site overseas, but think of the cost? You can't just move the servers overseas, you have to relocate all of the people involved in running the servers. There would be enough "geek news" and non-political stuff to keep the site running and interesting, and the effort needed to relocate everything overseas (including the people running the site) wouldn't be worth the effort.

    Because this system has evolved in China, it makes me think that the discussion about banning internet cafes is actually because people think teenagers are spending too much time in them. The Chinese government has far more effective ways of censorship than banning internet cafes.

    Also, did anyone else also find it significant that the Chinese government was *debating* this issue (i.e. you had people discussing both sides of a public policy issue.)

  • by otis wildflower ( 4889 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @07:43PM (#257292) Homepage
    maybe, just maybe, there are a lot of happy communists and maybe they are all smart and have willfully chosen to be restricted for the betterment of their society.

    Anyone calling themselves happy communists are either deluded, corrupted, or retarded. There is no such thing, there has never been such a thing, at least in the 'real' world (where livings are earned by productive labor rather than by fellowship).

    Socialism or socialist forms (such as socialized medicine, housing, transportation) might possibly be another story, when chosen freely by a democratic society. But Communism (which is Socialism the economic system applied to a Political system) has been thoroughly, comprehensively, and resoundingly repudiated as a desirable form of government, ironically consigned to the very rubbish heap of history it predicted for Capitalism.

    I only wish more slashdotters could pull their eyes away from their monitors and read a bit of history now and then. Even populist histories like Paul Johnson's Modern Times, Intellectuals, or The Birth of the Modern World Society 1815-1830 (which is quite interesting, one of its main themes is the beginning of the diversion of art and science), or David Halberstam's The Fifties would improve on what is a sad absence of history :p.

    Your Working Boy,
    - Otis (GAIM: OtisWild)
  • by otis wildflower ( 4889 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @08:23PM (#257293) Homepage
    talked to chinese people

    Yep, but then again they risked their lives and families to escape Communism to get here.

    Put it this way, even in a democratic republic like the USA, there are people who hate it. There are folk on the street who can tell you horror stories.

    The flaw in your logic here is that you assume silence equals consent. That is a common fallacy.

    Indeed theres a whole bunch of people from the late 19th century who couldn't stand capitalism any longer that they rose up in arms.

    And you've seen where that's gotten them, right? You are naive.. The only violent revolution that has worked, EVER was the American revolution. That revolution brought an escape from "tyranny" (which quite frankly wasn't nearly as bad as what many modern 'revolutions' got their populations INTO) and the form of government it spawned has survived for over 200 years. All other revolutions have failed, both practically AND ideologically (unless you believe that Marx intended Communist citizens to be obedient automatons, which I never actually saw when I read Das Kapital).

    All I'm asking you to do is consider the posibility that things are not as bad as they appear.

    That's like saying (and yes, I may be invoking Godwin's law, but it needs to be done) that you need to visit a Nazi death camp to know that they were "as bad as they appear". Reading the historical evidence over the course of decades is good enough for me.

    The kind of pusillanimous moral relativism you post is obscene and smacks of a painfully naive lack of historical/social understanding, which is the hallmark of modern wishy-washy "higher" education. Read some P.J. O'Rourke and grow some fucking balls (metaphysically speaking)..

    Your Working Boy,
    - Otis (GAIM: OtisWild)
  • Oh, and don't sweat the kids working in factories. It may appall you (as it did me), but it's all they got until things change.

    One thing that these Che Guevara t-shirt wearin charge-card college commies do not realize is that an economy (or society) needs to start SOMEWHERE, and that change takes TIME.

    The child worker today will one day have children, and the won't want their children to work as hard as they did. This forms the beginning of real social change. During the Industrial Revolution, many children worked for pittances in horrible conditions in the US and UK. Their parents encouraged to do so. We (the industrial Democracies) learned that children shouldn't have to do that. So the 3rd world chooses not to learn from our lesson, or they aren't yet rich enough to do so. Sometimes, people have to learn the hard way: it's like how you value something you earn or fight for more than something you are given. We offer the world our example and our results, and let them make their own choices (or rather, we should, though we tend to meddle too much :p)

    Chinese communism is still ruled by hardline octogenarians which will, like Castro, die one day soon (hopefully). We have yet to see any new political thought from China since, what, the mid-fifties?

    Socialism within a true democratic framework is possible, and even (IMHO) desirable in certain areas, but keeping the kind of consensus required to make it work is extremely difficult and IMHO possibly only possible in small, homogenous countries (until people can see through race to remember that we all came from Homo Erectus or even C. Elegans)..

    Your Working Boy,
    - Otis (GAIM: OtisWild)
  • by otis wildflower ( 4889 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @06:46PM (#257295) Homepage
    I know that we all like to comment on foriegn governments, and how much they suck... but if China were that bad a place to live, I think all the people would move out.

    Uh, they ARE trying.. Paying thousands per head to be crammed into tramp steamers run by Tongs to go to America, where they end up either in indentured servitude to pay for the passage or in some INS holding pen waiting to be deported.

    If the US opened its gates wide to Chinese immigration (instead of keeping them sealed tight as hell), even having to cross thousands of miles of open ocean, you would see millions applying for citizenship within a year.

    Democracy is that good. If you doubt it, try living with censorship yourself for awhile. And not just the petty bullshit "censorship" in the U$A.. Hell, just try a brief stint in Singapore and see if you don't get caned.

    To mangle Churchill, "Democracy is the worst form of government ever devised by man, except for all the other ones."

    The USA may not be the greatest nation on Earth, but Democracy is the greatest form of government on Earth, and the USA does have the potential to be the greatest nation.. If only social change were as easy as recompiling a tweaked source file (but then, who writes the compilers?)..

    Your Working Boy,
    - Otis (GAIM: OtisWild)
  • by Malachite ( 8328 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @06:49PM (#257297) Homepage
    China: ...pose a threat to the country's younger generation, who are becoming blighted by the "online poison"...

    US (bush): ...where a child can walk in and can have their heart turned dark as a result of being on the Internet...

    discuss amongst yourselves.
  • by general_re ( 8883 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @06:08PM (#257299) Homepage
    Right. And since I see that your dinner dishes are unwashed and your lawn needs mowing, you have no right to criticize me for burying bodies in my back yard.

    Come on. By that logic, anyone who is even slightly less than perfect has no right whatsoever to point out injustice anywhere.

    The difference is not a difference of kind, but of degree.
  • by Pig Hogger ( 10379 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `reggoh.gip'> on Sunday April 29, 2001 @05:04PM (#257311) Journal

    What type of filters would they use for the internet cafe's?

    Probably paper filters; 'cause that gives a best coffee brew besides Espresso, of course...


  • by RAruler ( 11862 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @04:23PM (#257314) Homepage
    I suppose this is a good idea, I mean, if the people started to think for themselves.. they might start adopted different religions or different political views. Oh my! Yes, we must prevent this terrible atrocity from happening. I urge people not to defeat these simple minded by using things like proxies and other such devices.

  • by leereyno ( 32197 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @04:46PM (#257324) Homepage Journal
    I would LOVE to see the totalitarian regime that is China collapse. I'd pay good money to help ensure that it does. Tell me a story about oppression crumbling and freedom thriving and I'll be nothing but thrilled.

    Freedom is the most precious thing anyone has. It is more valuable than life itself because it is what makes life worth living.

  • Misusing public computer services is probably as punishable as any other hacker/cracker act.

    Internet cafes in China are privately owned, just like cafes elsewhere in the world. Also, with the foot traffic going in and out of these cafes, how can you tell which user redirected the browser to a proxy?

