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China Censorship

Chinese Censors Accidentally Block Shanghai Index 345

New submitter Vulcan195 writes "Now this is amusing in so many ways ... Today (June 4, 1989 ... i.e. 6/4/89) is the 23rd anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown. Naturally, the Chinese Censors were working overtime to block anything that made remote or oblique references to that event. Well, sometime during the day the Shanghai Composite Index dropped by 64.89 points; You can guess what happened next."
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Chinese Censors Accidentally Block Shanghai Index

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  • Not like the USA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cryfreedomlove ( 929828 ) on Monday June 04, 2012 @07:44PM (#40214947)
    Every discussion of Chinese censorship inevitably leads to posts about how the USA should get off it's high horse because it is just as bad. It is true that the USA has committed atrocities. Kent State, Jim Crow killings, Dresden, etc. The difference however, is that the USA reflects on its past in a much more transparent way than China does today. Come on China, it has been 23 years. Let's discuss this in an open way. You won't be able to hide it forever, especially because most Americans saw a lot of Tiananmen on TV.
  • by hcmtnbiker ( 925661 ) on Monday June 04, 2012 @07:50PM (#40214985)
    China doesn't need to use it for it to be blocked by their filters, they would be designed to block foreign sites as well.
  • by couchslug ( 175151 ) on Monday June 04, 2012 @07:53PM (#40215005)

    Dresden was a legitimate military target. All infrastructure was a legitimate military target and all workers were in effect war workers so they were military targets.

    WWII was a serious war, a Total War, not some UN police action designed to fail. It was literally an existential war which made thorough destruction of all Nazi capabilities a duty.

    Germany initiated WWII and the population of Germany worked long and hard to prepare for and sustain that war to the bitter end.

  • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 ) on Monday June 04, 2012 @07:57PM (#40215035)
    They probably blocked all iterations of the date. I mean, it'd be rather pointless to block one way and not the other.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 04, 2012 @07:58PM (#40215041)

    Being transparent about one's past is certainly a good thing, but it's a pretty small consolation when atrocities keep going on.

    The war in Iraq killed over a hundred thousand civilians - I have no doubt that in several decades, the USA will officially give REAL recognition to these victims (instead of blanket statements such as "we remember the victims of this war" which doesn't clearly spell out "CIVILIANS"). However, this won't make up for the fact that the war should have ended years earlier than it did (and in fact should have never been started).

    I'd go as far as to say being transparent when you don't learn from your mistakes is pointless.

    So sure, it's better than China. But not by much. The homeless man with two pennies is twice as rich as the one with only one penny - they still both have the same standards of living.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 04, 2012 @07:59PM (#40215057)

    Infrastructure and industry was a legitimate target, housing and historical buildings certainly not.

  • by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Monday June 04, 2012 @08:02PM (#40215087)

    The difference however, is that the USA reflects on its past in a much more transparent way than China does today.

    Transparency must be why, after Vietnam, we stopped broadcasting live coverage of the war and made sure every embedded journalist turns in his/her footage to be edited for "homeland security" reasons prior to being sent in for publication.
    Transparency is why we have our own Star Chamber now, where suspected terrorists are tried, convicted, and sentenced, in secret trials where they cannot see the evidence presented against them, nor offer testimony in their defense.
    Transparency is why at the bottom of most google search results, is the phrase "In response to a complaint we received under the 'US Digital Millenium Copyright Act' we have removed n results."
    And transparency is most certainly why the founder of Wikileaks found his assets frozen because of a request by Homeland Security to PayPal through extrajudicial means, and then we discovered a secret unit within Homeland Security who's sole purpose is to discredit citizens who express "politically undesireable" viewpoints.

    We don't "reflect on our past" any more transparently than China does -- we just have a higher threshold before the government decides to assassinate someone they disagree with. A threshold, I might add, that's been on a downward trend for some time.

  • by Trepidity ( 597 ) <{gro.hsikcah} {ta} {todhsals-muiriled}> on Monday June 04, 2012 @08:28PM (#40215227)

    I'm not sure what percentage of people actually reflect on their past, and certainly it's not that prominent in the mainstream media. I think considerable amount of reflection does happen, though, and it isn't actively suppressed. There are a lot of critical books on the Reagan presidency that you can buy from Amazon or other major bookstores. There are books attacking the Vietnam War, the invasion of Grenada, the suppression of the Black Panthers, etc. You cannot buy similarly critical books in China, which seems like a key difference: it's not just that Chinese don't want to read books attacking the invasion of Tibet or the Tiananmen Square massacres, but that these books simply cannot be purchased in China even if you're one of the minority of people who does want to read about it.

