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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 @06:20PM (#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 ChillingEffects.org.

    • by mykos (1627575) on Monday December 26, 2011 @06:27PM (#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.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 26, 2011 @06:38PM (#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 Moryath (553296) on Monday December 26, 2011 @06:51PM (#38497854)

          What do you think SOPA was all about?

          SOPA = The "Great Firewall of America."

          • Thank You.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward
            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.
          • by tsa (15680)

            Yes, if the US continues on the path that they seem to have taken we in Europe will have a parallel internet too.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        What?! Censorship is NOT wrong when corperations do it, not even trolling. Google removing a result from THIER search is fine by me. On the other hand the government making it so I *can't* get to a website is not right. Corporations don't owe us anything. We can always switch to a service that does not censor, we can't just switch governments.

        • by skegg (666571) on Monday December 26, 2011 @08:01PM (#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 daem0n1x (748565)

            Fine: I own a restaurant and I don't want to serve black people. Or hispanics.

            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.

            I'm proud to say that, if you did that (own a restaurant and I don't want to serve black people) in my country (Portugal) you'd land in jail. I'm not so sure about that in the USA, though.

          • by roman_mir (125474)

            Fine: I own a restaurant and I don't want to serve black people. Or hispanics.

            - and it's your right.

            The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is unconstitutional and it impedes on your right, as a private property owner to do business on your private property as you see fit. That so called 'Rights Act' is actually an Entitlements and Obligations Act, which is a result of overreach of government power and the sections that deal not with government, but with private business and private individuals must be abolished.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by ScentCone (795499)

        In America, censorship is only bad if the gubbmint is doing it.

        Right. Because it only is censorship when the government is doing it. That's what the first amendment is all about: limiting the government's ability to mess with people's expression. That same constitution is also very serious about freedom to assemble and carry on doing your own thing ... including doing things like running a business where you can say what goes on in your own publications. Google being able to limit what shows on their web site is freedom, and it's a good thing, too.

      • by joggle (594025)

        America is very different than China. But simply having more online freedom than China shouldn't be a goal of course.

        In America, content can be removed capriciously online. Sometimes people are sued by corporations. In the worst case scenario where you're caught red-handed sharing a movie online that hasn't been released in the theaters yet, you could be sent to jail for 2 years.

        In China, you can write something online that offends a government official. You will then be summoned or taken to a police statio

        • by sych (526355) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @03:27AM (#38500694)

          Hi from Beijing.

          Generally, it's only big fish who get the lock-up treatment. If you say something anti-government most of the time you'll just get filtered out by an automated keyword block system and noone will care. It's only when you get to be in a position where a lot of people might pay attention to you that you'd attract "personal" treatment.

          As an example, during the Egypt riots last year, a few of my friends were sending Weibo tweets drawing parallels between pictures of tanks in Cairo and events in/around Tian'anmen Square in 1989. None of them received visits from the authorities & their posts were either quietly keyword-blocked or deleted soon after they were posted.

          For a counter example, look up Ai Weiwei. The main difference is that he's famous and he's been openly and actively anti-government for quite some time.

          Ai Weiwei was a big fish. Me and my friends are little fish and are fairly unlikely to be disturbed & can continue to be openly critical as long as we don't get too much attention.

          • by gtall (79522)

            You get little attention not because you aren't a big fish but because you are not part of a threatening movement. Consider the Chinese government going apeshit when the Falun Gong do calisthenics on the government's front lawn. Right now you are part of Chinese government database of people to be first up against the wall when the revolution comes.

            • by sych (526355)

              Doing unapproved calisthenics outside Zhongnanhai definitely makes you big fish.

              I don't think we disagree fundamentally. Ai Weiwei was obviously threatening enough that he had to be dealt with. But a bunch of random people sending Weibo can be left to the keyword filters and Sina.com's team of moderators, and generally noone is gonna come a-knockin'.

