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China Censorship Your Rights Online

China Blocks Web Searches About Protests 134

Posted by Soulskill
from the must-want-users-to-make-their-own dept.
itwbennett writes "China is blocking searches on Google and microblogs for Zengcheng, a city in the country's Guangdong province, where protests have erupted against local authorities. The move is part of an effort to suppress information on the rioting."
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China Blocks Web Searches About Protests

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @07:14PM (#36443798)

    Web searches about blocking web searches about protests, as well as protests about blocking web searches about protests. Web searches about protests about blocking web searches about protests are allowed, though.

    • by UBfusion (1303959)

      I find this very insightful, because from a gov's perspective, talk/publicity about a protest is much worse than the protest itself.

  • Peasant revolts (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @07:19PM (#36443844)
    Historically, peasant revolts have been the largest threat to whichever incarnation the Chinese government is in. It looks like the Chinese Communist Party has learned its lesson well.
  • by sethstorm (512897) on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @07:22PM (#36443876) Homepage

    So this is what businesses want our country to be like - where businesses can roam freely, and ask the government to cut coverage to (and search of) protests?

    This is what we encourage when we send work offshore to these kind of countries. No thanks.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @07:59PM (#36444216)

      Do we really encourage this behavior by outsourcing work to China? It could be argued that this helps their situation.

      Sure, "our" factories over there contribute to the Chinese government's budget, but it also contributes to the overall well being of the average Chinese person. More well fed, more education, and more opportunity. I can't help but think that this encourages liberalization in the long term more than anything.

      • by sethstorm (512897)

        The only thing it really does is gives maximum freedoms to business, while giving a few trinkets to distract from the non-freedom to regular people.

        Still doesn't excuse sending work there, but to do everything to undermine that government.

      • by Yvanhoe (564877)

        More well fed, more education, and more opportunity.

        More rioting too...

      • by Alex Belits (437) *

        Get it through your thick American skulls -- plenty of people will happily sacrifice some of their freedom if it means that people much worse than them won't get those freedoms, either. For example, I don't need full and absolute freedom of speech but I would like it very much if spammers and crooks were told to shut up or go to prison.

        • by makomk (752139)

          Get it through your thick American skulls -- plenty of people will happily sacrifice some of their freedom if it means that people much worse than them won't get those freedoms, either. For example, I don't need full and absolute freedom of speech but I would like it very much if spammers and crooks were told to shut up or go to prison.

          For some odd reason that doesn't seem to be how China works, though - the spammers and crooks (and worse) are in charge in many areas, and the riots the Chinese government keeps stamping out are generally a result of the rest of the population getting severly pissed off about this. In fact, that's pretty much inevitable - one of the reasons political freedom is so important is that it's the best way of stopping evil people getting into positions of power.

          • by Alex Belits (437) *

            Think of what kind of crooks would be in power if they had more opportunities to instigate riots and hijack protests.

            • by makomk (752139)

              The kind that can't quite so easily get away with screwing over 99% of the population at a whim?

              • by Alex Belits (437) *

                Each and every popular uprising, if successful, establishes yet another kind of aristocracy. In rare situations when new aristocracy is relatively benign compared to old one, the uprising or movement lasted long enough that simply blocking information on it in media wouldn't have any effect on it in the first place. It's a selection mechanism, and a pretty good one. When it doesn't work, you have "successful movements" like your stupid Tea Party.

    • What are you talking about? The government, for all intents and purposes, owns these business (state sponsored). Not the other way around as found in America. You don't become head honcho of a large Chinese company without at least having some political ties back to the CCP. Either you're paying your mafia-esque dues to the CCP, or you're a bonified member of the party.

      • by fnj (64210)

        Is there really any difference between the government owning industry and industry owning the government? Either way, they are in league, and to hell with the people. It seems to me, in both cases, it's more a case of them lying in the same bed than one owning the other.

  • P2P has no central server, so there is no way to shut it down, past coming to your house and imprisoning you for using it.

