The Google-Clinton-China circus?

In a typically excellent column, Gady Epstein, the good Forbes columnist (and Beijing bureau chief), looks at Hillary Clinton’s remarks yesterday on Internet freedom, China’s predictably prickly reaction to them, and the effect this all might have on the future of Google in China (as well as the broader issue of Internet freedom in China). I like the way he frames the issue:

Authoritarian regimes have adapted to the Internet, giving people enough freedom online that most have not resisted censorship and controls. was, insidiously, a part of that success in China, stamping an authoritarian system of self-censorship with the Google brand of legitimacy.

Google wants to grab that brand back. Having the U.S. on its side may not help the company’s short-term commercial interests, and it may well embolden hard-liners in China’s government. But as Clinton alluded to Thursday, the U.S. has a brand to protect as well. Many in the world still look to the U.S. for leadership on principles, and the Internet needs it.

“On their own, new technologies do not take sides in the struggle for freedom and progress,” Clinton said. “But the United States does.”

Of course this fight is about much more than China vs. the U.S, or even China vs. Google. It is about a future of nation-states, corporations and other nonstate actors struggling to define liberty on the Internet. The U.S. and Google being on the same side of that struggle? I see that as a good thing.

I do, too. He also links to a must-read column in the Global Times (which he refers to, not without some justification, as “the Communist Party’s new McPaper aimed at foreigners”) that shows us where this is heading – the usual accusations and counter-accusations between the US and China, which threaten to drownout the actual issue of cyberfreedom. I found the GT piece disappointing considering how well the McPaper started off when this issue arose last week:

Google’s “New approach to China,” as spelled out in the title of its recent statement, would do no good to China, either. Should the world’s most populous nation fail to provide a foothold to the world’s top search engine, it would imply a setback to China and serious loss to China’s Net culture. The information highway demands not only safe driving but also free flow of traffic. And, in the interests of the majority’s right to know, free flow of information should take precedence in a civil society.

n a transitional society like China, the existence of censorship can be justified as allowing full play to multifarious and disorderly search results poses unprecedented risks to vulnerable netizens and social stability.

But the government must face up to the challenge of where and how to put the checkpoints on the highway. A sensitive and shrewd government should have the vision and savvy to place the right kind of checkpoints at the right place and at the right time for ensuring the free flow of highway traffic as much as possible in the public.

It almost sounds like a non-Chinese paper! Well, that relatively restrained and objective approach was nice while it lasted. The column Epstein points to today is somewhat less open-minded.

Unlike advanced Western countries, Chinese society is still vulnerable to the effect of multifarious information flowing in, especially when it is for creating disorder.

Western countries have long indoctrinated non-Western nations on the issue of freedom of speech. It is an aggressive political and diplomatic strategy, rather than a desire for moral values, that has led them to do so.

The free flow of information is an universal value treasured in all nations, including China, but the US government’s ideological imposition is unacceptable and, for that reason, will not be allowed to succeed. China’s real stake in the “free flow of information” is evident in its refusal to be victimized by information imperialism.

Oy. Information imperialism indeed. Anybody can put anything they want up on the Internet. The only ones who get hysterical about it are those who are insecure and frightened. You know, sticks and stones….

I loved Hillary’s line, “On their own, new technologies do not take sides in the struggle for freedom and progress. But the United States does.” I thought she could have gone further in her speech, but then again, diplomacy is what she’s there for, and that she went as far as she did was enough to whip the CCP into its signature apoplexy. Let’s hope the back-and-forth is short-lived, and that it helps lead to at least some improvement of cyberfreedom in countries that fear it. As Epstein eloquently noted,

The world’s leading superpower and the world’s leading Internet company have made a clear statement that fundamental freedoms–of expression, of assembly–must apply in cyberspace. They have taken note that, as Clinton said Thursday, these freedoms won’t flourish on their own, despite techno-Utopian predictions to the contrary.

So this dialogue is a good thing. The Great Firewall isn’t coming down, not anytime soon, but this adds to the pressure that one day might lead to its long-awaited passing.

The Discussion: 75 Comments

A laudable speech by HRC. They were clearly going to do this anyway, and Google knew it.

Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration are absolutely right to take this issue up a notch, especially in light of Beijing’s rebuffs to US attempts at more engagement and understanding.

On a side note, Clinton has been very impressive to date in her role as Secretary of State.

January 23, 2010 @ 10:32 am | Comment

Agree about HRC – I truly admire her.

January 23, 2010 @ 10:52 am | Comment

China’s real stake in the “free flow of information” is evident in its refusal to be victimized by information imperialism.

