Zhong Guo: Middle Kingdom
China sets new rules on Internet news
Sun 25th Septemeber 2005
BEIJING (Reuters) - China set new regulations on Internet news content on Sunday, widening a campaign of controls it has imposed on other Web sites, such as discussion groups.
"The state bans the spreading of any news with content that is against national security and public interest," the official Xinhua news agency said in announcing the new rules, which took effect immediately.
The news agency did not detail the rules, but said Internet news sites must "be directed toward serving the people and socialism and insist on correct guidance of public opinion for maintaining national and public interests."
Established news media needed permission to run a news Web site, it said. New operators had to register themselves with government information offices. more
China steps up Web controls but investors untroubled
Fri Sep 23, 3:55 PM ET
By Lindsay BeckFri Sep 23, 3:55 PM ET
China's cyber police have intensified controls over the country's 100 million Internet users in the past few months but that hasn't stopped Western Web firms from pushing ever farther into the booming market.
Rather than using their clout to help push the boundaries of free speech and information in the one-party state, critics say companies like Google, Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO - news) and Microsoft Corp. are at best turning a blind eye to the machinations of the cyber police.
"It's too early to say that just by doing business in China and developing the Internet in China they will foster democracy and human rights," said Julien Pain, of media watchdog Reporters Without Borders.
"It doesn't work that way."
Indeed, the group says there is evidence the opposite is happening, with the major Web players accused in the past of pre-empting the government by routinely blocking discussions on sensitive subjects from the 1989 democracy movement to the spiritual group Falun Gong.
China has blocked access to the Web site Google News to force surfers to use the Chinese version of the site, which removes politically sensitive reports.
Microsoft's "MSN Spaces" came under fire for censoring phrases like "human rights" and "Taiwan independence" from the subject lines of its free online journals.
And most recently, Yahoo was accused of supplying data to Chinese authorities that was used as evidence against Shi Tao, a journalist sentenced to 10 years in prison for sending an internal Communist Party message by e-mail abroad.
Yahoo says it was only abiding by local laws. But rights groups say the company, which agreed last month to pay $1 billion for a 40 percent stake in Chinese Web auctioneer Alibaba.com, is complicit in a system bent on curtailing, not expanding, Internet freedoms. More
No word of cyber-dissident who has been on hunger strike for three weeks
Reporters Without Borders / Internet Freedom desk
23 September 2005
Voicing concern about the lack of any word since 8 September from imprisoned cyber-dissident Zhang Lin, who has been on hunger strike for the past three weeks, Reporters Without Borders today urged Prime Minister Wen Jiabao to intercede to get his conviction reviewed. Zhang is serving a five-year sentence for endangering national security.
"We call on the Chinese authorities to move at once to release this famous cyber-dissident for humanitarian reasons," the press freedom organisation said.
Zhang, who has been detained since 29 January, began the hunger strike on 1 September to protest against the mistreatment and long hours of forced labour to which he was being subjected in Bengbu prison, in Anhui province.
He told his lawyer, Mo Shaoping, he intended to continue the hunger strike "for 100 days." He was taken to hospital after one week, but was returned to prison when he refused the prescribed treatment.
No one has had any contact with him since 8 September, when his lawyer was able to speak to him briefly. His wife, Fang Cao, has been trying to visit him in order to persuade him to call off the hunger strike. But the prison authorities told her on 21 September there was no possibility of communicating with him because "all detainees must be cut off from the exterior."
The mother of two children and short of money since his arrest, Fang continues to write him a letter every two days, but has not received any answer.
Zhang was convicted by a Bengbu court on 29 July for giving an interview to a foreign radio station and for posting articles and essays (including the words of a punk song) on the Internet. The court found that their content was "contrary to the bases of the constitution" and "endangered national security."
Media Watchdog Tells Bloggers How to Avoid Censors
By Timothy Heritage Thu Sep 22, 5:21 PM ET
PARIS (Reuters) - A Paris-based media watchdog released a handbook on Thursday to help cyber-dissidents and bloggers avoid political censorship in countries as far apart as China,
Iran, Vietnam and Cuba.
The guide, published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) with the backing of the French government, identifies bloggers as the "new heralds of free expression" and offers advice on how to set up a blog and run it anonymously.
"Bloggers are often the only real journalists in countries where the mainstream media is censored or under pressure," wrote Julien Pain, head of RSF's Internet Freedom Desk.
"Only they provide independent news, at the risk of displeasing the government and sometimes courting arrest." More
And then you have completely different kind of news selling a different story about the same thing in NY Times.. :)
Internet Sites Are Making China More Accessible
September 25, 2005
By YILU ZHAO