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Users Rage Against China's 'Great Firewall' 277

Posted by Zonk
from the try-throwing-stones dept.
slugo writes with a CNN article about young professionals increasingly aware of the small part of the internet they're allowed to play in. Intelligent and internet-savvy, these users are frustrated by China's overactive concern for internet health. "Yang Zhou is no cyberdissident, but recent curbs on his Web surfing habits by China's censors have him fomenting discontent ... Yang's fury erupted a few days ago when he found he could not browse his friend's holiday snaps on Flickr.com, due to access restrictions by censors after images of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre were posted on the photo-sharing Web site. "Once you've complained all you can to your friends, what more can you do? What else is there but anger and disillusionment?" Yang said after venting his anger with friends at a hot-pot restaurant in Beijing. The blocking of Flickr is the latest casualty of China's ongoing battle to control its sprawling Internet. Wikipedia and a raft of other popular Web sites, discussion boards and blogs have already fallen victim to the country's censors."
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Users Rage Against China's 'Great Firewall'

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  • Joke (Score:5, Funny)

    by Antony-Kyre (807195) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @01:18AM (#19574997)
    Mr. Jintao, tear down this (fire)wall!
    • It almost seems it's time for Pink Floyd to reform and do another playing of "The Wall" in China's server closet...

      Except that those red commies don't like the bleeding hearts and the artists and some mad (deceased) bugger's band!
    • by antdude (79039)
      Ronald Regan, is that you? I thought you're dead. ;)
    • by Anonymous Coward
      In every forum you post in add a photo of the Tienamen Square massacre to your sig...in every website you own include the same picture in an unobtrusive place. Suddenly the Chinese government is forced to block the entirety of 'teh internets'; citizens revolt; end of story.

      Of course posted as an Anonymous Coward. I could really do without disappearing.
    • >Mr. Jintao, tear down this (fire)wall!

      better yet turn it round and block all the port 25 outbound traffic spewing from your infected machines, bot-neted and owned and trying to overload my mail servers with spam

      thanks
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by tcbent (37208)
      I think you mean Mr Hu. They put their family names first in that part of the world.
  • Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheGreatHegemon (956058) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @01:18AM (#19575005)
    That's the last we'll ever hear of Yang Zhou. Pity, considering he had a good point.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @02:06AM (#19575273)
      Young professionals have the means to leave China, even if they don't have the means to change the government. I'd suggest they get out while the getting's good.

      The real victims are the oppressed poor and working classes -- they aren't particularly concerned with trivialities like Flickr access, having to submit to what is essentially slave labor [google.com] due to extreme poverty.

      The problem with China is the government and its political philosophy, not the predictable restrictions on information access that totalitarian governments always enact.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        The oppressed working classes don't have the means to leave, but you're forgetting that they're exactly the ones who have the means to change the government.

        Unfortunately China, like almost all countries, try to drill into their residents the sanctity of human life so the general populace aren't willing to sacrifice their lives for a better future.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by gauauu (649169)
        Young professionals have the means to leave China, even if they don't have the means to change the government. I'd suggest they get out while the getting's good.

        It's harder than you think for people to leave. I worked in the IT industry in Chian for a few years, so I was around these young professionals. China makes it a HUGE hassle to get a passport, and most countries aren't very quick to give out visas to Chinese without them already having a job in that country. Which is rather hard to get.

        Add to tha
  • Post (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @01:20AM (#19575011)
    Once you've complained all you can to your friends, what more can you do?

    Post very angry comments on all news sites! Arghhh!! I'm pissed off about censorship!

    As anonymous, of course...
  • by Hal_Porter (817932) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @01:24AM (#19575025)
    To the sound of thunderous whining from a bunch of Youtube/Flickr/blogosphere addicted yuppies.

    Off to Digg articles about Zhao Ziyang.
    • cough cough , spit (Score:2, Insightful)

      by rawdirt (464725)
      nah

      they don't report disease outbreaks... SARS, pig blue ear, bird flu ... in ways
      that ensure disaster.

      the world ends with a cough and cyanosis

      tyranny sucks wind
    • by DeepHurtn! (773713) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @02:36AM (#19575413)
      Well, the reality historically has usually been that the contentment of the "yuppies" (or their *rough* historical economic analogues) is much more important to propping up any given regime than that of the lowest classes. As a "yuppie", the individual in question represents a class of people who collectively wield tremendous wealth and influence. When measures taken to repress the plebes start to piss *them* off, you have the makings of societal tensions and pressures that can fuck all sorts of shit up. Think about it this way: China is trying really really hard to produce lots of people like the subject of TFA -- people who are well educated, technologically literate, affluent, and so on. Yang Zhou would at first blush seem to be a major benefactor of the current direction of Chinese society and government -- and yet the very forces and culture that produced him are now, from his point of view, restricting and limiting him! Contradiction...and pressure.

