News & Views

China to Mandate Internet Censorship Software

On June 8, the New York Times reported that China “issued a sweeping directive requiring all personal computers sold in the country to include sophisticated software that can filter out pornography and other ‘unhealthy information’ from the Internet”.

This new software called “Green Dam Youth Escort” has been developed by Jinhui, a company with close relations to China’s security ministry and military — making the prospect of abuse all the more worrisome.

The announcement of the software mandate, scheduled to be in place by July 1, has caused a great stir in China and abroad.  According to Reuters, “a Chinese lawyer has demanded a public hearing” on the “lawfulness and reasonableness” of the mandate, also noting that the plan “lacks a legal basis.”  Other community leaders are even “preparing a mass petition to mobilize opposition to the software”.

Experts out of of Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society warn the software contains a “series of software flaws“.  Research fellow Isaac Mao explained to BBC that the program could allow hackers to “steal people’s private information” or “place malicious script” on computers to “affect [a] large scale disaster.”

The real test to the mandate’s strength, however, will be whether the computer industry acts on the regulation.  After all, Chinese internet users have long sustained the annoyance of Big Brother and his Great Fire Wall.  But with China being the second largest market for PCs only behind the U.S., it’s hard to which way commerce will swing.  The New York Times notes that “this is not the first time that foreign companies have been enlisted in government efforts to police the Internet. Google already removes politically forbidden results yielded by its popular search engine, Microsoft allows censors to block content on its blog service, and Yahoo was widely criticized for turning over information that was used to jail a journalist.”

To see the original government mandate, click on the attachment below - (thanks to Rebecca MacKinnon!):

PDF icon notification.pdf77.93 KB

China's Censorship No Match For "Twitterers"

Over the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre on June 4, China’s censorship authorities were working overtime, blocking access to Twitter, Flickr, Hotmail, and other popular sites. Attempting to squelch information and opinion that would damage China’s Communist Party’s reputation, the CCP even “detained a number of political dissidents seen as threats to public order during the anniversary period,” the New York Times reported.

According to Reporter Without Borders, “The information blackout has been enforced so effectively for 20 years that most young Chinese are completely unaware of this major event.” “Twenty years later, it is still impossible for the Chinese media to refer freely to the ruthless suppression of China’s pro-democracy movement in June 1989.”

Government censorship, however, appears to be no match for a growing number of tech-savvy citizens, accessing foreign proxies and continuing to ‘tweet’ about that June 4 “incident”. See more from China National News and the BBC:

Twitterers defy Chinese censorship, break silence on Tiananmen Square’s ‘Tank Man’ [China National News]

China this week blocked access to Twitter,, the photo-sharing Web site Flickr and, briefly, Hotmail. Other sites, including YouTube and blog providers like Blogspot and Wordpress, are routinely barred. But frequent Twittering and Facebooking from Chinese users on the eve of the June 4 anniversary proved there are many ways around the censors’ efforts. (continue to the article)

Twitterers defy China’s firewall [BBC]

Frequent twittering from users in China has contributed to Tiananmen becoming one of Twitter’s most discussed topics during the anniversary. One twitterer wrote: “I cried when I watched a video about 4 June 1989. All my memory came back. We are living inside a big wall, like in prison.” (continue to the article)

Laogai Survivor and LRF founder Harry WuHarry Wu was incarcerated for 19 years, a victim of Chairman Mao's Cultural Revolution. Now a human rights campaigner, he recalls how the horror began.

Harry Wu, was condemned to life imprisonment when aged just 21. He was sent to a laogai, a Chinese labour camp for being a "rightist counter-revolutionary". He was incarcerated for 19 years, survived, went to the United States, and founded the Laogai Research Foundation, which reports and campaigns on labour camps and other human rights abuses in China.

He has described his experiences in a remarkable new book, Nine Lives, which tells the stories of individuals who, operating outside the normal channels, have made the world a better, fairer place. They include Sompop Jantraka, who has rescued thousands of girls from the Thai sex trade, Bassam Aramin, a Palestinian peace campaigner whose daughter was shot by Israeli border police, Rami Elhanan, an Israeli peace campaigners whose 14-year-old daughter was killed by a suicide bomber, Youk Chhang, who has dedicated his life to exposing the atrocities of Cambodia's Khmer Rouge, and Chaeli Mycroft, a teenage girl with cerebral palsy who is transforming disability rights in South Africa.


