China’s Cyber Censorship Figures June 18, 2003 – Updated on January 20, 2016 China ChinaAsia – Pacific to go further News News The tremendous growth of the Internet now makes it technically impossible for the authorities to monitor the content of all the millions of e-mail messages being exchanged around the country. But the regime is still banning users from looking at websites it considers endanger “the social order and the socialist system.” The authorities have created a legal arsenal to punish cybercrime and cyber-dissidence.The official news agency Xinhua announced in January 2001 that anyone involved in “espionage activities” such as “stealing, uncovering, purchasing or disclosing state secrets” using the web or other means risked the death penalty, or between 10 years to life in prison. The same month, the public security ministry set up a website giving information about currently laws and warning Internet users of the risks they would run if they circulated “subversive” information. This concerned both the 12 million Chinese who have a private Internet connection and those who use cybercafés.The information and technology ministry introduced new rules on 14 January 2002 about monitoring the Internet. ISPs involved in “strategic and sensitive fields” such as news sites and forums would have to record details of their customers, such as their Internet ID, postal address and phone number. They were also required to install software to monitor and copy the content of “sensitive” e-mail messages. The ISPs are obliged to break off transmission of e-mails containing obscene or subversive material, advocating terrorism or threatening national security or national unity. The authors of such messages are to be reported to the ministries of information and technology and of public security and to the department for protection of state secrets. The ISPs must also use official equipment that cannot be used for spying or hacking, and foreign firms selling software to China must promise in writing not to install spying devices on Chinese computers. ISPs and news site webmasters must themselves censor content that contravenes these rules and ferret out subversive comments or messages on major websites. Discussion forums are popular places to talk politics and criticise the government. If the ISPs do not censor the sites themselves, the authorities will. Access to the search-engine Google was blocked for 12 days in August 2002. The move drew sharp criticism from experts and from Chinese and foreign investors, who do not usually say much about the authorities’ attitude to the Internet.The government enacted a law on 15 November 2002 on the running of cybercafés, making owners responsible for the websites looked at by customers, on pain of being shut down or fined.This dictatorial trend led to 18 Chinese intellectuals signing a “declaration of rights of Chinese Internet users” in July 2002, calling for freedom of expression (creating websites), freedom of online information (access to all websites) and freedom of association (opening cybercafés). One of the petition’s organisers said that if major websites yielded to the Chinese government’s pressure, it would “greatly reduce the power to resist” of NGOs that had found the Internet a place where they could express themselves. This founding document of Internet freedom in China was signed by thousands of the country’s Internet users.Faced with the spiralling growth of the Internet, the government abandoned its “Great Cyber Wall” strategy and began developing the top secret “Golden Shield” project put forward by the ministries of public security and information industry. Nearly 3,000 people were recruited to defend the government from Internet subversion. In April 2002, public security minister Jia Chunwang called a meeting in Beijing to discuss the protection and security of government information. Ways of combating Internet offences, especially those considered subversive, were considered and the minister reportedly said Internet monitoring equipment had become “vital tools for national security, political stability and national sovereignty.”The authorities were disturbed at critical articles posted online by the Falungong spiritual movement and the Chinese Democratic Party and decided to step up recruitment of experts to combat “foreign forces” trying to “subvert China via the Internet.”At the end of December, the public security department in the southern province of Guangdong organised a conference on Internet development and security to assess the Internet’s influence on “stability and public order,” according to the provincial police chief. Luan Guangsheng, head of the province’s Internet police, told the Hong Kong daily South China Morning Post that the Internet had to be “very tightly controlled” and that users had to “take responsibility if they passed on dangerous material.” He refused to say how many cyberpolice the province had but said the number was growing.Crackdown on cyber-dissidentsThe tough and repressive laws are not just aimed at cyber-dissidents but also at anyone using the Internet as a means of expression, freely obtaining information or criticising the government or the ruling Communist Party. At least 21 cyber-dissidents are in prison in China, 16 of them serving prison sentences.In spring 2001, a shopkeeper, Liu Weifang, was jailed for three years by a court in the northwestern province of Xinjiang for alleged subversion for posting very critical articles about the Communist Party and the government’s economic reforms on Internet forums in 2000 and 2001. Despite using a pseudonym, “Lgwf”, police managed to identify him.Lu Xinhua, a member of the banned Chinese Democratic Party (most of whose leaders are in jail), was picked up on 11 March 2001 in Wuhan and formally arrested for subversion on 20 April, according to the Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy. When he was picked up, police ransacked his home and seized his computer. He had written and posted on foreign websites many articles about human rights violations in Wuhan and criticising Chinese President Jiang Zemin. In December, he was jailed for four years by the Wuhan intermediate court after