back to article STOP! You – away from the keyboard. There's no free speech in our China

Chinese police officers will be installed within the country's largest internet companies to provide a response force in case of free speech crimes. Notions that the blossoming Chinese internet technology scene might lead to a relaxing of the country's totalitarian censorship laws are faltering, following a recent announcement …

  1. asdf Silver badge

    hmm

    Does China really think they are ever going to be a developed country pulling this shit? Yes we complain about the NSA and anti porn grandstanding politicians who want to control us but I am posting this now without fear including shouting yes my government are often complete and total asshats. That would not be the case if I was a Chinese citizen or was even in China proper (which is why I never will go to China until there is a legitimate government change even though they are huge in my industry).

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: hmm

      "I am posting this now without fear including shouting yes my government are often complete and total asshats."

      Saying that in China is unlikely to get much attention. Many chinese are quite scathing in their criticism of the govt (especially about corruption).

      Organising a demonstration to say it will have them down on you like a tonne of rice noodles.

      It's not dissent they don't like these days, so much as public disturbance.

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: hmm

        "Say it" is one thing. "Posting it" seems to be what this is about. And we think we have intrusiveness... the only difference is, the Chinese are probably used to this by now as they've had local snitches (for lack of a better word) for decades. This just escalates it.

        The rest of us are just learning about our government's intentions. Perhaps we need to take a closer look at China and even Russia to get some idea where things are headed.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: hmm

      "I am posting this now without fear including shouting yes my government are often complete and total asshats"

      In the UK at least it's similar in some ways to China - you can't freely say you support whoever the government defines as terrorists for instance, or argue for their cause - or that you don't like a certain racial group or religion. Same principle, just different degrees of implementation. Either you have free speech or you don't, and in the UK at least we currently don't.

    3. DougS Silver badge

      @asdf Re: hmm

      Got news for you asdf, China already IS a developed country. They are the world's second largest economy and have a larger middle class than the US and UK combined - and are rapidly closing in on including the whole EU in that math. You'd have to twist the definition of "developed country" pretty far to find a way to keep them off the list - and I suspect a definition that did that would knock out a few European countries that would be surprised to learn they'd be demoted to undeveloped status!

      If you think the monitoring China does is incompatible with being a developed country, what about the very similar monitoring the US did on "subversives" like MLK and Jane Fonda during the Vietnam years? I guess the US needs to clean up its act to gain the status of a developed country?

      1. asdf Silver badge

        Re: @asdf hmm

        ILO Monthly Average Wage 2009

        4 United States $3,263

        5 United Kingdom $3,065

        21 Greece $2,300

        28 Turkey $1,731

        57 China $656

        58 Mexico $609

        And that is average not median in which makes China looks even better than they are due to their %1 being so insanely rich. China is developed in many cities but the country on the whole is not.

        >US did on "subversives" like MLK and Jane Fonda during the Vietnam years?

        Two generations ago? And its not like those were just your typical on the street people. Besides we all know the US in many ways often doesn't act like the rest of the developed world so bad example.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: @asdf hmm

          You always have to take these kinds of numbers with a grain of salt. A better figure would be the ratio of the average salary to the average cost of living, which I expect will boost China's rating since the US isn't exactly a cheap place to live.

          1. asdf Silver badge

            Re: @asdf hmm

            Recently, United Nations’ International Labour Organization (ILO) published the average monthly salary or wage for the whole world & the average for 72 countries. For the whole world, the average is USD1,480 per month.

            The figures are published for the first time. It’s a rough figure based on data from 72 countries, omitting some of the world’s poorest nations. In addition, all figures are adjusted to reflect variations in the cost of living from one country to another.

  2. iLuddite

    one world

    "new Chinese cyber-security law...shares ideological roots with the British...Powers Bill..."

    Interesting choice of words.

    More research needed.

  3. elDog Silver badge

    At least the Chinese are being "open" about this.

    There are more subtle ways of killing wayward communications other than a police officer shooting at packets.