    There have been times when I used one of these cafes, only to find that my browser had been directed to a proxy already. Whether it was set by management or a previous user will be impossible to prove.
  • by helarno ( 34086 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @06:01PM (#257327) Homepage
    In China you have to be licensed to just use the Internet.

    Huh? Last time I used the internet in China, I walked into an ISP office, filled up a form, paid cash and was online in 24 hours.

    Unless you can point to where you got that statement, you are the one making up the facts.
  • by helarno ( 34086 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @05:02PM (#257328) Homepage
    Do all "ISPs" in China hang off of one common backbone that goes through Chinese government routers?

    Short answer: yes.

    Long answer: Mostly. There are four main networks in China (as of 1997).

    Chinanet: Main network with something like 90% of all retail customers. Government controlled, institutes filters by IP address at the main gateways to the rest of the world. The bulk of their traffic is routed through pipes (>80Mps) through Shanghai and Beijing. These pipes connect to somewhere in San Francisco. Leads to wierd situations where looking at a site in Hong Kong routes traffic Beijing->San Francisco->Hong Kong and back.

    Golden Bridge or something like that: Smaller, competing network, with mostly business clientele. Controlled by another govt ministry. Bulk of their traffic is also routed through single pipe to US. Filtering type unknown.

    Academic Networks: Two networks, the original physics research network and the more extensive educational network that links most of the major universities. Filtering type unknown. These network have much more varied connections, including 10Mbps to Hong Kong, 128kbps satellite links to European universities, etc.

    These four networks are separate entities, run by different groups. There is some peering between them.

    For all intents and purposes, when we talk about internet for the masses in China, we talk about Chinanet. All other ISPs connect to Chinanet and because of the high level router IP blocking, it is possible to block off access to well known sites (CNN, NYT, etc). Last time I checked, proxies and obscure sites were easily accessible though.
  • by helarno ( 34086 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @05:29PM (#257329) Homepage
    When will countries finally realize that hiding information only makes people want to find it more? Of course, if they were absolutely positive that their citizens were happy they would have nothing to fear.

    Not really. It depends on how used the society is to crackpot views, rumors and plains lies. Long time users of the internet are used to this. A society that is just emerging from authoritarian rule, used to seeing only one side of things, are not used to this and are easily taken advantage of.

    A non-internet example would be pyramid schemes. The average US/European/developed country person is wary of these things and rarely taken in, though the occassional sucker exists. On the other hand, it has brought down an entire country's financial system. (East European, forgot name.)

    An internet example would be Malaysia, when some idiot office worker sent out an email saying there would be a riot. Thousands of forwards ensued and next thing you knew, half the office workers stayed home fearing the riot. How many millions of dollars of productivity was lost that day? If this can happen in M'sia (highly educated, 97%+ literate, etc,) can it not happen elsewhere?

    We focus so much on the internet as a place of freedom that we sometimes forget that there really is a dark underbelly to it. We forget that hatred sites, anarchy sites and just plain misinformation is scattered through it. Until a population matures, there will be a lot of hiccups coming from this unchecked flow of information. Do you blame a government from trying to at least slow down this flow?

    Note also that the government is trying to crack down only on cafes, not on home users, where presumably, there are parents who will exercise the requisite discipline/enlightenment.

  • Now it's been a while since I had that course on US/China in the Cold War, but if I recall correctly China works something like this.

    Funny. I guess all the internet cafe owners I know in Beijing must be fake, since they were all private individuals trying to make a living. The only large chain I knew belonged to a guy well trained in western management philosophy. He wasn't a party member either.

    China has changed a LOT since the cold war. Please don't base your assumptions on 20 year old data collected by scholars who have never set foot in the country.
  • by ff ( 35380 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @04:27PM (#257332) Homepage
    It's shocking when then Chinese do it, yet it's been happening in North American libraries and schools for years, with any kind of censorware you can name.
  • by ff ( 35380 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @04:57PM (#257333) Homepage
    1. You assume people in China can't go home for unrestricted access. There are many ISPs in China, and the measure in question is only aimed at public cafes.<br>
    2. You assume people get shot for trying to circumvent it. (?!!?!) That is just ridiculous.
    The article only talks about porn and online gambling type activities which is what's being censored in public places in North America as well. But people tend to assume that the Chinese being evil communist scum must have something much more sinister planned. Try to use your head before jumping to the conclusions your government wants you to.
  • by brianvan ( 42539 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @05:48PM (#257341)
    Sergeant Cho: What happen?
    Wang Wei : Someone set up us the router!
    Sergeant Cho: We get signal
    Captain Zhao: What!
    Sergeant Cho: IRC turn on.
    >Welcome to Shanghai Red's EFNet
    >No bots please
    Captain Zhao: It's you!!
    Vinton Cerf: How are you gentlemen!!
    Vinton Cerf: All your communist regime are belong to us
    Vinton Cerf: You are on the way to democracy
    Captain Zhao: What you say?
    Vinton Cerf: You have no chance to survive, me love you long time
    Vinton Cerf: Ha ha ha ....
    >Vinton Cerf has logged out (Network Split)
    Sergeant Cho: Captain!!
    Captain Zhao: Take off every filtering software!!
    Captain Zhao: Move communist propaganda.
    Captain Zhao: For great nationalism
  • The one difference that I can see is that the cafes are privately owned, where as the libraries and schools are public. Instead of the government infringing on rights on their own things, they are infringing on rights of private businesses

  • by QuantumG ( 50515 ) <> on Sunday April 29, 2001 @04:44PM (#257352) Homepage Journal
    So does anyone actually know anything about China? Personally I would rather hear from people who are informed than a bunch of anti-communist propoganda. Can anyone recommend some good books for us westerners to read to get the Chinese viewpoint? The comment about herion above reminds me of a passage in Fahrenheit 451, is this what they are talking about:

    You cant build a house without nails and wood. If you dont want a house built, hide the nails and wood. If you dont want a man unhappy politically, dont give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none. Let him forget there is such a thing as war. If the government is inefficient, topheavy and tax-mad, better it be all those than that people worry over it. Peace, Montag. Give the people contests they win by remembering the words to more popluar songs or the names of state capitals or how much corn Iowa grew last year. Cram them full of noncombustible data, chock them so damned full of 'facts' they fell stuffed, but absolutely 'brilliant' with information. Then they'll fell they're thinking, they'll be happy, because facts of that sort don't change. Dont give them any slippery stuff like philosphy or sociology to tie things up with. That way lies melancholy. Any man who can take a TV wall apart and put it back together again, and most men can, nowadays, is happier than any man who tries to slide-rule, measure and equate the universe, which just won't be measure or equated without making man feel bestial and lonely. I know, I've tried it; to hell with it. So bring on your clubs and parties, your acrobats and magicians, your daredevils, jet cards, motorcycle helicopters, your sex and herion, more of everythign to do with automatic reflix. If the drama is bad, if the film says nothing, if the play is hollow, sting me with the theremin, loudly. I'll think I'm responding to the play, when it's only a tactile raction to vibration. But I dont care. I just like solid entertainment."

    whew, I think there is sooo much in there. Dont we love our surround sound (and our surround light []) the audience is listening, but are they thinking? China, do they look at us, and see our lives converging as an unthinking mass? Do they fear that and choose to protect their socialist populous. Every post I have seen on here so far has this assumption that the chinese are not happy. That no-one could be happy under a communist regiem. Maybe they are not, but maybe that's the way they want it. Unhappy and awake vs happy but unconcious. Is China's fight against free information to protect their populous any worse than the US's fight against drugs? Or am I just trying to beat an intelligent conversation out of a crowd that isn't capable of it anymore?

