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Post-Quake, China Cuts Access to Entertainment Web Sites 334

Posted by timothy
from the perhaps-a-good-thing dept.
thefickler writes "The Chinese Government has issued orders that all entertainment web sites and regular television programming be shut down completely for the next 3 days. Only web sites covering the recent tragic 7.8 magnitude earthquake and television stations broadcasting CCTV earthquake programming will be allowed to remain live." Can anyone with Web access in China confirm this report? From an AP story on the state of communications in the country right now, it appears at least that China is (despite ongoing monitoring) allowing freer than usual communications in the wake of the quake.
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Post-Quake, China Cuts Access to Entertainment Web Sites

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  • by Mal-2 (675116) on Sunday May 18, 2008 @07:49PM (#23456862) Homepage Journal
    Do you think maybe the government feels they are doing such a great job there's no need to clamp down? From what I've seen, they are doing about as well as anyone could under the circumstances. Maybe they think that this will lead to good enough things being said (with a few bad ones for a "reality check") that they can pretend to be wide open and still come out of this looking good.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by justicezyx (1160189)
      I'm in Qingdao, Shandong Province now. I'm also watch Jackie Chan's Drunken Master clip on *youtube.com*. Actually, Chinese government issue a "3-day" mourning, like a public momorial activity that memorate the people die in this tragedy. It's vollentary, and all media is on their own way. Of course, there is mostly quake-related news, and this must be the mainstream now. As for web sites, I can access all sites that I accessed a few days ago, and everything is find. FYI, China's out-country net-acces
    • by Max Littlemore (1001285) on Sunday May 18, 2008 @10:21PM (#23457864)

      Do you think maybe the government feels they are doing such a great job there's no need to clamp down?

      Yeah, I think it's a way to show the world that they are a lot better at handling a humanitarian crisis than totalitarian governments like Burma's junta after the cyclone or the USAs rebublicans after the hurricane. They are doing well with this and are keen to show it - as many governments on Earth would be.

  • Over the top (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tsa (15680) on Sunday May 18, 2008 @08:03PM (#23456930) Homepage
    I think this is a bit over the top. Many people lost relatives or friends in the quake. Some entertainment can help them get over the grief. Now they're constanty reminded of the quake by the media. That can't be good for them.
    • Re:Over the top (Score:5, Informative)

      by Beijing Monster (969610) on Sunday May 18, 2008 @09:11PM (#23457406)

      I think this is a bit over the top. Many people lost relatives or friends in the quake. Some entertainment can help them get over the grief. Now they're constanty reminded of the quake by the media. That can't be good for them.
      I live in Beijing. Such sentiments as above sound so selfish and self-indulgent. Great shows of national mourning are not unusual, even in our own western countries (or at least they used to be). I am no apologist for China but, on this, please cut the Chinese a bit of slack. You have no idea how this tragedy has affected people in China and while three days of mourning might seem excessive it is not necessarily so here. Moreover, it helps focus the national mind on what has to be done next: no more hope for rescue, the need for rebuilding, fund raising, etc. BTW, I have so far not been affected in my access to the internet or TV, etc.
      • Re:Over the top (Score:5, Insightful)

        by digitalunity (19107) <digitalunity@yahoo . c om> on Sunday May 18, 2008 @09:35PM (#23457548) Homepage
        Just to put this into perspective, look at the raw unmitigated loss of life.

        In the span of 1 minute, more people in China died than all the american lives lost in the "War on Terror" during the last 7 years.

        Add it up and I dare anyone bashing China right now to respond saying this mourning isn't a natural and healthy response.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          Agreed. That said, to put the GWOT example in perspective: the number of Chinese dead does not yet exceed the number of Iraqi dead since 2003 and America's war of aggression upon Iraq.
        • by Fweeky (41046)
          So, er, is it OK if I say shutting down most media services isn't a natural and healthy response? WTF?

          And yes, much of America's response to 9/11 wasn't exactly what I'd term "healthy" either. One nation being batshit insane does not disregard another.
      • Re:Over the top (Score:4, Insightful)

        by RiotingPacifist (1228016) on Sunday May 18, 2008 @09:52PM (#23457648)

        I live in Beijing. Such sentiments as above sound so selfish and self-indulgent. Great shows of national mourning are not unusual, even in our own western countries (or at least they used to be). I am no apologist for China but, on this, please cut the Chinese a bit of slack. You have no idea how this tragedy has affected people in China and while three days of mourning might seem excessive it is not necessarily so here. Moreover, it helps focus the national mind on what has to be done next: no more hope for rescue, the need for rebuilding, fund raising, etc.

