Monday, October 15, 2007

Chinese police monitor Internet users as well as censor content


Internet censorship in China seems to continue unabated. According to a story in PC World by Steven Schwankert of the IDG News Service, “Press Group Slams Chinese Internet Censorship”, the Chinese quasi-Communist government uses thousands of police to monitor the activities or ordinary users. The link is here. There is a report from “Reporters Without Borders” called “Journey to the Heart of Internet Censorship (here, in pdf format) that the government itself is trying to prevent from disseminated.

Journalists are told not to discuss certain topics, and many overseas servers of sporadically blocked and time out. Many Chinese ISPs and sites have shut down, sometimes intermittently.

It’s interesting that the government believes it is so vulnerable to what bloggers and journalists may say. It must have a lot to hide. Of course, American companies like Microsoft have been accused of cooperating with the Chinese government’s censorship activities in order to do business there. Here is a typical story, from BBC, “Microsoft Censors Chinese blogs: Chinese bloggers posting their thoughts via Microsoft's net service face restrictions on what they can write” from June 2005.

Update: Oct. 24, 2007

Foreign Policy online has a web-extra in October, "How to Do It: Circumventing the Censors,: here. The underlying concept seems to be to use tools to render your identity anonymous.

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