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China Censorship Government Your Rights Online

China Erases New Internet Rumors, Shuts Down Sites 146

itwbennett writes "Chinese officials said Thursday that 210,000 online posts and 42 websites have been taken down since mid-March in a government crackdown on rumors. In addition, 6 people were detained for allegedly fabricating rumors saying that military vehicles were in Beijing and that the city was in trouble."
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China Erases New Internet Rumors, Shuts Down Sites

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  • by pla ( 258480 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @03:18PM (#39677965) Journal
    They are blocking free speech by users. Surely there must be some "twinge" in their brains that says, "This is wrong to take down people's posts."

    The US arrests people for slashfic of the Simpsons. Surely there must be some "twinge" in their brains that says, "This is wrong to conflate cartoons with exploited children."

    Every culture has their sacred cows. Come too close, and you get kicked.
  • by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @03:21PM (#39678009)

    I find it a bit disturbing that EU and US leaders are saying China is a good model to follow.

    The EU, like the US, considers money to be a good thing to follow. China is making rapid improvements in its money generation. Civil liberties, not so much. But then again, with the US having the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world, I would say civil liberties are something most people only believe they have these days.

  • by paleo2002 ( 1079697 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @03:22PM (#39678021)
    I don't usually go in for conspiracy theories and crazy end-of-the-world stuff, but I was just thinking about the same thing. What if aliens were to finally visit the Earth? They'd be likely to head for the largest modern civilization, which is basically China. Would we ever hear about it, especially if something went wrong? Same deal with any other sort of globally important event or disaster. Weaponized nationalist pride, basically . . . scary.
  • by LastGunslinger ( 1976776 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @03:38PM (#39678231)
    If you want to point to the US incarceration rate as an argument against national policy on drugs, then fine. Conflating it with a lack of civil liberties is ridiculous.
  • Congratulations (Score:3, Interesting)

    by daveschroeder ( 516195 ) * on Friday April 13, 2012 @03:41PM (#39678269)

    You're the first person to take a story about China's egregious behavior, and turn it around on the US.

    In the first 10 posts on the story, no less. Bravo, sir. Bravo. *golf clap*

    "Many forms of Government have been tried and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." - Winston Churchill (1874-1965), Speech in the House of Commons, November 11, 1947

  • by Cyberblah ( 140887 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @04:17PM (#39678779) Homepage

    I'm in two minds, because the rumours highlighted in the summary specifically seem orientated toward creating panic and unrest within a large population - how do you deal with that while maintaining free speech?

    By having free speech in the first place. These rumors can easily spread in China because a growing number of Chinese people believe that it's plausible that news of this kind of unrest could and would be suppressed by the government. The government's actions here are reinforcing that belief.

  • Free speech stuff (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Alex Belits ( 437 ) * on Friday April 13, 2012 @04:36PM (#39679023) Homepage

    The only reason you think, free speech is so important, is that media promotes it for its own selfish purposes such as advertisement revenue and access to politicians. There are plenty of things that have far greater effect on everyone's life, and they are perceived as insignificant because media doesn't run a continuous propaganda campaign for them.

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @05:06PM (#39679447) Homepage

    A vague rumor of "Military vehicles in Beijing" is a bit much. At least one web site is pairing that rumor with a stock shot of Chinese tanks on parade. [radio86.com] The crackdown was a dumb move that gave the rumor credibility.

    There is something big going on, though. China is about to have a major change in leadership, but China doesn't have an reliable way to pick its national leaders. There's a power struggle within the Party each time this happens. It's only happened three times since Mao, and the first two produced the Great Leap Forward disaster and the Cultural Revolution. The third, in 1992, went smoothly. Governments all over the world are watching this closely. Nobody knows who will be running China a year from now.

    This year, seven of the nine Standing Committee members are retiring. One of the anointed successors, Bo Xilai, has been arrested on murder charges. [wsj.com] This has thrown the succession process into confusion. The South China Morning Post (out of Hong Kong) says this was a "liberal coup". This followed rumors of a coup last month, [huffingtonpost.co.uk] a coup which didn't happen. (In general, coups that are predicted don't happen - they require surprise.)

    The Chinese government is desperately trying to prevent public involvement in the succession process. China does not have real elections. So "public involvement" means riots or civil wars. Historically, those have changed governments. So the Party is trying to keep the lid on.

Veni, Vidi, VISA: I came, I saw, I did a little shopping.