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China's Rising Internet

Two disparate events in recent weeks in China point to an interesting development. China's Internet users are challenging the government and forcing it to respond. First China's plan to force computer manufacturers to install censoring software and then the furor over a pedicurist who killed a government official after he beat her when she rejected his demand to have sex.

The Chinese government has announced a plan to block pornography and sensitive political content from computers sold in China by requiring computer manufacturers to include a blocking software called "Green Dam." The program was revealed last week, first by the Wall Street Journal. It's resulted in an explosion of protest on Chinese websites. The People's Daily website -- run by the Central Committee of the Communist Party, held an online forum where the decision was criticized. Other mainstream academics have blasted the move; some have even suggested that the whole deal was basically a scam whereby a software company affiliated with the army and the police finagled a big government contract disguised as a security measure. Activists, such as gay rights lawyer Zhou Dan, have taken aim at the specific words or search terms that the program blocks. In Zhou's case, he pointed out that the program blocks tongxinglian, homosexual in Chinese. That, he said, could set back China's fight against HIV/AIDS.

The government has been forced to respond. It's now saying that installing the software would be left up to consumers -- although the website of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology had said it was mandatory. And the China Daily quoted Liu Zhengrong, deputy chief of the Internet Affairs Bureau of China's State Council Information Office, as saying the software is designed just to filter Internet pornography -- implying that it wasn't also to censor sensitive political topics. Here's one story in the Chinese English-language press about the pushback.

The next case is that of Deng Yujiao -- the pedicurist from Hubei province who was attacked by a government official after she refused to have sex with him and then promptly stabbed him to death with a knife.

Deng became famous after a series of Chinese newspapers ran blow-by-blow stories about the affair. The Southern Metropolitan News, China's scrappiest paper these days, quoted her as telling her lawyers that one of the officials shouted at her: "You are a prostitute, but you still want to have a good reputation." Then he started beating Deng on the face and shoulders with cash. "Don't you want money?" he asked her. "You have never seen money! How much money do you want? Just say so. Would you believe that I am going to beat you to death with money today?"

The furor was so intense from the Internet that authorities released Deng from the mental hospital where they'd incarcerated her and placed her under house arrest. The official New China News Agency also quoted the police as saying Deng was defending herself, although "excessively," again in apparent reaction to the waves of sympathy for her.

While the Internet has actually strengthened considerably China's regime over the past decade -- helping it to both control the news in ways it couldn't before, and providing China's security services with valuable window into the thoughts of the country's malcontents (they can read all their email) -- it does indeed cut both ways. How these two controversies play out could tell us a lot about where China is these days. My guess? Deng gets a short sentence. And the floodwaters of the Internet will swamp the "Green Dam."

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Comments (20)

generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

juzsmart,

At least among the porn webpages of west, people and government and leaders can learn about the wall street corruption issues, lobbying scandal.

But when the 4000 porn webs and other 60000 webs all blocked, that China Central government would not learn first hand about local corruptions, and the local thugs can do whatever they want to Chinese people, nor the public will have power to support for the weak and pressed people?

Can 10 and 20 wise people in Beijing know every things about their people and each local events?

This blocking and internet control not only block public eye and lips and also block the leaders eyes? You Idiot!

Porn cannot corrupted a nation! Only when you cut off the information channel btwn leaders and their people, that a few bad seeds can provoke the whole nation.

In ancient time, whoever support the emperor this plan will be headed for whole household!!!

这是他妈的欺君欺民之罪!!!!

A rumor cannot overthrow a open nation, not porn, not religion, but the leaders lack information about their own people, and they cannot act or appease for any events that freely growing that they do not know!!!

Again, whoever propose this internet control is going to really corruption the nation!!!

Stop idiotize their people, a open media is healthy and much stronger against a few bad seeds.

What Sex or porn will do people? But if cut off the communication, the China leaders are off their eyes and hears on their people!!!