              The revolution came. Supposedly we're living in it. When the next one comes hopefully I'll no longer be here. But I hope it makes things better and not worse.

          • Without question, Beijing is very direct with how it wishes to silence civilians. You say they only target the big fish. Perhaps that's true. But if the method of how they target is anything like America, it can be both the little and the big fish. I'll cite a few examples. Take the IRS. It's purpose is to collect US tax money. While they go after those with deeper pockets to make the time worth while, sometimes they will go after someone random just to make a point. Fear. The population learns to fear the

          • by joggle (594025)

            I think you're right, but it has a big effect. Almost anyone who has much to lose won't take chances of being openly critical of the government online. Students, youth and people who don't have government jobs may feel safer criticizing the government. But people with high government jobs or who are related to someone with a job like that seem to be more cautious.

            My wife was from a politically connected family in Beijing. She saw first-hand some of the awful corruption there, but would never post anything a

            • by sych (526355)

              Yes, I agree with you here too. For people who have government connections, the stakes are a bit higher so they'll probably be more careful. Also, having a higher profile probably means you're more likely to be monitored by a person.

              I guess what I was trying to address was that your post seemed to imply (to me) that writing things online that offends a government official will almost certainly get you locked up. From what I can say, this is generally not the case (with a decent number of terrible exceptions

    • Re:Comment Censored (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Chicken_Kickers (1062164) on Monday December 26, 2011 @06:33PM (#38497700)
      We Malays have a saying: Kutu diseberang laut nampak, gajah dibawah hidung tak nampak, meaning you can see a flea across the ocean but you can't see the elephant under your nose. Look after your own freedoms first before preaching about it to others. The rest of the world wishes your freedom fighters a good fight. You are at the front line of Internet freedom. Any laws passed by your government will sooner or later, willingly or unwillingly, be enacted in my country too. Your fight is for all mankind. Good luck America and God bless.
      • by gtall (79522)

        That's nice, but we CAN chew gum and walk at the same time. And by the way, when will you bring down the laws that discriminate against non-Muslims?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      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 ArcCoyote (634356)

        This. Mod parent up.

        Corporations can and do abuse the legal system to censor free speech, but it is not strictly censorship as it is not the policy of the government, and if it is a found to be a SLAPP there are severe penalties in a lot of courts.

        • Re:Comment Censored (Score:5, Informative)

          by iter8 (742854) on Monday December 26, 2011 @10:06PM (#38499420)

          This. Mod parent up.

          Corporations can and do abuse the legal system to censor free speech, but it is not strictly censorship as it is not the policy of the government, and if it is a found to be a SLAPP there are severe penalties in a lot of courts.

          "Censorship is the suppression of speech or other public communication which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or inconvenient to the general body of people as determined by a government, media outlet, or other controlling body." wikipedia [wikipedia.org]. It's not just the government, anyone who has control over the means of communication can be a censor.

          • Some kinds of censorship are worse than others. Censoring political speech is at the bottom of the barrel. That does not happen in U.S., but it does happen in China.

      • 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?

        To what comment are you referring?

    • At least you can read the complaint. You get a handle you can use to fight back. China? "Nope, you can't see it. No, we're not going to tell you why."

    • Amateur. I did a search today and managed to get more than the page removed. The page (supposedly showing the default ten results) had four copies of that warning, removing 2, 7, 11, and 4 results from the page.
  • by SerpentMage (13390) <ChristianHGross.yahoo@ca> on Monday December 26, 2011 @06:22PM (#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.

    • by buchner.johannes (1139593) on Monday December 26, 2011 @06:35PM (#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?

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Go to China. Type in www.facebook.com. See what happens.

        (To those who don't wanna travel: the government is blocking it, thus you can't open it).
        Google is just made very slow (unless you use a VPN connection, then it's magically fast again...) and services like youtube and so on are blocked too.