    I doubt that the ISPs/telcos with their top-secret data pipes to the agencies are just for monitoring. It would be so easy to alter data packets such as forum comments (like this one) to say the opposite or at least make it look ridiculous. There, did I/they succeed?

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: At least the Chinese are being "open" about this.

      " It would be so easy to alter data packets such as forum comments (like this one) to say the opposite or at least make it look ridiculous. There, did I/they succeed?"

      Is there the slightest shred of evidence that that has ever occurred, ever? I'm not sure I accept as evidence the mere existence of ridiculous comments, although some are so horrendous that they can surely only be a false flag.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. W Donelson

    Don't be fooled...

    Once the chinese have taken our (tax break) money, built up their infrastructure and industry, they are going to nationalise all those shares the super-rich scumbag bankers and asshat Westerners think they own.

    Hahahahaha, asshats. And don't be fooled, you will NOT be welcome to move there when the West collapses through lack of investment. (Except as butlers, perhaps)

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: Don't be fooled...

      "...they are going to nationalise all those shares the super-rich scumbag bankers and asshat Westerners think they own."

      Two problems with that:

      1) Collapsing the global economy is only not certain doom for yourself if you can wall yourself off from everyone else. And as long as everyone else has nuclear missiles, you can't;

      2) Chinese companies, most of which are government related, own a lot of stuff outside China. One word: reciprocity.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Don't be fooled...

        "Chinese companies, most of which are government relatedautocrat controlled"

        fixed that one for you

    2. asdf Silver badge

      Re: Don't be fooled...

      Lets see the West just when through the worst recession in generations and is now recovering nicely in many parts (the Southern Europe basketcases aside). How many recessions has this shaky Chinese government been through? Oh wait that's right China is recession proof. It can go on building ghost towns and cost overan rail roads forever. The bubble pop is already starting and its going to be massive and the government is rightfully scared shitless of the peasants and this just another symptom.

      1. asdf Silver badge

        Re: Don't be fooled...

        Just to qualify I am talking since modernization. Mao did prove he could directly cause the mother of all depressions starving 30 million (the conservative estimate) of his own people and still somehow grab power later to kill millions during the Cultural Revolution. What a guy. A real George Washington founder type for the current Chinese government to look up too.

      2. Phuq Witt
        Facepalm

        Too Big-Headed to Fail

        @asdf

        Are you actually insane?... or do you just believe every jingoistic piece of propaganda your [presumably American] government spouts.

        The US economy is the biggest basket case on the planet. Your national debt is over 20 trillion dollars [and growing], you have entire cities going bankrupt and if any of your politicians suggest you should maybe 'tighten your belts' a bit, they get accused of being communists [or worse].

        You better pray the rest of the western world keeps on worshipping the mighty Yankee Dollar and sucking on the mighty American todger. For if even a fraction of that debt were to be called in, or the same 'credit rating' standards were to apply to the US as are applied to other, less popular nations, the US economy would collapse faster than a Greek house of cards.

        1. asdf Silver badge

          Re: Too Big-Headed to Fail

          >You better pray the rest of the western world keeps on worshipping the mighty Yankee Dollar

          Well they sure aren't going to be using the Euro anytime soon what with how solid the foundations of that integration are. Yes the US has built an enormous house of cards but one so huge if it collapses it won't just be the US that suffers. The US has a good chance to grow its way out of the problems though. Its economy has always grown faster on average than virtually any other developed economy including now. Does our broken ass political system have the will to do the things that need to be done is the question (such as quit giving out so much free money to old people, Boomers spending 3 dollars in Medicare for every 1 they put in during their lifetime etc).

    3. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Don't be fooled...

      You do realize that China has a trade surplus, right? What do you think they do with it? They have a very large foreign investment fund - something like $1 trillion in US treasury bonds alone! Then there are all those Chinese billionaires who own shares in companies around the world, property in London, San Francisco and so on.