    In fact, not only are such critical books published in the United States, but I have taken taxpayer-funded university courses that assign them as required reading! Angela Davis is a tenured university professor at a state-run university. None of that kind of thing happens in China.

  • by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Monday June 04, 2012 @08:39PM (#40215311) Journal

    One can argue whether Dresden was or was not a legitimate military target, but even if it was, it doesn't automatically make targeting it justifiable. An ammo stash on the roof of a hospital is also a legitimate military target, but if the enemy is already crippled to the point where he is unable to use that stash to any meaningful effect, targeting it just because you can - with all the ensuing civilian casualties - is morally wrong.

    For reference, by the time of Dresden firebombing, Soviet troops were already at Oder, within 50 miles from Berlin, for over a week. In fact, Soviets could have likely ended the war right there and then if they kept marching on; they just decided to play it safe.

  • by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Monday June 04, 2012 @08:41PM (#40215325)
    What the fuck are you talking about? It's insane what people think war is today. War is horrible, awful, terrible. All assets of a country you are at war at are legitimate targets. Babies, puppies, little old ladies. Anything that would stop the German people from trying to rule the world was a legitimate target. Imagine if the Nazis had won the war... Whole races of people could have been wiped off the face of the earth. Imagine if we had taken another 6 months to a year to defeat them and they had come up with their own atomic weapon and dropped it on London...

    The very idea that there are "rules of war" is just stupid. War crimes are what the winners of a war charge the leadership of the losers so they can execute them in some semi-legal way.

    The rules of engagement that the US military exercises are a token effort made by our leadership because our military is so ridiculously over equipped and the enemy is usually so completely out-classed that it costs us relatively little to avoid some of the more publicly distasteful practices. I promise you, if we ever got into a war with an enemy that was even remotely evenly matched to our military our rules of engagement would be out the window in a heartbeat. Would you shoot some strangers baby in the face if the alternative was that he would shoot your baby in the face? Of course you would. Now shut the fuck up.
  • by X0563511 ( 793323 ) on Monday June 04, 2012 @08:44PM (#40215355) Homepage Journal

    Here's a dose of perspective:

    "Fuck the US, and fuck the US government."

    Hey look, not only am I still alive and unharmed, I still have all my rights!

    Try that in China, and see what happens.

  • by lorenlal ( 164133 ) on Monday June 04, 2012 @08:52PM (#40215391)

    I completely disagree dude. There are rules to war.

    1) Win. Do this in whatever way is necessary to preserve as much of your side as possible.
    2) The winners decide how it gets written in history. They're in charge. They are the feel good side, and they dictate how the losers pay for what they did.
    3) War criminals are the ones who lost. They got what they asked for. This is the true leadership risk of waging war. If you're the Generalissimo, and you lose, it's your head both figuratively and literally. The soldiers who survive may be tried, but the leaders will most certainly be.
    3a) If you welcome the winners with open arms, you're more likely to be in good shape even if you're on the losing side... Assuming the tide doesn't turn and you end up a traitor.
    3b) If you fight to the bitter end and lose... It's the bitter end.

    Rules of engagement are an attempt to preserve the non-fighting population who will presumably welcome the victors with open arms. I believe it's more of an attempt to maximize follow-up stabilization attempts.

    Yes, this is an over-simplification. Please understand that tongue is firmly planted in cheek, even if there's a bit of truthiness in there.

  • by Elldallan ( 901501 ) on Monday June 04, 2012 @09:02PM (#40215451)
    Another reason that the US military "limits" itself with rules of war is that their leadership recognizes that the US has to keep existing in the political climate after a war. If the US military just went about steamrolling across Afghanistan/Iraq with no concern for civilians there would be huge political repercussions with possible sanctions as a result, not exactly what the US economy needs at the moment.
    Another obvious complication with a "real" war is that it would with 100% certainty trigger WWIII and the obliteration of mankind as the countries capable of fighting on similar terms is pretty much limited to Europe, Russia, China, India, Japan and maybe few others and any actions against any one of those nations would trigger a chain reaction that would eventually pull every major industrialized nation into the war.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 04, 2012 @09:09PM (#40215503)

    like those Jews in the forced labor camps? They were aiding the Nazi war machine, we should have bombed them too?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 04, 2012 @09:12PM (#40215525)

    Historical buildings owned by people with lots of wealth, and whom [sic] had no problems sharing that wealth with the Nazi war machine.