        You can't compare censorship in China to that in any other major nation, not even Iran. They really control every detail. They even made skype add some plugin to send all data to the government (called TOMSkype), you

        • heya,

          I like your post, bar one thing.

          The idea that the Chinese people are somehow "uneducated", or "retarded", and hence they need a "strong" government to control them.

          That same line has been used by tyrants, dictators and bullies since the beginning of time. I'm probably Godwinning this, but Hitler used the same line to justify exterminating the Jews. And Stalin, Kim Il Jong and Burma's junta also used it - for the "good" of society

          I know it's some weird Asian cultural thing, that the government somehow n

        • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 26, 2011 @09:04PM (#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.

          • by gtall (79522)

            Oh, I see, the Chinese communist party must keep control for the good the Chinese people. And what was that about terrorism? Care to give back Mongolia which you stole. How about the Uigars, them are terrorists and gee, it wasn't even the Americans that have them excited. It would instead being the Han Chinese practicing a long term extermination that has them upset. You are attempting the same think in Tibet, flooding it with Han so that in 100 years there will be no Tibetan culture left. This is the same

        • by sych (526355)

          I really think it's such a shame, and such an insult to Chinese people, to say that they are not educated enough to be "ready" for democracy. Yet so many Chinese with good educations and well-paid jobs in the cities will say this.

          I think China is ready. Democracy has been done successfully by the ROC in Taiwan, and by other eastern countries like Japan and South Korea even whilst they were still developing countries. Democracy, properly implemented, brings benefits like decreased corruption. The related ben

        • by Patch86 (1465427)

          China would traditionally be considered a "Second World" nation, not "Third World". The terms traditionally referred to "NATO & Friends" (First World), "Soviets, Chinese and friends" (Second World), and "Not a world power or friend of a world power" (Third World).

          On the education front, China has a published literacy rate of something like 91%. That doesn't compare all that badly with the US's 97%. Hardly as if they're an unruly peasant rabble that need to be stomped on by a strong man, compared to the

    • by poity (465672) on Monday December 26, 2011 @08:22PM (#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 Alex Belits (437) *

        In US words are worthless because no one believes anything but 419 scams and whatever seems to match the reader's expectations, and search engines make things worse by filtering results to show something a person may agree with.

        In many other countries, public-accessible speech is assumed to be somewhat verified BECAUSE it is censored. People see censorship as a filtering service.

        As for various protest movements, it MUST BE HARD to be heard for protesters. It's a barrier to entry that everyone who wants to b

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

    by Anonymous Coward

    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 Doc Ruby (173196)

      That's not a parallel universe. That's the universe everyone shares. If it were a parallel universe private to only America and Americans, your criticism wouldn't have any meaning.

      And of course China calls itself the defender of liberty. Everyone does.

    • by poity (465672) on Monday December 26, 2011 @08:42PM (#38498880)

      China doesn't like to throw around "liberty" because there even a blind man can see the trespasses upon it [wikipedia.org]. 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.

  • The camera watches you!
  • Silly Chinese government. Times like these make me proud to be an American. I can find whatever I want... Look, I'll just fire up the ole' Twitter and check out what the Taliban has to say... oh wait. Crap. Damn you Lieberman!!!
  • As strongly as the Chinese gov't tries to control the information flow in and out of their country, does it really work? At some point doesn't the human mind and human nature cry to be free and see what's beyond that veil? The more tightly controlled any group is the more they try to circumvent or abolish those controls and when they do get that first breath of real free air, they seldom do anything but try to remain free.

    Most certainly, there is a large amount of censorship all around and no amount of le

    • You'd be surprised (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mykos (1627575) on Monday December 26, 2011 @06:34PM (#38497710)
      A lot of people like their government-imposed veils, and they really, truly believe the propaganda deep down. Even in the U.S., after the Wikileaks stories broke, a lot of people agreed with the state line, saying "Some things need to be kept secret and the government needs to have its secrets for our own protection". One or two good mouthpieces and the talking points will get out.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by babboo65 (1437157)

        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

      • by Anonymous Coward

        No, I wouldn't be "surprised". Classified information in a democracy is nothing like censorship and control of information in a closed society like China. The fact you think it's the same shows your ignorance.