So if information is allowed to flow freely and Chinese people can ready whatever they want on the Internet the British and French are going to come back to Shanghai? Or will that only happen in the virtual world?

January 23, 2010 @ 12:30 pm | Comment

If you want to know where this is heading, you should read People’s Daily’s editorial. The Global Times is for foreign consumption.

The tone of the editorial on the Chinese version of The Global Times is very different. Here is an excerpt: :

According to a Hong Kong newspaper, US intelligent agencies spend millions of dollars every year supporting “Internet Hanjian” (Internet race traitor) to conduct activities such as ideological penetration and instigating rebellion among the netizens, they are very active on the major bbs and portal sites…

The newspaper they quoted is Wenwei Po.

Poll from The Global Times (Chinese)

Do you think Hillary Clinton genuinely cares about the progress of the Chinese Internet?

Yes 16.8% (1004 votes)

No 83.2% (4967 votes)

January 23, 2010 @ 12:31 pm | Comment

Unlike advanced Western countries, Chinese society is still vulnerable to the effect of multifarious information flowing in, especially when it is for creating disorder.

I don’t know, is the Chinese polity really that fragile? If you accept the above, doesn’t it imply that China isn’t really a nation, just large numbers of people speaking related languages ready to split up the moment the central authority starts to look weak?
Well that did happen to the USSR which was basically an empire which had had a new form of government imposed on it. China also IMO has more characteristics of an empire than a nation.
If this is correct then China’s fear of free information, and other country’s moral values is at least understandable. This will always be China’s weak point.

January 23, 2010 @ 12:42 pm | Comment

This is the global times’ reaction to the speech:

For those who cannot understand Chinese,I’ll try to provide a translation (though I’m not quite good at translation)
America lauched an attack under in the name of “internet freedom” against China

-Comment:Amarica,don’t think you can extort any profit from China with “internet freedom”
-Hillary’s speech is advertising “internet freedom”,criticizing China’s internet censorship
-Ministry of foreign affairs urges U.S, to stop accusing China for internet freedom
-America spends a lot sponsoring “internet-Hanjian (willing minions of invader)” to infiltrate Chinese internet
Analize and comments:
-Renminwang editorial: American internet diplomacy is phony pragmatism
-Huanqiuwang editorial: Google must make its role clear
-What is behind “information freedom”
-Chairman of Beijing internet media association: The communication on Chinese internet is alive and kicking
-Scholars: Google should reflect on its words and deeds,and apologize to China
-Global Times editorial: America,don’t think you can start an invation on the internet
-The google incident and the US’ internet strategy
-The internet has became another weapon of American hegemonism
-He Yafei: The google incident should not be hooked to the two governments and the relationship of the two nations
-Ma Yun assails google’s exit: It’s always easy for the losers to find an excuse
WTF,They are sure working at top gear,aren’t they.

January 23, 2010 @ 1:59 pm | Comment

It’s very interesting, because Hillary’s speech at the International Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995 was one of these things that I pretty much missed at the time, and I don’t think it was that well-covered by mainstream media. This speech has turned out to have been a pretty big deal in retrospect, and I think the impact it had in a lot of non-Western countries was significant. Now, people are pointing to this speech as a really big deal, in that it articulates some basic and fundamental principles regarding the internet and freedom of expression in a way that had not been done before by a top-ranking American diplomat. This may be one of those moments that becomes more important in retrospect.

January 23, 2010 @ 2:40 pm | Comment

The Chinese version of the Global Times is so much crazier than the English one. (What the hell is up with the English version lately, anyway?) The “internet han jian” article is particularly egregious. I only skimmed it, but I think it refers to an old article from Hong Kong’s Ta Kung Pao which I was never able to find that seemed to have plenty of unsourced allegations of its own.

Richard, is the Global Times far enough behind you that you can tell us what you were thinking with that? I’m not trying to be a jerk- not really- but given what the Chinese edition is like, it’s hard not to think of any foreigner writing for them as a dupe at best.

January 23, 2010 @ 3:25 pm | Comment

Ceterum censeo GFWinem esse delendam
(English: “Furthermore, I think GFW must be destroyed”)

January 23, 2010 @ 3:46 pm | Comment

“Information imperialism”

Dontcha just love it?

If only we had Orwell here to admire PRC Doublethink/Newspeak

January 23, 2010 @ 3:54 pm | Comment

I think the better term for “information imperialism” is information dominance. And no, it is not some kind of fabricated conspiracy theory and it has been practiced in the US and UK governments for several decades. And judging from several comments here that it is working because you guys just don’t believe what is in the editoral anyways. So there’s no use in debating about this.

