Chinese Censorship
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 state.


How does Chinese government censor the internet?


China 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?



·  Population: 1.3 billion (2006)

·  Internet users: 103 million-110 million (2006)

·  Imprisoned Internet users: 61 (2004)

·  Users convicted: 17 (2003)

·  Bloggers: 600,000 (2005)

·  Computer hosts: 45.6 million (2006)

·  .cn domain Web sites: 677,500 (2006)

·  Unique IP addresses: 60 million

·  Bandwidth capacity: 74,429 megabits per second



What American companies provide much of the equipment and services for China’s Internet system?


Major 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 reported.

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 restrictive rules.

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.