[chinese blood, irish heart] - DEFUNCT: Communist censorship goes cyber

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Communist censorship goes cyber

In an attempt to censor subversive and anti-government sentiment in cyberspace, the Chinese government have employed over 40,000 internet lapdogs to monitor internet usage, primarily in Beijing.
The Beijing Public Security Bureau watches over 800 cyber cafes and 3000+ internet service providers, that's about 94 million users and rising.
By October 2002, about 90,000 cyber cafes have already been shut down. That's almost half of the 200,000 nationwide. The remaining ones are required by law to have surveillance equipment installed.
Websites, blogs, and bulletin boards alike are under the careful eye of the Communist party. Many of these sites need to register with the government or else face fines, closure or even imprisonment.

The police maintains a black list of forbidden websites and updates daily. It is reported that the list contains over 500,000 websites outside China.
Key words such as 'freedom', 'falun gong' or 'democracy' will be censored. Microsoft, Google and Yahoo are just some who are cooperating in an effort to please the government.
Huang Qi is notable for being the first person in China to be arrested for posting articles concerning human rights and political issues on his own website. For 'inciting subversion', he was detained for almost 3 years and is due to be released this month. In fact he had only posted names of individuals arrested during the pro-democracy march in 1989.
It'll be interesting to see how this operation goes, to monitor internet usage of the world's most populous country will certainly be a challenge.
No wonder the Chinese government is so eager to learn from our IT sector..
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