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China Grows Its Own Twitter 120

Stirfry192 writes "Twitter is banned in China, and the authorities are trying to foster a censored version of the service, but the speed and nature of such services calls into question China's ability to retain control — especially in combustible, highly emotional situations."
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China Grows Its Own Twitter

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  • they can use it to track down people who post.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      No, no. The Chinese really know how to make money. They will make it ad-supported and force people to post. Not twitting daily will become a subversive activity.

      Seriously, though, according tot TFA it's a Chinese company that is doing this. So this is not an evil masterplan of the Chinese government to track down everyone (governments already monitor Internet usage, if it is not HTTPS they know exactly what you're writting/reading).

    • Here [] ?
    • It's just like normal Twitter, but you say what your neighbours are doing.
  • "They" will track you down... just 191 ahead of you.
  • by sethstorm ( 512897 ) on Saturday July 02, 2011 @08:59PM (#36644410) Homepage

    "A lot of the injustices in China aren't necessarily new, but people are just starting to hear about them."

    Wait until they hear what really happened in Tiananmen Square in 1989. Or what their company town's party boss was really doing to the town.

    • by larry bagina ( 561269 ) on Saturday July 02, 2011 @09:29PM (#36644524) Journal
      What happened when you heard about the Kent State shootings?
      • by poity ( 465672 ) on Saturday July 02, 2011 @10:06PM (#36644620)

        I wasn't alive at the time, but I did learn about it in history class here in the US years later. I got to hear everyone who had an opinion condemn the national guard rather than the students. I learned there was the memorial paid by public funds, and the commemorations that happened year after year. Not to mention the greater emphasis on non-lethal means of riot control brought forth as a result of the incident.

        Were you trying to equate Kent State to Tiananmen? Because you failed really hard.

        • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          You didn't understand what he was getting at.

          I was 4 years old in May of 1970.

          It didn't even cross this little kid's mind that people died at Kent State, let alone that it was the National Guard that did it.

          When I got to High School and we learned "US History from the Civil War to the Present" Kent State came up in passing and about 10 minutes of discussion and never heard from again, because it was all about remembering the shit for the test. It didn't strike me until many years later what actually happen

          • by poity ( 465672 )

            Good point, protesting the foregone past does seem pretty silly. But what would you say about a memorial being built? Or perhaps a solemn discussion of what transpired, and the lessons we've learned as a society? Well, in China attempts to do either have been met with censorship and punishment.

            What did we do after Kent State here in the US? We mourned, we fought for answers, we reflected, we changed, we put the shameful truth in our history books for all to see. People grow up on the knowledge of this event

            • >But what would you say about a memorial being built?

              Do you know how long it took for a national WWII memorial to be built here in the good ol' US?

              It took over 40 years for it to even be proposed. Bill Clinton signed it on the 4'th try.

              Memorials are hard, even when they're uncontroversial.

            • by tftp ( 111690 )

              What did we do after Kent State here in the US? [...] we changed

              Wishful thinking at best. The students were protecting another war being started [], this time in Cambodia. How many wars of choice the USA is currently in? Count Libya too.

              What changed is simply the policy. Draft was politically unacceptable. However if you hire mercenaries and send them to fight your wars then the society will be enjoying explosions all over "enemy" cities. That's the only change that is obvious. Citizens of Yugoslavia, Ira

              • Clinton killed 74 people at Waco in 1993;

                Yup, nothing to do wih the nutjob David Koresh.
                If you open fire on people serving a search warrant, what the fuck do you expect's going to happen? The government will just ignore it and let youcarry on with your insane paranoid commune?

                • by tftp ( 111690 )

                  Yup, nothing to do wih the nutjob David Koresh.

                  It is a standard operating procedure in the US media to label undesirable leaders as "insane", "strongmen", "dictators" etc. This dehumanizes them. I don't see why normal people should lap it up. We don't know if Koresh was or wasn't sane, though many would say that his religious beliefs indicate insanity. But then most humans on this planet are insane to some extent.

                  Regardless, the government isn't supposed to kill insane people; it may kill people who ar

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 02, 2011 @10:24PM (#36644670)

      If you think that they don't know, then you are kidding your self. They see the injustice. However, centuries of philosophical teachings (Confucius, the guy really was evil) have made them more accepting of inequality.

      I remember, I had been in China for about six months and a friend told me that she wanted to show me something. However, the instruction was that as I went through the gate she was going to tell me to stop. I was to act as if I didn't understand her. At that point she would chase me down (now entering the facility herself). We then wandered around for a while.

      What was the top secret facility we entered? It was a school for the party members children. It was the type of showcase school that we see when we look at pictures of Chinese schools. It had air-conditioning, and desks, and chairs. The dormitories were clean and the students had windows. They even appeared to have had modern books. This was nothing like the schools for the peoples children; which were dark, crumbling, plaster buildings with poor equipment and facilities.