January 23, 2010 @ 5:03 pm | Comment

“By pug_ster”

Quack, quack


January 23, 2010 @ 5:12 pm | Comment

“Information imperialism” is indeed an interesting concept.
I guess it sits their with others such as: Ignorance will set you free.

January 23, 2010 @ 5:19 pm | Comment

“And no, it is not some kind of fabricated conspiracy theory and it has been practiced in the US and UK governments for several decades”

I like this phrase… really 😉

January 23, 2010 @ 5:31 pm | Comment

God bless pug_ster for the intrepid, brainwashed putz that he is.

I just took a look at the once-interesting (that is, for about a month) blog Fool’s Mountain and found a comment by pug_ster that says it all–about him anyway: “The problem with Chinese Media CCTV is that it is state owned. The content sucks and news programming is dumb and not believable. They should be privatized but strictly regulated by the government.” That a guy could write something like this without the slightest hint of irony while accusing others of having been hoodwinked by Western governments (see comment 10 above) is a feat of mental gymnastics (read: doublethink) worthy of a gold medal. You know the phrase “You can fool some of the people all of the time”? Think pug_ster.

Comment number 9 at:

January 23, 2010 @ 5:57 pm | Comment

Pug_ster, comment 10

Brilliant. You really can’t make this stuff up 😀

January 23, 2010 @ 6:20 pm | Comment

Gan Lu,

Dredging up an 18 month old document? I said it because we need brainwashed people like you to not to believe it.

January 23, 2010 @ 6:25 pm | Comment

I didn’t say that I didn’t believe it, but the articles in are mostly cut and dry.

January 23, 2010 @ 6:29 pm | Comment

I said it because we need brainwashed people like you to not to believe it.

You’ve tickled my curiosity, Pug. Who is “we”?

January 23, 2010 @ 9:17 pm | Comment

Google is rapidly turning into the new CNN/Carrefour.

January 23, 2010 @ 10:06 pm | Comment

Good point about the Orwellian language used. “Information imperialism”? Yes, there’s nothing worse than someone forcing the free flow of information past your objections.

January 23, 2010 @ 11:59 pm | Comment

It’s true that western countries are much more able to make their case on the world stage than China is, but the idea that the Chinese POV will somehow be overwhelmed within China itself without censorship is just ridiculous.

January 24, 2010 @ 12:11 am | Comment

Unfortunately, stuff from Western media and Chinese Media are mostly one-sided. People who believes media on one side don’t believe stuff from the other side, no matter what kind of stuff they write anyways. I disagree that you should read stuff from both sides to get the different perspective and analyze what you have read. People who don’t do that are probably ‘ignorant.’

Presentation is also important in news also. And the news that have the best presentation does not mean that they are telling the truth. As I try to explain in that 18 month article that Gan Lu have taken out of context, Western Media has alot of experience in journalism, that means they are good in how they present in the stories while Chinese Media are mostly cut and dry.

January 24, 2010 @ 12:12 am | Comment

Pug_ster is a blackbelt practitioner of what is often referred to as “Ah Q Thinking”–that is, the tendency of some Chinese to rationalize (if only to themselves) a resounding defeat into a glorious victory, or, as in this case, to explain away Western criticim of China’s lack of important speech and media freedoms as the result of a decades-long anti-China conspiracy masterminded by the U.S. government and its British running dog. In the end, pug_ster is not too much different from these jokers in the Chinese government who continue to insist, all evidence to the contrary, that China’s internet is open. I’m embarrassed for them. Damaged goods, every last one.

January 24, 2010 @ 1:58 am | Comment

Gan Lu,

Seems your rant has much to do about nothing after all.

January 24, 2010 @ 2:36 am | Comment

Gan Lu, spot on about pug.

Cypher, thanks a lot for the translation.

MAC, I have no regrets about my three or four months at Global Times, and I would even go back again if the opportunity arose. Most of the people there are completely sincere in trying to improve the quality of journalism in China. Considering the low point at which they started, it’s not surprising they are still a “McPaper.” The constraints under which they operate are huge, and there are frequent battles with the powers that be over content, and often enough they print stuff that goes counter to the party line. Feeble as the effort may have seemed at the time, they were still the only Chinese newspaper ever to reference June 4, and I know they want to keep pushing the envelope, even if that can only be done in baby steps. Maybe in a sense every foreigner working in Beijing is a dupe of the government, because simply by working there you are aiding and abetting a corrupt system. I felt I was doing enough good to justify my being there, and my knowledge of how the Chinese media work grew exponentially. I could have kept it a secret, but I felt I couldn’t run this blog honestly if that was under the table. I knew the reaction it would generate and decided to just deal with it. Just like my working for nearly two years on the Beijing Olympics, I felt I could make my contribution in sharing what I know with my colleagues, never hiding my convictions and helping in whatever microscopic way I could to improve China’s relationship with Westerners.