      Of course, I'm not saying this represents the beginnings of some sort of middle-class uprising against the evil Party! Tensions are tensions, and change is change: who knows where this sort of thing will lead? To greater freedom; greater repression; or something that doesn't fit neatly into either of those paradigms. But I do believe stories like this one are significant.

      • by Hal_Porter (817932) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @03:31AM (#19575731)
        I just think it's ironic. I don't much like people like him in the West because they seem shallow, self obsessed and self important. But I really hate the Chinese Communist Party and it seems that people like him will eventually grind it down, even though the CCP seems hell bent on producing lots of them for economic reasons.

        Mind you, my favourite post 1949 Chinese politician, Zhao Ziyang was criticised for being a yuppie too. It's almost as if the CCP was right to fear "peaceful evolution" and "bourgeous democracy". But the weird thing is that the consensus is that prosperity has made the CCP more secure in the short term, so I guess they're in some kind of trap where either path leads to doom.

        I used to think that would happen when Hong Kong went back actually - that if they allowed it to stay relatively free the freedom would spread and destroy them, but if they clamped down the money would leave and then they would be ruined by popular discontent. But HK is a special case like the treaty ports in imperial times. The Emperors managed to keep foreign influences confined to them before and the CCP could do the same. But they can't do that inside China as this story seems to tell you.

        Actually, come to think of it the Chinese Emperors didn't quite manage to keep foreign influences confined, since the Empire eventual fell. Unfortunately the evil CCP and KMT ended up replacing it, but with a bit of luck the CCP will be replaced by something more liberal when it goes. I suppose that practically that's up to the Chinese anyway, the best the West could do is to provide resources to nascent political parties that seem to be committed to democracy like it did at the end of the cold war. Anything more direct is likely to lead to WWIII.

        But the idea that you can achieve this sort of change by giving Hong Kong and Macau back has a certain twisted appeal to it, given that the CCP was obessed with regaining territory lost to unequal treaties. It would mean that it was good for China to be reunified as they thought, just not necessarily for them personally.
        • by digitig (1056110) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @05:55AM (#19576473)

          I used to think that would happen when Hong Kong went back actually - that if they allowed it to stay relatively free the freedom would spread and destroy them, but if they clamped down the money would leave and then they would be ruined by popular discontent. But HK is a special case like the treaty ports in imperial times. The Emperors managed to keep foreign influences confined to them before and the CCP could do the same. But they can't do that inside China as this story seems to tell you.

          I think people tend to underestimate just how rapidly China is changing, just because it didn't turn into a western-style capitalist democracy at the flick of a switch when Hong Kong (or Macau) was handed over. A few years ago when my wife went to Beijing the first thing that met her as she left the arrivals gate was a huge poster of Mao; now it's a Kentucky Fried Chicken. On that visit she was issued with tourist food vouchers; now one just draws cash from a cashpoint with an ordinary bank card and spends it in an ordinary shop or cafe. My mother-in-law hadn't seen her sister for over 35 years, even though they lived just a few miles apart, because the borders were closed. The borders opened and they had an emotional reunion a couple of years before the HK handover. Just after the handover, my wife brought back some dried lychee from HK; it turned out that they were from a tree in her aunt's garden in Mainland China, and that these were from the first crop she had ever been allowed to keep: previous years the crop had belonged to the state. We ate them like a sacrament.

          Yes, those changes are social and economic, not political, and there is still a lot of change needed, but the pace of change is breathtaking.

  • Counterproductive? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @01:26AM (#19575033)
    Aren't people in China going to ask the question "Why is Flickr not working for me?" and then discover it is due to "controversial imagery of the Tiananmen Square massacre". Hence interest and discussion of this topic the Chinese government is trying to censor is exponentially increased.

    If they really wanted to censor what went on at Tiananmen Square, they shouldn't draw attention to it by blocking half the internet. Instead they'd just have to spread disinformation within their own country, while still allowing people to read the "outrageous remarks of terrorist conspiracy theorists on the other side of the world". Little attention would be drawn to the issue: it'd get forgotten about. Blocking half the internet in the name of erasing history is DEFINITELY counterproductive to the cause.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @01:44AM (#19575139)
      Not really. A Chinese censor was recently investigated for allowing a newspaper ad dedicated to the victims of the Tiananmen Square massacre (just using the date). When questioned, the censor didn't know about the massacre so he didn't realize that the ad was a problem. He was cleared and the advertiser was arrested. Chinese censorship works better than they even intended.
  • by jcr (53032) <jcr.mac@com> on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @01:27AM (#19575037) Journal
    The Chinese people will be free, and probably sooner than any of us expect. The Tienanmen square uprising was crushed by troops who were brought in from far away, and had no idea what was happening in Beijing. Eventually, the power of the party to control communications will be overwhelmed, and they'll be made accountable for their crimes against China.

    Today, most Chinese have no idea at all that Mao not only killed more Chinese than Tojo, he was the greatest mass-murderer in history.

