China: an investigative report: "Journey to the Heart of Internet Censorship"



    MONTREAL, Oct. 10 /CNW Telbec/ - In partnership with Reporters Without
Borders and Chinese Human Rights Defenders, a Chinese Internet expert working
in IT industry has produced an exclusive study on the key mechanism of the
Chinese official system of online censorship, surveillance and propaganda. The
author prefers to remain anonymous.
    On the eve of the 17th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party
(CCP), which opens this week in Beijing, Reporters Without Borders and the
Chinese Human Rights Defenders call on the government to allow the Chinese to
exercise their rights to freedom of press, expression and information.
    "This system of censorship is unparalleled anywhere in the world and is
an insult to the spirit of online freedom," the two organisations said. "With
less than a year to go before the Beijing Olympics, there is an urgent need
for the government to stop blocking thousands of websites, censoring online
news and imprisoning Internet activists."
    This report shows how the CCP and the government have deployed colossal
human and financial resources to obstruct online free expression. Chinese news
websites and blogs have been brought under the editorial control of the
propaganda apparatus at both the national and local levels.
    The use of the Internet keeps growing in China. The country now has more
than 160 million Internet users and at least 1.3 million websites. But the
Internet's promise of free expression and information has been nipped in the
bud by the Chinese government's online censorship and surveillance system.
    "Journey to the Heart of Internet Censorship" explains how this control
system functions and identifies its leading actors such the Internet
Propaganda Administrative Bureau (an offshoot of the Information Office of the
State Council, the executive office of the government), the Bureau of
Information and Public Opinion (an offshoot of the party's Publicity
Department, the former Propaganda Department) and the Internet Bureau (another
Publicity Department offshoot).
    The report also documents how the Beijing Internet Information
Administrative Bureau has in practice asserted its daily editorial control
over the leading news websites based in the nation's Capital. It gives many
examples of the actual instructions issued by officials in charge of this
bureau.
    The last part of the report gives the results of a series of tests
conducted with the mechanism of control through filtering keywords. These
tests clearly show that, though there are still many disparities in the levels
of censorship, the authorities have successfully coerced the online media into
submission to censor themselves heavily on sensitive subjects.
    This report recommends using proxy servers, exploiting the different
levels of censorship between provinces or between levels in the administration
and using new Internet technologies (blogs, discussion forums, Internet
telephony etc.)
    If you would like to receive the full report "China : an investigate
report : journey to the heart of Internet censorship", please contact Hélène
Fargues by email at rsfcanada3@rsf.org.




For further information:

For further information: Emily Jacquard, Directrice générale, Reporters
sans frontières, (514) 521-4111, Cell: (514) 258-4208, Fax: (514) 521-7771,
rsfcanada@rsf.org

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