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China Social Networks Censorship Communications

China's Parallel Online Universe 173

Posted by Soulskill
from the why-fight-the-media-when-you-can-fight-the-social dept.
An anonymous reader writes "China is increasingly operating an online parallel universe where social media clones 'mimic the functions of the most popular, internationally recognized social media applications, such as Facebook and Twitter. The replicas, however, come with a major catch: they systematically comply with the Chinese Communist Party’s strict censorship requirements.' They are satisfying the growing demand of hundreds of millions of Chinese citizens for social media tools, reducing incentives for them to circumvent the 'Great Firewall,' Freedom House warns. Testing by researchers found that a search for the names of seven prominent Chinese lawyers, activists, and journalists on Sina Weibo returned no results, only an Orwellian notice that 'According to related laws and policy, some of the results are not shown here.'"
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China's Parallel Online Universe

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  • Comment Censored (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 26, 2011 @07:20PM (#38497578)

    In response to a complaint we received under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, we have removed 1 result(s) from this page. If you wish, you may read the DMCA complaint that caused the removal(s) at

  • by SerpentMage (13390) <> on Monday December 26, 2011 @07:22PM (#38497598)

    Not to say that I am overly impressed with the Chinese approach, but to say that they are really bad is saying his shirt is much dirtier. The problem is that in the US most social media is censored quite a bit! And that I find sad... BTW google eg facebook censorship.

  • In related news... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 26, 2011 @07:22PM (#38497600)

    America is increasingly operating a parallel universe where they have the power to impose their IP laws on the rest of the world, seizing domains that are both legal and based in countries outside their legal jurisdiction, as well as drafting laws that "only apply to other countries, not the United States."

    Given the choice, I'd almost prefer to live in their world. At least they don't call themselves the defenders of liberty while they do this crap.

  • by mykos (1627575) on Monday December 26, 2011 @07:27PM (#38497646)
    In America, censorship is only bad if the gubbmint is doing it. Really, we're no different from China. We're just trading one master for another.
  • 1984, DMCA (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sjwt (161428) on Monday December 26, 2011 @07:32PM (#38497698)

    We are currently at war with Eastasia, we have always been at war with Eastasia.

  • by buchner.johannes (1139593) on Monday December 26, 2011 @07:35PM (#38497712) Homepage Journal

    I doubt that there is some coordination in China to clone specific social networks, microblogging services, and video portals. Every culture has their own dominant websites, just because they can integrate better with the people and know how to become popular. Google can't survive in South Korea for instance, because it doesn't play as nicely with the language+culture as Naver&Daum. Russia uses different services (VKontakte, Rutube), just look at the "World Map of Social Networks".

    Sure, in China only compliant websites survive, but is that the driver?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 26, 2011 @07:38PM (#38497732)

    When unlimited money can flow into political coffers in the name of "free speech", isn't the government de facto owned and operated by the corporations?

    i.e.: Nobody is trading anything. Meet the new master, same as the old master.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 26, 2011 @07:40PM (#38497766)

    Obama sucks big ol' monkey balls. Hmm, this comment is still here. Guess Chinese censorship and the DMCA aren't equivalent after all. Don't get me wrong, I'm not defending the DMCA or SOPA by any stretch, but does everything always have to come back to this 'Well we have overbearing copyright laws therefore we have the same censorship' thing?

    Then again, I could be wrong. Heaven knows what all SOPA will do if passed, but are there any actual examples of DMCA being used for political censorship?

  • by Moryath (553296) on Monday December 26, 2011 @07:51PM (#38497854)

    What do you think SOPA was all about?

    SOPA = The "Great Firewall of America."

  • by babboo65 (1437157) on Monday December 26, 2011 @07:56PM (#38497892)

    I'll grant there is a considerable amount of information manipulation here in the US. Having spent a time working in and around our government and some of the things that are kept away from public scrutiny I understand first-hand there are reasons some information is kept secret.

    That is not my point and was not the comment I was making. It was not about government information being kept secret - my comment was plainly about government's controlling what their people can do on a day-to-day basis. Take the actual content of the article discussing people having access to social media - that isn't controlling access to government secrets, it's controlling access to the outside world. Again, I also said if people choose to remain within the bounds of that control by choice, it's their choice (as you said "A lot of people like their government-imposed veils") but if not they should have the ability and basic human right to be free and think for themselves.

    I could absolutely care less what deep-dark secrets of the inner-workings of the government want to remain veiled - that is up to their people to deal with as it is ours. I am talking about the proscribed birth-rate limits, the limits on what sex a baby can be, where you can seek information, what you are allowed to hear, what you can do to earn a living, etc. I am talking about basic freedoms. The same is said about slavery in the US but in the end the same truth was present - people wanted to be free. That has nothing what-so-ever to do with government manipulation of banking or insurance, nothing at all to do with the next weapon or how to infiltrate an enemy, it has only to do with the ability of people to make some of the choices in their lives for themselves.

    At the end of the day my question remains. Does it really work? If it did would there ever be anyone trying to shrug off the yoke of control and manipulation? At the end of the day my question was really rhetorical.

  • by tverbeek (457094) on Monday December 26, 2011 @08:15PM (#38498020) Homepage

    Thank you for completely missing the message of this story. The people of China aren't rising up largely because the government there is making sure that they're getting something they perceive as "close enough" to the freedom they deserve, to make it not worth the trouble and danger of protesting publicly. That isn't a character defect; it's an unfortunate aspect of general human nature. Juvenal spoke of giving the people of ancient Rome "bread and circuses" to keep them from revolting. In 19th century Spain they called it "bread and bullfights". In modern America it's food stamps and TV.

  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Monday December 26, 2011 @08:24PM (#38498116) Homepage Journal

    While I dislike most copyright restrictions that prevent freely downloading articles available only to published subscribers, I don't call that "censorship". And I call those who violate the copyright "pirates", even when I support what they do.