a secret trial.Yang Zili, founder of the website lib.126.com, was arrested in Beijing on 13 March as he left his home. His wife was arrested the same day and freed 48 hours later after being forced to promise in writing not to reveal what had happened. Yang, a graduate of Beijing University, wrote a number of theoretical articles posted on his website advocating political liberalism, criticising repression of the Falungong spiritual movement and deploring the problems faced by the peasantry. In a poem, he called for “a fatal blow” to be struck against “the ghost of communism.”Police refused to say where he was being held or why. Also on 13 March, three other people helping to run the website – Jin Haike, a geologist, Xu Wei, a journalist with the newspaper Consumers’ Daily, and Zhang Honghai, a freelance journalist – were arrested in Beijing. Together with Yang, they appeared on 28 September before the Beijing intermediate court. Only three members of the public were allowed to attend. Three of the four accused had lawyers and Zhang chose to defend himself. Jin Haike’s lawyer, Liu Dongbin, said the prosecution witnesses were unreliable since they had already been used several times in similar cases.Yang said the charges “in no way imply any plan to subvert the government. When we speak of freedom and liberalisation, we believe this will come about through reforms. Is it not evident that the last 20 years of reform and conciliatory policies have led China towards liberalisation?” he asked. The four cyber-dissidents denied they were setting up branches of their group throughout the country by posting articles on the Internet and setting up websites. Zhang said nothing in the public prosecutor’s address proved they were planning to overthrow the government. “We didn’t even have the 300 yuan we needed to launch the website. How can all this be seen as undermining the state’s authority?”The prosecutor then charged that the articles published on the Internet, including “Be a New Citizen, Reform China,” and “What Needs to Be Done,” were subversive because they accused the government of “practising a false form of democracy,” advocated “an end to an obsolete system” and expressed a desire to create “a new China.” After a four-hour hearing, the court rose without giving a verdict. Chi Shouzhu, a worker and former political prisoner, was arrested at the railway station in the northeastern town of Changchun on 17 April. He had just printed out at a friend’s home material from a foreign-based opposition website. Chi, 41, had already spent 10 years in prison for his involvement in the 1989 Beijing Spring unrest. A native of the northeastern province of Jilin, he had gone to Changchun for treatment of illnesses he had developed in prison. Leng Wanbao, a dissident also from Jilin, was interrogated for two hours on 18 April by police who accused him of posting “subversive material” on the Internet.Wang Sen, a member of the Chinese Democratic Party, was arrested on 30 April in Dazhou, in the southwestern province of Sichuan. In an article posted on the Internet, he allegedly accused a state clinic of selling anti-TB medicine donated by the Red Cross. On 30 May 2002, he was jailed for 10 years by the people’s intermediate court in Dazhou for “trying to overthrow the government.” The court also said he had organised a workers’ protest at a iron and steel factory in the city.CDP member Wang Jinbo, was arrested on 9 May 2001 in Junan, in the eastern province of Shandong. Police reportedly told his father that he was being held for two weeks because he had insulted the local police on the Internet. Wang, who had already been arrested several times for political activities, was tried in November for “subversion” and jailed for four years on 13 December by the Linyi intermediate court for e-mailing articles criticising the government’s attitude towards the 1989 pro-democracy movement. He began a hunger-strike on 28 February 2003 to mark the opening of the People’s National Assembly in Beijing and to protest against his imprisonment, former political prisoner Ren Wanding told foreign journalists in Beijing. He began eating again a week later. His family said his health had deteriorated in 2003.Businessman and webmaster Hu Dalin was arrested on 18 May in the southwestern town of Shaoyang for posting on the Internet anti-American articles written by his father. He was not been charged and police told his family he had been picked up for “subversive activity” on the Internet. His parents and girlfriend were not allowed to visit him in the first months of his detention.At about the same time, Guo Qinghai, a bank clerk, was jailed for four years by a court in Cangzhou, south of Beijing, for alleged subversion. His family was not told of the trial beforehand. He is believed to be in prison in Cangxian, near Cangzhou. He had been arrested in September 2000 for putting material on foreign websites advocating political reform and calling for the release of cyber-dissident Qi Yanchen. He used a pseudonym but police managed to identify him.In June, Li Hongmin was arrested in the southern city of Canton for disclosing by e-mail the 2001 Chinese version of the Tienanmen Papers, which accuses top Chinese officials of being behind the June 1989 Tienanmen Square massacre. The US-based dissident website VIP Reference said he was freed a few weeks later but had been sacked from his job at the insistence of the authorities.At the end of June, the authorities announced that the trial of Huang Qi, founder of the website 6-4tianwang.com, who had been arrested in June 2000 for putting supposedly subversive material on the site, had again been postponed indefinitely by the intermediate court in the southwestern city of Chengdu because of the Communist Party’s 80th birthday celebrations. Many people said it was really to avoid bad publicity on the eve of the decision about where the 2008 Olympics Games would be held. The trial had earlier been postponed on 13 February 2001 because of Huang Qi’s poor health. His wife said he had been beaten in prison and had a scar on his forehead and had lost a tooth. She was not allowed to visit him and his lawyer Fang Jung was only permitted to