back to article Beijing's Olympian censorship machine laid bare

A democracy activist working undercover at a Chinese internet company has exposed how the Beijing government is strangling online dissent ahead of next year's Olympics. In an investigation released today by press freedom group Reporters Without Borders, "Mr Tao", a technician at an undisclosed firm, reveals details of recently- …

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Anonymous Coward

Oh, *right*

"With less than a year to go before the Beijing Olympics, there is an urgent need for the government to stop blocking thousands of websites, censoring online news, and imprisoning internet activists."

An urgent need? No, actually, there's no such thing. What the hell is this guy on about? Or else, what? His little human rights organization will topple the Chinese government? Or convince the olympic organizers to go elsewhere? Be serious.

Little dogs yapping at the heels of the real world like this do nothing to add to the credibility of groups which work for free expression. I would gladly die to protect my right to say what I please, when I please, in my own country, but to just blurt out that there's an "urgent need" for the oppressors to magically turn tail and run is pathetic.

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JP
Coat

Got to suck if your birthday...

is on June 4 1989. Any page with your info on it would be banned/censored!

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No one was born that way. That day never exisited.

Apparently due to some fluke of the calendar system there simply wasn't a June 4th in China that year.

Wouldn't be the first time this has happened. In 1582 Thursday, 4 October 1582 was immediately followed by Friday 15 October.

Anyone with vivid memories of a June 4th is obviously delusional and should report immediately to the nearest political reeducation center for treatment.

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Dead Vulture

Article writer forgot a step

he forgot to add how these propaganda folks hopped onto free anonymous proxies, pretending to be Americans from all walks of life and started posting on American sites, Apple fan sites, Slashdot, etc-pretending to be Americans and ranting about how it was all Amercian Imperialism/racism/etc in order to attempt to mitigate the consumer backlash that was deserved. The same lines-"Every company does it", "you all just hate China because it's catching up" and "you hate everyone you can't invade" spewing from this instant Chinese cheering section. Similar started after the last little bit of Chinese DoD hacking, and pops up with the same bullet points at each Chinese toy recall, food poisoning, or human rights violation.

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@first poster

> "An urgent need? No, actually, there's no such thing."

Some people might might say that freedom from repression is always an urgent need wherever it is needed. I will merely observe that your claim to be a supporter of free speech is weakened by the fact that you don't care about it for anyone other than yourself.

> "What the hell is this guy on about?"

You appear to have reading comprehension problems. That quote was said by Reporters without Borders, not "this guy".

> "Or else, what? His little human rights organization will topple the Chinese government? Or convince the olympic organizers to go elsewhere?"

Apart from pointing out that Reporters sans frontières is a serious-minded, respected and professional human rights organization, which you appear not to be aware of, you seem also to be leaping to some kind of non-sequitur here. Nobody said anything except that there is an urgent need to stop the repression and censorship, because otherwise it will continue, and that's a bad thing. The "or else" inference existed only in your overactive imagination.

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Don't like China? Don't do business with it.

Hello! Reality time. If you don't like a country, don't do business with it.

I'll admit that its quite hard, though. The last time I went shopping for a lamp fixture that wasn't made in China, I failed. All of the products I looked at in several stores were made in China. We have no choice but to support the Chinese government with our money. I cannot choose to support a different country, because there is no choice for me to do that. Where is free will if there is no alternative choice? We have no free will. We are enslaved to China.

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Anonymous Coward

The Tank Man

I guess our Chinese Bretheren won't be encouraged to watch..........

http://www.boreme.com/boreme/funny-2007/tank-man-p1.php

The story behind the incredibly poignant actions of a brave soul who dared to stop a line of tanks in Tiananmen Square during that fateful protest.

All of us in the FREE world may enjoy the privilege.

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@Brian Miller

If we stopped buying everything from China, then we'd have to pay realistic prices for it all. Duh, do think before you post.