    Instead of a central server, you'd hold a list of potential servers which is everyone you connected to last time you were online. Only one out of your list needs to be online, and they'll propogate you a new list of IP addresses and ports(don't use just one port or that can be blocked too, randomize it).

    Once on, you could file trade, browse the web through proxies, or chat.

    I'd do
    • To attract the least suspicion, I think you'd make this software look like a browser itself. Another funny side effect of this is that your ISP would have no clue which sites you visit because you'd be loading up sites for other people all the time too. Someone should just make this software in order to make it harder for governments to control their people and censor the web. I'm good at P2P, and I already wrote a Gnutella client back in the day. I knew Gnutella was the future when Napster got shutdown
      • by Anonymous Coward

        So now you think you invented Tor too?

        • To be fair, I'm sure plenty of people came up with this idea. This is why I'm against patents so much. What makes someone a special snowflake that they patent an idea that multitudes of other people probably already came up with? Yes, I never heard of Tor before. No I do not feel special for coming up with it. I just like knowing the ideas I come up with are good ones, and not just "Hamburger Earmuffs"
    • by Anonymous Coward

      There already exist several such projects. Tor and Freenet being only two of them.

      • Freenet seems to be pretty on with what I was expecting I'd make so I guess I don't have to worry about it. Hey at least when I come up with ideas, they're good ideas because other people implement them. I remember before windows Instant messaging, that IM would be a good idea. I remember before MMORPGS that they'd dominate the video game market. I remember hearing about the start of ebay on Usenet and said,"If they made a website for that, it would turn into a monopoly monster"
    • by Lehk228 (705449)
      that works against a mostly cowed authoritarian government like the US gov, the chinese government would have no problem tracking down everyone running it and shooting them, the billing their families for the investigations AND the bullet
    • Not good enough (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I am a Chinese, and let me tell you what might happen to such software, just like the fate of many similar-purpose software before it:
      1. Restriction of distribution: people can't easily search for it due to keyword filtering, any local or foreign links for downloading the software could be promptly made inaccessible.
      2. Technical disruption: for example, set up "watchman" peer-to-peer nodes that use the same service, which may collect the IP addresses of people using the service, monitor their online activit

  • Must be working (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nidi62 (1525137) on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @07:34PM (#36443986)
    I haven't heard anything about these protests on the news here in the US
  • Not the usual news (Score:5, Informative)

    by juicegg (1683626) on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @07:45PM (#36444092)
    There are not the usual kinds of riots and protests in China. It's no longer peasants in the villages protesting against stolen land, pollution or corruption - these are formally relatively quiet urban workers going on multi-day riots that the government is struggling to contain and that threaten to spread everywhere the same bad conditions exist. Things like stagnant wage rates with high inflation, abusive authorities and employers, political repression, etc: article from the Guardian [guardian.co.uk]
  • FUCK CHINA (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Alien Being (18488)

    Really. I mean if you're a citizen of any country where you still have some freedom, any freedom, then FUCK CHINA.

    • I live in the US: some freedoms, but not really braveheart "FREEDOM!!!" So could I then get away with just getting to second base with China?
      • If you live in the US, you have more freedoms (both of things you can do, and from restrictions ie censorship) than 95% of the world. Putting in a snide comment about how you have "some freedoms [instead of lots of freedoms]" because you live in the US-- in a thread about China, no less-- is just insulting to the folks in China who would love to be able to actually criticize their government without being sent to labor camp.

    • by sethstorm (512897)

      I'd think that all the toxic chemicals in China would be worse than any STD.

      On the other hand, if you want to cripple their government(and the people that send work over those kind of countries) for the second time in 200 years, I have no problem with that kind of fucking.

  • Come again? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by arielCo (995647) on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @07:49PM (#36444134)

    The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.

    John Gilmore, quoted in Time Magazine [google.com]

    • Re:Come again? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by lennier (44736) on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @07:58PM (#36444208) Homepage

      The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.