  • by QuantumG ( 50515 ) <> on Sunday April 29, 2001 @05:24PM (#257353) Homepage Journal
    There may be a few happy communists, and a lot of stupid ones or ones that don't know the truth about freedom or what life could be like.

    are you missing the point or what? maybe, just maybe, there are a lot of happy communists and maybe they are all smart and have willfully chosen to be restricted for the betterment of their society. Do you know? I dont. Do I have to go to China to find out?

  • by XMage ( 57519 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @05:23PM (#257354)
    The Chinese government reaction is quite similar to the knee-jerk reaction faced by Internet Cafe's all over South East Asia: especially in Brunei, maybe not so in Malaysia and Indonesia.

    Nicholas Negroponte points out in "Being Digital" that the next "gap" won't be a "Digital Gap" ... between Digital Haves and Have-Nots ... but a Generation Gap. Basically, the majority of Slashdot readers [people who have a clue] and those who don't [have a clue].

    Personally, I think that all organisations must contend with the fundamental reality: that they operate not as an island, surrounded by water, but as organisations in a socio-economic context. This advocates a broader view, not just seeing "Customers" + "Suppliers" + "Sources of Capital" but also considering "Society as a Whole". So, if the Internet Cafe cottage industry faces extinction, it must do what it should have done a long time ago: OPEN COMMUNICATION with "Society as a Whole". A public forum, in real life and over http would do wonders for their public image.

    On the flip side, if this cottage industry DOES go belly up, along goes the jobs it has created, the dreams it has brought. This is people's livelihoods we're talking about, so let's not forget them too.

    The case in Brunei: [unclued] society has similar concerns of the Chinese government. Concern for morality: pornography & other insiduous materials. If I was them, I would feel the same too ... a potentially damaging technology is inviting my kids to do potentially stupid things.

    But people like BMW still make [damn fine] cars that exceed the speed limit in my country. Nobody complains about them. Except maybe how expensive they are. Contrast this to people like Governments: who make painful things called guns [AK-47, M4A1 Carbine]. I think it's only a matter of time, until people in charge and society as a whole fully understand the potentials of the Internet. Or until the clued generation get old enough, whichever comes first.

    Now, I'm not one to tell other people how to run their lives. [`cause I'm not going to listen to you telling me how to run MINE]. but parents should be the FIRST to encourage RESPONSIBILITY. I mean, mom & dad trust me with their car. And that's a real empowering experience, not to mention a *practical* one. I can go about my business without relying on other people. But I know the consequences of not living up to my responsibility results in: PENALTY and PENALISATION. [Read: prison for drunk driving]

    Similarly, if it's such a problem with kids, who asked you to let them loose on the `net without sitting down with them and teaching them how to make efficient use of it? Dad sat me down, and told me of the ills that could happen, should I digress from the path. Mom scolded me, telling me of the reality drug addicts face in reprimand.

    Granted, Counter Strike is a FSCKING cool game ... but after a while, any moderately intelligent kid with a life and healthy interests is gonna get bored of it ... come on, who's gonna spend a 3 hours in a row, sat in front of a PC playing CS ... ? Apart from me, and you who just put your hand up ... and you, you know who you are ch|cken.

    Peace. Love. and Tux.

  • by AntiBasic ( 83586 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @07:08PM (#257362)
    but if China were that bad a place to live, I think all the people would move out.

    The ones who can save up some money to flee the country do try to get out. They often end up on the coast of California only to be sent back. I wonder why all the East Germans didn't try to flee communist oppression. Oh wait, they did and they often died trying even if it meant the parents died and the child lives (remind anyone of Elian)? Goly gee, I guess living in a country where once found guilty I'm executed within three days executioner style and then have the bullet charged to my family isn't heaven on earth.

    Think about it. When was the last time you heard someone being all self righteous, saying that they want someone shut up because they are profane, obscene or nude? How many times out of 10 would this person not openly say that they are against freedom of speech, that they want what you can say to be limitted, that they cherish the thought of censorship.

    They're called Democrats and Republicans. The Demopublicans to some. I live in an area where the local republicans are putting up stupid laws on certain "adult clubs" and the democrats are saying Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is too violent and is the cause of all violence.

    Maybe they should move to China and see what they think of censorship. They MIGHT actually like it. Think of the people in Singapore... Don't some of their policies remind you of your mother?

    The Nazi's and Soviets remind me of my mother. The Soviet used to airbrush out in photoes comrades who had "fallen" and then eliminate documents of their existence. Remind that crappy film Enemy at the Gates? What they don't tell you in that pinko film is after the war, the Soviet hero is sent to prison for 20 years for saying politically unfavorable things. Censorship is great! I like it. You say something I don't like I'll tell Big Brother and you go to a gulag for eternity.

    The world is a place burgeoning with different ideas and people. Some people don't like to be around people with different ideas.

    Whine whine whine. The world is also burgeoning with people like Kruschev, Pol Pot, Mao and Hitler. Nyah, lets let them continue to take away freedoms for the sake of diversity. I'm still trying to figure out who benefits because of diversity? I want quality not quantity. Try to use an ounce of logic in your reasoning.

  • by AntiBasic ( 83586 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @07:32PM (#257363)
    Dissident Harry Wu on China []
  • by willis ( 84779 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @05:07PM (#257366) Homepage
    last time I was in Beijing (ok, 1.5 years ago), slashdot came through fine.

  • by willis ( 84779 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @05:30PM (#257367) Homepage
    (disclosure, IANACN (I am not a Chinese national))

    There's a lot of stuff going on in China right now, a lot.

    Xiagang (off of post)

    Tons of people have been laid off by SOE (state owned enterprises), and don't have a viable source of income. This people are were the bulk of the current unrest is coming from (protests in small cities, usually not heard of in the western media).

    Liumin (migrant workers)

    Lots of people are moving from the countryside to find work in the big cities/coastal areas. They live in pretty crappy situations, and work crazy hours at construction sites or in factories.

    wang ba (internet "bar"/cafe)

    When I last visited (a bit more than a year ago), even relatively small cities (on the order of Portland or Omaha(?)) had a good chance of having an internet bar. Lots of college students had web access (although often just access to internal Chinese sites -- because it costs more money to access international lines). China has 1.x billion people, most are in the coutryside. Most don't use computers. Even with 15 million internet users, that's hardly more than a percent or 2. Thing will change fast, but I don't think that the average farmer is going to be surfing for a long, long time.

    News sites

    Voices of Chinese [] has China headlines from lots of newspapers both US and Chinese.

    China News Digest [] an old volunteer run news site.

    China Online [] mainly economic/finance news.

    Inside China [] political news

    Good book

    River Town [] talks about a man's experiences in teaching English in rural China. Very, very insightful stuff about what the non-big city/coastal life is like.

    Damn, I'll probably post more later on tonight -- I didn't get into what I think the Chinese are thinking about, etc, but I'll get to it.

    Lastly: I'm really sick of china-haters on slashdot. There's a lot of problems about China, but there are really no easy solutions.

  • by MillMan ( 85400 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @04:33PM (#257369)
    I've been wondering for some time now how China plans to expand it's economy in the information age with such serious controls on information flow.

    The Chinese government seems to be doing the same thing the Soviet Union did, leading up to it's demise (at least from an economic standpoint). With such controls on information (you needed three signatures in the old USSR to use a copier if I remember correctly), I'm not sure it's possible to compete in the global marketplace, at least beyond basic manufacturing. At least China didn't make the mistake of pumping all it's resources into military and heavy industries like the USSR. China does have some silicon fabs, so they do have a bit of a high tech presence.

    The other tactic of stealing technology didn't really work for the USSR either. A copy is never as good as the original, and without a scientific knowledge base you'll never be able to improve on the technology you stole. This might not seem to fit in with this article, but perhaps China wouldn't have to be in the reverse engineering business quite as much as it is if they heavily funded academic institutions and allowed them to operate freely like they do in the US. Yes, I know the notion of Universities operating freely is a relative term in the US.