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Capitalism

does just what it says on the box: makes money. lots of money.

money for upper classes in the West, money for the well-connected in China, money for OPEC, bribes and campaign contributions for the necessary politicians, and that's most of it right there.

nowhere in the principles of capitalism will you find passages dealing with human rights, freedom of expression, or any sort of social conscience. it's all about wealth. this is the dark side of globalisation without conditions (China was allowed to join the WTO, despite not having met a whole slew of open-market and liberalization requirements, with the blessing of most western nations, especially the US).

make no mistake, this is exactly the outcome the West chose. now, the developed world will sigh, and wring its hands, and frown anxiously...and do nothing. the leverage is gone.

it is unfortunate that the Chinese government doesn't take a page from Russia, where the powers-that-be take the attitude that anyone can say whatever one likes, as long as the people presently in charge can continue to run the place.

now that is a sensible attitude.

a PR campaign as extensive and intensive as what the Chinese are running, will always have holes, inconsistencies, and blowback. no one will really buy the notion that a country with a million-man army and a long track record of brutal, frequently excessive repression, is suddenly warm-fuzzy, Olympics or no.

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I think the plan is to slowly corrupt China with our Western Ideas.

I don't think China's leadership is as much adamantly opposed to human rights and democracy, as they are pathologically fearful of disruptive change.

The more China is connected to the rest of the world, the more Western values and ideas from influencing their culture.

I think the best hope is for change in China is for it to happen gradually from within.

External pressure for change would at best only harden China's leadership and at worse would actually succeed in toppling their government through economic collapse (and probably lead to a world wide depression in the process).

When a government collapses it often results in something far worse taking its place.

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They have some rough edges

Their behavior looks suspiciously capitalist and greedy. Having said that they are kind of bent out of shape by expression because they basically bought the lie that if the people knew the truth something would happen or if people criticize then something might change hah! Fat chance they should chill and let the little people squeak nothing will come of it at least as long as they allow their rich to do whatever the hell they want.

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Anonymous Coward

Guess what

That link to the report is dead ............ in China !

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Keywords

"There are between 400 and 500 banned keywords which companies self-censor behind the Great Firewall..."

I'd like to see that list. Anyone know where it could be seen? I'm sure it would be illuminating.

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@b shubin

"take a page from Russia, where the powers-that-be take the attitude that anyone can say whatever one likes, as long as the people presently in charge can continue to run the place"

Which explains perfectly well why so many Russian reporters have been assassinated in the past few years.

That proves your point beautifully. Wait . . no it doesn't actually, it disproves it.

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keywords 2

answered my own question...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/18/AR2006021800554.html

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Pointless posturing

"With less than a year to go before the Beijing Olympics, there is an urgent need for the government to stop blocking thousands of websites, censoring online news, and imprisoning internet activists."

Yeah, right. I'm sure that the fascist government of China will be really worried about how urgent that is.

They're abusing their citizens, censoring every media and locking people up for speaking out of turn. And what has been their punishment? Billions and billions of dollars, euros and pounds, the massive propaganda-cum-drugsfest that is the olympics, and acceptance onto the world stage of politics. Oh, and a few pathetic whines like this ineffectual piece of crap article.

"Urgent"? Don't make me laugh.

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Dead Vulture

@ Ron Hughes

>http://www.boreme.com/boreme/funny-2007/tank-man-p1.php

>The story behind the incredibly poignant actions of a brave soul who dared to stop a line of tanks in Tiananmen Square during that fateful protest.

>All of us in the FREE world may enjoy the privilege.

Guess what?! I can't view this from my work PC. Just get the company's "Access Denied" message. Fuckin' Net Nazis are everywhere man!!!

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Russia

Yes, Russia, “where the powers-that-be take the attitude that anyone can say whatever one likes, as long as the people presently in charge can continue to run the place.” Indeed. However, they reserve the right to deal as they see fit with anyone whose actions or utterances threaten or annoy them. No rules, no guidelines, no warnings, no harassment, no arrests, and no state-sponsored trips to a Siberian gulag for re-education like in the old days. Just a few bullets delivered at close range when least expected, or, for the wealthy, a trumped-up corruption charge. But yes, this comes under the heading of “running the place” so the statement is accurate.

The old communists had this ideology, however bankrupt, corrupted or hypocritically misused it was, that they were working for the betterment of all their people, so that all could become equals. They justified their actions in terms of defending or pursuing this goal.

Putin and co. just have, to misquote Pratchett, definite ideas about who should be in charge – i.e. that it should be them. Period.

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