Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Internet censorship spreads to Australia and Germany

China's policy of internet censorship seems to be encouraging more countries to follow its lead. Australia and Germany are beggining to make strides in the direction of censorship. The main reason for internet censorship is the proposed ban of wikileaks.

On Tuesday March 24, buildings in Germany which had connections with Wikileaks were raided by 11 plain clothed German police. The reason for this is that Wikileaks has been releasing information pertaining to censorship plans in Germany.

Australia is another country that has had censorship information leaked on to Wikileaks. Australia and Germany are trying to stop the leakage of important and confidential government information.

Australia and Germany are the only two democracies of the world considering a madatory internet censorship policy.

What these countries plan on doing is training machines blacklist internet pages, making them unavailable to the public

Australia plans to increase the size of its blacklist list by 10 times. Blocked sites are said to increase from 1200 sites to over 10,000 if the plan is implimented.

Although Germany and Australia are trying to protect its governments, they are slowly moving towards a fully censored internet which could start a worldwide trend. Instead of movingaway from censorship after seeing the criticisim of the Chinese government, some countries are beggining to subscribe to China's thinking.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

YouTube banned

This week China banned the usage of YouTube in their country. Some footage leaked onto the site of chinese soldiers beating a group of monks in a monestary. Another scene showed a few Tibetans tied up on the ground being struck. The Chinese goverment said that they handled the protests that took peacefully. Censoring YouTube after the footage leaked makes them look just a little bit guilty. The wonders of a site like YouTube is the fact that citizen journalists have a way to showcase their footage to the world. Although it is dissapointing Chinese peopele cannot view the torture of the Tibetans, it is extremely important that other countries worldwide can be concious.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Watch This

Asian Backstreet Boys

Chinese Dirty Talk

Chinese fight internet censors with "Grass Mud Horse" cuddly toy

Jane Macartney, Beijing

From unprintable curse word to cuddly children’s toy: that has been the voyage charted by an imaginary beast invented by Chinese internet users to poke fun at a new nationwide crackdown against online content deemed vulgar.

The saga of the “Grass Mud Horse” is in fact one of the many puns in which the Chinese language is so rich. It began at the start of the year when China’s cyberpolice launched a campaign to cleanse pornographic and other content regarded as unseemly from sites viewed by the world’s largest online population.

What began as an entertaining by-product of that internet clean-up has become a sensation. This is because “Grass Mud Horse” in Chinese is a homonym for an unprintable but widely used phrase. Both the phrase – “F*** your mother” – and the name of the mythical animal are pronounced as caonima, although using different tones.

The identity of the creator of the Grass Mud Horse remains a mystery, but he – or she – has sparked a mini-industry.

The tale now goes that in the desert of “Male Gebi” – a homonym for yet another unprintable curse that means “Mother’s C***” – lives a herd of special alpaca-like animals known as the Grass Mud Horse. The idyllic existence of the caonima is under threat from a migration of river crabs. The resilient and intelligent caonima fight back to defeat the river crabs – yet another play on words. The pronunciation of river crab resembles “harmony” – a favourite slogan of the current Communist Party leadership. It has become common practice among internet writers whose posts have been deleted to say they have been “harmonised” – or “eaten by the river crab”. Thus “river crab” has become a code name for internet censors.

By the end of February, the censors had closed nearly 3,000 websites and 270 blogs regarded as containing “vulgar or pornographic” content. However, many anti-establishment sites or blogs have also fallen foul of the “harmonisation”, including the well-known and many current affairs discussion groups hosted on

The craze for the caonima among Chinese internet users has spawned a video on Youtube that had received more than 1.3 million hits by today. Saccharine children’s voices sing along with astonishing vulgarity – or innocence – depending on the pronunciation of the words.

A translation of one verse of the song, by China Digital Times, goes:

“Oh lying down Grass Mud Horse

Oh running wild Grass Mud Horse

They defeated river crabs in order to protect their grassland

River crabs forever disappeared from Ma Le Desert”

Another video widely viewed online is a spoof of a state television nature documentary in which a presenter introduces the caonima in its natural habitat, complete with footage of furry alpacas on mountain slopes.