        BTW, I have so far not been affected in my access to the internet or TV, etc.
        Mourning should be optional, it should not be used by any goverment to 'focus' a 'national mind', and distract it from other atrocities ( Read human rights, tibet, etc). The fact you even use the phrase 'national mind' just re-enfoces how well the patriot re-education act has worked.

        p.s assuming your not brain-dead enough to think everything i write are western lies, stop to consider for a second how you can put a percentage correctness on philosophical writings? Mao would hate the Chinese government more than I do.
        • by fbjon (692006)
          Obviously, everything the Chinese government does that is not related to atrocities is to distract the people from said atrocities.
        • by mpe (36238)
          Mourning should be optional, it should not be used by any goverment to 'focus' a 'national mind', and distract it from other atrocities ( Read human rights, tibet, etc). The fact you even use the phrase 'national mind' just re-enfoces how well the patriot re-education act has worked.

          This sort of thing is hardly unique to China. There are all sorts of issues surrounding the US "Pledge of Allegiance", especially concerning the 1951 rewording. Then there was the way in which the death of "Princess" Diana was
  • The real reason (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 18, 2008 @08:06PM (#23456950)
    No, it is a three days national mourning to honour victims in the earthquake. China is not only suspending entertainment websites, but also suspending everything from public entertainment to olympic torch relay and all Chinese flags will be flown at half-mast. There will also be a 3-minute silence everywhere in China at 2:28pm China time today.

    Check out:
    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/olympics/05/18/bc.as.gen.china.earthquake.olympic.ap/

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/1982617/China-earthquake-Rescue-teams-overwhelmed-by-disaster.html
  • Can anyone with Web access in China confirm this report?

    No they can't, since this is an entertainment website.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 18, 2008 @08:11PM (#23456976)
      reading slashdot here in shenzhen right now.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by saitoh (589746)
        Well, see, they haven't blocked all the crap on the internet yet.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Catskul (323619)
        Can you normally?
  • Recent restrictions (Score:5, Informative)

    by grainofsand (548591) <grainofsand&gmail,com> on Sunday May 18, 2008 @08:10PM (#23456970)
    I live and work in Shanghai. The leading (popular) domestic websites are all still accessible but are dominated by earthquake-related news and stories, including calls for donations.

    TV stations are the same, and again, programming is dominated by earthquake news.

    I noticed over the weekend that craigslist.org is no longer accessible from mainland.
    • The great firewall doesn't block slashdot?
      • I recall /. being blocked in China for a few months back in 2005, but not since then.
        • by fliptout (9217)
          I was in China in Fall 2004 and from Aug 2005 until August 2006, and it was not blocked during that time. At least not where I was, mostly in Beijing.
      • No need the firewall has done its job, now everything anti-Chinese is instantly written off as western lies. The government have managed to get the firewall into peoples heads, the actual firewall isn't needed any more.

        This sounds like a bit of a push to get the nation even more indoctrinated. my friends lived in the UK his whole life and since the Tibet thing, he suddenly thinks all western media is bull.
  • by binaryspiral (784263) on Sunday May 18, 2008 @08:13PM (#23456994)
    When 9/11 occured in the states, we had 24/7 coverage and news on just about every channel. Mr. Rogers came on PBS and said that these are aweful times, but please limit what small children are being exposed to - it could be very scary and detrimental.

    Parents should act like a filter for the world - especially the hype and circus that is today's news reporting.

    Other than that - what is the usefulness of an order like this? I would think having something for kids and adults alike to watch other than death and destruction would help.

    • Parents should act like a filter for the world

      No, parents should empower children to filter the world themselves by giving them the critical thinking skills that they need to do so. Failing to give them this toolbox will turn them into incompetent, naive adults.

      • by MightyYar (622222)

        No, parents should empower children to filter the world themselves by giving them the critical thinking skills that they need to do so.

        This takes time. There is absolutely no reason for a young child to be exposed to horrible images or events if it can be helped. Hell, my daughter found it traumatic when we were at the petting zoo and the two alpacas got into a fight and one of them spit. You can't explain things to young children when they don't have the mental capacity - or even the vocabulary - to sort things out.

      • Parents should act like a filter for the world

        No, parents should empower children to filter the world themselves by giving them the critical thinking skills that they need to do so. Failing to give them this toolbox will turn them into incompetent, naive adults.

        Fantastic theory - but you'd make a horrible parent.

        Take your three year old to many R rated horror flicks lately? Well what would you consider the video footage of people swan diving from the 100th floor of the twin towers - played over and over again on Fox news?