目前,大家都在譴責GDP,有些極端的甚至看法認為:GDP簡直就是罪惡的淵藪。但是GDP究竟“壞”在哪裏卻並不是人人能夠說清楚的。我們以中國 2008年30萬億的GDP總量為例(準確數據為3000670億元),用科學發展觀的理念來做一個計算,以此說明一下這個問題,希望對大家有啟發。

GDP是一個會計概念,就是增加值(取三種統計方法中的一種,對數量沒有影響),即收益—成本之後的凈利潤(這裏的“凈”不是絕對的“幹凈”或者“凈剩余”)。它是一個經濟核算體總的凈利潤,代表在一個年度內一個經濟體創造了多少 “新”的利潤(或者財富。但不一定是“凈”財富)。

GDP的第一個問題是它沒有把折舊考慮進去,沒有考慮對原來的投資的損耗補償。如果以2008年中國為例,就是沒有把產出30萬億增加值所消耗的財富考慮進去。這樣,我們首先就要計算折舊。折舊在這裏不完全一個是會計概念(不能統一規定),它和現存財富的“壽命”有關。比如,一部機器,質量好的可以用50 年,質量壞的5年就完蛋,前者的平均年折舊2%,而後者的平均年折舊20%。我們國家的產品質量,特別是公共產品,如公路、建築質量特別差,機械類等的質量也比較差,把折舊率定在20%是比較合適的(其實是一個保守的比率,只要看看我們的公路和道路每年在重修就知道)。這樣,2008年我國的凈GDP就是 24萬億(30—30×20%)。


目前,大家都在谴责GDP,有些极端的甚至看法认为:GDP简直就是罪恶的渊薮。但是GDP究竟“坏”在哪里却并不是人人能够说清楚的。我们以中国 2008年30万亿的GDP总量为例(准确数据为3000670亿元),用科学发展观的理念来做一个计算,以此说明一下这个问题,希望对大家有启发。

GDP是一个会计概念,就是增加值(取三种统计方法中的一种,对数量没有影响),即收益—成本之后的净利润(这里的“净”不是绝对的“干净”或者“净剩余”)。它是一个经济核算体总的净利润,代表在一个年度内一个经济体创造了多少 “新”的利润(或者财富。但不一定是“净”财富)。

GDP的第一个问题是它没有把折旧考虑进去,没有考虑对原来的投资的损耗补偿。如果以2008年中国为例,就是没有把产出30万亿增加值所消耗的财富考虑进去。这样,我们首先就要计算折旧。折旧在这里不完全一个是会计概念(不能统一规定),它和现存财富的“寿命”有关。比如,一部机器,质量好的可以用50 年,质量坏的5年就完蛋,前者的平均年折旧2%,而后者的平均年折旧20%。我们国家的产品质量,特别是公共产品,如公路、建筑质量特别差,机械类等的质量也比较差,把折旧率定在20%是比较合适的(其实是一个保守的比率,只要看看我们的公路和道路每年在重修就知道)。这样,2008年我国的净GDP就是 24万亿(30—30×20%)。

"....One of Sunday's presenters, Harry Wu, who spent 19 years imprisoned in the Chinese labor camps known as 'laogai,' denounced his homeland's denial of religious liberty. He lamented that there is no freedom of worship in China, and stated that 'Catholicism is still illegal'

"The roster of participants at the Oslo Freedom Forum read like a veritable Who's Who of contemporary Hydra-hunting and neck-stump cauterizing Iolauses.

"Photos show a bus driver, a teacher and a newspaper editor arrested for throwing eggs and paint at a gigantic photo of Mao Tse Tung hanging in the square.

"'Mao Tse Tung was the symbol of 5,000 years dictatorship,' said Zhijian Yu, who was a protester then. 'We want to bring it to an end.'

“My heart is heavy with memories of June 4th. These memories will never be erased from my mind. It is a topic that pains me to bring up, especially when the June 4th anniversary is upon us. I am unable to sleep or eat.  My mind is in turmoil. The movement 20 years ago was a noble one and it changed our lives.”

"While China says it liberated Tibet, Wu's exhibition depicts authorities destroying temples and other religious heritage of the region and setting up labor camps — the exact number of which, he said, is impossible to verify.