see him once in the course of seven months. In mid-August, his lawyer announced that the trial had taken place in great secrecy and had lasted only two hours and verdict had not been disclosed. No family members were allowed to attend. Huang’s wife managed to take a photo of him as he arrived at the court but police seized her camera. The trial is the first of the creator of a website for having posted “subversive” material.On 11 July, the day after the 2008 Olympics Games were awarded to Beijing, Yan Peng, a computer salesman and dissident, was arrested in the southern province of Guangxi and his computer seized. The Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said Yan, one of the first people to use the Internet to oppose the Chinese Communist Party, was returning from a trip to Vietnam and was accused of violating immigration laws. On 16 July, three dissidents from Qingdao, including Mu Chuanheng, tried to get him released, but police refused to see them. Yan had been jailed several times since 1989. In September 2002, he was jailed for 18 months by a court in Qingdao.In mid-August 2001, Mu Chuanheng, a lawyer who has been banned from practising for the past 15 years, was arrested in the eastern city of Qingdao for publicly calling for the release of Yan Peng. A dozen police raided his home and seized his computer and articles he had written. Mu was active in the 1979 Beijing Spring and contributed often to the cultural website xinwenming.net, which was banned in August 2000 by the state security ministry. Mu was jailed for three years by a Qingdao court in September 2002.In September 2001, Zhu Ruixiang, a lawyer, co-founder and formed chief editor of Radio Shaoyang, was found guilty of subversion by a court in Shaoyang, in the southeastern province of Hunan, for sending to a dozen friends copies of articles from the pro-democracy website VIP Reference (www.bignews.org) criticising the government. He was at first sentenced to nine months in prison but the authorities called for a harsher punishment and he was eventually jailed for three years. When he was arrested on 8 May, all his belongings, including his computer, were seized.On 27 April 2002, Yang Jianli, chief editor of the US-based dissident online magazine Yibao (www.chinaeweekly.com), was detained at the airport in Kunming, in the southern province of Yunnan, and then formally arrested on 2 June. He was returning to China for the first time since his expulsion in 1989, with a passport borrowed from a friend because the Chinese authorities had refused to renew his own. He had been on the authorities’ black list for several years and was returning clandestinely to investigate workers strikes in the northeast of the country. He is reportedly being held in prison in Beijing. His brother Yang Jianjun went to Beijing in June but police refused to tell him anything about his detention. Married with two children, he lives in Brooklyn, Massachusetts.Former policeman Li Dawei was jailed for 11 years on 24 June by a court in the northwestern province of Gansu. The Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said he was convicted of subversion for downloading more than 500 articles from foreign-based Chinese pro-democracy websites which he then published in the form of books. He was also accused of being in contact with foreign-based “reactionary” groups. He was arrested in April and his trial began in May. His lawyer, Dou Peixin, said the provincial supreme court had agreed to hear his appeal.In August, journalist Chen Shaowen was picked up in Lianyuan, in Hunan province, and formally arrested in September for what an official said was posting “many reactionary articles” on the Internet. Chen has written regularly for several foreign-based Chinese-language websites about social inequality, unemployment and pitfalls in the legal system.Wan Yanhai, founder of the Aizhi Action Project and the website www.aizhi.org, which has fought since 1994 against discrimination against HIV/AIDS sufferers and for Internet freedoms, disappeared in Beijing on 24 August while attending a film about homosexuality. Some people at the occasion said he had been followed by public security ministry officials. The Project helped expose a blood transfusion scandal in the central province of Henan by publishing on its website the names of the peasants who had died of AIDS after selling their blood. The site, which is still accessible, also contains moving descriptions of the plight of HIV-positive people in China. In July, the university that hosted the Project closed the offices of the group, which was then outlawed. On 17 July, Wan signed a “declaration of rights of Chinese Internet users” calling for online freedom of expression. In early August, after a law banning information about AIDS came into force, he repeated his desire to continue his AIDS campaign on the Internet. With few exceptions, AIDS is a taboo subject in China, especially in Henan province. Dozens of Chinese and foreign journalists have been prevented from investigating the country’s epidemic.In early November, Li Yibin, a computer science graduate, was arrested in Beijing. Human Right Watch in China said he had been picked up for involvement in the online magazine Democracy and Freedom, using the pseudonyms “Springtime” and “Spring Snow.”On 7 November, on the eve of the opening of the 16th Communist Party congress, cyber-dissident Liu Di, a 22-year-old psychology student, was arrested on the Beijing University campus. Her family only learned she had been picked up when police arrived at their apartment and searched through her possessions, taking away her books, notes and computer. Her parents took a change of clothes to the police station but were told they could not see her. The dissident organisation China Labor Watch said police told one of her teachers she had been arrested because of her links with an “illegal organisation.” However her father said it was probably because of her postings on the Internet. Under the pseudonym of The Stainless Steel Mouse, she had urged Internet users to “ignore government propaganda” and “live in freedom.” She also criticised the arrest of imprisoned website founder Huang Qi. Teacher Ouyang