      John Gilmore, quoted in Time Magazine [google.com]

      That was the 90s. The Net in 2011 interprets censorship as a value-added customer experience enhancement service and downloads an app for it onto your non-jailbreakable iThoughtStation 451.

      • by UBfusion (1303959)

        Definitely the comment of the year and a major candidate for the comment of the decade to come.

    • That's exceptionally "Half is glass full" for slashdot. While I have no doubt some of their billion+ people will still be able to get past the censorship, I'd doubt that -most- net users in China will have unrestricted access to that information.
      • Wow, did I really just write "half is glass full?" Clearly I need to do the dishes less often...
        • by Sulphur (1548251)

          Wow, did I really just write "half is glass full?" Clearly I need to do the dishes less often...

          Half full, or half empty? Glass is easily downsized if one has a hammer.

    • What happens when the CCP decides the rest of the world's internet is undesirable, and stops peering with it? You feel like setting up a 3g uplink for several billion people?

  • Social stability (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @08:04PM (#36444262) Homepage

    I'm going to take a controversial stand here and probably be modded into oblivion but here it goes. This is a good move by China. Why? It increases social stability at the cost of individual rights. How many groups of self-described smart people in America are trying to roll back individual freedoms in the name of "it's better our way"? After all, freedom includes the freedom to make the "wrong" choice, and this this really pisses the smart people off. After all, they're the intelligent ones and know what the correct choices are politically, and anyone who opposes them isn't a noble dissenter but (a) mistaken (b) an idiot (c) probably medically insane.

    You have to understand where China is coming from with this. The first and foremost priority of the government is to hold the country together. Everyone thinks of China as a monolithic entity, but this is just plain ignorant. China is a multicultural society, and like all multicultural societies it is fundamentally unstable. Action must be taken when unrest occurs, lest it spread throughout the country and result in the horror of all Chinese: a fragmented, divided China. China experienced the warlord era in the 20th century and never wants to go back. Before that, China lost sovereignty over its own territory (foreign concessions) and that wasn't much fun either. If a few peasants need to be crushed to ensure the bad old days will never return, then so be it. These protesters are making the "wrong" choice. All the smart people agree, and it is stupidity or insanity to oppose the choices they make. In China, the smart people really do control the government without that pesky democracy interference. Wasn't there an article here recently about the high government officials all being scientists and engineers? So, the government WILL do what it thinks is necessary to ensure social stability. And to Chinese, stability is more important than progress.

    Why are the people protesting? China has a long tradition of the central government having limited control over the provinces and even less control over cities, counties, and lower branches of government. Corruption is endemic. Beijing promotes reform, but local officials are powerful in their own princedoms. It's kind of like trying to reform the State Department or the CIA from the presidency. However, Beijing CAN enforce its will when it comes to clearly overriding concerns like keeping the country from splintering apart. When a few thousand laobaixing [wikipedia.org] get screwed over, there's really nothing to be done. Moreover, the mandarins cheating the peasants is not a pressing national integrity concern, it's been happening in China for thousands of years. So some people in flyover territory get screwed...again, the smart people agree that this is not a problem at all and in fact is sometimes a good thing. After all, who doesn't enjoy a good redneck-bashing?

    • by sethstorm (512897) on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @08:29PM (#36444494) Homepage

      There's no excuse for what China does. You're using their excuses, their terminology, and their justifications. It reads like it was a scripted excuse instead of a sound justification.

      All China did in 1980 was to find a way to cleanse their despotism. Seeing people like you, makes me think that it worked. Yes, that's a problem.

      Unlike China, we like to still give the regular individual the chance instead of disappearing them, harvesting their organs for some Party member, and putting the family under house arrest for objecting to working conditions at the company town.

    • Here's another controversial stand I take. China is BIG, and should have been broken up into states and placed under one federal union. The political system would be much more stable under a democratic republic system. The controversy is that we already have a nation doing exactly that. America.