But I’ve already had this debate on TPD, so let’s stick to the topic. The two snips I offered in the post indicate the various forces at work at the paper, tectonic plates pushing against one another. I give them credit for often giving very diverse opinions on the same issue, and I also condemn their obnoxious anti-American slant, something I always tried to temper in any articles I worked on, sometimes successfully, sometimes not.

January 24, 2010 @ 3:36 am | Comment

I’ve seen evidence of some of the efforts you refer to. Most of the time, the paper isn’t that obnoxious, and some of its pieces have some depth. It wouldn’t bother me at all if I didn’t for some unknown reason (I think I enjoy being angry) take a look at its evil twin every day. The Chinese edition (or the online one, anyway) seems, more than anything else, to be intended to provoke hatred for foreigners. The articles are maybe not as openly inflammatory as they could be, but anything bad said about China will be reported as “slander,” with little or nothing mentioned about the substance or context of the allegation, followed by somebody at CASS explaining how it’s a ploy for votes/to distract people from the bad economy/sour grapes/part of all foreigners never-ending plot to destroy China. Then the readers go to work, ranting and raving like it’s the CR all over again about how all Americans/Japanese/Koreans/French/Indians/Residents-of-country-whose-PM-said-something-uncomplementary-about-China-of-the -week should all die. These comments, naturally, are never touched by the censors, despite their seeming diligence about other things.

So yeah- I don’t have that much of a problem with the English GT on its own; it’s the other side of the coin that makes it hard for me to believe that any foreigner who read much of the “real” version of the paper would really feel okay about working for them. I mean, aiming different messages at different audiences is one thing, but I pretty much feel like the English version is a feel-good facade for foreigners. You think the English version has an “obnoxious anti-American slant?” If you’re not reading the Chinese version, you haven’t seen anything.

January 24, 2010 @ 6:17 am | Comment

I know only too well about the evil twin sister. But as I said, I’ve had this debate before. It was a great experience for me, as working at China Daily was a great experience for several friends of mine who, like me, have huge issues with the CCP, and found working for a Chinese media instructive and even enjoyable. And everyone there knew exactly where I stood on the issues. This blog was no secret; quite the contrary.

January 24, 2010 @ 6:53 am | Comment
“”Behind what America calls free speech is naked political scheming. How did the unrest after the Iranian elections come about?” said the editorial, signed by Wang Xiaoyang.

“It was because online warfare launched by America, via YouTube video and Twitter microblogging, spread rumours, created splits, stirred up, and sowed discord between the followers of conservative reformist factions.””


“The People’s Daily editorial asked rhetorically if obscene information or activities promoting terrorism would be allowed on the internet in the US.

“We’re afraid that in the eyes of American politicians, only information controlled by America is free information, only news acknowledged by America is free news, only speech approved by America is free speech, and only information flow that suits American interests is free information flow,” it said.”

I personally like the rhetorical question posed. Not like a lot of the readers in China can actually check to find out 😉

January 25, 2010 @ 6:45 am | Comment

You think the English version has an “obnoxious anti-American slant?” If you’re not reading the Chinese version, you haven’t seen anything.

Translation: the English version is white washed to downplay the serious crimes of the West, the Chinese version less so.

The Chinese media still doesn’t even touch the 800 pound gorilla in the international corner which is modern Western terrorism and neo-imperialism.

Maybe America is better off if the CCP continues to censor the ugly truth about certain foreigners. It seems like Hong Kongers and others with access to freer media are more anti-Western.

January 25, 2010 @ 11:13 am | Comment

Yes, there’s nothing worse than someone forcing the free flow of information past your objections.

Because we all know the Fox News/BBC brainwashing circuit is just that, pure, unadulterated fact.

Unbiased. Fair and balanced.

January 25, 2010 @ 11:15 am | Comment

“information imperialism” is just the Chinese counter-response to the Secretary of State’s remark “… a new information curtain is descending across much of the world.”

Instead of a real war, we’re having cyberwars and cyber diplomacy.

We live in interesting times.

January 25, 2010 @ 2:38 pm | Comment

Does anyone think I run the risk of somehow being traced outside China if I get too aggressive on Huanqiu? I have been cautiously trolling ever since they put out the “America hiring internet hanjian” article, but I’m worried that it could go beyond getting blocked if I push it too far. All three of the spams I currently have in my Gmail account have “important looking” Chinese language headings and attachments that I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole that have all come in in the last few weeks, so that has helped make me paranoid.