Yi, who runs a website and is a member of the banned Chinese Democratic Party, was arrested on 4 December in Chengdu, capital of the southwestern province of Sichuan, according to China Labor Watch. It said Ouyang’s wife had learned of his arrest when local police came to search the family home in Suining, nearly 200 kms from Chengdu, on orders from the provincial capital’s police.Ouyang is well-known to the authorities as one of the 192 signatories of an open letter in November to the 16th Communist Party congress calling on it to reverse its condemnation of the 1989 Tienanmen Square demonstrations in Beijing. In his website articles, he wrote about the 1989 dissidence (known as the second Beijing Spring), the failure of the government’s economic policies and the need for reforms in the state structure. He was arrested in 1996, 1998, 1999 and earlier this year for his dissident activities, but had not been held longer than 48 hours.Cyber-dissident Liao Yiwu was arrested on 18 December at his home in Chengdu, but released a few hours later after the house had been searched. The writer and poet began putting his writings on the Internet after they were banned from normal publication by the authorities. He has been regularly harassed by the authorities for this.In early March 2003, Qi Yanchen, was said to be in bad health in prison no. 4 in Shijiazhuang (in Hebei province, south of Beijing). He has several serious ailments, including colitis, and has only been getting medicine through his wife, Mi Hongwu, who is only allowed to visit him every two months. She said he was “very weak” last time she saw him in mid-January. He has been in jail since 1999 and was sentenced in September 2000 to four years in prison after putting online long extracts from his book “The Collapse of China,” which the prosecutor at his trial said was “subversive.”Zhang Yuxiang was arrested at his home in Nanjing (in the eastern province of Jiangsu) on 12 March and interrogated at length about articles he had posted on the Internet. The police tried to make him confess having contacts with other cyber-dissidents. Human Rights in China said he had been put under house arrest in a public building in the Siyang district, but this could not be confirmed. His wife has not had news of him since he was arrested or received any official document about his detention. Zhang, a former armed forces propaganda department official in Nanjing, had already spent two years in prison for helping the dissident Chinese Democratic Federation. After he was freed, he had continued regularly posting political articles online and signing petitions.A Public Security Bureau official in Beijing confirmed on 25 March the arrest and indictment of cyber-dissident Jiang Lijun, who had disappeared without trace since 6 November 2002. Police had secretly held him at Qincheng prison, near Beijing, where the most important political prisoners are reportedly held. He was said to have been charged on 14 December 2002 with inciting people to overthrow the government, but police did not provide his wife, Yan Lina, with any document. Jiang is considered by the police to be head of a small group of cyber-dissidents. His wife hired a Beijing lawyer, Mo Shaoping, who has already defended several dissidents in court.Blocking access to “subversive” websitesApart from arrests and heavy jail terms for cyber-dissidents, the authorities also block access to websites they consider “dangerous” or “subversive.” This includes not just the rare sites that try, from inside the country, to push progressive ideas, but foreign news sites as well. With the help of Western firms, including Cisco, Nortel and Sun, the government has obtained state-of-the-art technology to block Internet access. Internet firms established in China have applied the government’s censorship orders without argument. Yahoo, for example, signed an agreement in 2002 to eliminate “subversive” material.A survey done by Harvard University’s Berkam Centre between May and November 2002, showed that more than 50,000 out of 204,000 websites normally accessible through the Google and Yahoo search-engines were blocked at least once from at least one point inside China. Apart from explicitly pornographic sites, the most censored (when searched for on Google) included those dealing with Tibet (60 per cent censored), Taiwan (47 per cent) and democracy. Websites about democracy and human rights, such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Hong Kong Voice of Democracy, are especially targeted by the censors. Education sites are also strictly monitored, particularly US ones such as Columbia University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), because they host sites run by pro-democracy groups. Sites about religion or health in China are also blocked.The websites of 923 media, including the BBC, CNN and Time magazine, are regularly blocked, along with the sites of governments, such as Taiwan.In late March 2001, Internet users in the Shanghai region were banned from putting radio or TV programmes on the Internet without government permission. A month earlier, the public security ministry announced introduction of new software called “Internet Police 110” designed to block sites containing religion, sex or violence. In early May 2001, the state-owned Xinjiang Telecommunications said Internet portals that were not officially registered would be automatically shut down.The online magazine Hot Topic was suspended on 18 June after four years, during which it had posted anti-government articles for its 235,000 subscribers.The Australian foreign ministry (www.dfat.gov.au), which had been inaccessible from China for more than a year, was unblocked briefly in June during the visit to China of the communications minister Richard Alston. A Chinese government spokesman denied any censorship and said the site had been inaccessible for technical reasons. However, material on the site about human rights and risks of conflict in some parts of China was seen as the true reason for the blocking. In July, the site was again accessible, after the Australian foreign minister protested to the Chinese chargé d’affaires in Canberra.For several weeks in July, the