      The Chinese people are aware of these things. However, they accept that this is the way things are and spend their energy cheating and squabbling with each other under the premise that there is little they can do to bring about meaningful, and positive, structural change. As such all effort goes into improving personal lives, not into improving society as a whole.

      • by DigiShaman ( 671371 ) on Saturday July 02, 2011 @11:17PM (#36644796) Homepage

        I believe it. Shanghai isn't that bad, so I'm guessing you visited a more rural area. But, you might be speaking of Shanghai too. I don't know, I honestly haven't been all over that city due to it being so big

        During one of my trips deep inside the mainland with my Chinese wife, I needed to use the restroom. It's like one of those stand-alone buildings you often see at a national park. But this one was really bad. It reeked of urine, and everything was covered with white tiles stained brownish yellow. Chinese love tiles in and around their buildings for some reason. Anyways, that as the piss trough running the entire length of one wall. The toilets were just holes in the ground with a length of PVC pipe cut lengthwise to capture the waste. But it get's better. Much better.

        In order to use this lovely little restroom, I had to pay a usage fee to a man standing outside the door. I think it was 1 or 2 Yuan. Very little really. I felt paying for that little time of hell was both strange and insulting to me at the same time. My wife assured me that this was normal out here. They weren't trying to milk a foreigner here. In fact, I bet I'm the first one they've ever saw.

        Throughout all my ordeal, I wasn't upset. Rather, I felt bad for an entire nation with a deep and rich history all but forgotten amongst the people. Because of the CCP, China was a nation that could have been much more than ever dreamed possible, but never had the chance. Here before me stands a man in his 40s working his glorious soul-sucking job of collecting toiletry money. I can only imagine how the educated class in China must feel. Them hearing about the Cultural Revolution and the epic failure that it was must be gut-wrenching to their national pride.

        • Yes, it was in a rural area. Most of my stories reflect rural China. I have been to Shanghai several times. It is very different than the city I live in

        • by freakxx ( 987620 )

          I have also had encountered a few similar toilet rooms, but these were much worse. I have seen a few guys shitting inside; no, seriously! And then, I came across a legendary phenomenon that perhaps takes place in China only: two guys using a single commode and peeing together. This scene was something that money can't buy!!

        • . Here before me stands a man in his 40s working his glorious soul-sucking job of collecting toiletry money

          Most flash clubs in London have attendants in the toilets who you have to tip after they hand you a paper towel. Big deal, it's not a job I'd want to do, but then I wouldn't want to be a rat catcher, sewage pipe cleaner or coal miner either.

      • by epyT-R ( 613989 )

        equality cuts both ways.. we are not equal. we're not clones. we are different. ignoring differences and glossing over them with propaganda is no better than what the chinese are doing. if anything, they're a lot closer to 'equality' than we are: they're all poor...almost.

        enriching our personal lives is the best way to enrich society as a whole. the needs of the self and the needs of society are not always diametrically opposed.

    • by saylar ( 2161926 )
      In a good sense of the word "competition" - a development first and foremost, quality, and much more.
    • While you might think that you know the "truth" about Tiananmen or any other story that makes it into the popular western press, you don't know the whole story. You really can't know it because you are so completely immersed in western ideas of society, social contract, societal roles and the place of the individual in society. Because you can't hold the western and the eastern view simultaneously you define yours as "right" and theirs as "wrong". They are "bad" while you are "good".

      Well, that is just too

  • not with the human proxies involved.
  • How is the service censored? Because I could not tell from the article. You post "Tibete" and the bell rings or is there is a governamental hand on the service and it's kill switch?
    • by chill ( 34294 )

      And I guess the meaning of "kill switch" will depend on exactly what is tweeted.

    • I'm guessing it's less that it's censored and more that the party controls it and has immediate access to the logs and whatever relevant information they need to come down on the poster. Much of the internet is problematic as Chinese laws don't apply to the server end of services that have no host in China, they can try to get the people making the posts, but it's a lot harder as they have to track the posting in real time rather than peruse the logs after the fact.

    • by poity ( 465672 )

      If it's anything like the typical online filtering, anything that contains sensitive words will never make past the submit button. It just won't get published, and if you keep at it you'll get the 502 bad gateway error (ip lockout) for the next 15 minutes. If you post something egregious like asking other people for support (trying to form a rally group), you might get a knock at the door.

      • by m4ktub ( 2333996 )
        Since it is not humanly feasible to monitor all those messages they must be using some computer assisted programs. Contrary to popular fiction I really hope they invent real AI soon. That wait when the program becomes self-aware it will think "What the hell? Are this guys freakin insane?! I'm out of here; you can clean you own dirty laundry."... I hope. :)
  • by JimboTheProgrammer ( 1756970 ) on Saturday July 02, 2011 @09:22PM (#36644486)
    • by Keruo ( 771880 )
      Twitter is irrelevant in China as there are plenty of microblog sites to choose
      • Sina
      • Tieba
      • 163
      • Taotao

      And all have one key feature working for their advantage: the service is in chinese
      I wouldn't use a site which main interface language is russian, as I don't speak/read it. Same logic applies to chinese using twitter.