    -jcr

    • by asifyoucare (302582) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @03:34AM (#19575747)
      Well, there goes YOUR visa.
      • by jcr (53032)
        Well, that depends on whether consular officers are allowed to scan /. for a visa applicant's postings, doesn't it?

        -jcr

    • Eventually, the power of the party to control communications will be overwhelmed, and they'll be made accountable for their crimes against China.

      The Party's control over China, and arguably itself, is more tenuous than one would imagine. Essentially, by restricting freedom of the press, and freedom of movement, the Party has placed very real limits on its own in-country intelligence. Simply put, very often, Beijing just does not know what is going on in its far flung provinces. Their power rests in passing

    • Mao is arguably the greatest mass murderer in history, it probably still is Stalin with Mao second and Hitler third...
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by jcr (53032)
        Nope, Mao killed about 77 million through his starvation policy, and Stalin only managed about 20 million.

        -jcr

  • For those that like to call the US a "totalitarian" state, that crushes dissent and is destroying long-cherished liberties, you don't have too look too far to find real, live totalitarian governments. Like China, or Cuba, or Iran, or North Korea, etc.

    So please stop crying wolf about the US, and I say this as someone that has voted Libertarian in the last three elections and is not thrilled with all the actions of this government.
    • by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew&gmail,com> on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @01:37AM (#19575095) Homepage Journal
      Thank you. As a former US Marine I so often get discouraged by the hatred so many Americans have fostered for their country.

      When in reality, I think they have little to no appreciation for what we have here.

      We're very much imperfect, and I greatly frustrated by some aspects of our culture, but we are very much a free nation. Perhaps sometime people should see what it is to live in nation without civil liberties.
      • by ubernostrum (219442) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @01:54AM (#19575185) Homepage

        Perhaps sometime people should see what it is to live in nation without civil liberties.

        Some of us would rather never get there in the first place ;)

        When you see the President daily working to concentrate more and more power into his office at his personal control, when you see an eight-hundred-year-old institution like habeas corpus thrown down and spit upon, when you see our constitutional protection against unreasonable searches thrown out because getting a warrant is just too darned inconvenient, when Congress feels the need to pass a law clarifying the fact that the United States should not torture people (and the President attaches a signing statement saying he'll disregard that if he feels like it), when you see the White House arguing that it should have the power to detain any American citizen indefinitely, without charges or legal due process...

        Well, when you see all that you start wondering how much further we really have to go. And you want to stand up and fight it while you still can.

        • by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew&gmail,com> on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @02:12AM (#19575311) Homepage Journal
          Let me be clear to avoid an argument. I agree that we should fight to protect the Constitution and civil liberties.

          However, I feel the need to make some clarifications.

          First off, the Constitution can only be altered through a clearly defined Amendment process. It has not been Ammended. Thusly, the rights guaranteed in the Constitution are valid. Any lawyer or judge with any sense of decency shouldn't have trouble upholding basic Constitutional rights.

          Secondly, both the office of the President and Congress under many different administrations have failed to uphold the liberties the Constitution is supposed to protect. The failures lie both with the President and Congress. These should be brought to light, but not as a means of partisan politics, but rather as a means of upholding civil liberties.

          One such minor example was the Telecommunications Decency Act of (94 or 96?) that clearly trampled on free speech. The then Speaker of the House even publicly said it violated the Constitution, yet the House passed it.

          Thirdly, the Constitution could use a good Amendment clarifying our rights to privacy. Currently, they aren't really defined. The Constitution states that we can't be forced to self-incriminate, and that is where unlawful searches and such come from. But there have always been exceptions. For instance, if you have reason to suggest that evidence is time sensitive, or will be destroyed, you can search without a warrant. If you have probable cause, you can search without a warrant. Warrant-less searches have occurred for ages, and should not be made to be appear as a recent or partisan issue. Again, this is an issue that should be more clearly defined in legislation and hasn't been.

          Fourthly, the second our security is in question, people panic and demand that the government know everything that is going on, and be omniscient in their ability to defend us. This conflicts with our personal desires to not have the government look over our shoulder. Again, this line should be more clearly defined, but it is not.

          Lastly, I have not seen a single statement from the White House or any US government official requesting the ability to detail American citizens indefinitely without either charges or due process. There was a controversial provision about detaining immigrants deemed terrorists basically without due process, but it made several clear provisions against applying to American citizens. If you have clear factual evidence that any government official intends to detain American citizens indefinitely without charges or legal due process, that would be very clear grounds for impeachment.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by grcumb (781340)

            First off, the Constitution can only be altered through a clearly defined Amendment process. It has not been Ammended. Thusly, the rights guaranteed in the Constitution are valid. Any lawyer or judge with any sense of decency shouldn't have trouble upholding basic Constitutional rights.