pages in Mandarin of the Radio France International (RFI) website were inaccessible and RFI asked the Chinese government for an explanation.In August two websites close to the Chinese Communist Party – the political news-magazine China Bulletin and Tianya Zongheng, an Internet forum based in Haikou (Hainan province) – were shut down for posting criticism of President Jiang Zemin and his policy of economic liberalisation.The sites of the US TV network CNN, the daily paper International Herald Tribune, the French radio RFI, the British radio BBC, the US section of Amnesty International and links on Chinese portals to humanitarian groups such as Doctors Without Borders were blocked on 4 September on the eve of president Jiang’s visit to China’s ally North Korea. The sites contained news about famine and repression in that country.The online newsletter Baiyun Huanghe (bbs.whnet.edu.cn) of the Science and Technology University in Huazong (central China) was closed by the government on 6 September after students posted on it articles about the 1989 Tienanmen Square massacre. The site, founded five years earlier, had 30,000 subscribers and focused heavily on politics and corruption. Until it closed, students had been able to discuss on the forum such forbidden topics as the Beijing Spring. In October, the authorities blocked the websites of hrichina.org (the Human Rights Watch site in China), hrw.org (the main Human Rights Watch site), amnesty.org, amnesty.org.uk and amnestyusa.org (Amnesty International), freetibet.org (the organisation Freetibet), tibet.com (the Tibetan government in exile), cnn.com (CNN), bbc.co.uk (the BBC), washingtonpost.com (The Washington Post), 6-4tianwang.com (the site of cyber-dissident Huang Qi) and bignews.com (the dissident online newspaper VIP Reference).The online journalists’ forum Zhejiang, hosted by the website Xici.net, was closed by the authorities on 16 October for “putting out subversive information” and “defaming politicians and state institutions.” The forum’s moderator was dismissed after official pressure and the site managers were obliged to tighten their surveillance of their other forums. The authorities refused to answer questions from foreign reporters about the closure, which happened during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Shanghai.At the end of US President George Bush’s official visit to China on 29 October, the authorities again blocked access to the websites of several US media, such as CNN and The Washington Post. However the sites of The New York Times and The Washington Post were made accessible on 16 October when the APEC forum opened in ShanghaiThe Chinese Internet Association, which nationally responsible for supervising the Internet, announced on 16 March 2002 a “self-discipline pact” whose signatories would be banned from producing or passing on material “harmful to national security and social stability.” In July, the official Xinhua news agency reported that the main Chinese-based websites, including Yahoo, had signed the pact, along with ISPs.In April, the webmaster of Voice of America’s Chinese-language Internet sitesaid it had been attacked from China. E-mails containing specially-designed viruses had been sent to the site and attempts made to hack into it. Dissident websites, such as the Falungong movement and pro-Tibet organisations, were also attacked. Some of the attacks were traced back to accounts belonging to provincial offices of the state-owned China Telecom.The Australian TV network ABC said on 23 April that its website had been blocked by the Chinese authorities and the network filed a complaint with the Chinese foreign ministry against the public security ministry. An Australian embassy official in Beijing said the blocking had been decided at the highest level, but a Chinese government spokesman denied this. The Tibetan Dalai Lama’s visit to Australia in May is thought to have been why the site was blocked.The websites of foreign media, including Reuters news agency, CNN and The Washington Post were accessible again in Beijing and Shanghai on 16 May, though the sites of the BBC, Time magazine and The Voice of America were still blocked. A Western diplomat in Beijing said the Chinese authorities may have realised how easy it was to get round the blocks and that it made more sense for them to allow free access and then watch who consulted them.In early June, three websites – Tom.com, Sina.com and FM365.com – were reprimanded by the authorities for posting “unsuitable material” about the June 1989 Beijing Spring crackdown. The Beijing Daily said the move came after police inspected the offices of nine major Chinese Internet portals. The Beijing Youth Daily said police planned to check the content of the 827 main Chinese portals three times a week for the next three months.Access to the Google search-engine, which had become very popular, was blocked in China on 31 August. Protests filled online forums from people who said they used it to do research, not politics. Chinese and foreign business interests, normally silent about Internet censorship, joined the criticism. “They shot themselves in the foot,” said one European working for the Chinese government. Google negotiated with the authorities about the blocking, the reasons for which remained a mystery. Some noted the 14th listed result of a search for the term “Jiang Zemin,” which was an interactive game site called “Kill the nasty dictator Jiang Zemin.” Access to another search-engine, Altavista, was blocked on 6 September.From 7 September, Chinese Internet users trying to access Google were redirected to Chinese search-engines, such as Tianwang and Baidu.Access to Google from China was restored on 12 September but is now censored. The widespread protests and pressure from business interests is thought to have got the ban lifted. An official spokesman said the ministry of the information industry had “received no information about the blocking of Google and knows nothing about access being restored.” Altavista, along with dozens of other sites, is still inaccessible.Users noticed in September that new detection software had been installed to block access to some pages (about Tibet, Taiwan