    Does anyone have an idea how they can go beyond umbrella manufacturing with their current social setup?
  • by MillMan ( 85400 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @05:47PM (#257370)
    I think you're right about the cycle you described. Basically the same thing that happened here in the US, during the late 19th and early 20th century.

    The cost of progress was high enough here, with lives lost, opression, and all the rest, but in China, the price will be staggering. I can't even imagine the number of people that will die if opposition to their government becomes widespread at some point in time. In the US the opposition to rights of the common man was more corporate/capitalist in nature, not government based. That's an oversimplified comment, but I think it's generally true. The businesses didn't have the weapons, or a majority of them, anyway. The US government likes to keep the rabble in line, for sure, but not to the point of mass murdering the citizens, as China really wouldn't have a problem with (how the US treats citizens of other nations is a different matter, however).

    In China, the government is the business, and they have the weapons. Lots of powerful, mass destruction weaponry. This clash you desribe between the government trying to open society while trying to keep it closed could lead to a wild, terrifying ride this century. If humanity shows that it is worthy of survival anytime soon, I think this proof will come out of China. I don't expect too much from our citizens living easy lives here in the first world.
  • by Ukab the Great ( 87152 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @04:29PM (#257371)
    Somehow I can forsee a burgeoning market for communist-themed porn
  • by jimmcq ( 88033 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @08:09PM (#257374) Journal

    Triangle Boy is a free peer-to-peer application that bypasses firewalls and other mechanisms that attempt to block access to SafeWeb. Users who are currently blocked from directly accessing SafeWeb (or any other site) will be able to access it indirectly through any other computer running Triangle Boy. []

    SafeWeb allows you to connect your computer to the Web through a secure, private pipe. SafeWeb encrypts all data sent and received, making it impossible for anyone to pry into your online activity. In addition, since your computer does not connect directly to any servers other than ours, no Web site you visit can obtain information about you that you do not specifically allow to pass through our SafeWeb server.

    Yeah, yeah, it sounds like marketing stuff, but it's all I could find to cut-and-paste. :) Try it! You'll like it!
  • Dear Slashdotter:

    Thank you for the nice list of public proxy servers. Their IP's will now be banned.


    The Chinese Government

  • by Julian352 ( 108216 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @04:21PM (#257391)
    What type of filters would they use for the internet cafe's?
    Normal filters would have to be updated extremely often with the list of blocked site, since it is so easy to create one. Or would they use reverse logic and give a list of allowed sites, with the person having to petition for each specific site. This would destroy any real use of internet.
  • by RestiffBard ( 110729 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @05:34PM (#257392) Homepage
    I can recommend at least one good book to you that i have read and one i haven't had time to read.

    book 1: The Courage To Stand Alone
    Wei Jingsheng

    book 2: Soul Mountain
    Gao Xingjian

    book 1 are the collected letters of Wei that he wrote while in prison for twenty years. he made a poster about democracy and put it on a wall. Thats all he did. He only recently was released after years of pressure from groups like amnesty international.

    book 2 is a nobel winner for literature though the book is based on the authors real life. it should give you a good feel for the real chinese. I'm still reading it. beautiful stuff. you can pick them both up at Barnes and Noble.
  • by tftp ( 111690 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @07:39PM (#257393) Homepage
    Marx did not approve of the Soviet revolution at the time it occurred.

    Sure he didn't. He was dead for 32 years!

  • by .Tacitus. ( 127466 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @07:31PM (#257401) Homepage
    How do you keep several billion people from killing each other over limited resources and space?

    The People's Republic of China has their ways and we may disagree with them but does the rice farmer really care about free speach? Isn't he/she completely happy in their own little world?

    Chinease government folks know that if their people start longing for more and more of western culture their country will end in ruin... think about 2 billion people and the energy and other resources they would need to have half of the toys you do.

    One side of me says, "stop projecting western values on the rest of the world." The other side would like to see a true global economy with truly open economies and world government... not in my lifetime...


  • by Jagasian ( 129329 ) on Monday April 30, 2001 @12:04AM (#257402)
    Filters/censorware for libraries, schools, and Universities
  • by porky_pig_jr ( 129948 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @04:51PM (#257403)
    before we start laughing at Chinese check all the information purifiers in United States and especially in UK. Remember that 1984 wasn't just a satire on Communism. It was rather accurate prediction to where the whole world is going, including so-called 'western democracies'.
  • by morn ( 136835 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @04:32PM (#257406) Homepage
    I wonder if any of them are [able to be] reading this?

    Would any (presuming this information has not yet been 'purified') care to comment?


  • by efuseekay ( 138418 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @06:52PM (#257408)
    An internet example would be Malaysia, when some idiot office worker sent out an email saying there would be a riot. Thousands of forwards ensued and next thing you knew, half the office workers stayed home fearing the riot. How many millions of dollars of productivity was lost that day? If this can happen in M'sia (highly educated,97%+ literate, etc,) can it not happen elsewhere?

    Except that you can blame the government for sowing the seeds of distrust in the minds of the population by feeding them filtered news. The irony is that the population is smart enough to see through the crap spewed out by the government, but not smart enough to see through the crap spewed out by the Internet.

    Oh well. Rant over. Back to work.
  • by TomV ( 138637 ) on Monday April 30, 2001 @03:21AM (#257409)
    What the hell is "information wants to be free" supposed to mean, anyway?

    It's a partial quote from a paper by Stewart Brand of MIT Media Lab, presented at the first Hackers' Conference in 1984. Restated in Brand's 'The Media Lab: Inventing the Future at MIT', ISBN 0140097015, published by Viking Penguin in 1987.

    The full quote runs:

    "Information Wants To Be Free. Information also wants to be expensive. Information wants to be free because it has become so cheap to distribute, copy, and recombine---too cheap to meter. It wants to be expensive because it can be immeasurably valuable to the recipient. That tension will not go away. It leads to endless wrenching debate about price, copyright, 'intellectual property', the moral rightness of casual distribution, because each round of new devices makes the tension worse, not better."
    I can't think of the last time anyone posted to /. that Information wants to be expensive.

    A more accurate rendition might therefore be "I want information to be free"

    And if that's flamebait, then mod Stewart Brand down, not me.


  • by daemonc ( 145175 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @08:43PM (#257411)
    Slashdot should be the first on the list for the Information Purification Filters.

    Otherwise, billions of Chinese children will grow up thinking that phrases like "hotting up" are standard English.

    Then when they finally invade America, we will all be forced to communicate in a language that sounds like the characters from Zero Wing.
  • by Meat Eater ( 145335 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @08:38PM (#257418)
    that and "People's Liberation Army" I mean, who are they liberating??? are they "liberating" free thought from the general population or what?? It's not like they are a revolutionary army or something

    The PLA was formed back in the heyday when China was divided into separate "spheres of influence" by Europe, Japan, and the U.S. The "people's" refers to the Chinese, the "liberation" refers to the liberation of China from imperial forces, and you know what army stands for (if you don't, then you're really stupid.

  • by BitwizeGHC ( 145393 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @09:35PM (#257420) Homepage
    If Marxism is to exist at all, then it would have to be imposed from above. Marxism is not viable in a free society. Marx was right, however, in one thing: that pure capitalism is equally doomed. America is not a purely capitalist society, though it has become more so, and the capitalists try to convince you that it is to justify their greed. "It's capitalism; that's what makes America great!" BS. What makes America great is the concept of individual political/social/economic liberty, and that's something I think all humans can appreciate to some extent.

