Saturday, December 20, 2008

China bans New York Times online

The AP is reporting that China blocked access to the New York Times online website today (Dec. 20). Earlier this week, a number of other western papers had been blocked but some were restored Friday. The link is here.

AOL ran the story tonight, and posted a survey showing that a majority of users do not use the New York Times online.

China has more Internet users than any other country, but believes that the government must prevent dissent in order to retain stability. Other smaller countries that are conservative but thought of as a little more progressive (like Singapore -- see Dec 8 posting here) also censor Internet content. China’s Confucian values as well as Communist roots would resist the effects of “asymmetry”.

But it is surprising to see major newspapers blocked. China lifted some censorship of professional journalists at the last minute during the August Olympics.

My own websites (including blogs and conventional sites) have very little traffic from China (suggesting probable government blockage because of my political content), but substantial traffic from Middle Eastern countries including Saudi Arabia and Iran. One would expect it to be common for wealthy or connected people in all these countries to get around filters with various proxy arrangements.

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