        • Then why is our government abusing their "State Secrets" privilege whenever we call them out for trampling all over our rights? Yeah, we know that things are better here than in China. The point is that we can see where it's all going and we don't want to end up like China.

          Do you have a security clearance? If so then you'd know that the vast majority of stuff you come into contact with is overclassified. Some things do need to be protected, like that one weak spot on the tank or jet, but many others sho
      • People love to hate other people. The ubiquitous hatred and desire of violence is what really keeps tyrannies running. Just give a man a club and tell him that it is morally acceptable and even right to use it against that person, and that he's protected from any retaliation that might follow. He'd be happy to do it. Not everybody is like this of course, but most of us are.

        Same with propaganda. You just tell that it's right to hate those people, that they are "our enemies", and you'll have a surprising amou

  • This is what many country's networks are going to look like in a few years. The united states will be next and Britain will follow soon after.

  • 1984, DMCA (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sjwt (161428) on Monday December 26, 2011 @06:32PM (#38497698)

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

    • by gtall (79522)

      Really? Does this mean we can pull our troops out of S. Korea and Japan, surely they are big enough to defend their own asses by now. And we should ignore the siren call of the Vietnamese (you know the ones, had a big war with them in the 60's and early 70's about something or other neither side can seem to recall anymore) for close relations including military relations, might have something to do with recent hegemony from those running dogs, the Chinese government and their territorial claims. The Philipp

  • Our wonderful government admires China's control of the internet and wants to do the same thing here.

  • We have several. Why shouldn't they?
  • by RobertinXinyang (1001181) on Monday December 26, 2011 @06:45PM (#38497804)

    And the thing that surprises the Chinese is how heavily censored the US search engines are. I had a student come over to my apartment, she wanted to see the "sample" speeches for a speech competition she had entered. For all intents and purposes, we could find none in Google, we had to go to Biadu.

    The same for many books, reference articles, and educational materials; we had to go to the Chinese search engines to find a Harvard Business Review article for a class exercise.

    Now for the weird one, much of the information about the riots and protests in China is only available in China. It seems that no one outside of China wants to cover Chinese "bad news" other than the economic issues.

    Living in China and using Chinese search engines, what I am amazed by is how hard it is to fond relevant information using the US search engines, in comparison to the Chinese ones.

    • by ArcCoyote (634356)

      Do not confuse lack of interest with censorship. Was your search language English? Google may have simply been excluding results that were in Chinese.

      It could also be China is preventing non-Chinese search engines from indexing Chinese sites with so-called "bad news". Interesting form of censorship, but not something you can blame the search engines for.

    • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Monday December 26, 2011 @07:24PM (#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 Alex Belits (437) *

      It seems that no one outside of China wants to cover Chinese "bad news" other than the economic issues.

      Protests in China are only covered if it's possible to [mis]represent them as demands for US-style "freedom".

    • by koxkoxkox (879667)

      Now for the weird one, much of the information about the riots and protests in China is only available in China. It seems that no one outside of China wants to cover Chinese "bad news" other than the economic issues.

      I call bullshit on this one, do you have any concrete example to back it up ? Do you mean the treatment of Chen Guangcheng ? Ai Weiwei in jail ? The uprising in Wukan ? Anything about Tibet ? What are the story that you deem significant enough to deserve a worldwide coverage but did not get it (and did get a treatment in the local media) ?

      The Chinese abroad I have seen complain much more often that too many bad news are covered, and not enough good news about China's achievements.