    I think we have a lot more reason to worry about certain American capitalists than the Chinese communists; especially given how fond the former are of exploiting the latter.
  • by EschewObfuscation ( 146674 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @06:40PM (#257423) Journal
    A little over a decade ago, the West was convinced that Communism in China was at an end. When the students gathered in Tiananmen Square, we thought that there was no way the Chinese government could step in to stop them, and that they'd tumble down and be replaced by liberal democracy.

    Tiananmen Square demonstrated the ruthlessness of the Chinese government. They demonstrated that absolute control over their citizens was more important than economic considerations (of course, we in the West did nothing to hold them accountable for their actions, but they must have at least known what they were risking).

    Yes, China does need modern technology to survive and grow, and yes, modern technology means the Internet. They're going to do all they can to have their cake and eat it, too, but when the chips are down and they feel they have to make a choice... well, they've already demonstrated exactly where their position lies.

    I, for one, would put nothing past them. Arrest and/or execute enough people and you can pretty much get away with anything. Combine police-state tactics against ISPs and Internet Cafes with heavy technological monitoring, and you can sew the place up pretty tightly...

    (email addr is at acm, not mca)
    We are Number One. All others are Number Two, or lower.

  • by TwP ( 149780 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @06:39PM (#257424) Homepage
    On the other hand, it has brought down an entire country's financial system. (East European, forgot name.)

    That country is Albania. The government and general citizenry invested heavily in pyramid schemes in the early 90's after the fall of communism. The pyramid schemes went belly-up around 96, and a general rebellion started in the north and spread south to the capital, Tirana. The old government was ousted and a new one put in place. They have not been in the headlines too much lately.

  • by JiNG ( 149991 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @05:49PM (#257425)
    I wonder how accurate the translation to "information purification" actually is. We can assume that the original article wasn't written in English and thus had to be translated at some point. It's very easy for a translator working for a news agency to soup up the story by translating something to make it seem much more odious that it truly is. I'm not saying that I agree or disagree with what China intends to do, but the words "information purification" seem like they're a bit too contrived and Western/anti-communistic to me. I'd guess that the true meaning of what was written was closer to "regulation" which clearly has a less 1984ish ring to it. What are everyone else's thoughts?
  • by TVmisGuided ( 151197 ) <> on Sunday April 29, 2001 @04:30PM (#257426) Homepage

    "People's Republic of China" it just me, or does that name strike anyone else as a severe oxymoron? (Sort of like "Microsoft Works"... *THWACK* okay, I'll shut up now...)

  • by SuuSt ( 151462 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @05:11PM (#257427) Homepage Journal
    As an amateur China scholar (at the University level at least), I can at the least point you to a few good books. First I'll say that for the most part the urban Chinese are not unhappy. What they are is quiet. The ones who are unhappy are loud. Thats why it seems like everyone there hates communism. I would guess that the number of people there who dislike the Chinese government is approximately the same as the number of peole in America who hate the American government. The Chinese are quite nationalistic, and for the most part feel that certain sacrifices (like freedom of information) are necessary for the betterment of China. You need only look at the Great Leap Forward or especially the cultural revolution to see this.
    Now, as for the books, I would highly recommend (in order or worth)

    The China Reader edited by Orville Schell and David Shambaugh. Its a collection of scholarly articals about various modern China subjects (its not right or left wing propoganda [for the most part]).

    Governing China by Kenneth Lieberthal. Its part history, part discussion of culture as it relates to China from the Nationalist era (around 1920-1949) through the present.

    The previous two were basically textbooks, the final one is an autobiography of the Cultural Revolution titeled Born Red by Gao Yuan. Its discussion of the Cultural Revolution gives great insight into both the urban chinese and the chinese peasantry and how easily they can be manipulated into following mass campaigns.

    In order to understand modern China's culture (not necesserily their economy), you really have to understand Mao. I can't say that I do as Mao is a very confusing man whose motives are often difficult to discerne. However, that is certainly the place to start.

    Anyway, hope you check out at least one of the books, the Lieberthal book is the only one thats a bit heady, the other two are pretty easy reads.

  • That was my first response, years ago, when the WTO was first becoming the "Vietnam of our Generation". That there was no way to keep the world broken into provinces, so why try?

    Well, the fact of the matter is that the WTO wants to brake down national borders, but only in certain ways for certain people.

    I am perhaps more ignorant on this subject then I should be, but I have been told that (for example) the WTO is trying to make a law that makes it easier for business executives to cross national borders for business purposes, but it doesn't give that same protection to journalists, or political activists\observers. Now of course it could be argued that one is for business purposes and one is political, but realistically, some of those business executives are going to be spreading political influence, either directly or indirectly. So basically what the WTO is doing in this example is opening borders for some but not for others.

    I don't buy the whole thing about the WTO being a human rights\free speech treaty. If people wanted a treaty to ensure human rights or free speech, why not just write a treaty ensuring those things instead of a treaty allowing corporations and goverments to sue other governments over health and safety laws? Because no one is going to sign the human rights treaty that hasn't already.

    If we want a treaty that sets standards for fair exchange of information, money and people across borders, lets all get together and write that treaty, not let a few corporations and other 31337 people get together in secret and decide what these standards will be.

  • Two points:

    1. Not all free-trade opponents are anarchists throwing beer bottles. The statistical percentage of free-trade advocates who fit this description is probably about the same as the amount of Linux users who are script kiddies.
    2. Businesses all competing against each other? Remember Adam Smith, the inventor of the theory of free market economies, wrote : "Whenever competitors meet together, they quickly become conspirators" or words to that effect. The largest companies in the world can compete against each other for labor and markets, or they can call up good ol' Donny from Stanford and make an agreement not to undercut each other in wages and prices. Which do they think they will do? Probably both, but in either case they will have the ability to do either.
  • by motek ( 179836 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @04:37PM (#257435) Homepage
    Oh, c'mon. Does the obvious need to be stated? Of course, they are concerned with people finding the truth on a some serious issue more then with kids accessing porn. Or rather, they are afraid, some youngster might find, there *are* points of view other then the right one, as hold by the regime. And they cannot state their intentions clearly. That could defeat the purpose. -m-
  • It is being said that "Some teenagers are so deeply entrapped by such internet cafes that their minds are severely distorted."

    I wonder if any non-/. readers will notice how much this sounds like the rhetoric that the pro-censorship crowd uses to get people in this country to support legislation that would attempt to censor the internet. Compare it to W.'s "hearts going dark" quote from the presidential debates.

    Why is it that when China tries to control free speech, we can see it as oppression and tyranny, but when our leaders try to do the same exact thing we applaud them for trying to be moral, clean up smut, and save the children?

  • by Daemosthenes ( 199490 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @04:39PM (#257444)
    Then again, if we were actually to talk about how to get things done, the most probable course of action would be to go through a relevant international body, as the Chinese government wouldn't give a damn about what you said they were doing.

    So, let's assume we try to work with the UN to get something accomplished. Let's say we go through the UN Commision on Science and Technology. In the United Nations, and, in fact, all international multi-lateral bodies, there is a thing called National Sovreignty. The gist of it is that, because each of these International Bodies is voluntary, each country reserves the right to do whatever it wants. Usually, it is in the country's best interest to go along with the international body. However, if China does not want to accept our terms and allow Chinese citizens to access the internet, they certainly don't have to. The UN Commission on SciTech has no power to violate national sovreignty and enforce it's new regulations for China. Sorry to crush any idealistic hopes, but that's pretty much how it all works...

    (By the way, Model UN was invaluable in the preparation of this topic)

  • by Daemosthenes ( 199490 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @05:20PM (#257445)
    "Proper censorship" usually does do a great job in blocking just about every legit site you want to go to.