and human rights) on certain sites. The South China Morning Post, published in Hong Kong, reported on 27 September that this censorship also applied to e-mail sent through servers such as Hotmail, search-engines including Google and foreign news sites such as CNN. Most of the pages listed by Google for the Falungong movement were inaccessible. The authorities denied having installed such censorship.In October, the cybercrime department in the central province of Jiangxi ordered more than 3,000 cybercafés in the province to sell customers access cards, enabling police to check the websites they looked at. One official said the experiment would help prevent crime and spot criminals on the Internet.In early January 2003, the authorities blocked access to the US site blogspot, which specialises in posting personal diaries and is seen by more than a million people around the world. Site chief Jason Shellen said there were no technical problems and that it was clearly a bid to stop Chinese Internet users looking at the site. But one Chinese fan of blogspot told Reuters news agency the censorship would not work and that bloggers who had something to say would find a way round the ban.On 14 April, Internet users said the Reporters Without Borders site had become inaccessible in China. This may have been due to the posting of a press release about the lengthy imprisonment of young cyber-dissident Liu Di.Filters, cleaning and surveillance of online discussion forumsThe main news websites have free discussion forums that are visited by hundreds of thousands of people. But the Chinese authorities are turning them into traps for Chinese visitors, who are sometimes arrested after posting anti-government material on them.Chinese discussion forums use filters to single out and put aside messages containing forbidden words. The poster gets an automatically-generated reply saying (as on xinhuanet.com) that the message has been accepted but will take a few minutes to be revised before being posted. The webmasters are supposed to check to see if the message really is unfit to post, but in practice, such filtered messages hardly ever make it to the forum. “We rarely have time,” an official of the sina.com forums told Reporters Without Borders. But “politically-correct” messages containing banned words such as Falungong get through because they criticise the spiritual movement.A message with a list of words being censored appeared on a sina.com.cn forum on 11 March 2003. The poster had inserted asterisks into each word so it would not be blocked by the filter. The list included “4 June” (date of the 1989 Tienanmen Square massacre), “human rights,” “independence of Taiwan,” “pornography,” “oral sex,” “BBC” and “Falungong.” The message was removed after only a few minutes.Messages not containing banned words are posted on the forum and can be seen by everyone. But a group of two or three “ban zhu” (webmasters) check their content at the same time as they run the forum. They are not police or even site employees. Most are young people, sometimes students and usually volunteers. But they have full authority to delete messages considered undesirable. Above them are the “guan li yuan” (forum administrators), whose job is to ensure good behaviour on the forums. They can suspend or ban users they judge to be rude or politically incorrect. One sina.com.cn official told Reporters Without Borders he preferred to warn users by e-mail first. If they did not change their ways, they were suspended for a week.At the top of the hierarchy are the Internet monitoring services in the provincial public security departments. It is very hard to find out officially how many clerks, police and computer technicians are involved in such cyber-policing.An April 2003 survey by Reporters Without Borders showed that two-thirds of all messages submitted were posted on the discussion forums. This dropped to 55% of messages with political content. Of that 55%, more than half were deleted by the webmasters. So only a third of all polemical messages were accepted.Cybercafés under surveillanceChina’s semi-legal cybercafés, known as “wang ba,” are the most recent targets of the authorities and a vast inspection campaign was launched in early 2001 because only half of them had installed filters (obligatory under the 2000 Internet legislation) to block access to banned websites. The campaign was stepped up in June 2002. Most of the cybercafés (officially put at 200,000) have now been inspected and more than half of them penalised by the authorities. The official Xinhua news agency said on 26 December the authorities had shut down 3,000 cybercafés for good and 12,000 temporarily since the start of the inspections. Red tape and corruption makes it very hard to get licences to run cybercafés, so most are semi-legal.The deputy head of Feiyu, the country’s biggest network of cybercafés (more than 400), said on 5 February 2001 that the network had been ordered to close for three months for failing to hand over to the authorities, as required, records of customers’ online activity, including the accessing of pornographic sites, which the regime considers “dangerous.” The move followed police investigations in the Beijing suburb of Haidan, where Feiyu has two very big cybercafés, each with more than 800 computer terminals.On 14 April, the government suspended the opening of new cybercafés for three months to give it time to better regulate Internet access.On 29 April, the authorities shut down cybercafés on Beijing’s main avenue and within a radius of 200 metres around schools and Communist Party buildings in the city.Police said on 2 July that at least 8,014 cybercafés had been shut down over the previous two months and 56,800 inspected. On 20 November, the newspaper Wen Hui Bao reported that more than 17,000 cybercafés had been closed for not having barred access to allegedly subversive or pornographic sites.The official Chinese People’s Daily said on 22 August that the culture ministry had asked local authorities to launch a “spiritual cleansing” campaign, partly aimed at shutting down clandestine cybercafés. During a conference in Beijing two days earlier about cracking down on the spread of “corruption