What is Censorship
What is Censorship?
Censorship -- the control of the information and ideas circulated within a
society -- has been a hallmark of dictatorships throughout history. In the 20th
Century, censorship was achieved through the examination of books, plays, films,
television and radio programs, news reports, and other forms of communication
for the purpose of altering or suppressing ideas found to be objectionable or
offensive. The rationales for censorship have varied, with some censors
targeting material deemed to be indecent or obscene; heretical or blasphemous;
or seditious or treasonous. Thus, ideas have been suppressed under the guise of
protecting three basic social institutions: the family, the church, and the
How does Chinese
government censor the internet?
has developed very sophisticated technology for intercepting and censoring
Internet content. The government blocks many topics it considers sensitive or
controversial and often punishes those who try to get around those bans. They
censor content transmitted through Web pages, blogs, forums, bulletin boards and
e-mail. Media regulation and state secrets laws, cybercafé regulations, and
controls over service and content providers are designed to support filtering.
The Central Propaganda Department makes sure content providers stick with
material that is consistent with Communist Party ideology. Everyone that signs
up for Internet access has to register with the local police within 30 days.
What are some of the key words that
will trigger the filtering system?
Revolution, Freedom, Equality, Dissident, Justice, Taiwan, Tibet, Democracy, STD
What are the statistics for internet
use in China?
1.3 billion (2006)
103 million-110 million (2006)
Imprisoned Internet users:
45.6 million (2006)
.cn domain Web sites:
Unique IP addresses:
74,429 megabits per second
What American companies provide much
of the equipment and services for China’s Internet system?
players include Cisco Systems, Nortel Networks, Sun Microsystems, 3COM, Google,
Yahoo!, Microsoft, IBM and others.
Are US companies
putting profits before ethics in China?
Lawmakers in the US Congress
accused Internet providers of putting the quest for profits ahead of ethics in
co-operating with China's censorship of online information.
The stinging criticism came at a hearing in the House
of Representatives, where senior officials from Microsoft Corp, Google Inc,
Yahoo! Inc and Cisco Systems Inc were the star witnesses, Agence France-Presse
Many lawmakers, like Republican Representative Tom
Tancredo, said there could be no excuse for American Internet and high-tech
companies yielding to China's censorship restrictions.
'Our companies cowardly complicity in restricting
speech is a disservice to freedom-loving Chinese and a dishonor to America,'
Tancredo said at the hearing.
Lawmakers added that China's vast and lucrative market,
with 110 mln Internet users now and many millions more expected, has prompted US
companies to put ethical considerations to the side in adhering to Beijing's
But US Internet providers defended their co-operation
with the Chinese government, saying that restricted online access, while less
than ideal, is still of great benefit to the vast majority of people in China.