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Chinese Net Censors Crackdown on Blogs

Posted by: Brian Bremner on June 30, 2006

China’s Net cops are at it again. A story here says Beijing has stepped up its campaign to censor information viewed as indecent or subversive on blogs and search engines. On June 30, Cai Wu, director of the Information Office of China’s Cabinet, was quoted by the official Xinhua News Agency as pledging that the government would “take effective measures” to crack down on offenders. Details are scarce, but this probably means increased site monitoring, forced blog closures and even the arrest and imprisonment of journalists. These guys don’t play nice.

Google, Yahoo and Microsoft’s MSN have been told bluntly they have to hew the party line if they want to do business in China. And they all have pretty much caved, given China has about 111 million Internet users, second only to the US, and is a rapidly expanding market. Check out this story to learn more, but Hu Jintao’s government employs more than 30,000 people to prowl Web sites, blogs, and chat rooms on the lookout for offensive content as well as scammers. China is also home to 37 million blogs, a potentially disruptive development in the eyes of Beijing.

Some Chinese blogs have gained national notoriety for taking on the high and mighty in the cultural sphere. This hilarious piece about a Shanghai-based blogger who developed a video parody savaging a big production film he didn’t like by internationally- acclaimed Chinese director Chen Kaige is a case in point. In a more bizarre case, a college student in East China’s Shandong Province lashed out at her father by launching a website disclosing his affair with a mistress…well, basically to the entire planet. Chinese bloggers who steer clear of politics probably will be able to continue tapping away merrily on their keyboards. For those who dare to speak out against Chinese government corruption and human rights violations, watch your back folks.

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