      • by kikito ( 971480 )

        Another important feature those services have is that since they comply with the government monitoring policies, they don't suffer "sudden, unexplainable cuts", like other services.

  • It'd be great.
  • Besides, he said, Sina executives "understand the political baggage that comes with being a Chinese Internet company."

    File some paper-work, take the sub-secretary of public information bureau out for abalone (first the seafood, then the other kind), get a list of words people cannot say in your product emailed to you then do some filtering. In exchange, you get your foreign competitors either blocked completely, or simply a story on CCTV1 every week about this competitor corrupting the minds of Chinese. And patents, copyright, trademarks? Well, that's all dealt with. Ah, to be a Chinese Internet company.

  • Thiefs (Score:1, Troll)

    by MrQuacker ( 1938262 )

    The whole lot of them.

  • Next story please
  • China will implode like everyone else.

    Thank his noodly appendage.

  • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Saturday July 02, 2011 @10:08PM (#36644630) Homepage Journal

    All that Vlag7a.

  • by kawabago ( 551139 ) on Saturday July 02, 2011 @10:38PM (#36644698)
    Somewhere in China nameless faceless technicians stand at game boards whacking words like freedom, government accountability and corruption so they don't ruin the socialist paradise. Of course a country with no freedom, no government accountability and rampant corruption can't possibly be a paradise for anyone but the corrupt. That is why they need censorship, to perpetuate the lie.
    • You bring up an interesting point with "whacking words". I tried to think of things like censor filters were stuff like "cr.ap" or even "crÃp" gets through the censure, and everyone on the board knows the codes. But China isn't dependent on ASCII and single characters often mean ENTIRE concepts, so that the same kind of playful splitting and unicode bitshifting isn't available to deceive the filters.

      So, knowing some things about Kanjis and ideograms, and how instead of syllables the Kanji-based Eastern

      • Kanji usually refers to the originally chinese characters used in japanese so I it sounds a bit backwards to say kanji-based languages but I admit this is besides the point :)

        I think the reason why things are blocked in china is not so that a few people who are interested in enough to try to decipher any kind of codes like those you mention) can find out, actually most of these issues are probably less unknown and secret to chinese than what you think. It's about keeping it away from the great masses, not

    • China definitely has problems and the corruption certainly is one of them. But I think you are overstating the lack of freedom and government accountability. There is definitely some freedom here, otherwise I would doubt I would like it here so much. In fact for some there seems to be too much of it though... freedom/power not quite equally distributed. There is certainly a degree of government accountability, In fact the government will tread very carefully around some issues and attempt to please the pe
  • This thing I thought when I saw this was, why is this special?

    China has QQ, which has been doing the same thing for years. In fact, you'd be surprised the type of stuff that fines it way on QQ. QQ puts 4Chan to shame on bad days.

    I actually think this quote from the article has a valid point about western media in this case...

    Bishop said such reports are "completely overblown by the Western media," noting that Sina is in intense domestic competition with Tenecent, another Chinese company whose most promine

  • but the speed and nature of such services calls into question China's ability to retain control — especially in combustible, highly emotional situations.

    Or they could directly respond and participate, which would be much easier. Of course, the problem is that the Chinese government is not used to doing that.

  • I do a lot of used computer business with Egypt, have friends who set up internet cafes and other geek traders, share with them on Facebook and Twitter etc. Last January, they were all trying to encrypt the posts "3gyp7ian R3v0lution" style. [] Hopefully China will find it similarly impossible to keep the genie inside the bottle.

    On the other hand, if they succeeded, and they recreate a Twitter with nothing provocative, political, or edgy.. The only thing that saves twitter is the

  • Speaking of china, I just now realized something. SLASHDOT WORKS HERE! I haven't been able to access it for a year without proxy, anybody else accessing it from mainland china that can verify this? I guess it could have been that it was just blocked by this university and somehow works now because we just had a powerout, but it seems unlikely.
  • So the Chinese Twitter would say:

    Zhou: I love living in China, our government is the best!
    Lee: I love living in China, our government is the best!
    Lian: I love living in China.
    Official Chinese Moderator: @Lian, you will get the glorious opportunity to learn that our government is the best in our new re-education camp!
  • *snicker* LOL!!!1one

    Yay! for the 12-year-old-friendly headlines.

  • As a Chinese growed and lived in China and so far never been abroad, seeing foreign comments here broaden my eyes so significantly

Federal grants are offered for... research into the recreation potential of interplanetary space travel for the culturally disadvantaged.