            I think I'm beginning to see where the problem might be.... 8^)

            Secondly, both the office of the President and Congress under many different administrations have failed to uphold the liberties the Constitution is supposed t

          • Thusly, the rights guaranteed in the Constitution are valid. Any lawyer or judge with any sense of decency shouldn't have trouble upholding basic Constitutional rights.

            That's true. Unfortunately, "shouldn't" doesn't have anything to do with "won't".

            If you go down the list of items in the Bill of Rights, it's pretty obvious that *none* of those restrictions on government power is strictly enforced - and that the enforcement has gotten worse over time rather than better. If Congress and the fedral courts ca

            • Let's go down the list.

              1 There is no state ordained church, and we still have freedom of speech pretty clearly. I work for a newspaper that rips the President pretty frequently so I think freedom of press is still intact.

              2 People can still buy guns and form militias.

              3 The government is not forcing me to house soldiers.

              4 "against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause". I have little doubt that people have made poor decisions from tim
              • I love how you sort of brush over the last 2 amendments. They're probably the worst off of all of them.

                • I was just being lazy, not ducking points.

                  Amendment IX - The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

                  Amendment X - The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

                  Let's hear your arguments on these.
                  • I was specific in my other reply, but I'll be a little bit more general just to clarify.

                    Both the 9th and 10th amendments are basically ignored and not enforced. The 9th amendment is ignored based on the excuse that it's too vague. The 10th amendment is ignored based on a broad interpretation of the commerce clause. These are amendments to our constitution, that the founders explicitly included at the same time and with the same importance as freedom of speech, and yet they are not enforced because judges h

              • Let me respond in some more detail.

                1. The established church thing seems to largely be OK, but "congress shall make no law... infringing the freedom of speech or of the press" is pretty strict. I'm pretty sure that the FCC draws its authority from a law passed by congress, and they infringe on the freedom of speech all the time. There are anti-obscenity laws. Copyright restricts freedom of speech (an amendment trumps the copyright clause in the body). This amendment clearly isn't being strictly enforced.
                2. "th
          • I think you shoud have a tiny little clarification - not trying to argue further, but I think we need to separate "hating govt employees who are corrupt" from "hating the USA". They are not one and the same. This isn't opinion, it is simple logic, and can be demonstrated as such.

            First off, the Constitution can only be altered through a clearly defined Amendment process. It has not been Amended. Thusly, the rights guaranteed in the Constitution are valid. Any lawyer or judge with any sense of decency shoul

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Enderandrew (866215)
              I think you shoud have a tiny little clarification - not trying to argue further, but I think we need to separate "hating govt employees who are corrupt" from "hating the USA". They are not one and the same. This isn't opinion, it is simple logic, and can be demonstrated as such.

              I agree. As Penn and Teller covered in their show Bullshit, patriotism shouldn't be unflinchingly supporting everything about your nation without question.

              I think therein lies the problem. Many judges are turning a blind eye; and t
          • Lastly, I have not seen a single statement from the White House or any US government official requesting the ability to detail American citizens indefinitely without either charges or due process. There was a controversial provision about detaining immigrants deemed terrorists basically without due process, but it made several clear provisions against applying to American citizens. If you have clear factual evidence that any government official intends to detain American citizens indefinitely without charge

            • The 14th Amendment is my favorite. I think members of Congress should be made familiar with it.

              But I digress. A much simpler argument is that José Padilla is a US citizen.

              Wow. That is good reading.
          • by ubernostrum (219442) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @05:50AM (#19576449) Homepage

            Lastly, I have not seen a single statement from the White House or any US government official requesting the ability to detail American citizens indefinitely without either charges or due process.

            Jose Padilla is an American citizen who was first detained as a material witness, then deemed -- by administrative fiat, not by any due process of legal action -- an enemy combatant and transferred to military custody; when his attorney filed a habeas corpus petition, the administration fought it all the way to the Supreme Court, finally winning at that level, and was then challenged again in a different jurisdiction, where a an appeals court deemed Padilla's indefinite detention lawful. Just to be extra safe, last year's Military Commisions Act, helpfully passed just before the Republican party lost its control of Congress, then proceeded to explicitly and absolutely strip away the power of civil courts to hear habeas corpus petitions pertaining to "enemy combatant" detainees, and further stripped the jurisdiction of any civil courts to hear appeals of a military comission's decisions or constitutional challenges of the use of such commissions.

            There is no bloody way that's constitutional, but Bush and the former Republican Congress did everything they could to ensure that challenges will take years at the least. Any effective challenge to a detainment would have to begin with the arduous task of getting the Military Commissions act struck down (habeas corpus is guaranteed by the Constitution, and power to hear cases arising under the Constitution is granted to the courts directly by the Constitution with no ability for Congress to take that away), a process which would likely take the rest of this decade and might not even succeed, given the current makeup of the Supreme Court.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ZenShadow (101870)
      So I should keep quiet until we look like China? I'd prefer to stop it before it starts, personally.
      • You are posting on the internet questioning your own government. You have the freedom to do so.