    The other day, I was trying to find a nice console based mail program to use at school (don't ask why I didn't just use sendmail). I fired up netscape, and headed over to

    At the time, I was in the computer systems lab, our fairly nice all-Linux lab full of dual celerons. Until recently, we had enjoyed unrestricted access while the rest of the (windows-driven) school network had to be filtered. However, the administration got to our dedicated line as well, and before you know it, I couldn't access

    Yes, the name is not really condusive to being a software site, but it's just merely another example of good sites being blocked by bad censorware.

  • I seriously think that Chinese governmental "information purification" wouldn't really have a great effect. Chinese citizens could just use public proxy servers [] or a host of other tools to circumvent any attempt the chinese government were to make.

    Perhaps the only real step the Chinese government could take would be to "purify" the cafés in earnest, or, in other words, get rid of them completely.

  • by Ergo2000 ( 203269 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @05:05PM (#257447) Homepage

    While the lines are a little more blurred in China (where public versus commercial is a little more convoluted), over here the libraries and schools are supported by taxes and as such the idea that they're being used for porn surfing or bomb building techniques offends most taxpayers who already see too much of their money wasted. The same idea goes for why it isn't generally appreciated when public parks are used for orgies, etc.

    However in your own home or in commercial businesses : As long as they think it's okay then go nuts. Unfortunately there are some ridiculously controlling laws (i.e. any law related to victimless crime), but overall you have freedom.

  • by Ergo2000 ( 203269 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @04:31PM (#257448) Homepage

    Is there anyone out there who's aware of how the Chinese net infrastructure works? i.e. Do all "ISPs" in China hang off of one common backbone that goes through Chinese government routers? If so it seems like it'd be very simple to control the content (albeit thinking of the bandwidth used by 1.2 billion people...that would be pretty extravagant). Who peers with the Chinese connections?

  • by Jaysyn ( 203771 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @04:58PM (#257450) Homepage Journal
    "Well, enough of a rant for now. Who wants to start bombing Bejing with old 386s.... anyone?"

    Yes, and don't forget to drop the Freenet setup diskettes with them...

  • by phaze3000 ( 204500 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @11:35PM (#257451) Homepage
    (Before I being I realise that posting this on slashdot isn't going to have any actual effect on their policies, but I feel the points need to be made anyway)

    As someone who would describe myself as a socialist I have to say that actions such as this sadden me. I do not disagree that there is much pro-captialist propaganda and even out-right lies that are spread by the Western media. But the best possible way to fight this is by putting across a counter-argument. Did not the writings of Marx constantly draw on the writings of capitalist writers (Adam Smith for example)?
    By stopping the Chinese people from reading Western propoganda, no matter how ridiculous ('We didn't mean to bomb the Chinese embassy, it was an accident!'), you serve only to lend these stories credibility. After all, the argument goes, if the stories are untrue, why should the government be so afraid of them?
    If China is to become the utopia that Marx wrote of, heavy-handed tactics like this must be abandoned. The key to winning the minds of the general public lies within education, and I would urge the Chinese government to use their efforts instead in improving the Chinese education system. If you truly belive in international soclialism you will see that there is nothing to fear from opposing arguments.


  • by agentZ ( 210674 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @05:15PM (#257456)
    And even beyond that, it's sad how the Chinese government has copied the rationale of the US government about "protecting children from porn" when it comes to installing censorware... Maybe their leaders have more in common than they think...
  • by ROBOKATZ ( 211768 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @04:57PM (#257461)
    The biggest difference is that the chinese government is placing a restriction on the private sector- but we do that here too.

    Umm, no. Stop making up facts to argue with.

    In China you have to be licensed to just use the Internet. And their entire country is behind a filtering proxy. Put up a site with controversial content like, say, Falun Gong or whatever -- you're dead. None of these things are true in the United States. Oh no, so we can't get porn in the public library.

  • by ROBOKATZ ( 211768 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @05:16PM (#257462)
    You're exactly right! Actually, almost -- keep in mind public libraries are paid for with taxpayer dollars, and if the taxpayers (through their representatives) don't want those resources being used for porn, then on go the porn filters. Also, it is not US government policy to filter political content -- imagine the outcry if they tried that! Chinese internet cafes are private sector businesses and the chinese government wants to prevent its citizens from seeing anti-prc political content, i.e., "hide the colored chalk"
  • by ROBOKATZ ( 211768 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @05:39PM (#257463)
    At the public school I attend we are not allowed to use chatrooms on the internet. If I have a question and search engines(and not to mention my teachers) aren't answering it for me, I am not allowed to ask the professors around the world that the internet is supposed to give me access to, for fear of pedaphiles raping me or some bullshit.

    Since this is by far the most fantastically stupid thing I've heard or read all day (and believe me -- I hear a lot of really stupid shit), I feel obliged to comment multiple times on it.

    Response #1

    Whoever you are going to ask probably does not spend all day in their office hanging out on IRC, or worse yet AIM. In fact, IRC and AIM are hardly what I (or many others) would consider educational resources and are probably blocked because if you're using them, it probably means you're fucking around (regardless of whether or not you're talking to pedophiles or your friends) when someone else could actually be doing research.

    Response #2

    Ever hear of E-mail? If you're going to get in contact with professor, either this or taking a class taught by him is the way to do it (though certainly in my experience neither is a sure bet:)). In fact, short of calling a professor at home, E-mail is probably the best way to contact him and certainly will annoy him the least. They most certainly are not all hanging out in some IRC channel or AIM room. That is simply ridiculous.

    Everthing2 has some nasty shit on it. There are a lot of unbelievably uninhibited and irresponsible individuals with some very militantly conservative parents (connection?) in high school in America today, the thoughts of that combined with the liability of unrestricted access probably gives some administrators nightmares -- it's not their fault they're idiots who can't come up with a better solution and don't want to lose their jobs. (Frankly, a better solution would be no internet access, as it's pretty worthless, but that's not the "in" thing. "Internet" = "education" is the in thing, unfortunately coexisting with "internet" = "porn" and "porn" = "bad". But hey, that's life.)

  • by charvolant ( 224858 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @05:38PM (#257476) Homepage
    Or would they use reverse logic and give a list of allowed sites, with the person having to petition for each specific site. This would destroy any real use of internet.

    From a Chinese officials POV, this approach would likely be preferable. Once you have this, you can have official censors going through sites, like a sort of human Google, deciding what is viewable by the fair eyes of the great unwashed. After a while, entire sites would be rated as "trusted", reducing work somewhat. Think of it as firewalling; that which is not explicitly allowed is prohibited.

    "any real use of the Internet" contains a raft of cultural assumptions[*] From the Chinese government's POV, what they're doing is no different to a company installing filtering software to ensure that employees only use the Internet for approved purposes. Just with a rather wider scope. And you can never go home at the end of the day.

    [*] Assumptions that I'm pretty happy with, incidentally.

  • by Private Essayist ( 230922 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @06:05PM (#257480)
    "...officials warned of "online heroin", saying access to pornographic sites and "illegal games" in internet cafes pose a threat to the country's younger generation, who are becoming blighted by the "online poison". It is being said that "Some teenagers are so deeply entrapped by such internet cafes that their minds are severely distorted."

    Wait, how did this quote from Congress get in this story? I thought this was about China, not Washington?

  • by dodecahedron ( 231077 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @06:11PM (#257481)
    Saudi Arabia is trying to filter out porn and anything else the government deems offensive (like criticism of the royal family), as detailed in this New York Times story [] (free registration required). They're having as little luck as China is going to.
  • by mdtrent3 ( 236695 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @04:21PM (#257484)
    Somehow i'm not buying that the Chinese government is really concerned with kids playing casino games and more concerned that they may become educated by non-government censored new sources. I know all governments sugar-coat their actions, but it'd be nice if they were honest when it's so obvious what they really mean.
  • by johnk-hates-everyone ( 244578 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @06:14PM (#257493)
    If China firewalls itself off from the rest of the world, it will be repeating a serious mistake. They've been through this before; closing their borders to foreigners bit them in the ass later when the rest of the world passed them by, technologically ans socially.
  • by lokmant ( 253962 ) on Monday April 30, 2001 @12:05AM (#257511) Homepage
    Come on people, am I the only one that is not naive?