January 25, 2010 @ 4:04 pm | Comment

Merp – yeah, because to intelligentsia watch Fox (aka Faux) News and in the UK we only watch the BBC (because, obviously, ITV doesn’t exist and the Telegraph, Guardian, Daily Mail, Sun, Independent et al are all….ummmm….BBC. And as they are printed media and British people can’t read or something….).

Something I found interesting

Comment I found interesting was this one
“kumquatHong KongJanuary 22nd, 201010:02 am
Extremely rare to see a NYT columist writing a unbiased comment on China.

In fact, Chinese people are not too difficult to govern since they are mostly law abiding, hard working, and rssilient.With the realm of a stable government, things will bound to thrive.

If you think about the construction of the Great Walls, you would know they are unbeatable.

It’s about time.”

Unbiased? So..if it’s hagiographic, it’s unbiased, eh? Hmmm… 😉

“It seems like Hong Kongers and others with access to freer media are more anti-Western.”
You know, every Honker I know seems to have a British passport. There’s a few of them here in NZ – heck, all I hear in my lab is Cantonese. But yes, they all hate the west soooo much, they moved to a western country and made sure they have a western passport. That’s hate alright 🙂

January 25, 2010 @ 4:10 pm | Comment

Some hideously anti China biased news here
Enjoy 😀

January 25, 2010 @ 4:14 pm | Comment

And nasty anti-China news site even has the nerve to publish Chinese views on the subject!

January 25, 2010 @ 4:16 pm | Comment

Baidu? What is Baidu? Maybe should Google it up


January 25, 2010 @ 4:31 pm | Comment

because to intelligentsia watch Fox

If by “intelligentsia” you mean your corporate elites, they MAKE Fox News and BBC. If by intelligentsia you mean pissant, smug Starbucks sipping trolls who are .5% of the population and thus irrelevant in democratic politics, you might be right.

You know, every Honker I know seems to have a British passport.

Probably because… hmm, maybe because you’re in the West?

January 26, 2010 @ 5:46 am | Comment

Commenters like merp and pug are obvious know-nothing clowns who can’t be trusted to tell us the time of day and would lie about the weather if there were nationalistic advantage to doing so.

What concerns me is whether actual PRC policy decisions are based on the shite analysis we regularly see in the GT, RMRB and Xinhua. I mean, some adult in Zhongnanhai knows what is reality and what is propaganda to keep the natives in their cages, right?

January 26, 2010 @ 6:21 am | Comment

“If by intelligentsia you mean pissant, smug Starbucks sipping trolls who are .5% of the population and thus irrelevant in democratic politics, you might be right.”
Do you have a source for this statistic? Or is it your own personal opinion? I stand by my claim that you are not qualified to make any comment regarding western media 🙂

“Probably because… hmm, maybe because you’re in the West?”
I am. And so these Honkers I know have access to all the western media (as well as Chinese – because it isn’t censored here). And none are anti-western as far as I can tell. Even the ones who go back to HK. I put it to you that your assertion is false then and subject to personal opinion.

I’ll stop now as we’re going far off topic.

January 26, 2010 @ 6:26 am | Comment


Several people here including you have to resort to 5 year old like name calling won’t change people’s opinions of China. Don’t worry, people like Rebecca MacKinnon and HRC likes to give you the illusion that all Chinese want to be freed from the GFW and believes that it is some kind of ‘white man’s burden’ to remove it.

January 26, 2010 @ 10:08 am | Comment

Pug, while you are right in many respects, I think a large majority of people in China would just like to be treated as adults by the state – just like, oddly enough, people in west would like to be treated by their governing powers.
As far as I can tell, everyone, eastern and western, accept a degree of censorship. It is, however, evident to those Chinese that can nip out of the country for visits etc that what they are not allowed to see by the CCP isn’t what they’d label evil. Merely another point of view.
Certainly the likes of the pro-CCP posters here and in other sites dealing with China (whether news or literary or cultural or whatever)show that access to another viewpoint does not make everyone want to overthrow the regime.
Of course, people like me are expected to believe people like you that all the Chinese are happy with this status quo – well, after all, YOU can access the outside and of course YOU can act as the mouthpiece for every other Chinese citizen, eh?