      If China nationalized all foreign held assets, and the foreign governments retaliated by doing the same, China and its citizens would suffer a net loss of trillions of dollars. At least make your idiotic conspiracy theories have some logical sense, you might as well argue that Russia is going to launch its nukes against Moscow, that would be the same level of stupidity to what you propose.

  5. frank ly Silver badge

    This raises questions

    "Chinese police officers will be installed within the country's largest internet companies ..."

    Where do the power and data connectors go? What sort of interface do they have?

    1. Martin Summers Silver badge

      Re: This raises questions

      "Where do the power and data connectors go?"

      I would imagine in places that they're not supposed to and would make you wince.

    2. Daggerchild Silver badge

      Re: This raises questions

      I'm wondering if they'll be armed. I also wonder if they'll understand computers.

      "Please block all activity critical of new policy. You have 20 seconds to comply."

      "How? We do 10,000 transactions a minute, and nobody names what they're criticising."

      "Then order a computer to do it!"

      1. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

        Re: This raises questions

        @Daggerchild - the MPS certainly has technical experts, I've met a few of them.

        Is this about strengthening capabilities, or empire-building within the organisation?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've always been curious why China hasn't already banned any and all forms of encryption where the state doesn't control the keys. As for stego and other methods, there are ways to sanitize communications on the Internet to make them stego-resistant.

    1. asdf Silver badge

      >I've always been curious why China hasn't already banned any and all forms of encryption

      Probably because even they can't afford to ban a awful lot of COTS software from tthe West. The Norks they are not.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        But gung-ho at trying to get everything done at home they are. I'm pretty sure they'd be more than glad to dump all the COTS software from the west...soon as they can develop a useful analogue in-country. They have a tendency to do that, both in software and in hardware.

  7. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Situation critical ?

    Apparently, almost half of the population of Chine is online, mostly via smartphones.

    That came as a surprise to me. I thought there was a lot less. Apparently, there are more Chinese citizens living in the cities than I thought.

    Does this mean that the means to oppress are being stretched to their limits, or that the Chinese version of NSA technology laughs in the face of a challenge ?

    I would have honestly thought that suppressing the opinions of over half a billion people would be a bit too costly for any state to bear. Of course, if the government gave such a project maximum priority and a "whatever it takes" budget (and why wouldn't they ?), then I guess anything is possible.

    1. James 100

      Re: Situation critical ?

      "I would have honestly thought that suppressing the opinions of over half a billion people would be a bit too costly for any state to bear."

      I suppose for the current rulers, the comparison is with the cost of NOT suppressing them - Marie Antoinette would probably think a bit more population oppression would be a bargain at any price, after all...

    2. Daggerchild Silver badge

      Re: Situation critical ?

      Alas, the Chinese will probably be the first with a reasonably functional AI. The processing power necessary to track the online activity of every human in China is a finite number. Moore's law will intersect at some point.

  8. DerekCurrie
    Devil

    FREE SPEECH CRIMES!

    And we thought '1984' was only for fascists.

    Totalitarianism is a universal crime against humanity, no matter the political bent.

    1. O RLY
      Big Brother

      Re: FREE SPEECH CRIMES!

      And we thought '1984' was only for fascists.

      We did? The government of Oceania (or at least in Airstrip One) was Ingsoc, or English Socialism.

      That said, I completely agree that dictatorship is horrible regardless of the slogans.

  9. DougS Silver badge

    Too bad they don't have electronic communication

    Then the police officers wouldn't have to be based in the internet companies, but they could use some sort of fanciful futuristic network connection that would allow them to monitor what is happening in those companies in real time, and be able to communicate with the staff in those companies.

    But until technologies that have only been written about in Science Fiction like fiber optics and ethernet are actually invented, they'll just have to be based on site I guess.

  10. Ole Juul Silver badge

    Free Speech

    I wonder if all the Anonymous Coward postings have anything to do with free speech. There's an awful lot of them and they can't all be from China.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Free Speech

      They are from Porcelain

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