        Yes, let them figure it out for themselves. Maybe they can discuss it with the boogy monster in their closet or maybe Pokemon has the answer.

    • *shrug* their paradigm is rather different than ours is, perhaps this is what's best for them. Who can really tell?
  • by Kaeso (1275972)
    I hear that they're suspending the torch relay for three days too: http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2008/05/18/olympic-torch.html [www.cbc.ca] So since there are to be three national days of mourning, maybe cutting access to entertainment sites is also a part of this...
  • It's QuakeTV! Live, unedited, uncensored footage from earthquakes all over the world! This is the quake lover's dream channel!

    See earthquakes from exotic, foreign lands like Peru and Canada on our premiere programming, QuakeWatch! Or, tune in Thursday nights for a special episode of Classic Quakes, featuring a different home-grown American quake every week!

    Tune in for the best documentaries about earthquakes, the latest quake news and reviews, and more! QuakeTV is the only channel a quake-watcher will ever
  • thats the way with fascism. they move on perceived necessities. not realities. cutting access to entertainment RIGHT at the time when their country totally needs it. only happens in fascist governments.

    someone would have listened to a song from a website that someone s/he lost liked very much, and remember, and find some solace in good remembrance or similar.

    but no. not happening with cold war derelict dinosaurs and a fascist party at the government.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by arthdo (1291694)
      You got it wrong. It's the cutural differences hat shocked you. In Chinese culture, "mourning" is a serious process that few people would even think of seeking "entertainment". It is to show the deep respect for the dead and the families that are suffering. The government is simply suggesting to stop recreational activities during national days of mourning. Internet is certainly not being cracked down ...
      • First posts huh? A shill for the Chinese government? I didn't realize they were so desperate...

        Anywhere, your attempted argument is nonsense, it's got nothing to do with "culture shock." You actually defeat your own argument--if "few people" would even think of seeking entertainment now, why does the Communist Party have to crack down? That doesn't make any sense, you need to consider motives when actions don't make sense based on your assumptions. Mourning is good and solidarity is good. Is enforced mourni
    • cutting access to entertainment RIGHT at the time when their country totally needs it.
      Wow the Earth's shaking! Let's party!! eh?

      And what do you say to the people here claiming that net access is just fine, and they could, *gasp*, actually find that song for solace as you mentioned?

      Do you actually honor *facts* instead of the fantasy world in your head?
  • by prof.nemo (1291686) on Sunday May 18, 2008 @08:41PM (#23457176)
    I am in Hong Kong, all I heard from the the official news from mainland is that there will be 3 days of "mourning for the victims of earthquake". All entertainment facilities (casino, clubs etc.) in mainland are supposedly to be closed for these 3 days, and all mainland citizens are supposed to dress "less colorfully" as well. Didn't realize that includes entertainment websites though. Of course over here in Hong Kong we find it a bit strange and obviously the local government won't follow suit. Most Hong Kong locals don't understand the logic too, but maybe it's kind of cultural difference thing again.
    • obviously the local government won't follow suit

      Linking to a Chinese (language) site isn't the accepted norm here, but I'm too lazy to find an English link.

      http://hk.news.yahoo.com/080519/12/2u88q.html [yahoo.com]

      Basically, the (Hong Kong) local government is following suit as far as they can. Of course in Hong Kong the government doesn't control everything, so participation from private entities/companies is on a voluntary basis, but they're asking people to do it. (if you can't read Chinese I'm sure you'll be able to find a colleague to do a bit of quick translat

  • I'm in China (Score:5, Informative)

    by sjb2016 (514986) on Sunday May 18, 2008 @09:02PM (#23457324)
    I'm in China, have been for a few years. I can confirm that there doesn't seem to be much shutting down of websites. I can still go to the websites I normally go to view the latest episodes of Lost (hosted inside China, they stream rather well). As far as television, last night (Sunday night Shanghai time) I was watching the only not completely state run English station. The content was complete shit, but not earthquake related. I don't watch Chinese language stuff as it is shit propaganda or shit period soap operas or a cheap knock of "The Price is Right". Can still access all the websites I normally do, except for wikipedia, which is always hit or miss. Will keep things updated as I can.
  • China is opening (Score:5, Insightful)

    by religious freak (1005821) on Sunday May 18, 2008 @09:03PM (#23457332)
    China is opening, and I think it's apparent by the way they are covering the quake. No, they will not be a fully functioning democracy tomorrow, but this coverage of the quake is big news.

    To the Chinese natural disasters were, in the past, covered up and silenced. They are embracing not only independent local coverage, but independent FOREIGN coverage as well (foreign access is truly amazing).