    Problem was they hit the historical buildings owned by people with lots of wealth who had very grave misgivings about the Nazi war machine just as hard.

    Valid target.

    Yes pre-Nueremberg it was. By today's standards it would be judged a war crime.


    You are not.

  • by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Monday June 04, 2012 @09:13PM (#40215533) Journal

    Civilians in the hospital aren't the enemy, though.

    Note that I didn't say that it's always wrong to strike military targets when there is a chance (or even a certainty) of collateral damage. There are certainly circumstances where that is the best available choice, and there are certainly more such circumstances in an all-out war such as WW2. This is something that has to be judged on a case by case basis. But when you disregard any thoughts about the morality of your actions, just because the victims belong to some abstract class titled "enemy" (even when in reality they are just scared kids), that's unequivocally evil.

    If it makes me one of "them", whoever that is, then I'm in a good company.

  • by Cederic ( 9623 ) on Monday June 04, 2012 @09:18PM (#40215567) Journal

    Yes, but what's the purpose of war? It's not to kill the enemy, it's not to disable their infrastructure, it's not to reduce their ammunition supplies.

    Clausewitz suggested the purpose is the imposition of your will on another. Killing civilians in this day and age reduces your chances of successfully imposing your will, so it's counter-productive, for all the damage you may cause to the enemy.

    Think bigger picture.

  • by Dave Emami ( 237460 ) on Monday June 04, 2012 @09:21PM (#40215595) Homepage

    The war in Iraq killed over a hundred thousand civilians - I have no doubt that in several decades, the USA will officially give REAL recognition to these victims (instead of blanket statements such as "we remember the victims of this war" which doesn't clearly spell out "CIVILIANS"). However, this won't make up for the fact that the war should have ended years earlier than it did (and in fact should have never been started).

    Except that the vast majority of those civilians were killed by people who had lost their power trying to get it back. Blaming the US for that is equivalent to blaming Abraham Lincoln for the KKK -- after all, if the slaves had never been freed, there wouldn't have been any reason for the southern whites to put them back in their place by terrorizing and killing them, right? And in both cases, those who had been overthrown (the Baathists or the slave owners) would have been killing their former subjects to try to reassert the old order, whether the overthrow had been at the hands of the formerly-oppressed, or from an outside force -- in fact, the body count would probably have been much higher in the Iraq case, because there is no way any home-grown anti-Baathist force could have overthrown Saddam as quickly as the US-led coalition did. If (as you assert) the fact that those who were overthrown killed a lot of people trying to get back into power dictates that they never should have been overthrown in the first place, then by your reasoning it would have been immoral for anyone to overthrow him.

    Now, you can assert that the US handled things badly afterward, and on many points I'll agree with you. You can say that the whole thing wasn't worth it to the US given the price paid -- that's more or less the paleoconservative position. But if you do something good (if you think overthrowing Saddam wasn't in and of itself good, I don't have the time of day for you), the only blood on your hands is from those killed while doing it, not the blood spilled by those trying to roll it back. And if you doubt that US forces went out of their way to spill as little blood as possible, compare 2003 Baghdad with 1995 Grozny.

    (Note: not attempting to condemn the Russians by that last item. I don't know enough about the Chechen wars to comment on what level of force was justified. It just makes a good recent example for comparison).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 04, 2012 @09:41PM (#40215745)

    All assets of a country you are at war at are legitimate targets. Babies, puppies, little old ladies.

    And yet both sides on the Western Front in Europe managed to abide more-or-less by the Geneva convention. They fed and sheltered captured enemy troops, when it would have been more efficient to simply shoot them. In that sense, it wasn't a total war: they still followed rules to mitigate the worst effects of war on the human condition.

    That's why we can claim the moral high ground when someone flies an aircraft into a building filled with thousands of civilians. And why we'll lose it, if we ever do the same thing.

