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Censorship The Internet

How to Dodge the Chinese Internet Censor 119

eweekhickins writes "A report written by a tech worker in China describes the pervasive censorship, abetted by ample manpower and funding estimated at $27 billion in US dollars. The author, who calls himself Mr. Tao, also writes that plenty of Chinese are finding ways to resist censorship, and offers tips on how to keep evading Big GeGe (that's Older Brother). Not surprisingly, self-censorship is very prevalent. Also not surprisingly, the authorities are starting to catch on to things like RSS feeds. It's another race for survival between the tiny mammals and the lumbering dinosaurs." Here's Mr. Tao's report (PDF), written under the auspices of Reporters Without Borders.
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How to Dodge the Chinese Internet Censor

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  • by Notquitecajun ( 1073646 ) on Thursday October 18, 2007 @09:43AM (#21023903)
    I concur, it's probably not too dissimilar from Cuba and other authoritarian-driven countries; the established powers DON'T want outsiders - particularly those with high standards of human rights - to see the ugly underbelly of their country. There are places in China where Westerners cannot get access...it actually makes for an easy form of travel. Go somewhere you're not supposed to, act like you're lost, and tell the guys with the guns that you were coming from where you were actually going and they're sometimes get you there.

    If you're paranoid about the "evil bushies" in DC and their hold on power, keep in mind that it's easy to get out the message and disillusionment found here to other countries. Not so much in places like China, North Korea, Russia (Soviet or not)...simply because you don't hear about it doesn't mean it isn't going on.
  • From the PDF... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by kilo_foxtrot84 ( 1016017 ) on Thursday October 18, 2007 @09:51AM (#21023995)

    A South Korean website polled its visitors about their nationalism in August 2006, asking them: "If you were reborn, would you want to be Korean again?" The Culture and Debate sections of the website Netease copied the idea, asking visitors if they would want to be Chinese again. The poll ran from 4 September to 11 October. Of the 10,000 people who participated, 64 per cent said they would not want to be Chinese. The main reasons identified were: "Being Chinese is not honourable," "You cannot buy a house in China, happiness is too inaccessible," "No reason," "You cannot crack jokes in China" and "You cannot see good cartoons in China." Netease had to fire Culture section editor Tang Yan and Debate section editor Liu Xianghui. And the Debate section was closed down.
    Thus, the obligatory question: if you were reborn, would you want to join Slashdot again?
  • by arivanov ( 12034 ) on Thursday October 18, 2007 @10:01AM (#21024107) Homepage

    Is it me being daft, or this is the same region where all of the so called "dissidents" dwell? So I do not quite see your argument.

    You do not get to hear "cittizen journalism" from Li Average (assuming he is the counterpart of Joe Average) from a village on the outskirts of the Inner Mongolia deserts where 30%+ of the population has AIDS from selling their blood to dodgy companies for a living 5-10 years ago. You do not get to hear "cittizen journalism" from Chang "Average" from a village downwind of Harbin where 10%+ of the newborn are born with deformities from the uncontrolled pollution blown on top of them from the big metropolis and the poisoned water they have to drink. You do not get...

    Frankly, as someone who has lived behind the Iron Curtain in the days when it was still up and someone who was involved in some of the unrest which followed for the next 5 or so years I can tell you this for sure: half of the so called dissidents are on the payroll of the west, the other half are on the payroll of the local KGB/KDS/Stazi equivalent. The ones that actually do that because of their ideas, beliefs and morals are a minority. Probably less than 10% and they do not tend to last. Sooner or later they have to chose which briefcase with cash to take unless they want to walk the plank.
  • Of course it is - everyone outside of China already knows how conditions are, they just need to keep the majority of Chinese from finding out. Of course, people here of course know that they themselves and everyone else are being censored. A classmate of mine here at the Peking University Chinese language course has a girlfriend who is working as an English teacher - it'll be interesting to ask if the contract she has signed has anything like that in it.
  • by p0tat03 ( 985078 ) on Thursday October 18, 2007 @11:11AM (#21025253)

    But really, most Chinese are pretty much politically apathetic.

    So sad, and so true. My girlfriend spent most of her childhood in China, and just now am I starting to get her interested in politics and social issues again. There is so much fear that's been instilled to them since childhood regarding politics that most stay apathetic to it out of fear for reprisal, not actual apathy, and the educational system doesn't help either. I've actually heard claims that the Chinese get democratic elections (via electing their local CCP representative!)... which is just a plain lie.

    The worst part is, many see political victims as not their problem. As in, when Li Average gets dragged off to the gulag for making a stray negative comment about the government, his neighbours do not respond in fear for themselves, nor do they think less of their government for such a transgression, but rather blame Li Average for being as careless and stupid as to let those words out of his mouth in the first place (despite the fact that everyone is thinking it). You have to give the CCP some credit here, they've successfully molded a society where getting jailed for free thought is now the thinker's own damned fault. There is absolutely no sympathy in the general population for the people who speak out against oppression, and it's hard to have hope for the political future of China because of this.

    Keep in mind also that the level of repression differs from area to area. Generally speaking cities are extremely free-thought-repressed, and voluntarily so. These people are making too much money, and having too good of a life from the newfound Chinese prosperity, to risk it all to talk smack about the government. As you go out to the rural areas and to industrial cities, though, the gloves come off a bit. Nothing truly revolution in nature, still, but at least you've got people who are at least willing to bitch about policies and procedure.

    That is perhaps the saddest part. Instead of merely a ruling elite oppressing everyone, China is rapidly evolving into a system where the rich will gladly support the government's atrocities to ensure that they stay wealthy. That is probably sadder than just a bunch of egomaniacal politicians ruling with an iron fist.

  • by Brit_in_the_USA ( 936704 ) on Thursday October 18, 2007 @11:25AM (#21025503)
    I was in Central china a few months ago on business. I was given no information when I landed about Internet policy from the official staff at the airport and nor did the hotel I stayed at provide any.

    I got fast Internet in my room and proceed to web browse as normal.I used IM and skype from my local connection too.

    I noticed that sometimes the BBC news site would load and sometimes it would not. During those "down" times I simply used hamachi to VPN to my server at home and browse from there via Remote Desktop. I guess this is no different to corporate laptops that proxy though their companies VPN for all web activities.

    In short I guess the great firewall was overrated?

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