January 26, 2010 @ 10:23 am | Comment

I am educated in the West; worked & lived for many years in the West. I used to adore everything Western & despised everything Chinese as backward & medieval. Not anymore. Now, I am totally committed to destroy the West if I ever can & my greatest wish is for the West to be reduced to its actual size, say about not more than 10% of everything, economy, politics, scientific contributions, national strength & most importantly, its over-sized conquered teritories rolled back to mainly Continental Europe & especially its illegal occupations of Australia & New Zealand returned to Asians ( pacific Islanders are essentially Asians anyway. Asians simply do not recognise European conquest in Asia.

All western media is no more holier or evil than their Chinese counterparts. You believe in your media just as fanatically as we are on ours from the other civilisations.

January 26, 2010 @ 6:44 pm | Comment

Could you elaborate on your evolution?

January 26, 2010 @ 9:50 pm | Comment

You didn’t answer my question, pug. I am as happy for you to live in a supine, blissful state of ignorance as you clearly are happy to live that way. Your existence tends to validate your opponents’ most damning criticisms.

But my concern, widely shared by the increasing number of people in the world whose lives China impacts, is whether such shoddy “analysis” as we’ve seen from Chinese entities in this Google row is at all taken seriously by decisionmakers.

It’s pretty clear to me that the Google flap is about 90% about industrial espionage and IP theft and only 10% about censorship. China benefits from having it framed that way, because censorship is the life blood of the regime and, as you point out, most Chinese don’t know or don’t dare care.

January 26, 2010 @ 11:30 pm | Comment


I just read today that Bill Gates says censorship in China is ‘very limited.’ You emotionize that these poor Chinese Netizens is censored from outside information yet they are not blocked from these US subsidized proxies or vpns. And it is not like what you portray as if Chinese netizen can’t access western news outlets.

I’m sure that China, as many countries censors stuff. South Korea bans and blocks sites that is Sympathetic toward North Korea and even bloggers are arrested by police. Australia mandates ISPs to block porn and violence. France blocks Nazi websites and bittorrent. You don’t even know that US search engines are censoring some results. Go to bing and search for a ‘classified’ term and in the bottom, you will see a message ‘Some results have been removed.’ As regards to what China blocks, they block what the West support, from the Falun Gong to Dalai Lama because these groups are considered a threat to the Chinese government.

You sounded as if it was my fault that I make those policies but I don’t work for them. I’m sure that if Chinese Netizens are complaining of censorship, there will be a big online movement to against the government.

January 27, 2010 @ 12:06 am | Comment

“, there will be a big online movement to against the government.”

big movements of any kind are a great risk in authoritarian regimes…… even when they are muffled to oblivion to powers that be.

Should I make a list?

In short: Nobody opposes me because I deal with them first, harshly….. therefore I can boast of total support from the people.

Nice trick.

January 27, 2010 @ 12:52 am | Comment


You mean twitter-like online campaign where a few people spamming posts against the government? I don’t think that counts.

January 27, 2010 @ 1:04 am | Comment

They don’t block English-language news sites (usually, these days, or so I hear; when I was last in China in 2007, you could access the BBC’s front page and sports, but a lot of the news sections were blocked) probably because with “western media” having been effectively made an epithet and relatively few Chinese able to or bothering to read stories there, blocking them would not be worth the bad PR from grumbling foreigners. But as far as I know, many Chinese-language sites overseas are blocked.

Censorship of speech on message boards is unpredictable. I’ve seen stuff on some sites that people whose ideas about what can be said in China all come from news reports would find unbelievable, but I’ve had some of my own comments inexplicably blocked on the same sites.

January 27, 2010 @ 2:35 am | Comment

I was thinking on tanks rolling over young people…. Berlin 1953, Budapest 1956, Prage 1968, Bejing 1989….

About twitter. A government so afraid of …as you said…. just a few people tweeting that it blocked the whole thing. Amazing.

January 27, 2010 @ 2:56 am | Comment

Damn, how did I let this comment get through? Dripping with the stench of trollism.

January 27, 2010 @ 3:03 am | Comment

What about setting up a troll gallery?

January 27, 2010 @ 3:55 am | Comment

Richard, good to let comments like that through. Shows…irony 🙂 He can safely and without fear of consequence say things like that here. In the future he wishes for (assuming he’s a he), what would be his fate?


Pug, I always said that Chitizens can, if they really want to, access the information they want. However, it’s not like here – you have to go through hoops. It’s, by what I’ve been told, like Eastern Europe was. The CCP blocks what it considers dangerous – not what is dangerous. Falun Gong is no more dangerous than Scientology is to the west (and I don’t see how the west is supportive of them…or Tibet or Turkemenistan. Even Her Maj’s government says Tibet is a part of China! Just, incidently, like the Dalai Lama says…). Read this and ask yourself if the “biased” media is pro FG…
I didn’t accuse you of making these policies. I accused you of assuming the position of spokesperson for all the Chinese people. Did you ask them? Conduct a poll among all Chitizens asking them if they are happy and content with censorship? And do you have a link to Bill Gates’ comment?