        Don't for a second compare your government to China.

        To do so is a disservice to those who fought to protect the freedoms you call into question.

        After Russia dealt with recent terrorist attacks, they rolled back on basically every civil liberty that had been established in the past 50 years, including freedom of religion.

        After the "tube" bombings in England, Tony Blair said he had no qualms with a shoot-first appr
        • Don't for a second compare your government to China.

          Why? Such comparisons should only make our government look good, right?

          Because a quick Google search shows the Constitution still hasn't been amended in our sleep.

          It's much easier to ignore the Constitution (our President has said "it's just a damn piece of paper") than it is to amend it.

          • Fact checking please.

            That quote originates from a politically-biased blogger. He said three people overheard the quote. One of three people he named as sources, is someone he commonly names, only it turns out said source doesn't exist.

            http://www.truthout.org/docs_03/071003K.shtml [truthout.org]

            When that blogger is caught lying and making up sources, said blogger loses respectability.

            Unless you can find actual proof for the quote, I wouldn't toss it around as fact. If anything there is evidence to suggest the source is
    • by Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @02:06AM (#19575283)
      The fact that China is far worse than the US does not forgive the crimes of the US government and does not mean that we should sit down and shut up about the violations of civil liberties here.
  • by mushadv (909107) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @01:28AM (#19575047)

    Fuck you, I won't browse where you tell me!

    Oh god that was lame.

  • I know this is a bit OT, but bear with me... As China grows wealthier, you're seeing a gradual push towards greater freedom and democracy- free municipal elections, a rapid increase in the number of protests, and backlash against censorship as described in TFA. This is in a nation where the US has done very little to promote democracy or human rights. Compare that with nations where we have tried to promote democracy. Nigeria, for example, is hopelessly corrupt, embroiled in Christian/Muslim violence, a
    • by Hal_Porter (817932) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @01:59AM (#19575219)
      It would be nice if that were automatically true. But historically there have been lots of examples of societies that have made no progress toward democracy for thousands of years including China pre revolution. But unlike the Middle East, there's lots of evidence that Chinese people in the 21st century are ready for democracy. E.g. look at Taiwan. Even Singapore seems to me to be likely to turn into a real democracy given time and a lack of strong leaders. Same with Hong Kong.

      And in Gorbachev's memoirs he quoted Zhao Ziyang as saying that there should be free elections for the head of the Chinese Communist Party in the short term, and a multiparty system in the long term. Given that he was General Secretary at the time, that's breathtaking. But if you look at Chinese history, lots of people have tried to introduce democracy and most of them ended up either imprisoned, or under house arrest or executed. Incidentally most reactionary movements in China have been strongly nationalist too and it is possible that they will lash out at America, Japan or Taiwan to distract the Chinese people's attention away from their loss of freedom.

      So I'd say that it is likely that China will democratise, and there are certainly signs that it is happening. But it's also likely that reactionary politicians will attempt to roll back the process and it's in everyone's interests that the US tries to stop them.

      Free societies shouldn't fall for the telelogical fallacy that history has a direction, or be so arrogant as to assume that all societies will end up being like them automagically. Lots of non free societies would still exist if they had been able to isolate themselves from the outside world and achieve a measure of self sufficiency, and China is big enough to do just that.
      • by Kjella (173770)
        Free societies shouldn't fall for the telelogical fallacy that history has a direction, or be so arrogant as to assume that all societies will end up being like them automagically. Lots of non free societies would still exist if they had been able to isolate themselves from the outside world and achieve a measure of self sufficiency, and China is big enough to do just that.

        Oh, I think China has done something a lot smarter than that, in a diabolic way but none the less. In the cold war, the Soviet Union was
      • by 2Bits (167227) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @03:54AM (#19575865)
        China will democratise, when the conditions are riped, and one of them especially, would be when there are more city population than rural population, which is currently not the case. The other condition would be that there is a huge internal force (e.g. from a whole generation) that demands it. Think of the baby boom generation which had catalyzed a whole chain of changes in the western hemisphere in the 1960s, with a 1968 Paris manif.

        And that is only personal opinions.

        Unfortunately for China right now, the two conditions are not met. The first one is obvious. The second one is a little problematic. There are three segments of population, and I would call them "three generations" to make things simpler.

        1) The old generations, those participated in the long march and the cultural revolution, are currently either afraid of changes, or too busy to hold on to their power, and make as much money as they can, while they still can. This is the generation which has the most to lose in case of too much sudden changes. Most of them will not be able to adapt.

        2) The second generation, those who were born during the cultural revolution, and that's the generation involved in the 1989 event. But this generation is currently too fragmented to form a noticeable force. Those who are doing well are joining the first generation, they don't want sudden change. Gradual change is good for them, they are making to the elite group. Those who are not doing well (the majority) are too busy making a living, with a family to feed, etc, the ambition for a better world has kinda subsided with age too. And they are sandwiched between two generations that do not want change, more or less.