    I think despite some obvious failings even today, China is truly moving forward into a more open society. Give credit where credit is due...

    -------
    -1 nonconforming opinion
  • Is just a test for Olympic web access control and to move off the Tibet issues
  • Its regional (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Demonicat (1291710) on Sunday May 18, 2008 @09:48PM (#23457620)
    Before I launch into opinion, let me first state the facts jack. China's Internet censorship (the great firewall part of golden shield) is regionally based. Similar to the US radio having locality based censorship. In February for example, the university I teach at(Inner Mongolia Uni of Tech/science), could not access wikipedia- but could access flickr. In Beijing, it was the opposite- its locality based and gladder for firefox kills it anyway. That said, I still have full internet. Yesterday the DNS kept crashing out, but internet is rolling along fine and dandy...or as close as we get here at 100kbs on a pppoe. All sites are behaving normally. Now opinion. While I am a firm believer and activist for Freedom of Information, in this case I believe shutting down a bit of commuications may be needed. Many people in China are a bit on edge currently, with the olympics, the protests, the whole t1b3t thing- and the earthquake moved them right to the edge. Rumours are circulating around the country here about radiation dangers, the government not acting, the goverment causing the earthquake like some kind of James Bond Villian...lots of BS. The end result of this is that people are too panicked and nervous to help out with reconstruction or aiding survivors- not good. The limiting of information until the area is secure and survivors helped is very important at this time.
  • by Mr Europe (657225) on Sunday May 18, 2008 @09:49PM (#23457626)
    This morgning here in Shanghai I noticed that the hotel TV did send western channels such as CNN but almost all Chinese channels were down. Abt three channels showed quake clearings. Somewhat leaned towards showing heroic soldiers in clean suit saving people. And the president himself directing the work. But at least this time the TV has shown a lot of quake damages.
    Death toll now 33000 verified. Will rise above 40000 since now 9500 verified to be beried under rubble. 220000 injured.
  • I am in Beijing and HBO and Cinemax channels at my hotel are not available today. CNN is available.

    I have not found any websites blocked other than the usual ones.
  • I'm a Chinese, we are not shutting down the website or TV channel, we are just not entertain for 3 days. If you are a foreigner in China and feel no pain and like to have some fun, you can get it, just we won't participate. This is our way of show our lament for the victims. Feeling sorrow, so we can relief the pain of the people in sichuan, and comfort the dead. As for your guys, just show some respect to this is enough, don't be so bitch!
  • A friend of mine who lives in Shanghai mentioned that ESPN and HBO went off the air this morning. The only western channels that are available are CNN and a German channel that is over 90% news.
  • As much as I hate this sensationalist topic about China floating on Slashdot just like others Slashdot's front page everyday (literally). I have to start blaming this to either mass uninformed stupidity or the entire western media for so many years of biased and irresponsible reports on China. It seems that the more China is making progress in its modernization effort, the more biased reports on it surfaces for whatever reason.

    The little village in Sichuan has lost 50K lives and had 200K injured and milli

  • I'm in Liaoning (northeast China) and I completely support this. The Sichuan quake was a massive tragedy, and it's good that something very big is being done to raise awareness and honor the dead. It's better that it's being centrally coordinated.

    If you're in China, rather than spending your time goofing around online you should donate to relief, give blood, and get outside and be part of the community. This is not a free speech issue, not today.

    There is nothing wrong or creepy about an entire country wo

    • Getting the entire country to work in concert is what totalitarian governments do. It's practically the definition of one. The reason the US government can't do this is because it's a free country. And yes, the things that totalitarian governments get their entire countries to work on are frequently good things. The trouble is that they make no distinction between getting the entire country to band together for earthquake relief and getting the entire country to band together to kill/imprison/reeducate ever
      • Getting the entire country to work in concert is what totalitarian governments do.

        Wrong. Look at what good did it do to Collective Farms in Stalin's period.
        His was the most totalitarian government you could get and still he could not improve farming output. (forget about purges).
        The more hard you squeeze the sand in your palm, the more sand escapes.
        Its a genuine outpouring of grief. Recognize that for what it is rather than saying bull$hit about totalitarian, etc.