MAC, last time I was in China (couple of years back) there was no BBC. No Telegraph either…NYT was OK. Independent was fine and ArabNews. But I was only accessing the English versions…

If the Chinese government wants to censor, fine, censor away. Just don’t say how open everything is. If you’re going to lie, make it credible, fer crying out loud. Don’t treat the hoi polloi like idiots, a lot of them aren’t.

January 27, 2010 @ 4:58 am | Comment

What about setting up a troll gallery?

Sometimes I see the entire site as a troll gallery.

January 27, 2010 @ 5:17 am | Comment

If the Chinese government wants to censor, fine, censor away. Just don’t say how open everything is. If you’re going to lie, make it credible, fer crying out loud. Don’t treat the hoi polloi like idiots, a lot of them aren’t.

Since when I treat them like idiots and me being a spokesman for the Chinese people?

January 27, 2010 @ 5:36 am | Comment

Pug…I was referring to the CCP, not you. And about the spokesman….oh forget it. Just read the thread or learn the nuances of English.

Thanks for the link, btw 🙂

January 27, 2010 @ 5:40 am | Comment


If I may, that link in full (it’s not long)

“Microsoft founder and chairman Bill Gates told ABC’s Good Morning America that Chinese censorship is “very limited” and “easy to go around.” He appeared to take a veiled swipe at Google as well. Gates may be the world’s greatest philanthropist, but when it comes to China, he’s simply wrong.

According to Reuters, Gates said about China:

“You’ve got to decide: Do you want to obey the laws of the countries you’re in, or not? If not, you may not end up doing business there.”

“The Chinese efforts to censor the Internet have been very limited. It’s easy to go around it, and so I think keeping the Internet thriving there is very important.”

He’s wrong. The Great Firewall of China is not “very limited;” if it were limited the Chinese government would not bother to spend the amount of time and money it does enforcing Internet censorship. It’s true that there are ways to attempt to circumvent it, such as anonymous proxy servers. But the vast majority of people in China have no idea how to do that. Chinese Internet censorship is not limited at all.

As for obeying the laws of the countries you’re in, that’s clearly a swipe at Google. And Google knows full well that it may not end up operating in China. Kudos to Google for taking such a principled stand against censorship.

It’s also somewhat ironic that Gates is telling Google that you need to obey the laws of the country you operate in, given Microsoft’s history of prosecution in the U.S. and record fines by the European Union for violating anti-trust and monopoly laws.”


January 27, 2010 @ 5:45 am | Comment

If it were limited, we wouldn’t be talking so much about it.

January 27, 2010 @ 7:33 am | Comment

If you can hear the river, it means it is carrying water.

January 27, 2010 @ 7:35 am | Comment

Should I comply with local laws that violate human rights? Should I deliver a person that is going to be stoned to be stoned to death because adultery, an apostate because leaving its religion, a woman to force marriage, a pregnant to forced abortion, or a person to long term prison because freedom of speech or association?

January 27, 2010 @ 7:45 am | Comment

Hillary Clinton couldn’t even track her own husband, and she’s purporting to dictate to the world how to live and what to do? HAHAHAHAHAHA! Get real. She has the *balls* (literally) to stand up and pretend to fight Internet censorship when this post is being pulled off US and UK websites quicker than you can say “Monica Lewinski”?

This is the biggest crock of propaganda ever spewed out of the White House. Google was a major contributor to the Obama campaign. China has the largest Internet population in the world. The *supposed* attack on Google was not sophisticated, if there was one at all which most with half a brain in the US understand. The CIA, SS, APNIC & CERT were all well aware of the so called port scans and “alleged” hacks supposedly originating from “China” and have been so for years, and have done nothing – the block of IP addresses they supposedly came from have contact information that is invalid, and could have easily been set up by anyone, anywhere. APNIC is well aware the IP address is registered with invalid information (FYI, APNIC is in Australia). It is, after all, good for the US economy to sell security software and keep whatever software developers that are left here in the US in work. And why should China worry about it – they do, after all, own 51% of Symantec. The first report of these hacks and scans came from a supposed “Congressional Aide” on some hokey political site over a year ago. This is nothing new. China has the world’s largest Internet population in the world, and Google stands to lose astronomical amounts of potential revenue with porn being their biggest money generating source. Google forgets China is their *customer* and regardless of what WE want and like, it is China’s choice what *they* want and like, and certainly not Hillary Clinton’s. And frankly, China should not and does not care, and will hopefully take it for the stupidity it really is, since there has been NO substantiation to Google’s claim – no details, no information except to say it happened. C’mon now.