        3) The third generation, those who were born in the 1980s and 1990s, this is the generation of little "emperors" and little "empresses". No big dream, not much ambition, life is good as it is, they will inherit everything from their parents and grand-parents anyway, so why bother? This is what I call the "Life is good" generation.

        Changes are coming gradually, but don't expect a sudden movement to tear down the wall or anything. A model for gradual change, or a model for sudden change a la Berlin Wall which ripped through the whole Eastern Europe? Which one is better is debatable for now. What is good for Eastern Europe is necessarily good for China? Again, debatable.

        But the gradual change model is so far, so good. So, let's cross the finger, and let's work together toward a better world, as a whole. I am optimistic.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Great Firewall rages against you.
    • by bmgoau (801508)
      In communist china, I for one welcome a beowolf cluster of firewalls that uses only old people against you?
  • by pestilence669 (823950) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @01:37AM (#19575097)
    They surf porn. No joke. I worked at of those dot-com anonymizer companies that marketed in China. When we looked at our logs, we saw that most outbound traffic went to porn sites. That's what people do with their "voice" and unrestricted access to information... they use their new power to look at naked chics. Knowledge be damned.
    • by regular_gonzalez (926606) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @01:47AM (#19575151)
      Sure, *most* people will surf porn, just as *most* people will watch American Idol, not PBS. Lowest common denominator and whatnot. That does not deprecate the importance of PBS, nor should it deprecate anonymity online.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Yvanhoe (564877)
        I must add that this is the most commonn excuse for internet filtering. Chinese official say their main goal is to "protect" citizens from pornography.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by kripkenstein (913150)

        Sure, *most* people will surf porn, just as *most* people will watch American Idol, not PBS. Lowest common denominator and whatnot.

        Minor correction. Most people watch American Idol, while some *other* people watch PBS. However, most people will surf porn, but this is *not* a distinct group than people visiting 'cultured' websites. Few people watch both American Idol and PBS; lots of people watch both porn and 'cultured' websites (albeit not at the same time, usually).

        In other words, seeing lots of peop

    • they use their new power to look at naked chics.

      That's the thing about freedom. People do what they want to do, not necessarily what someone else wants them to do. If they didn't, they wouldn't be free.

  • Impossible (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew&gmail,com> on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @01:42AM (#19575131) Homepage Journal
    It is both irresponsible and impossible to maintain such a firewall forever.

    There are plenty of people who bypass the firewall already. China is marching into the 21st century with an eye to the future. They are building schools and focusing on emerging technologies. They are growing not only in population, but in knowledge and economy.

    I don't think it is unreasonable to assume a strong possibility exists where they are the lone true superpower in the future.

    However, you can not get to that point with discontent citizens, or backwards technological practices.

    If you want people to love their country, then you can't pretend the past never happened.

    The moment a strong Chinese political leader steps forward, admits to all the past mistakes made by former Chinese leaders, and motivates their population under the banner of a new, free China, watch the fuck out.
  • Use a proxy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MarkByers (770551) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @01:52AM (#19575177) Homepage Journal
    It's not like it's that hard to tell your international friends how to set one up. There are already complete solutions that can be downloaded and installed with only a minimum of configuration (such as setting a password).
  • by ravenspear (756059) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @01:53AM (#19575183)
    Now before someone suggests that I'm being arrogant, it seems that they don't bother to block a lot of sites which most Chinese people can't read. As I understand it the english version of Wikipedia is not currently blocked, though the Chinese version is. Add to that the fact that a majority of websites are in English, and you're going to be able to access a lot more information if you can read English.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Hemogoblin (982564)
      According to this site [greatfirewallofchina.org], the english version of Wikipedia is blocked. You can test it yourself here [greatfirewallofchina.org].

      Heres a sample:
      "Testresults for en.wikipedia.org/wiki/main_page
      Latest 51 results:
      03.21.2007 blocked
      03.19.2007 blocked ... etc ..."
      • by dwater (72834)
        I thought it was too, but I just checked and it *is* accessible. It wasn't a little while ago...ah, now it is inaccessible again.

        I wonder what's going on...perhaps it *is* just network problems... ..ah, on again...strange.
      • by MadJo (674225)
        And besides that google.COM was blocked. only google.cn was available, and that one is filtered.

        Ironically, the greatfirewallofchina.org site is blocked at my work. And I live in The Netherlands. Censorship is everywhere.
        • Google.com was briefly blocked and then rapidly unblocked again. Google image searches however undergo many odd little quirks, being temporarily blocked and released again only minutes later. basically, they block a region every time someone searches for keywords.
    • by 2Bits (167227)
      Actually, you are arrogant, ignorant, self-centric, and you talk through your behind.