The thier chefs putting in the poison in their dishes, they don't even know!

juzsmart Author Profile Page:

The Chinese will find pragmatic ways to deal with the internet issue. It appears that the West are happy pushers of internet filth and pornography, so be it. Anyone can just buy a net-nanny program and lots of internet security bundle for some form of control "bad" sites. The West and its media should grow up and let Chinese decide what they want to do in China. There are enough problems in America from Wall Street corruption to social woes that makes it laughable for the chauvinistic Western media to portray China as some form of tyranny.

generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

There is a 1920 blues for the life and prostitute, that released 1970s, called 'Shave Them Dry'.

It is beautiful and painful. How a woman works for two dollars, how she defies the society and hard time to make a living, to survive, song by Ms. Ma Rainey.

generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

one thing I really do respect prostitute, they are brave, they pursue what they believe, they don't lie as politician, they sacrifice themselves, but politicians put others on the altar, and meditate on this now:

Imagine some 200lb filthy, oily, and full beard man land on you and you have to act with him and moan a song he likes.... for your food and dress, or money to feed your child or put him in school...

They are the ones that heaven open its gate for them always. How difficult for them to live, to survive, if they ever had other choice they would not do that.

Why US and China people despise them, they are the true hero of civilization. God picked two prostitutes in Son of David's family line.

If we don't take shower or brush, our wife won't even let us get into bed.

but what choice and authority those prostitute have?

generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

Why Current Chinese Government don't want a democracy system?

1) there are too many talented people in China, if such system sets up, 90% of current officials would have to take early retirement, which means their families and friends have no guaranteed income future.

2) that foreign / western influence to democratic Chinese system is a lie that current gov use; their true enemy are our own people, those talented people that they must control so they will not compete against them. So they brainwash our people and strip off the information and media source and channel so they are telling us what to think to do and to say. (Example: China have enough nationalists are talented and in deep education to protect our own country. I am not even one of them, but my medley sings well among the western political Warcraft players and pretty high pitched too like American Idol ruuner-up Adam Lambert:) You can not imagine that western political schemers really could have a voice when China is really a free speech and democratic nation, if anyone sings a separation song.

3) our nation is not communism, nor socialism, on the local structure is aggressive capitalism, but nationally its imperialism, only the kings and lords are not past down by blood, but relationship (friendship or political struggle).

Last, have anyone takes subway in China, in NY and LA, do a compare the % of people give their sit to others, then you know, it is culture. That's why the fonding fathers were so wise, that they see only guns can bring down the tyrant or king, like the ending of Lord of Ring is another fairy tale, we people as majority simple don't have power to give up the Ring, once we own it.

generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

AT LEAST, AT LEAST IRANIAN HAVE A ELECTION, A NAME.

WHAT CHINESE HAVE?!

I remember the song of Mr. Cui Jian,

I have Nothing, I have Nothing!
The Cloud in sky roams free~
The Stream by me flows in its will~
But you (Our government) laughing at me
That I have nothing...

I must give you my freedom,
and I must tell you my pursuit.
But You (our government) still just laughing
that I have nothing and nothing

ooh, ooh~
I have nothing~

According to this Song Mr. Cui should deserve a Nobel Prize, better than Dalai shouldn't we say?

Anf please John, I was the first one that quoted this song, next if you stole my quotation you better tell people that I reminded you this song, I feel my hard work is unpaid and unreturned, don't learn all the bad things from our government, ha ha.

While you fighting against the beast, refrain from becoming one yourself. ha ha.

Donald2 Author Profile Page:

Observer88:

You need to take note.

How can you be sure there is fraud in the election?

I don't like that ahemd guy. He is dangerous. But to call that election a fraud and choose side, you need evidence. If supporting democracy is your goal, you need higher class. You need to respect Iranian voters.

Donald2 Author Profile Page:

How come there is no main stream media report on the 134 billion dollar US treasure bond held by two Japanese and caught in Italy?

Is this the press freedom we are pushing so hard?Where is the press freedom in US, Mr. John Pomfret?

I fully expect you to jump up and down on this. If that news does not excite you, how about I start a fresh rumor that those two "Japanese" mignt just be Chinese agents. That will fit the usual pattern of China bashing.

Observer88 Author Profile Page:

Chinese citizens - take note! Those brave citizens rebelling against absolute control in Iran are heroes for their country and people! They do not think selfishly of themselves and their wallets and pocketbooks, just freedom. It is a wonderful thing to see, and reminds me that I still have hope that someday the Chinese people will rebel against the current mafia that is in charge in China.

generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

John,

Would you please go dig who decides to force PC manufact to put censor software on the MB, publish his name and family address please.