Our US Internet infrastructure security is a joke here, in fact if one calls the White House and asks to speak with the “Cyber Czar” office, they will tell you they don’t even know what a cyber czar is. Any offending IP block that’s been scanning ports worldwide can be easily blocked, but have not been. No need to read this whole list – just look at hu is Number One and scroll down to the very bottom to see who is last:

And we’re telling the rest of the world how to live?

Google, Microsoft and Yahoo all paid the Obama campaign a great deal of money, and now they want their returns. And Microsoft even has their hand out for stimulus monies and *took it* so they could build a building to building bridge for their employees for starters – with *taxpayers* money. This Obama administration has been bought and paid for to do Google’s marketing. Pathetic, indeed. And now the Google sissies are hiding behind Nanny Clinton’s skirts like spoiled toddlers who want Mommy to fight their playground battles. The biggest joke of all is she is!

Do understand there are many American citizens that realize Clinton’s bizarre speech for what it is – a payback to Google, Microsoft and Yahoo for the large campaign contributions, pimping them out like a back alley hooker.

Hillary Clinton hosted a Secretary of State dinner for Google not too long ago, spending tons of mental energy and taxpayers’ non-existent money on who’s allowed to see what, where and when online, when we’ve got a neighboring Nation experiencing the worst natural disaster in history shows the true colors of our current US leaders and what they are focusing on. No respect for the people and lives lost in Haiti, to stand up in the middle of it all with the “Clinton Doctrine” in the middle of that nightmare. God help us all.

January 27, 2010 @ 8:48 am | Comment

“She has the *balls* (literally) to stand up and pretend to fight Internet censorship when this post is being pulled off US and UK websites quicker than you can say “Monica Lewinski”?”

Ummm…how come I can read it still? Or is NZ different?


Can’t wait for this Google-China to become proper history – make for an intresting read 😀

January 27, 2010 @ 9:16 am | Comment

Rosie, where do commenters like you come from? Which gate of hell did you use to get here?

January 27, 2010 @ 9:21 am | Comment


Bill Gates’s search engine, bing, is already practicing self-censorship. Shhhh… Just between you and me, you are not supposed to know.

January 27, 2010 @ 10:29 am | Comment

Pugsy, probably practising for China 😀

January 27, 2010 @ 10:41 am | Comment

Someone draw a 5 point star with goat blood on unholy ground, lighted a black candle and then sacrificed a virgin.

January 27, 2010 @ 2:36 pm | Comment

A virgin duck I mean

January 27, 2010 @ 2:41 pm | Comment

Rosie’s crackpot rantings offer fine evidence to our Chinese friends that human beings are perfectly free to be stupid or weird (Falungong, for a Chinese example) as long as they do no harm to anybody. The market of good common sense can almost always sort out ideas without censorship.

January 28, 2010 @ 1:14 am | Comment

If pug_ster wanted to know the score on Bing, he could have: “So, you just have to follow the link that says “Safe Search Moderate” to set the option that appeals to you.”

Perhaps two many heads in China WOULD explode if presented with unvarnished or uncensored truths on many given issues. Censorship starts to make sense in the Chinese context.

January 28, 2010 @ 1:19 am | Comment

I’d carry the argument further, but got an email from a friend with some lines I should pay attention to… Here’s a pertinent one 😉

“Don’t argue with an idiot; people watching may not be able to tell the difference.”

January 28, 2010 @ 4:31 am | Comment

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Keep believing that what you are doing are ‘freeing the minds’ from the Chinese Netizens. Like I said, most of them just don’t give a damn.

Meanwhile my tax dollars are subsidizing these Chinese Netizens and disgruntled foreign expats getting uncensored internet access in China.

January 28, 2010 @ 2:19 pm | Comment

The people don’t care, the government does…indeed, it does to the extent of cutting off the internet to whole regions.
One could have fun with this 😀

January 28, 2010 @ 4:56 pm | Comment

From India

Lots of China stories in the Times of India. Interesting to see what they think 🙂

January 29, 2010 @ 5:29 am | Comment

Interesting OP-ED article

so the hack spoofed a US mandated backdoor that allows for the scanning of personal information. no wonder why the US political reaction was so quick.

January 30, 2010 @ 6:34 am | Comment

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