and decadence,” provincial officials were asked not to issue new cybercafé licences and to punish illegal activity in existing ones.On 1 February 2002, police in the southwestern city of Chongqing forced cybercafé owners to install filters to block access to websites considered as undermining “public morality.”Between late April and early May, more than 200 cybercafés were shut down in Shanghai for not having licences, according to the official news agency Xinhua. Nearly 3,000 cybercafés in the city were inspected.On 1 May, the government launched a campaign to “restore order” by tracking down “harmful material” on the Internet, mainly by monitoring cybercafés, saying illegal online activity was on the rise.Officials in the southern city of Guangzhou closed nine unauthorised cybercafés on 3 June and seized their computers.After a fire at an illegal cybercafé in Beijing killed 24 people on 16 June, the government began a nationwide licence inspection campaign. Thousands of cybercafés were closed and thousands more forced to get new licences. The campaign, officially to check safety regulations, turned into a huge repressive operation that prevented millions of Chinese from going online.A few hours after the cybercafé fire, for which the two young Internet users accused of being responsible were jailed for life, Beijing mayor Liu Qi ordered all the city’s 2,400 cybercafés to close. “Our world has shrunk,” said one user during the shutdown, which lasted several weeks. The official Chinese People’s Daily justified the measure with the headline “Don’t let cybercafés destroy our children.” The Beijing Evening News asked its readers to tell the authorities about illegal cybercafés and illegal video parlours. About 30 cybercafés were allowed to reopen on 17 July after publicly promising not to admit users under the age of 18, to close between midnight and 8 a.m. and forbid betting and violent video games.The city council in Tianjin, north of Beijing, began inspecting all cybercafés on 17 June and the authorities in the southern province of Guangdong suspended granting of new cybercafé licences. In Shanghai, the head of the city’s commerce and industry department, Wei Yixin, told the newspaper Shanghai Daily that police would swiftly shut down unlicensed cybercafés.The Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said on 28 June that the authorities were now requiring cybercafé owners to install filters to bar access to as many as half a million websites and to tell police about anyone who looked at allegedly subversive sites. Experts in Beijing said this might refer to the “Filter King” software which is part of the “Golden Shield” project to control the Internet. The public security ministry reportedly plans nationwide installation of the software, which was tested in the northwestern province of Xian in 2001.A culture ministry official announced on 29 June that all the country’s cybercafés would have to register again with the authorities by 1 October or else they would be closed and their owners prosecuted.On 10 July, the 528 cybercafés in the northern province of Hebei were shut down by the local authorities for what the Beijing Morning Post said were security problems. A total of 3,813 cybercafés had reportedly been inspected since 17 June and 2,892 did not conform to security regulations, it said.On 12 August, the culture and public security ministries, as well as the industry and trade department, banned the opening of any new cybercafé in China but experts said this measure would be hard to apply for very long.Prime minister Zhu Rongji enacted a new cybercafé law in late September, banning minors and smoking and requiring them to close between midnight and 8 a.m. Owners were also made responsible for what their customers looked at online. It noted that it was a crime to “create, download, copy, send, distribute or look at” material considered “anti-constitutional and harming national unity and the sovereignty and territorial integrity” of China. Owners were required to record and keep for two months the names of their customers and the sites they looked at, or risk fines of up to 2,000 euros. The law came into effect on 15 November.The Shanghai newspaper Wenhui Bao reported on 16 October that 90,000 cybercafés had been shut down throughout the country since the inspection campaign started in June. It quoted the culture ministry as saying that only 46,000 cybercafés had registered so far and that inspections would continue until the end of the year. Organisation Links:The organisation Human Rights In ChinaThe official news agency XinhuaSite of jailed cyber-dissident Huang QiHuman Rights Watch reports and press releases about China”You’ve Got Dissent! Chinese Dissident Use of the Internet and Beijing’s Counter Strategies”News about repression of cyber-dissidentsReport on the Golden Shield projectThe Falungong news site News April 27, 2021 Find out more Members of Falungong movement persecutedFollowers of the Falungong spiritual movement, dubbed a “satanic sect” by President Jiang Zemin, have protested noisily since the movement was banned in 1999. The authorities have cracked down on it with unusual violence, arresting, torturing and “re-educating” thousands of members, especially those who used the Internet to spread the words of the movement’s leader, Li Hongzhi. But the Falungong are very well organised online, both inside China and abroad. At least 16 of its members have been arrested for putting out or having looked at material on the Internet about the movement. Two died of torture while in detention.Wang Zhenyong, an assistant psychology professor at the Southwestern University, was arrested on 2 June 2001 after e-mailing four articles about the movement that he had downloaded from foreign websites in December 2000 and sent to a friend who had then posted them elsewhere online.Falungong member Li Changjun died on 27 June in detention after being tortured, according to the Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy. He was arrested on 16 May for downloading and printing out material about Falungong. He worked at a tax office in Wuhan (Hubei province) and had been arrested several times already for belonging