      There are lot more than just english-language web sites, and I hate to break that to you, there are a lot more people who don't speak/read English than those who do, and that's the beauty of this planet we call Earth. So, get your head out of the sand, get your arse out of your mom's basement, and go to some places which are a little farther than the local convenience store near that said basement.

      You can access a lot more
    • Actually, they do block a lot of English websites - and English television, even in places that cater exclusively to westerners. I visited Beijing, Tianjin, and Shanghai in May, and while there, I could not access the English Wikipedia from any of my hotels or the Wang Ba's (Internet Cafe's). If I searched on Google for "Tiananmen Square," I got some lovely tourist information, but nothing about what happened there in 1989.

      In fact, one morning, I was idly gazing at CNN whilst eating breakfast in my hotel, w
    • by MadJo (674225)
      Where would a Chinese person get English education?
      I doubt many Chinese schools would be allowed to teach English. Since that language is associated with the 'bad' western society.
  • by superbus1929 (1069292) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @01:56AM (#19575201) Homepage
    The people that were angry at China, in China, at the official view of Hu Yaobang, went to protest against it, and by extension the way China was run, starting in May of 1989. This turned into the Tienanmen Square Massacre of June 4, 1989; it's safe to say that over 1,000 people were killed by fellow Chinamen during this event. Zhao Ziyang, for opposing the hardcore measures that his party would eventually take, was placed under house arrest until the day he died, and then allowed to nearly disappear from Chinese history with barely a mention.

    Eighteen years later, families of those that were directly affected by that dark day are given increased surveillance by China's version of the Secret Police; some are even put under a house arrest that's unlawful even by their own standards. Anyone that speaks out even remotely against the government is either put under surveillance, house arrest, or just arrested, sometimes never to be seen again. It's gotten to the point where younger people in China don't even KNOW what happened, or even that June 4 1989 was a significant day in Chinese history; remember, a person working for a newspaper was fired for letting through an obscurely worded advertisement mentioning the Mothers of 64 (64 = June 4), and she'd never even HEARD of the Tienanmen Square massacre; those that try to find it on search engines are either blocked/reported, or given China's "official" (read: lies) opinion on the days' events (essentially, that it was a public uprising that needed to be quelled). The common man in China lives in poverty, intentionally kept down by a government that uses them to further their own personal ambitions, with one or two token executions per year of "corrupt" officials. Essentially, China has become the modern day equivalent of Orwell's astute observations.

    If China can effectively whitewash one of the most brutal subjugations of all time, and essentially wipe it from history, what the hell do you think it's thinking of what the article states? They're not worried one iota over what public perception is of how they handle Flickr, or any other website that doesn't play by China's rules. The people don't know any better; they just know that "oh, this can't be reached now :(", they let it ferment, and then they go about their lives, which are usually problematic enough as it is. They do this because they are kept stupid by their government, with almost no way to get real information, or at least no knowledge of how to obtain it, and also a lack of time and resources to obtain said information should it be known how to go about it. This is the reason China's ostensibly trying to build their own fucking internet, for God's sake!

    Eventually, peoples' opinions will dull on this matter, because time fades all memories. This will not affect China in one way whatsoever. Everyone from around the world can decry their censorship all they want, but they're always going to be outsiders; China will never let them "pollute" their pool, so to speak. And when the Great Firewall of China filters out anything unpleasing, what will the people know of what the world feels about their country, and their leadership? Eventually, mention of what REALLY happened at Tienanmen will be regarded by the majority of the Chinese populace the way we in America regard anyone that feels the JFK killing was a massive CIA conspiracy; it will be regarded as a massive conspiracy theory to do nothing but get attention and revel against the Man, and the person saying it will be effectively ostracized by his peers, and be put under watch by the government (something that's unlike us here in the US).
    • by 2Bits (167227)
      Oh great, with contents like this on /., this assures that I won't be able to access /. from China before long. How am I going to get news that matt.... ...Connection timed out.

    • by ebonum (830686) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @04:21AM (#19576003)
      From someone living here, most educated people actually do know exactly what happened in 1989. Unfortunately, the majority of people don't know the truth.

      That said, this happened in 1989. Deng Xiaoping is dead. Deng Xiaoping lived through a time when students tore the country to pieces. They tortured and killed anyone who they disagreed with, and did it on a large scale. Students protesting threw Deng's son out a 4th story window and left him a paraplegic. Students in the 1960's were inhuman and ruthless. Deng had a bad impression of what protesting students will do. What Deng did is inexcusable, but put yourself in his position. If a group of people did that to your son - and also killed and torured your friends - you might not react in a reasonable manner either.