  • by br00tus (528477) on Monday December 26, 2011 @07:01PM (#38497928)
    If you want a parallel universe, go to Freedom House's web page and look at their maps of China. In their world, all of southwestern China is an independent country called Tibet. That would kind of be like me drawing a map of the USA like this [dinca.org], and still be expected to be taken seriously as a moderate and rational voice when issuing reports on attacks on freedom in the USA, like SOPA. Thanks, I'll stick with Amnesty International, or something a little more neutral.
  • Is it so different that what we could see here?

    "According to SOPA regulations we have been reqired to remove this content/site."

    The main difference is who holds the stick. Here it is the corporation who holds the intellectual property (although there is not much intellectual coming out of Hollywood). There it is the government.
  • How can China just copy all those $multi-billion companies' sites without any of them suing to stop China? If someone tried to copy them outside of the Chinese bubble, those companies would be slamming them down. They already do, even when the "copies" aren't really copies, just competition. The Chinese people settling for the bubble copies are all potential customers for the originals.

    I'm talking trademark, copyright and patent. All being infringed to steal literally billions of customers from the owners.

    • Because its China and they can dicate their own laws as they see fit?

      Besides, you can't claim they are stealing customers that have no legal way to be your customer if the government blocks your services because you're perpetrating actions that may cause harm to the People of China (by suing them)

  • These stories about Chinese censorship and an all-controlling communist party are really easy for reporters to write. I follow blogs written in China, mostly USA writers who are based there. They basically don't see it. One writer keeps a regular column to "fact check" claims of blogs being censored and words being deleted, and says the majority of the time the reporter either assumed it, repeated a rumor, or just made it up. Most commentary on most social media is boring, and CCP (Chinese Communist Par

    • by QQBoss (2527196)

      These stories about Chinese censorship and an all-controlling communist party are really easy for reporters to write. I follow blogs written in China, mostly USA writers who are based there. They basically don't see it. One writer keeps a regular column to "fact check" claims of blogs being censored and words being deleted, and says the majority of the time the reporter either assumed it, repeated a rumor, or just made it up. Most commentary on most social media is boring, and CCP (Chinese Communist Party) officials generally have better things to do than censor LOL status and twitter updates. There is just too much content to effectively censor. And Facebook etc. not catching fire in China may have more to do with Chinese language than with the CCP struggle to control it. It sounds like MySpace blaming government interference for losing to Facebook.

      To talk about reporters repeating rumors as fact has some standing, but to deny that the CCP has blocked Facebook and Twitter because of the ability to use them in organizing groups against the government is ludicrous. Facebook and Twitter CAN'T catch on in China because they are blocked by the GFOC, though a tiny number of people use VPNs to get around such restrictions. Facebook used to be very popular in China, and I was in China the day Facebook and Twitter got blocked... it was right around the anniv

    • by Balthisar (649688)

      Well, as an American living in China, it's impossible to maintain my Western lifestyle without my VPN service. While I've not looked for outright censorship on Chinese websites, it's a fact that hundreds (in my experience) to thousands (as reported by others) of Western (not just USA) websites are blocked by the Great Firewall. In most respects, that's worse than censuring something's that's been published. It's like pre-crime (pre-censoring?)

      (In any case, I'd still need a VPN for geo-blocking, but that's a

    • by koxkoxkox (879667)

      Nice try, but Facebook failing in China is due to it not being accessible from there. Why would Chinese language have anything to do with it ? Maybe it would fail anyway, but for the moment it did not even have the possibility to try.

      I live in China and I can assure you that the censorship is not invented by reporters. Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Blogspot, Dailymotion, etc. are all blocked. A lot of smaller blogs and websites specialized on China are also blocked (Peking Duck, China Digital Times, etc. ). G

  • ... 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 Alex Belits (437) *

      While I am sure, there are plenty of corporate shills on Slashdot, most randroids look like genuine idiots to me.

    • 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

      Because if someone disagrees with you, they're obviously a shill, whereas people who agree with you are champions of truth.