  • by JoshuaZ ( 1134087 ) on Monday June 04, 2012 @09:41PM (#40215747) Homepage
    Whether someone can "complain" about something doesn't have much to do with whether it is moral. Just because another government is targeting your civilian population doesn't magically make it moral to target their civilians, especially when many of them aren't even in favor of the government in question.
  • by jrumney ( 197329 ) on Monday June 04, 2012 @09:46PM (#40215777)
    45:11 would be just as logical as 11:45, it just seems strange because it is unfamiliar. A better approximation of the US date format applied to time would be to include the seconds as 45:00:11.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 04, 2012 @09:56PM (#40215817)

    One thing that often does not get mentioned in these discussions of world war ii is what the allies demanded as conditions for peace. The plan was to put all the german men in forced labor camps, destroy all institutions of higher learning, and redistribute the land to the neighboring countries. These were the British demands for peace made public in an editorial in the times of London 2 days after the declaration of war. The allied plan got eventually formalized as the morgenthau plan, with a demand for unconditional surrender (as in give up your weapons and no guarantees are made).

    No matter whether things seemed to go in favour or against the allies, they never retreated from these demands until 2 years after the end of the war.

    If you put as conditions for peace terms that are not beneficial for either the leaders or the people of a country, and every choice that they have favors continuing to fight, you have taken the responsibility from their hands into yours.

  • by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Monday June 04, 2012 @10:08PM (#40215873)
    American interference in world affairs has -always- ended up bad for America and even worse for the rest of the world. Look at the Iran Iraq war where the US and UK allied themselves with Saddam's Iraq and supplied arms to them! The US (and other Western nations) prop up dictators and then later have to take them down in a perpetual war.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 04, 2012 @10:14PM (#40215917)

    There's something to be said for both big-endian dates (YYYY-MM-DD) and little-endian dates (DD-MM-YYYY). Big-endian dates sort automatically into chronological order. Little-endian dates deliver the most pertinent information (least likely to be obvious from context) first, so you don't have to read the whole date if you already know the year. The same applies to big-endian times (HH:MM) and little-endian times (MM:HH).

    Middle-endian dates like MM-DD-YYYY are still meritless and perverse, though.

  • by Gizzmonic ( 412910 ) on Monday June 04, 2012 @10:18PM (#40215935) Homepage Journal

    overthrowing Saddam wasn't in and of itself good

    That's what, propaganda goal #3? #4? First it was 'training/harboring terrorists,' then 'weapons of mass destruction', then 'bringing democracy to the Middle East...' All nonsense used to justify an elective adventure that killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people, and liquidated the educated class of an entire country.

    Sure, getting rid of Hussein was a good thing, but guess what? In the real world, you can't eliminate Hussein in a vacuum. You have to consider the possibility that one tin-pot dictator is not worth razing a country, killing hundreds of thousands of innocents including nearly all of the educated class, plus thousands of your own soldiers, and spending billions of dollars that could have helped immensely with the current financial crisis.

    'US forces went out of their way to spill as little blood as possible?' No, the Bush administration rashly created the situation that led to the deaths of the Iraqis (most Democrats spinelessly went along with it). The Bush administration was full of Polyannas who thought that Iraq would be like the liberation of Paris. Rumsfeld created his own intelligence department because he didn't like the facts, then smugly dismissed any criticism with statements like "You don't go to war with the army you want, you go with the army you have" which is extremely disingenuous considering the elective nature of the war.

    The most powerful people in the country had no plans beyond "overthrow Saddam" and little or no conception of history or politics in Iraq. They seemed to have no idea at all that there would be a civil war, or any strategies on how to fight it. That's tragic negligence.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 04, 2012 @10:36PM (#40215997)
    How else was the US going to get a reason to go into afganistan and iraq. otherwise we would be out of oil bush had to blow up the wtc.
  • by ultranova ( 717540 ) on Monday June 04, 2012 @10:44PM (#40216051)

    Would you shoot some strangers baby in the face if the alternative was that he would shoot your baby in the face?

    Can you explain how shooting a baby in the face will keep anyone from shooting yours? For that matter, how is shooting puppies or little old ladies going to help you win? It won't. If anything it just inspires the enemy. Which gets us to why "rules of war" exist: wars are extremely stressful situations, which cause people fighting in them to do unnecessary or even counterproductive cruelties. Rules of war and rules of engagement exist to try to prevent the more outrageous of these.

    Now shut the fuck up.

    Do you have some kind of personal stake here? Because you seem to be getting pretty emotional about the topic.

  • by TheLink ( 130905 ) on Monday June 04, 2012 @11:31PM (#40216279) Journal
    There are rules to war. There were plenty of rules that were mostly followed by both sides in WW2.

    If you break the rules, more of them may fight you to the death than surrender. For example there is no point surrendering if you are breaking the rules and killing prisoners that surrender. Then even if you eventually win, it would cost you a lot more.