I am sure many people want to know where he live too. I am sure a lot Chinese want to go to his house and teach him and his family learn about some Rockin Roll song, like "Shoot To Kill".

generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

To Sing1,

Don't scare people with GOOD OLD DAYS of Mao, if anyone in today, in nowadays people's mind, in China dare to lord over people like Mao, he would be killed not by people but by his colleagues that he plays political prosecution against.

Mao clearly see that time the people were stupid, and his followers still carried shadow of imperialism mind, that was the reason he could rule China as God.

But people learned from 70s and 1989, those bad seeds who brainwash people and only benefit themselves, the only reason they can stay on top is that they figure out Chinese mind like Deng, as long as people have their food and cloth, so Chinese are like sheep that never give them hard time.

But let tell you, the later generations don't give a crap, if one day things go bad, and the people on bottom of Chinese pyramid of Acrobat start to get on street, to march.

If my children are on street, the government dare to raise the fist or guns, people will smash in the fake throne in one day, people learned only a force can kick these bad gangsters away, you can never reason with robbers, you can only beat them away.

How many are they? a few. 10? 20?
100? include their corrupted family and friends?

If Mr. Sun Zhong San lived today, he would lead people into Beijing bring down the 21st century!

And don't think a government can provide food and cloth is good government, Tang Emperors were more open and democratic than today's.

Against John Pomfret and his leading China splitists you reason, but against robbers and barbarians you don't speak, you act! you act in mass or go solo.

sing1 Author Profile Page:

How do you vote for a government. India has 80 political parties and the government is a coalition of 20 political parties. They have the most inefficient government in the world. There is a saying: "China's rise is the result of efficient government. India rises in spite of an efficient government." The main export of India is software and computer that the governement has very little participation. Go figure what will happen to China if they follow the role of India. There are a lot of people in China who want to go back to the good old day of Mao. Are you one of them General?

generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

To sing1,

actually the forged government is CCP, not other governing system.

Like Mao or Deng, or any Chinese leaders that not voted by people, by majority, but by guns, and other tricks.

Emperor's new cloth, the title and cover are both forged, however only a few Chinese know.

sing1 Author Profile Page:

It proves one thing that Chinese citizens can and will forge a political/governing system by themselves without following into the mode set out by the west.

hawksmoor Author Profile Page:

=============================
**Censored** Green-Dam ver. 1.984
=============================

generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

Maybe I pray to Mao, the god of revolution that grants me power and wisdom to rule China as a one-man boss so I send those bad politicians back to farmer again so they need to complete what they have not learned. s-hi-t.

generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

those leaders are stupid, why could they learn from Mr. Pomfret, that let people have their speech freedom?

People are loud, but don't mean they are right.

Thanks farklol,

I am a hero:) and villain for both side.

---uoted her as telling her lawyers that one of the officials shouted at her: "You are a prostitute, but you still want to have a good reputation."---

CCP is a prostitute, but they still want to have a good reputation too.

So every prostitute wants to look good, but in China, most sell for food, but what these bad politician selling themselves for?

I rather marry a prostitute than one-night stand with a politician.

BillRich Author Profile Page:

The sad story is that internet is giving too much freedom to Chinese, who needs to be controlled, as Jackie Chan said, an applauded by Chinese government officials. The recent Green Dam is just a start, and don't forget that the government did say it is mandatory. That means this can be used against you if you are caught reading unauthorized material and not using the software to block the information.

Donald2 Author Profile Page:

Internet broke the opinion market dominated by mainstream media for so long, both in western countries and in China. 20 years ago, there is no way Chinese can voice their objection to Chinese government; nor can Chinese voice their objection against western big media bosses.

With Youtube, public can even compete against media bosses like CCTV of China, and CNN.

We are living in a new era of opinion democracy.

Let the people stop the manmade gap between the West and Muslims Arabs; let the people stop the gap between the Chinese and the West.

farklol Author Profile Page:

The internet Chinese, hero of the 21st century!

I want to give some props to GeneralYueFei.

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