        • Nothing wrong about it. Stalin did a great job of getting the entire country to work in concert doing exactly what he wanted. The trouble was, of course, that his policies were disastrous. Central control doesn't work very well because the guys at the top don't know what's happening at the bottom. So having the guys at the top make all of the people at the bottom jump to the same tune often ends in sorrow. The Soviets did a fantastic job of eliminating useful people who were considered politically dangerous
    • Oh.. the US did this during Pearl Harbour and 9-11.
      Only that pearl harbor helped bring WW2 to end and made japan a peace-loving country.
      9-11 ended in one country broken, one country on the verge of going back and US much poorer.
      But then when the country is led by a single-digit-IQ oil-loving-Texan who still can't read books and thinks sacrficing Golf is the biggest sacrifice he can make...
      Sorry. We are ashamed of him. And we didn't vote for him (if you know what voting & elections mean).
  • Disgusted (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ChameleonDave (1041178) * on Monday May 19, 2008 @01:40AM (#23458952) Homepage

    The sort of reactionary and racist anti-Chinese attitudes that are commonplace on Slashdot really sicken me.

    A short period of mourning is declared, with very little enforcement, and all you want to do is seize the opportunity to make it look like censorship, in particular censorship of the disaster. It is the exact opposite. Frivolous entertainment is being scaled down a bit for a mere three days, and the TV networks are saturating the public with quake information. Never has the Chinese government been more open. With previous tragedies we saw secrecy and a desire to save face, but this regime is clearly much more modern. The contrast with the terrible Burmese regime is very clear.

    I don't actually agree with the declaration of mourning, and I wish that this government could be replaced with one truly chosen by the people, but this doesn't mean that the non-stop stream of slurs and vilification is OK.

    In particular, I find the concept of a period of mourning to be much less offensive than Bush's 16 Sept official day of prayer for hurricane Katrina. Separation of church and state, please!

    • by Fluffeh (1273756)

      all you want to do is seize the opportunity to make it look like censorship

      Actually, cutting off certain channels from the television, and redirecting certain sites to point to other ones is sort of censorship. If it's not, it is actually something more sinister - ala George Orwell. It is one or the other.

      Having said that, I don't think I would be overly interested in find porn sites when my neighbors house was a ruined pile of crap, and I don't totally disagree with what they have done (some small part of me thinks it's not the worst thing they could have done) but don't be f

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Yes, Theres 3 days national mourning. All entertainment venues will be closed (I'm not sure about the internet). From 14:28 today there will be 3 minutes silence. It's out of respect for the now 32,000+ dead and nothing else. This is the email I got about it (I'm working in Beijing)

    Dear colleagues,

    In memory of the casualties in earthquake of Sichuan Province, the State Council has announced an official three-day national mourning. Flags are to be kept at half-mast and all public amusements will be suspended
  • Dear all China/Communist haters,

    Next time, please try to report on the EVIL CRIMES of CHINESE COMMUNISTS with a bit more subtlety. These days, with the free Internet, and more Chinese citizens on the Internet who've seen the real deal, blatant lies about the Chinese government will not work, and will get you discredited.

    Please, for the sake of humanity and those who rightly believe in the CULT OF ANTI-COMMUNISM, run stories about CHINESE COMMUNISTS KILLING BABIES in their basements or something. Something t
  • There is a whole list of problems we might have with China, but can we just shut up about them for five seconds to discuss this specific situation?

    As far as any government can, they've done everything right with regard to the earthquake. The Premier (who is IIRC a geologist which I guess would be useful) went straight to the scene with thousands of troops to organise relief work.

    Foreign aid was requested almost immediately, and the government allowed them to get on with their jobs and not use their pre

  • I'm in Shanghai this month and just heard the air raid siren for 3 minutes while in Old Shanghai... it was quite touching to see everyone stop whatever they were doing.

    As for Internet access... I think this is sensationalist BS. I'm on slashdot.org, people.com, youtube.com, cnn.com and wikipedia.org right now without any problems. Nobody's cutting access, they're just asking for a period of mourning and respect for the dead.

    How is this different from our reaction to Pearl Harbor and/or September 11?
    • by jaaron (551839)
      You're going to international sites. Those aren't the ones being shutdown. Only Chinese sites have these instructions. See sina.com or games.com.cn or others.
  • I live in China (near Shanghai). As of this morning, the usual blocked sites were still blocked (Wiki, etc.) but /., YouTube, webcomics, etc. are still up and running.
  • I seem to recall that in the aftermath of 9/11, many events were postponed. From concerts, to WWE wrestling to Major League Baseball. Hell I believe even Saturday Night Live took a short hiatus. Why aren't you still complaining that the airlines were shutdown on 9/11 (and 9/12) so you couldn't go on your vacation to DisneyWorld. I guess that makes the US gov't an oppressive regime b/c you couldn't go on Mr Toad's Wild Ride? Do Americans complain about the "1 minute of silence" during baseball games on 9

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