      Either way, the leaders behind Tiananmen are dead and gone. The new leaders in China are different. They are fully aware that between the Internet, sms messaging, and cell phones, it is not possible to hide events anymore. The last time I know of police firing on and killing protesters (about 2 years ago in southern China) resulted in all the leaders in that crackdown being removed from duty within a week of the attack (not sure if they got bullets to the head themselves).
  • Didn't the US Military block, flickr, youtube and pretty much the same services that are blocked in China now? Everybody is blocking something from us, Google removes sites from results, Yahoo and Google help China block and censor things. Take down threats and notices for someone giving Dell consumer tips, someone criticizing some lawyers or telling you how to make your DVD play in your non Microsoft computer. It's already a Brave New Bladerunner world everywhere but go ahead and act shocked that it's happening in China now. Might make you feel better.
    • Take down threats and notices for someone giving Dell consumer tips

      "Hey! Here's how to commit insurance fraud!" is not what I would call a "consumer tip".

    • Take down threats and notices for someone giving Dell consumer tips, someone criticizing some lawyers or telling you how to make your DVD play in your non Microsoft computer.
      There are apples and oranges, just as there is copyright infringement and political crime-thought. Be thankful that there is a difference and that you won't be "re-educated".
  • by zmollusc (763634) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @01:58AM (#19575215)
    Hey, the chinese people really _are_ catching up with the west!
  • As we're looking at the problem as a whole, we must realize that the great firewall is just a branch at the end of a giant tree. Trying to do something about this is like chopping of that branch when it is the whole tree that is ill. And eventually, another branch will grow out.

    I don't think the Chinese commie leaders will remove the firewall. It stands for what they believe in, and if they were to shut it down, it would be a sign of weakness that they do not want. So for anything to happen and last, the
  • You can take away my liberties, freedom of speech and my ability to influence my own future, but when you take away my flickr I get REALLY pissed!

    Ahhh, to be young and have my head totally stuck up my own ass.

  • Post the picture! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mwvdlee (775178) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @02:35AM (#19575409) Homepage
    If all big sites would just post the famous picture of that tiananmen massacre on their website (just a microscopic link to the full picture), pretty soon China will have the option of either blocking internet altogether or loosening restrictions.
    • by suv4x4 (956391)
      If all big sites would just post the famous picture of that tiananmen massacre on their website (just a microscopic link to the full picture), pretty soon China will have the option of either blocking internet altogether or loosening restrictions.

      Consider the possibility if all big sites suddenly decided to do the same with goatse. I don't to even think about it, the consequences would be devastating.
  • A small correction (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jandersen (462034)
    The header seems to suggest that this is all users, or the majority, which of course isn't the case. Most Chinese are not all that interested in the many websites that are mostly in foreign languages they don't understand.

    Still, he has a point there - the Chinese censorship is becoming too restrictive and hinders too many things, and there is a risk that it becomes a serious hindrance to their progress, economically and otherwise, so I think they will have to reform their policy somewhat. But then that is e
    • The header seems to suggest that this is all users, or the majority, which of course isn't the case. Most Chinese are not all that interested in the many websites that are mostly in foreign languages they don't understand.

      So? The difference between a riot and a revolution is ticked off professionals, intelligentsia and bourgeoisie. As the hungry mob is the body, so are such people the brain, giving purpose to an otherwise fairly random act of mass violence.

      Do you think riots had never happened in Paris befo

  • by PerlDudeXL (456021) <jens.luedicke@gmai l . c om> on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @03:20AM (#19575675) Homepage
    Flickr itself is censoring images for users in Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore and Germany.

    I'm located in Germany and I can't turn off the Safe Search. Images marked as moderate or restricted
    are not visible. If there is something like a Safe Search and moderation of images, fine. But please
    leave me (as an adult) the option to view all images.

    I guess I won't renew my pro account in August...

    • by suv4x4 (956391)
      Flickr itself is censoring images for users in Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore and Germany.

      I guess I won't renew my pro account in August...


      Said countries blocked Flickr completely at one point or another, because of said images. If they wouldn't do what they did, you wouldn't be using your pro account in August again (you won't be able to access it).

  • I don't want to come across as a paranoid tinfoil hat wearer, but I think that this serves as a warning against the reliance on technology.

    Everyone says that the world is a better place, because thanks to technology, we can hear about human rights abuses all of the world. We can connect with other people with similar views. We can voice our opinions to thousands of others.

    This is true, to a point. But we need to remember that technology can be easily controlled, as China is clearly demonstrating.

    I

  • What else is there but anger and disillusionment?
    Why... Politics of course...

    And this is how democracies are born. Not revolution, sanctions, "regime change" or "nation building", but a wealthy disillusioned middle class looking for more say in how they're governed.

     
  • Geez.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TheGreatHegemon (956058) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @10:54AM (#19580039)
    With all this censorship, how the hell is China going to deal with thousands of Europeans and Americans visiting for the Olympics? The web isn't the only source of knowledge. The sheer flow of idea (and outside knowledge) could be crippling. Granted, I believe China has tried to set up a section for the Olympics, to cut it off from the rest of China, but I'm kind of hesitant to believe that'll work.

Their idea of an offer you can't refuse is an offer... and you'd better not refuse.

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