My Irreversible Point of View

Unfortunately freedom of speech is not totally respected in some parts of the world. That is why I decide to express my point of view in the name of those who are not allowed to express themselves. STAND UP, SPEAK UP! STOP THE TRAFFIK

Monday, February 27, 2006

China: Blogger Nation vs Censorship

Chinese people have much greater access to information and more ways to express themselves than ever before. But the great problem for Chinese bloggers may be censorship.
"In China, freedom of speech had found an outlet on blogs", says Wang, who thinks deeply and speaks rapidly. "Blogs are filling in the gap between the freedom the government allows and the freedom it should allow."
Since the communist revolution, Chinese writers have worked under the jurisdiction of writers' associations, obligated to compose for the glory of the party. Now, for the first time, they are self-publishing in large numbers, and the state does not entirely control the flow of information. Many bloggers do not consider themselves activists but insist they are changing the country for better simply by engaging in open discussion.
Experts estimate that there are a few million active bloggers in China and that the number is growing rapidly. More than 100 firms provide blog services nationally, up from zero a few years ago. By comparison, the United States has anywhere from 15 million to 30 million active bloggers.
But in fact Beijing is winning the war to control what its citizens read, write and think. "A Chinese blogger is just like an American columnist", says Zhao Jing, a journalist whose popular blog Microsoft's blog service, MSN Spaces, was recently shutered on orders from Beijing. "We journalists cannot tell the truth, so we tell it with blogs."
Beijing has hopes of controlling this unruly world, of course. It is enlisting private firms to help with censors. All Chinese blog-hosting companies use keyword filters that search for sensitive terms, such as June 4th or 6/4 (often used alone as reference to the June 4, 1989, Tiananmen Square massacre). Blog-hosting companies also watch for sensitive postings and delete them. And the government has its own overseers, who may order these firms to delete offending posts. Access to many foreign sites - including blog-services providers like Google's Blogspot - are cut off altogether. In addition, the government has made several high-profile arrests. In September it sentenced journalist Zheng Yichun to seven years in prison for posting articles critical of the government on foreign Web sites.
But it is a losing battle. Bloggers can easily foil the keyword filters by replacing sensitive names such as Jiang Zemin with abbreviations (JZM). Readers can gain access to banned sites through the use of proxy servers, to view overseas versions.
Sometimes bloggers who have had their essays deleted rewrite then in a softer tone and republish then without a problem.

The sheer volume of messages, the architecture of the Internet itself and the cleverness of Internet users are already overwhelming state censors. China's leaders understand this. That is why they are increasingly relying on private firms to do their dirty work, blocking speech and turning over the identity of citizens who use the Internet as an organisation tool. The Great Firewall of China is not the stats's only weapon; there is also Censorship Inc.
Private firms already act as censors in China. To do business in China, all Internet companies are building censorship into their business processes. This will continue so long as the government seeks to control what people see and say online. There is no other way to do the job. It is not surprising that censorship has become a popular Chinese export. Techniques and software for Internet control, developed in China, are now being applied in countries like Vietnam and Iran.
China has also proved that censorship pays: it has developed a successful model for how government and business can collaborate to censor a nation's Internet activities.

By Newsweek International - February 27, 2006


  • At February 28, 2006 10:19 PM , Blogger Xin said...

    bem bem madrinha sim sra... ganda blog, andas-t a dedicar a isto á seria mm, e como sempre ta a ficar beleza (vocabulário adquado á altura do ano...) lolol bem continua assim k vais longe, és uma pessoa excelente e cheia de belas ideias que metes aqui... força contigo e sempre que precisares o teu afilhado ta por aque :D :D :D kiss kiss kiss


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