    Violating copyright on content the actual content creator circulates only under conditions like purchase is not "beating censorship". When you voluntarily "censor" yourself it's not censorship.

    It might also be true that lots of Chinese news that might have interested readers outside China is not covered by reporters or publishers outside China. That is not typically censorship either. It's just the part of the major media cartel that keeps people ignorant to protect its corporate power. It is pretty bad, but it's not censorship.

    Censorship is when some entity with power over another prevents that other entity from freely speaking, publishing or expressing themself. It is a much more severe version of what you are complaining about. It is also a policy central to Chinese Communist ideology, as openly taught and fairly rigorously practiced.

  • by blahplusplus (757119) on Monday December 26, 2011 @08:56PM (#38498464)

    ... they have armies of posters that they pay to influence opinions and mod comments. I've noticed the quality of many discussions at slashdot have gone down over the years and I know it's not just users themselves. There's an extremely pro-market, pro-capitalist slant that is often off the top and I wouldn't put it past corporations or government to infiltrate discussions and mod anything that is pro-america up and critical of american capitalism down.

  • by skegg (666571) on Monday December 26, 2011 @09:01PM (#38498514)

    I sincerely hope that was a troll and not a genuine opinion.

    >> Corporations don't owe us anything

    Fine: I own a restaurant and I don't want to serve black people. Or hispanics.
    Your comments were regarding censorship, so another example would be Google censoring everything about blacks, or Jews, or Tibet, ...

    That's bullshit !!!

    Corporations don't exist in a vacuum. They use public facilities paid for by all of society (roads, police, fire departments, etc). There should always be limits to what they can and can't do. In Australia we have anti-discrimination laws that enumerate the categories against which private companies can not discriminate. I dare say many countries would have similar legislation.

    Regarding switching ... ironically the opposite is true:
    you CAN'T always switch services (sometimes they're monopolies) however we CAN switch governments. At worst every few years; more often if we the people get riled up.

  • by poity (465672) on Monday December 26, 2011 @09:22PM (#38498704)

    If the US is indeed the same as China with regard to censorship, then searching "occupy wall street" would lock you out of google for 10 minutes, message board posts containing the word "Obama" or the name of the incumbent party would be scrubbed within hours if not automatically filtered, text messages with keywords related to OWS would be dropped and never received, and searching "Waco siege" or "Kent State shootings" would bring up only tourist information for the city, and visitor information for the school, to name but only a few.

    Americans should be vigilant in protecting their civil liberties, but falling to lies like "the US is just as bad or worse" is not the way to do it.

  • by poity (465672) on Monday December 26, 2011 @09:42PM (#38498880)

    China doesn't like to throw around "liberty" because there even a blind man can see the trespasses upon it []. If the abuse of the word "freedom" in the US disgusts you, I can assure you that you'd keel over from the abuse of the word "harmony" in China.

    Given the choice, I'd almost prefer to live in their world.

    Sentiments like this almost makes me wish that China allows naturalization of alien residents, because saying "I told you so" to sinophile foreigners would be a sweet satisfaction. You have no idea of how surreal it feels when you look Chinese, get treated like shit, get asked for id, and then suddenly there's no problem when you pull out your US passport.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 26, 2011 @10:04PM (#38499046)

    I live in a democratic nation (not the US). I'm educated (aerospace engineering), have free access to Facebook etc, US news and media, and products by US companies, and I believe that the US is a poisonous country to the world and itself. I didn't need regime propaganda to figure this out. If you were charged with looking after 1/5 of the world's population, I'm sure it would be a bit different to looking after a couple of children at home. Discipline is essential. By comparison, the US government is looking after less than 5% of the world's population (and it is by no means a model government). What works in the US can not be assumed to work everywhere, especially in China where cultural and religious differences are immense. The outside world may view censorship by the Chinese government as bad, but Chinese people may not. They may well see it as protection from US propaganda. Remember that in other countries we see the US military traipsing all over the world dropping bombs and enforcing regime change and promoting its version of "freedom" (which appears to be one of "you are free to do what you want as long as its in US interests"). I very much doubt the OP has any idea of how the Chinese political system really works, since he can't even spell "climb" correctly. The rest of the world doesn't want to be like America. To many people in other countries you are merely tolerated as ignorant, obnoxious bullies. And you wonder why you face a terrorism threat. Wake up America and smell the shit accumulating in your own back yard.

  • look at my sig. i am no friend of SOPA. having said that, suppressing political expression is not the same as an abusive monopoly warping laws to justify their technologically defunct existence

    in other words, SOPA is evil. but suppressing political expression is much more evil

    i can't share files in the usa, but i can call obama every vile slur i want 900 times a day for years. i can share files in china, but i can't say one thing about my leaders without risking severe repercussions

    it's a completely different issue. it really is

    and if you can't see that china is worthy of special condemnation without the bullshit "yeah but the usa..." no, the usa nothing: you are free to criticize your political leaders all you want, and any bullshit going on in the media industry warping our laws and buying off ignorant congresscritters whoring out their office IS evil, but a much smaller evil than what is going on in china. really

    if you can't understand that, you really shouldn't comment on the subject matter, because you don't understand it

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @03:47AM (#38500572)
    I hate the idea of SOPA too. But for fucks sake, let's stop downplaying the genuinely sad situation in China by acting like our problems are worse.

    No doubt you noticed that thousands were allowed to protest in public places for months on end, while you're allowed to bitch endlessly on slashdot about how much you hate your government, all without anyone knocking on your door and disappearing you in the middle of the night?

    Try those things, just once, in China... see what happens.

Almost anything derogatory you could say about today's software design would be accurate. -- K.E. Iverson