Google in China and Internet Filtering

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussions' started by Jack Tracey, Sep 26, 2005.

  1. Jack Tracey

    Jack Tracey New Member

    I have a general interest in China and so I am somewhat aware of what seems to be known as "internet filtering." For example, there have been issues in the past with people in China not being able to access Google because it's a really good search engine and makes it easy for people to pull up information on topics forbidden by the Chinese government. With all that in mind I found this story of interest:
    Several jumps later I found myself on this website,
    the website for the Berkman Center for the Internet & Society.
    It's a good place to learn more about internet filtering as well as a bunch of other cyber-legal stuff.
  2. DesElms

    DesElms New Member


    As you probably know, is Google's chief competitor in China. When Baidu issued its IPO relatively recently, and all the Wallstreet analysts were singing its praises, the only thing I could think of as I read articles about it, shaking my head in disbelief, was that I sure was glad that I hadn't put my money on Baidu, given the Chinese government's ability to render it essentially useless, in the bat of an eye, by its filtering. Filtering of Internet content in China is well-known; and has been going on almost since the first Chinese person connected thereto and began downloading emails and web content. Except for children, perhaps, filtering is antithetical to the Internet's very charter and purpose. The Chinese people are at a great disadvantage on the Internet for as long as their government imposes filters on its content.

    And I agree about the value of the Berkman Center. I've been on its email list for several years now. It's a very good resource for those who care about such things.
  3. John Bear

    John Bear Senior Member

    I completely agree with Gregg.

    I suspect the spectre of Baidu is what accelerated Yahoo's and Google's decision to agree to Chinese censorship and indeed, in the case of one of them, to turn over names of users to the Chinese government for prosecution. (Baidu stock reached a peak of $154 during the initial frenzy and is now less than half that. Rather amazing PE ratio of more than 200 at one point.)

    And while I'm sitting here on my high horse, I want to share what I think is a terrific idea, even if it's my own. I'm talking to one major publication about sponsoring it, but I figure the more attention it gets, the more likely it is to happen, one way or another.


    1. Pictures of the Dalai Lama are absolutely illegal and forbidden in China, even (or perhaps especially) in what used to be called Tibet. There are people in prison for no crime other than possessing such a picture. Tourists are regularly expelled for carrying such a picture (including two in our group, on a 30-day visit to Tibet a few years ago).

    2. Pictures of the Dalai Lama appear on the postage stamps of number of countries, including Mongolia and Russia (Tuvan Republic).

    3. China is a member of the International Postal Union, obligated to deliver all properly addressed and stamped mail.

    4. China will be more on the world stage than every before at the time of the Beijing Olympics in three years.

    Imagine, then, a great flood of letters sent from other countries into China -- to schools, the media, organizations, dissidents, ordinary citizens -- with the Dalai Lama stamp on them.

    What do you think would happen? I have no idea, but I enjoy thinking about this.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 26, 2005
  4. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    If they have to deliver it, but it's illegal to possess it...

    Just make sure to send it to someone who won't end up in the gulag for it. Preferably Hu Jintao.

  5. DesElms

    DesElms New Member

    Re: If they have to deliver it, but it's illegal to possess it...

    Just send the DalaiLama-stamped envelopes to Chinese government officials. The subject of the letter inside should simply be the disdain with which we view the Chinese policy which forbids images of the Dalai Lama... and Internet censorship/filtering.

    Sounds like a terrific idea for an interesting campaign, John. Would you like me to build the web site for it?

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