    • by Mullen (14656)

      You're arguing the wrong point to the wrong crowd.

      To us, the Slashdot Crowd, Individual Rights is Social Stability. Anything that hampers Individual Rights is upsetting the Social Stability. Plus, your argument is weak on its main point, upsetting Social Stability is not necessarily a bad thing and doing so does not always result in violence. As long as we are free to make our choices and not be suppressed by the Government, we are happy and content.

      China may have experienced some really nasty forms of gove

    • by Dutch Gun (899105) on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @09:14PM (#36444868)

      This is a good move by China.

      It depends on whether you define "China" as the government or those who are governed.

    • by Korveck (1145695)
      From reading this, I get a feeling that you are just repeating propaganda from the Chinese Communist Party. The stability (or in Chinese term, "harmony") over freedom argument is especially familiar to anyone paying attention to Chinese media. Even in Hong Kong we read that all the time from the left-leaning newspaper.

      This problem is that this stability is established on suppression of dissents. It does not actually address the cause of instabilities. The unfairness in the Chinese society is well known.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      It increases social stability at the cost of individual rights.

      However, the suppression of individual rights is the very cause of social instability.

    • Because it doesn't have to be like that. The founding of the United States showed that a huge, multi-cultural country can exist with freedom. The civil war demonstrated that oppression a large portion of your people eventually will stop working.

      You can say it's what happened for thousands of years, but the cold war showed us that oppressive dictatorships are incompatible with long-term economic growth. If Chinese want to live in mud huts and caves (really, check out Yan'an) like they did before, then cho
  • China uses a giant national proxy infrastructure to censor information about the 1989 protests! News at 11.
  • There is no unrest in Zengcheng, and it's all instigated by subversive foreign elements.

    • by sethstorm (512897)

      No, they just don't report the story, per instruction from the government.

    • In truth, there are two headlines on this topic. The first is: Police arrest 25 to quell unrest in S China town http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2011-06/12/content_12678431.htm [chinadaily.com.cn] .

      The Second is: Unfounded rumor sends local crowd into frenzy http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/cndy/2011-06/13/content_12679447.htm [chinadaily.com.cn] .

      These are just the English news sources.

    • Did you hear about the Jasimine revolution protests in China? About 100 foreign journalists showed up, and about zero Chinese protesters showed up. It's all about "the narrative" about China, which was written in 1989 by CNN. Foreign journalists are ready, willing, and able to aid anti-Chinese movements, it's a sad fact. Doesn't it suck when the commies are right?
      • by Hartree (191324)

        "Doesn't it suck when the commies are right?"

        The Communist Party of China hasn't been "commies" in the traditional sense for a good while. They're more capitalist than parts of Western Europe.

        I know about the Jasmine protests. How does that paper over the dissatisfaction with the current migratory labor situation (akin in some ways to southern Africa's with people going to the East for work rather than south.)?

        The government isn't pushing the Go West initiative just for fun. They have an imbalance in the le

        • Nope! Significant portions of the Chinese economy are SOEs, or state-owned enterprises. Fully owned by the government. There are plenty of true-blue believers in communism and Maoism in the government, I know some of them. I know this "they're capitalist now" meme is all throughout western leftism, presumably to use (once again) the No True Scotsman fallacy to paint China as eeeeeeevil.
          • by Hartree (191324)

            "is all throughout western leftism"

            I'm hardly a leftist.

            "true-blue believers in communism and Maoism in the government"

            Yes, and we have Tea Party members in the US government. We also have people in the government that are somewhere between Trotsky and Bakunin.

            Are they likely to be the dominant force in it?

            About as likely as a quick return to the Cultural Revolution is in China.

            Is there a thread to your arguments other than just to naysay whatever is said and then declare that it's all part of a world consp

  • by RobertinXinyang (1001181) on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @09:07PM (#36444812)

    I just did this search http://www.google.com/search?q=China+Riot&hl=en&newwindow=1&num=10&lr=&ft=i&cr=&safe=images&tbs=,qdr:w [google.com] and came up with plenty of hits about the supposedly blocked subject. I am in central P.R. China.

