The great Internet blackout of China

A new article on the newly announced 3-year jail term for a businessman who wrote on the Net about rural unrest in China boasts the subheadline: “Beijing steps up Internet monitoring”:

A Chinese businessman who posted an article on the Internet on the sensitive topic of rural unrest has been sentenced to three years in jail for subversion, in a further sign that the authorities are stepping up their monitoring of political activities online, RFA’s Mandarin service reports.

Cai Lujun published four articles on an overseas Web site last year, in which he detailed the unfair levying of taxes and fees from rural residents of the northern province of Hebei, a Hong Kong-based human rights group said in a statement.


In a recent interview with RFA, Chinese economist He Qinglian said the Chinese government had recently launched a major overhaul of its existing system for monitoring Internet usage by its citizens, moving away from traditional firewalls and towards a centralized monitoring and control system.

“This monitoring system was jointly built by China’s Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of National Security,” He said. “The initial investment for this project has reached as high as U.S. $800 million.”

He, a former editor with the Shenzhen Legal Daily newspaper, said the system was among the most advanced of its kind in the world. “This is an attempt to establish a completely new centralized monitoring system after the firewalls installed in the 1990s began to lose effectiveness,” she said.

[Link Via Radio Free China]

Also, see Adam’s recent post for more reflections on this situation and how he deals with it.

The Discussion: 2 Comments


Sorry I wasn’t clear in my post. The error message seems to be originating from the website itself. I do not believe it to be a censor or block.

Although the thrust of your post is very accurate. I have also been looking at reporting on increased internet monitoring.


November 13, 2003 @ 1:08 am | Comment

Your post notwithstanding, the article on the stepped-up firewall is the scary thing — it is getting worse. I’ll clarify my reference to your post.

November 13, 2003 @ 1:18 am | Comment

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