China defends Internet censorship

By Derek Sooman on February 14, 2006, 4:02 PM
The Chinese government has defended its stance on censoring Internet content, claiming that the United States and European countries do the same thing all the time. Liu Zhengrong, a senior Chinese official responsible for managing the Internet, attempted to put the Chinese efforts to control the Web in the best possible light. He claims that Chinese Internet minders abide strictly by laws and regulations that in some cases have been modelled on American and European statutes, claiming that China is basically in compliance with the international norm.

Human rights and media watchdog groups maintain that Chinese Web censorship puts greater emphasis on helping the ruling party maintain political control over its increasingly restive society. Such groups have demonstrated that many hundreds of Web sites cannot be easily accessed inside mainland China mainly because they are operated by governments, religious groups or political organizations that are critical of Chinese government policies or its political leaders.

Liu said that Chinese Internet users have free rein to discuss many politically sensitive topics and rejected charges that the police have arrested or prosecuted people for using the Internet to circulate views.

User Comments: 3

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PanicX said:
I find it particularly hard to pass judgement on topics such as this. Almost any society that shares different views than your own causes a sort of knee jerk reaction of yours is right, theirs is wrong. But there's such a small degree of difference here as opposed to the US that its kind of hypocritical to critisize. They say that China censors anti government propoganda. However the US has [url=]shut down sites[/url] or arrested individuals based on their anti-government agendas as well. We even have censorship laws imposed by the FCC, yet we critisize the Chinese. Where's the sense in any of that?
exscind said:
Well the differences is on the degree of freedom, which I don't think any sweet-talk by China will change this view (least my view). China is big on the no-backtalk their government thing, so any remote traces of "wrongful doings" result in bad news for the people who commit these acts. China is stretching what they're doing now with what the U.S. and the European nations are doing... There's no point running in "similar" situations; China censors anyone who critize their government. At least in many other countries people can speak out their minds without the fear of getting punished.
Vaulden said:
Yes there is a huge difference. China isn't shutting these sites down temporarily to gather information like the incident discussed in the link. In China try to search on Google about Tiananmen Square, the government has had Google block anything related to the 1989 protests. In the US try to search about the McCarthy Era, Vietnam Conflict, or current war in Iraq. You will find plenty about wrong doings of the government when searching for any of those. Even if the US government doesn't like being reminded of the incidents, we are still allowed to search for them. Those in China do not have that luxury. If the government doesn't want you to see something they go through steps to make sure you can't.A comment by Liu made me laugh. "Major U.S. companies do this and it is regarded as normal. So why should China not be entitled to do so?" Is he honestly trying to compare companies to governments? Governments exist to serve the people. Companies exist to make money. Companies can sensor anyone they want as long as it is only on company grounds, those same people that can't see certain sites at work can view them at home without issue. Where can the people of China go to see blocked sites?
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