    You want to wage a war where the enemy is more likely to surrender than fight you to the bitter end.
  • by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Monday June 04, 2012 @11:52PM (#40216373) Journal

    2) The winners decide how it gets written in history. They're in charge. They are the feel good side, and they dictate how the losers pay for what they did.

    This used to be true when video cameras were uncommon and media distribution channels were limited and controlled by the government during times of war.

    Today, every civilian has a digital video camera and access to the youtube/facebook/twitter/blogoversesphere.
    Today, the soldiers document their own war crimes.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 04, 2012 @11:53PM (#40216377)

    All assets of a country you are at war at are legitimate targets. Babies, puppies, little old ladies. Anything that would stop the German people from trying to rule the world was a legitimate target.

    Terrorists can make the same justification against the United States.

  • by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @01:33AM (#40216739) Journal
    No matter how you spin it, the fire bombing of Dresden and subsequent incineration of 250K civilians was an atrocity that should not have happened, nearly every historian agrees it made no military sense. Face facts, it was an immoral and spiteful target by anyone's standards, you just need to grow up and accept that we can be (and often are) every bit as 'evil' as our percieved enemies, (and I offer the fact that you consider Dressden a 'valid target' as proof of that last claim).
  • by mdmkolbe ( 944892 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @01:58AM (#40216809)

    "War is the continuation of Politics by other means" -- Carl von Clausewitz

  • by steelfood ( 895457 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @01:59AM (#40216811)

    The rules of war are put in place not for the enemy, but exist for us. War is an inhumane thing. It is antithetical to our very nature.

    Rules of engagement make it easier for us, the everyday people, to stomach. This both applies to the civilian population, and the grunts on the ground. If the acts committed during war becomes too atrocious for people to stomach, public sentiment turns against it, soldiers begin defecting. Vietnam was the perfect example of a conflict nobody except the sociopaths in charge wanted to continue.

    Of course, this really only applies for those who are aggressors. The U.S. has not been in an existential war for at least 150 years. Every war since the Civil War has been fought on foreign soil, or in the open waters. Every threat has been to safety and security, but never to existence. Therefore, since there is nothing really at stake anyway, the U.S. can set rules.

    In fact, had the Civil War been purely north vs. south, winner-take-all, all bets would've been off. As it were, the conflict was actually over the right to secede, making it a war over an ideology as opposed to territory or extermination. Even so, the atrocities committed during that war make Vietnam pale in comparison (though Vietnam was a special kind of hell for different reasons).

  • by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @02:03AM (#40216817) Journal

    Keep in mind in World War II, the accuracy of bombing was so poor that they sometimes bombed the wrong city.

    Dressden was systematically fire bombed, they diliberately created a huge fire in the center of the city with incendery bombs. It was so large it created it own weather with hurricane strength winds on the outskirts of the city sucking fuel, oxygen, and people into the central furnace. In terms of indescriminate carnage it had the same effect as an atomic bomb, but over a 2 day period.

    Apologists for this atrocity will continue to point to the few factories and soldiers in what was essentially a university city where the population were largely opposed to Hitler. Large scale atrocities were commited by boths sides during WW2 that's just basic history, the 'stanford prison experiment' gives us a glimpse as to why we have been repeating that kind of history for thousands of years.

  • Winners and losers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cdrguru ( 88047 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @10:56AM (#40219517) Homepage

    An important lesson in warfare was learned in the aftermath of the Treaty of Versailles was that you do not crush your defeated enemy completely - unless you are prepared to make them extinct. Sure, win at all costs but then make sure there is an operating country left.

    10 years after WW I Germany was a wreck and this led directly to the rise of Hitler and WW II.

    10 years after WW II both Germany and Japan had strong economies and a great deal of rebuilding had been done. Neither Germany nor Japan was "crushed" from their defeat and in many ways Japan's society improved a great deal. The average man on the street probably came out better because of how Japan was managed post-war than if the war had never happened. All traces of feudalism were wiped out of the country whereas before many had persisted.

    I'd say the other approach that works was Carthage which we have not seen the likes of since - burn everything to the ground, salt the fields so nothing grows there and kill everyone - men, women, children, dogs, everyone. If you aren't prepared to go that far, it is necessary to leave a functioning country after defeat.

    This is one problem with Iraq and Afganistan. Iraq was a functioning country but it was crushed almost completely. Afganistan post-Taliban could probably be said not to have been a functioning country even before being invaded. In both cases failure to leave a functioning country will almost certainly result in more wars.

If you had better tools, you could more effectively demonstrate your total incompetence.