    The chinese government certainly is not the only government practising Censorship. Almost every other wired country does, they only don't call it censorship but call it 'regulation' instead.

    Tell me, what is the difference between the chinese government installing a filter in the internet cafes 'to protect kids' and the u.s. government installing filters in the libraries 'to protect children'.??

  • by Coryoth ( 254751 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @05:20PM (#257512) Homepage Journal
    It's shocking when then Chinese do it, yet it's been happening in North American libraries and schools for years, with any kind of censorware you can name.

    In fact, it's even worse than that. In China it is a single centralised government doing the censorship - at least you can a reasonable idea what sorts of sites you're missing out on. In the U.S. you have a variety of private companies providing all kinds of different censorware programs - who knows what is getting blocked (especially when they keep closed encrypted blocked stite lists!)? AFAIK there was at least one such censorware program that was blocking a variety of gay and women's activist sites, simply because the author of the software "didn't like them". Talk about insidious - especially if you don't even know what's being blocked!



  • by doug363 ( 256267 ) on Monday April 30, 2001 @03:14AM (#257515)

    Per that article, the Chinese government has two overriding needs: to keep their tight control over China and to embrace the Internet for economic gain. IMHO, these goals are mutually exclusive.

    I was in China two years ago, and I can certainly see the Chinese government taking this stance. They have done a similar thing in regards to capitalism (which is plainly against communist ideals). Allowing people to run businesses which are independent from the government reduces their power and revenue, but is necessary for China to have a competitive economy. The Chinese government allow it (in many cases openly), but every few years they have a "crackdown" where they try to regain lost control.

    My point is, it is entirely possible that China will do the same sort of thing with Internet usage. They will "regulate" it in a haphazard manner, and then when they see it posing a threat to their power, they stage a crackdown on people who run Internet cafes and don't filter sites properly. In any case, it may hasten the downfall of the government, but situations like this have existed in China for some time now (i.e. allowing private businesses and allowing tourists in).

    In any case, most people in China don't seem to know or care about opinions outside of China. The government has indoctrinated them to believe that all the evils in this world originate from western society, and that China is working hard to do the best for its people. Example: the Chinese tour guides thought that westerners all knew about Tianamen Square because it was the largest square in Beijing.

  • by TGK ( 262438 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @04:20PM (#257519) Homepage Journal
    Censorship is nothing new to the Chinese government. As for what we can do? Little. It is because of the Chinese government's willingness to go to extreme measures, even deadly force, to keep social disidents in line that mainland China is still the PRC.

    Information may want to be free, but so do several hundred million chinese. Since they several hundred million don't seem to have a chance in hell I wouldn't bet on the information as of yet.

    This has been another useless post from....
  • by frob2600 ( 309047 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @04:47PM (#257522)
    Well, this would make for a fine filter. It would also keep all of that Democratic evil away from your mailbox. And god forbid you have a friend that works for the government. You would never get any of his mail, but I bet the Chinese government would. ;-) Not that this would be all bad. It would create some interesting hassles when I try and read or some other news site. And I really wish that picture of the Chinese flag would stop popping up every five minutes while playing the chinese national anthem.

    Not that censership is bad, it is just
    [content removed for purification]
    [content removed for purification]
    [content removed for purification]
    Well, enough said about that. I guess I should go and finish taking my medications before I wind up naked in the park fountain again.

    "Do not meddle in the affairs of sysadmins,

  • by frob2600 ( 309047 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @04:22PM (#257523)
    I have never heard of a really successful plan to censer an entire country. And while I am not an expert I believe that China has a pretty large black market. How long before you have black market internet cafes?

    When will countries finally realize that hiding information only makes people want to find it more? Of course, if they were absolutely positive that their citizens were happy they would have nothing to fear. I think this just shows that they know they are giving their citizens the shaft -- and they want to hide it as long as possible.

    Well, enough of a rant for now. Who wants to start bombing Bejing with old 386s.... anyone?

    "Do not meddle in the affairs of sysadmins,

  • This article on a number of levels troubles me. One, the Beijing Review, as alluded to earlier by mgarraha is not a "Review" by any means. It is magazine only published, to my knowledge, in English for foreign consumption and is little more than a propaganda rag for the Communist Party. The articles in it are the English equivalent to The People's Daily on the mainland, which is the generally regarded as good for reading what the Party's stance is, and for using, not reading in the loo. Lead article currently, how China's students are practicing democracy in their classrooms.

    Secondly, why is the BBC using this as a "legitimate" source of news? What's next, taking an IRA newspaper and use it to show a changing cultural historical perspective on a free Ireland?

  • by ScoutDC ( 317457 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @04:48PM (#257538)
    I know I'm stepping on a land mine here, but those who fight free trade should really take a look at this.

    Chinese kids did not suddenly wake up one day and wonder if there was a thing called "the Internet" was handled to them on a silver platter by we Capitalistic Pigs (TM). Good for us.

    Without starting a brou-ha-ha on "Worldwide Governments", let us consider the benefits of open markets: Open Ideas. China cannot enter the mainstream and continually shut their own people out of it.

    I've lived in certain Asian third-world, communist societies and was pleased at how many openly thumb their noses at the system. It's in the little things -- like negotiating state-controlled currency for USD or sneaking into "clubs" where people get a chance to explore ideas and exchange information with foreigners. The down side: when Brother Mao wants you back in line, you'd better move fast.

    The more we work with the people of China, the more the people will work on their government. Overall, US factories in Asia provide a significant influx of democratic principles -- we only hear about the abuse of some companies. We don't hear about the effects one man I know has had on a small city in Asia that is learning about progression through hard work (what we call raises and bonuses).

    Next come the unions, then comes the crackdowns. It's a sad cycle, but each time it happens the government loses a little more.

    Oh, and don't sweat the kids working in factories. It may appall you (as it did me), but it's all they got until things change. Large economics require them to work; productive people want to do better for themselves and their families. These are the same kids who grow up to build Internet Cafes.

    In the end each of their labors adds to a collective conscience that wants better. The governments would do better keeping them on the farms and teaching them "Remedial Mao" than grouping them together and letting them think aloud.

  • by Jin Wicked ( 317953 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @05:50PM (#257539) Homepage Journal

    The government in China is not socialist nor does it have much of anything in common with most of the ideas of Marx. Anyone from the World Socialist Movement [] would be able to tell you that. Please stop associating an abusive state capitalist China with the ideas and writings of Karl Marx. This is a misconception convieniently put forth by our lovely American government in the elementary and high schools to remind us how naughty socialism is and how wonderful capitalism is. I know the Libertarian ideals abound on this site full of well-fed IT professionals, but believe it or not, America is not so much better than China than it likes to pretend it is. The WSM put out literature during the Soviet and Chinese revolutions stating they were not socialists then, and their opinions are still true today. Likewise, Marx did not approve of the Soviet revolution at the time it occurred. Now you know better.

    Thank you, and carry on.

    --a hot communist chick

  • by Jin Wicked ( 317953 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @09:58PM (#257540) Homepage Journal

    Yes, you're quite right, I should have said would have instead of did, respectively, however this is a mistake I made because I was irritated with the original comment I was replying to and didn't proofread closely enough. You have my apologies. Any literature about Marx, however, very plainly demonstrates that what occurred in China and the USSR were not what he intended nor what his writings put forward. Here's a nice short one [] that simply states the difference, but there is a large amount of his shorter letters and articles on the 'net that can be found with a simple search. I'd also like to point out that he was alive during the events going on in Poland and eastern Europe, as well as political unrest Russia, and commented on revolutions and many of the smaller events that did influence the later Russian Revolution or its participants. It's not as if it's something that just happened in one weekend. It had many factors involved, and while Karl Marx's writings were one of them, they were interpreted in ways I'm sure he did not intend or would have approved of.