      • "Because if someone disagrees with you, they're obviously a shill, whereas people who agree with you are champions of truth."

        Most people are easily to manipulate, they'd sooner die rather then think. Plus you have no idea what's been discovered about human reasoning. Humans live in their mediocre understanding (model) of the world, not everyone's mind is equally capable of perceiving reality as it truly is. Religion is abundant proof of this.

        http://bit.ly/dYaWUc [bit.ly]

        Consider the folowing verse:

        Matthew 8:30-

        • From zero to anti-religious rant in a single post - that's pretty impressive, even by slashdot standards.

          • Perhaps if you had anything worthy to say besides just knee jerk emotional reaction and being emotionally childish you could come up with something approaching rational thought.

        • by bytesex (112972)

          I'd say, from your example, that the people of that village behaved in an exemplary way: they had a herd of pigs destroyed by some vagrant who chased them into the water, and yet they didn't come out and kill the bastard, they politely asked him to leave. The only deluded person in your example is Jesus (and probably the two 'possessed' men - drunks, probably).

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Monday December 26, 2011 @09:53PM (#38499334) Homepage Journal

    This Chinese "parallel universe" internet is just a preview of what's waiting for the rest of us.

    There is already little similarity between the Internet of 2012 and the Internet of previous decades, and the difference is not encouraging. Every year, the Internet becomes a little less of it's unlimited potential, and a little more of cable television. If you were paying attention in the '90s to the way the media conglomerates and telecoms were frantically playing catchup after having been completely taken by surprise by the rise of the Internet, you would have been able to predict what was coming. Though I never thought the end would come so quickly. Corporations, commerce and "free speech zones. Walled gardens. The opposite of the promise of usenet. The more useful the Internet becomes for corporations, the less useful it becomes for human beings. We don't need a worldwide virtual shopping mall, we need a worldwide virtual community. The Internet has been Wal-marted, Amazoned, and SOPA'd into shit. If there's going to be commerce let it be more Maxwell Street and less Home Shopping Network.

    Now is the time to be thinking about moving our traffic to something else. Ad hoc networks, darknets, maybe a new internet a la pirate radio. Lightening isn't going to strike twice and we won't see another phenomenon like the Internet and the way it just sort of happened, without corporate ownership, without the "job creators" designing it according to their needs. Without the masters of the universe creating a legal framework that shuts out individuals and small voices.

    DIY.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      We need to build Internet^3. It's a mesh network based on no trust. It uses specified-unlicensed spectrum so that the frequencies it's using can't trivially be taken away. It uses point to point links where possible (focused) so that it's difficult to jam. And then we need to have killer apps that only work on it so people want to use it.

  • Why this obsession with internal affairs of another foreign country?

    If Chinese people are so unhappy they would overthrow their government.

  • 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

    • 1. Chris Dodd, former senator, now head of MPAA, spoke admiringly of China's great firewall, saying that we could filter copyright violation if they could filter so much speech on their networks

      2. Thomas Drake, Stephen Kim, Shamai Leibowitz, Jeffrey Alexander, Bradley Manning.

      these 5 people's stories, and the details of the charges against them, prove that speech is increasingly being attacked for political reasons. under the guise of 'national security'.

  • We're going to need an alternative to reality if SOPA passes. I for one welcome our new Maoist overlords.

  • The distinction between corporate power and political power in the United States is really quite a bit smaller than most Americans realize. Corporate money is what controls government policy--not just through the obvious route of lobbyists, but in fact through more insidious means, such as the use of propaganda and media bias to shape public perception. This is why partisanship and animosity has increased in proportion to the flow of and ease of access to information, as the intensity of this manufactured

  • 300 char limit. Actual threaded conversation where you can see both the @ and the response. Twitter is simply NOT usable unless you subscribe to everyone in the world and decide to wade thru all the crap. G+ doesn't have the critical mass yet.

There is no royal road to geometry. -- Euclid

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