    This particular claim of censorship is nothing but lies by people who aim to discredit China. Again, the story is false, as a simple test will show.

    • by poity (465672)

      Did you try the Chinese character search?
      http://www.google.com.hk/search?hl=en&safe=off&qscrl=1&q=%E5%A2%9E%E5%9F%8E+%E6%9A%B4%E4%B9%B1&btnG=Search&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq= [google.com.hk]
      I doubt the government cares about controlling the foreigners.

      • by prowler1 (458133)

        It does mention the searches in 'Chinese' and I noticed the parents search was in English. And as you stated, I would also assume the Chinese government is only really interested in stopping wide spread riots in China and not to worried about people outside of their country.

        FTFA:
        "Google searches in Chinese for Zengcheng, a city in the country's Guangdong province, result in the browser's connection to the server being reset, with no search results offered."

      • I looked on Baidu (China's version of Google). Yes, I did my search in Chinese. The stories are there. Yes, the spin is a little different; however, the facts in the stories are consistent with what is found in the English version of China Daily.

    • Chinese don't use Google, they use Baidu.com and sina.com. Try searching on there. You're right about all the lies, though. Journalists just make shit up all the time. Out of ignorance or arrogance, it's inexcusable either way.
    • by UBfusion (1303959)

      I'm not surprised. Rumors about a topic being censored is more effective than censorship itself - it discourages people to search in the first place.

  • War with China is inevitable. The sooner we glass the mainland back to the stone age the better.
    • by Hartree (191324)

      Ah. I see.

      So, we should destroy the manufacturing centers that make a lot of the items that the West currently doesn't and thus start a ripple effect of economic disaster.

      Add to that, we should forget about the missile systems that in some cases are in mountain valleys that western systems probably couldn't take out even with a surprise first strike.

      So, how many western cities are you going to consider a good trade for the chance to murder millions of Chinese and spread fallout over a wide area of eastern A

  • So maybe we should drop a few internets in a suitcase and some of those mobile phone workarounds from yesterdays $50M freedom non censorship project around China then.. surely they wont mind..
  • There's been much made the past couple of years about China the Rising Superpower. On balance that's a good thing, because what happens with China this century has existential repercussions the way that Al Qaeda and terrorism has never had and never will have. If things go badly between China and the rest of the world a great many people will die and nations will fall on a scale that would put the previous two world wars to shame.

    But the thing that makes China watching such a nail-biter is that it is an e

    • Well, I guess we must then hope the Chinese love their children too. (ala the Russians via Sting)
      • by Hartree (191324)

        Yeah, but you'll have to borrow a Chinese composer's theme rather than Prokofiev for the same effect.

  • I agree with Dutch Gun! I think, chinese polulation is like a chessman that is pushed forward and backward.

    //itabspst
    Magento Agentur [itabs.de]
    Magento [itabs.de]
    Magento Schulung [itabs.de]
    Magento Hosting [itabs.de]
  • I'm visiting Shenzhen, a large city in the same province as ZengCheng. I hadn't heard anything about the protests (no surprise, since we're not keeping up with the news), so I thought I'd see what a search brought up.

    I found a Wall Street Journal article as one of the first Google hits, no problems at all.

    I'm often uncertain about the scope of the Great Firewall. I could read any online U.S. newspaper I tried thus far (this trip -- a previous year, the Washington Post was blocked while others were not).

  • why we even continue to cover stories like this on slashdot. If not for some element of moral superiority knowing
    our nation "does not engage" in this kind of behaviour then why? every slashdotter who bought the latest
    nook, kindle, iphone, ipad or droid just tacitly and communally signed off on this censorship practice being okay.
    as in the communist state all labour is a component of the states interest and unionized as such under its watchful eye
    .
    its like saying walmart has suddenly decided it will f

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