to Falungong. His mother said he was covered with scars and bruises and was very thin.Another Falungong member, Chen Quilan, died of a heart attack on 14 August at a detention centre in Daging, in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang. He had been arrested in July for putting material about Falungong on the Internet.Six members of the movement were convicted on 13 December for posting “subversive material” (about Falungong) on the Internet. Yao Yue, a micro-electronics researcher at Tsinghua University, in Beijing, was jailed for 12 years. Two university teachers, Meng Jun and Wang Xin, were sentenced to 10 and nine years in prison respectively. Dong Yanhong, a university employee, and her husband Li Wenyu, were given five and three years. Wang Xuefei, a student from Shanghai, was jailed for 11 years. The official news agency Xinhua reported on 27 December that Falungong member Quan Huicheng had been sent to prison for three years for downloading, photocopying and passing on material from foreign-based Falungong websites. He had been arrested in October near a cybercafé in Dongfang, on the southern island of Hainan.The authorities announced on 18 February 2002 that the trial of Tsinghua University students Lin Yang, Ma Yan, Li Chunyang, Jiang Yuxia, Li Yanfang and Huang Kui for posting Falungong material on the Internet would not resume until after US President George Bush’s visit to China. Their trial reportedly began in September 2001 before a court in the southern city of Zhuhai. Cyber-dissidents in prison for disseminating material considered “subversive” by the authorities: 1. Huang Qi 2. Yan Peng3. Qi Yanchen4. Yang Jianli 5. Liu Weifang 6. Hu Dalin 7. Wang Jinbo 8. Wang Sen 9. Guo Quinghai 10. Lu Xinhua 11. Chi Shouzhu 12. Yang Zili 13. Jin Haike 14. Xu Wei 15. Zhang Honghai 16. Jiang Shihua 17. Wu Yilong 18. Mu Chuanheng 19. Zhu Ruixiang20. Li Dawei21. Chen Shaowen22. Liu Di23. Ouyang Yi24. Li Yibin25. Jiang Lijun26. Zhang Yuxiang RSF_en Follow the news on China March 12, 2021 Find out more China: Political commentator sentenced to eight months in prison ChinaAsia – Pacific Help by sharing this information The number of Internet users doubles nearly every six months and the number of websites every year. But this dizzying growth is matched by the authorities’ energetic attempts to monitor, censor and repress Internet activity, with tough laws, jailing cyber-dissidents, blocking access to websites, monitoring online forums and shutting down cybercafés. June 2, 2021 Find out more Democracies need “reciprocity mechanism” to combat propaganda by authoritarian regimes Receive email alerts News
Due to an ongoing manhunt in Pisgah National Forest (more on that here), several popular recreational areas near Brevard, North Carolina have been closed to visitors, but multiple businesses in the area remain open despite a heavy police presence.The search for Phillip Michael Stroupe II, who is accused of stealing a mountain bike at gunpoint before fleeing into the woods off of Avery’s Creek Road, is being concentrated to the east of Highway 276 in the Mills River area where Stroupe was last seen.Roads outlined in red have been closed to prevent access to the search area, while the blue line along the Blue Ridge Parkway indicates the northern boundary of the search area. The blue dot next to FS476 shows the last place where Stroupe was spotted. The Blue Ridge Parkway is open as usual.The Brevard Police Department has joined forces with the Transylvania Sheriff’s Department, the U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement, NC State Highway Patrol and helicopter support, Henderson County Sheriff’s Office and Special Response Team, the NC State Bureau of Investigation, and the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office, to search the forest for Stroupe, who has been described as a survivalist, but as of now he remains at large.According to Public Information Officer Bob Beanblossom of the United State Forest Service, forest closures include the Pisgah Ranger Station and Visitors Center off of US276, the Cradle of Forestry where the command post for the man hunt has been setup, Looking Glass Falls, the popular Sliding Rock swimming area and the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education at the fish hatchery. Visitors should also avoid the Yellow Gap Road, Turkey Pen Gap, Trace Ridge, and Wash Creek.According to sources in Brevard, the Davidson River Campground remains accessible for employees and visitors with reservations.Businesses at the gate of Pisgah on Highway 276 remain open but have suffered as a result of road closures. Those businesses include The Hub and Pisgah Tavern, Davidson River Outfitters, Pilot Cove, and Ecusta Brewing Company among others.On Saturday, robbery victims Aaron Fischer and Chris Swann of Athens, Georgia gave a video interview to the Transylvania Times from the patio of the The Hub, and nearby Ecusta Brewing has been putting up campers who were forced to evacuate the forest in the wake of the manhunt.Stay tuned to BlueRidgeOutdoors.com for updates on this developing story.
Laura L. Waggoner of Brookville was born on June 16, 1942 in West Harrison, a daughter to Walter and Verna J. Fraizer Wolfe, Sr. She had worked at U.S. Shoe in Harrison, Grippos in Cincinnati for many years, and part-time at Country Barrel in Okeana. She loved reading, spending time with her family, and taking care of her horse. On Tuesday, February 25, 2020 at the age of 77 she passed away unexpectedly at McCullough Hyde Memorial Hospital in Oxford.Survivors include her children; daughter, Angela Davidson (Terry) of Laurel, sons, Robert Farmer and Mitchel Farmer, both of New Trenton, and Curtis Farmer of Brookville; three sisters, Norma Geis of West Harrison, Shirley Kinkead of Lawrenceburg, and Connie Hopper of Harrison; one brother, Walter Wolfe of Cedar Grove, and several grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great, great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents and a grandson, Mitchel Farmer.Cremation was chosen and no public services will be held. To sign the online guestbook or leave a personal memory please visit www.cookrosenberger.com.