The use of homonyms to bypass the Great Firewall of China is hardly new, but this cute new animal, the caonima, has achieved unprecedented success. It even boasts its own entry on the Chinese equivalent of Wikipedia.

The animal has even made its way into the state-run media. The Southern Metropolis Daily, one of the few more daring newspapers in China, this week ran a story detailing – in print – how two caonima toys have become hot items. Called Ma Le and Ge Bi, the cuddly animals were designed by five young people in southern Guangdong province as members of the caonima family. The first 150 went on sale online this week at 39.9 yuan (£4) each and demand has been high.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Internet addiction

As the internet evolves and time passes some people get caught up in the web. Whether it's MySpace, Fcaebook, YouTube, google, etc. some people cannot get through the day without surfing the internet. Young people today are raised in a society where the internet rules.

In countries like China where internet use is discouraged, internet addiction is actually considered a problem and the country is acting on it. In China, there are programs to get people off of the internet. Similar to drug rehabilitation, addicts are quarantined and banned from computer use. In many cases, the parents of the addicts are asked to join as well.

Most addicts are well educated and have easy acess to the internet. One is considered addicted when it causes behavioral issues or they use the internet for sic hours daily for six months strait.

The treatment is intense and it is similar to a military style of camp. The addicts must excerise, attend therapy and read books.

I do not believe internet addiction is as serious as the Chinese government is making it seem. A little self-dicipline could go a long way when dealing with this problem.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Bush ins't the only official to have shoe thrown at him

BEIJING (AFP) — Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao joined the Internet craze Saturday as he chatted online with netizens for the first time, broaching issues as diverse as a shoe-throwing protest and corruption among officials.

The online discussion attracted thousands of questions from people in China and abroad, with some querying the amount he earned, how long he slept a day, and how much alcohol he could drink, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

But Wen chose not to answer those, focusing instead on the more serious issues of the economic crisis, China's healthcare reform and the shoe-throwing incident that took place in Cambridge, Britain, this month.

A 27-year-old German student hurled a shoe at Wen when he was making a speech at Cambridge University as part of an official visit to Britain, shouting "this is a scandal" and calling him a dictator.

"I acted very calmly. What I thought first was the national dignity, people's dignity and to maintain the friendship between China and Britain," he wrote on the official central government website

"I needed to continue this lecture without disturbance. It's my personal style."

On the subject of corruption, Wen said the government was preparing for officials to declare their assets in an effort to fight widespread graft in China.

He warned that the global economic crisis had not yet hit bottom, and wrote in depth about the Chinese government's efforts to steer the country through the downturn.

Wen's online chat to the people of China was his first, and comes after President Hu Jintao fielded questions on the Internet in June last year.

Wen has tried to forge a reputation as a man of the people, contrasting with his publicly much more staid and stern colleagues in the ruling Communist Party hierarchy.

China's online population, already the world's largest, had risen to 298 million by the end of 2008, nearly equal to the population of the United States, according to a recent Chinese industry survey.

However China's Internet is also regarded as one of the most heavily censored, with the communist authorities seeking to block a wide range of issues they believe may threaten their rule.

Source: Google news

I think it is interesting that a Chinese official can use the internet to create video to be shown to the whole country. Wen Jiabao places his opinion in his webcast, and to me it is sort of a slap in the face that he can use the internet, but the average citizen can not use it for the same purpose. I think this article sums up the hipocracy in China.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Xu Lai

Because newspaper are highly censored in China, blogging has become very popular and some bloggers have created a name for themselves in Chinese society. One of those famous bloggers named Xu Lai was stabbed saturday while speaking outside of a bookstore. Two men took him into the bathroom and stabbed him saying “You brought this on yourself. You know why we’re doing this, don’t you?” This could be interpreted many ways, but Lai is known for his sarcastic and witty writing style towards the government. His blog name is pro-state in flames.

The jailing of journalists is a major problem in China and it seems that bloggers are the next victims in the country's censorship efforts. Blogs are the most important type of publication left for the Chinese people and this attack will most likely slow bloggers down and certainly become less public. Was this mans democratic views worth his life??

source: Times Online