    (Whoever modded my comment:) Just because I make a mistake does not mean I am a troll. Why don't you just reply with a note that you don't like what I have to say, or send me some hate mail? I don't care if you disagree, but I'm getting rather sick of being called something I'm not. Not everyone who expresses an opinion other than your own does it out of spite.

  • by Breakfast Pants ( 323698 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @04:46PM (#257543) Journal
    We have similar problems of our own in this country called the united states of america. Yesterday I was at the library and when I tried to get to, it was blocked by their censorship program. Yay. At the public school I attend we are not allowed to use chatrooms on the internet. If I have a question and search engines(and not to mention my teachers) aren't answering it for me, I am not allowed to ask the professors around the world that the internet is supposed to give me access to, for fear of pedaphiles raping me or some bullshit. Thanks america.

  • by 137 ( 325909 ) on Monday April 30, 2001 @06:40AM (#257544)
    Oh, and don't sweat the kids working in factories. It may appall you (as it did me), but it's all they got until things change. Large economics require them to work; productive people want to do better for themselves and their families. These are the same kids who grow up to build Internet Cafes.

    I don't get this logic. Isn't it equivalent to "don't sweat the mass murder of countless innocents. It may seem brutal to us, but it's all they got" (BTW, that isn't intended as an anti-China slur. I know next to nothing about Chinese history and am decidedly not implying that there's more government sanctioned mass murder in China than there is in, say, the US).

    It seems to me that things like child labor should give us pause, even if there are practical reasons for it and practical benifits to be gained. That children would need to work hints at a failing of the modern economics that China is moving into. I mean, what the hell kind of economy requires kids to work in factories? A bad economy.

    We can see the same thing in operation here in the US. We used to have all these expectations that the inexhorable March of Progress would eventually mean that we would have to work fewer hours to maintain the same standard of living. But take a look around: we're actually working more hours than we did in 1970 for effectively the same pay. Child labor in China is part of the same problem -- and one reason we should vehemently oppose the expansion of our destructive Western economics.

    This is not to say there aren't positive effects of an open economy. As you point out, open economics will make it increasingly difficult for any government to control ideas and information. This isn't a free ticket, though: as corporations get more and more influence, they will eventually become information custodians in lieu of the government. Nature, abhor, vacuum -- you get the picture. Anyway, in the US we have fairly weak governmental control of our national discourse, but it's dominated by corporate interest.

  • by mgarraha ( 409436 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @05:21PM (#257546)
    In between the spin of the spy plane incident and the weekly condemnation of Falun Gong, I found a Beijing Review editorial [], followed by 1 opinion for and 3 against banning the cafes altogether. For those already baffled by the front page, it's under "Free Forum" in the top navigation bar.
  • by Guppy06 ( 410832 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @05:21PM (#257550)
    See, in the US, when you don't agree with a policy, you can yell at your Congresscritters, hire yourself some lawyers (or talk with the ACLU), march around outside with a sign telling politicians where to stick it...

    In China, though, you have three choices: Consent, be "re-educated," or "disappear."

    I'll stick with the US system, thank you very much.

  • by Guppy06 ( 410832 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @05:16PM (#257551)
    As can be seen from Napster and child-protection software, machine-only information filtering just isn't all it's cracked up to be. There'll need to be somebody to actually monitor what's passing through the filter. If that's the case, it'd be easier for China to just block most or all foreign web servers (which would be another neat trick to see, since they'd have to go through all the IPs and see where they're at, as well as prevent IP spoofing).

    They're chasing their own tail by trying to implement censorship in general. They'll need to employ half their population to keep tabs on what the other half is reading.

    Besides, there's also the whole "forbidden fruit" school of thought...

  • by Tech187 ( 416303 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @07:43PM (#257564)
    Actually Orwell's '1984' was a satire on Stalinism.

    You're right, though, there is an active body of people striving to re-write history in the West these days. And the very concept of 'hate crime' reeks of 'newspeak.' Guess what, though? That's all coming from the left. The same folks Orwell was railing against. He himself was a disillustioned former socialist.

  • by Tech187 ( 416303 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @07:48PM (#257565)
    China will impose 'approved only' filtering, not 'block disapproved' filtering. The 300,000 censors will be checking each site, then making it an approved place for 'the masses' to surf to.

    That's a far easier job than blocking the huge number of sites they'll not be allowing their people to gain access to.
  • by iamklerck ( 445579 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @04:22PM (#257582)
    Per that article, the Chinese government has two overriding needs: to keep their tight control over China and to embrace the Internet for economic gain. IMHO, these goals are mutually exclusive.
    Sometimes, you can walk a fine line between two opposing needs. There is a happy medium where each need is satisfied. I believe that there is an "unhappy medium" where neither need is satisfied, and the government is actually at risk of losing the Internet opportunity as well as their own control over their people.

    The Internet is not about technology. It's been around since the sixties, and the Web could have been invented in the seventies. The Web is about community; the technology only gives us an opportunity to meet, and that's where the magic starts. Strict control over a portion of the Internet immediately renders that portion useless.

    I think that the only chance for the Chinese government to survive in its present form (and, frankly, I'd rather it didn't) would be for it to close off the Internet entirely to its people, and to ignore it as an economic opportunity. I feel that anything less would destablize the Chinese government. The nation would not collapse, China would still exist, but it would have a new form of government.

    If the Chinese government allows access but try to control it, they will destroy their own power structure and lose an economic opportunity simultaneously.
  • by medina ( 446303 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @04:39PM (#257583) Homepage
    Sure sounds familiar...

    Oh, wait, that's what they talk about _HERE_ in the good ol' USA, where they want to install filters on all computers in schools and libraries to protect the children from the Internet. Terrible sites abound, like porn, violence, growing up gay, etc. Can't have _American_ children seeing that.

    I know, I know... you're saying "It's okay, we're the _good_ guys!"
  • by Sarcasta ( 447735 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @04:26PM (#257588) Homepage
    Sergeant Cho: < I don't understand it, men. It's just an innocent coffee house, but something about this bothers me... >
    Captain Zhao: < Sir, is it perhaps the aroma of freshly-brewed coffee? >
    Sergeant Cho:< Wait a second... that isn't coffee! That's the smell of freedom! >
    Captain Zhao:< You hear him, men! Get the cattle prods! Go! Go! Go! >

    Graphic designer and Mac lover.

  • by Sarcasta ( 447735 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @06:33PM (#257589) Homepage
    Makes sense -- why would China block Commu-linux propaganda? I fact I believe that RMS specifically requested that he be able to read Slashdot when he visted home [] last year. Yep, RMS is a spy. It's a good thing he works at MIT, where there is no useful technology or information to be stolen. Unforutnately, his works of sabatoge (GNU EMACS, GCC, et cetera) have set US industry back about ten years in lost productivity and software quality.

    Graphic designer and Mac lover.

  • by Scribner ( 447790 ) on Sunday April 29, 2001 @05:31PM (#257591) Homepage
    Goverments everywhere and always have looked for
    excuses to limit communication and dissemination
    of information.

    The "Federalist Papers" were printed and distributed
    clandestinely! Why do you think the 1st Amendment to
    the US Constitution is so important.

    And has everyone here forgotten the abortive
    "Communications Decency Act"?

Solutions are obvious if one only has the optical power to observe them over the horizon. -- K.A. Arsdall