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 Post subject: Internet censorship.
Post #1 Posted: Sat Apr 23, 2011 9:13 pm 
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This whole topic might seem really stupid, and the questions I may be asking may be obviously stupid, in which case I would like to be explained how they are.

There are many parallels between the North Korea of today and the China of just a few decades ago. I am no expert, I only have the most basic of high-school knowledge, but if I am correct I can't picture the PRC just letting Chinese people play go with people around the world. I did rudimentary research on the topic: "The escalation of the government's effort to neutralize critical online opinion comes after a series of large anti-Japanese, anti-pollution, anti-corruption protests, and ethnic riots, many of which were organized or publicized using instant messaging services, chat rooms, and text messages. The size of the Internet police is rumored at more than 30,000.[5] Critical comments appearing on Internet forums, blogs, and major portals such as Sohu and Sina usually are erased within minutes." (Wikipedia)

Is there a between the lines understanding, especially among Koreans, Japanese and Chinese people to not criticize or talk about the CPC critically that a clueless Westerner like me does not know about? Could there be internet filtering/censorship/monitoring in Tygem?

Is all of the above skepticism ridiculous; the Chinese govt would not waste time silencing people in a GO playing server as there are much more influential ways to end modes of communication? I am sorry if this is obvious and I am just really clueless.

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 Post subject: Re: Internet censorship.
Post #2 Posted: Sat Apr 23, 2011 11:05 pm 
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Your question is both challenging and naive, mainly because of the difficulty for international observers to contextualize the issue.

China has the largest number of Internet users in the world. Those who were born in the 80's or later are generally frequent or obsessive users of instant messaging, social networking, blogging, and photo and music sharing services, although most of this activity occurs on domestic clones of well known foreign sites i.e. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. Discussion forums in particular are widely used in China, and reach a much wider audience than those services mentioned above. To put it in perspective, there are something like 700-800 million urban residents in today's China.

Most of the online activity within China requires site registration using your national identity card number and subsequent cooperation of the host site with the government as necessary. The majority of Chinese people see this as little more than an inconvenience. Chinese people likely enjoy more freedom of expression now than at any time in history.

When Western observers balk at the censoring of key issues such as Taiwanese and Tibetan independence or Tian'anmen Square 1984, they often do not realize that these issues barely resonate with the same demographic of avid Web 2.0 users. The scrubbing of modern Chinese history is a gravely serious matter, but it is distinct enough of an issue from Internet censorship to deserve a nuanced evaluation.

As far as political commentary goes, the Chinese Communist Party is synonymous with the national government. As such, it is rife with factions, competing interests, regional discrepancies and so on. The central government is hugely popular and the overwhelming majority of protests and uprisings seen each year are contesting abuses of power and privilege from key local officials spread across the country and out of the reach of the tightly wound central government. Contrary to what you may think, the Internet is now the key vehicle for exposing corruption, cronyism and scandal within the Party ranks, and Beijing has shown ever increasing support for this use of the Internet as a way of increasing government transparency up to the provincial level.

A small army of 30,000 censors actively seeks to control and influence the 200-300 million or so Internet users in Chinese society. To understand this as a silencing effect would be misleading. Most people here have little to no interest whatsoever in discussing the most highly sensitive of issues. The job of these censors is mostly to act as opinion influencers and increasingly, to cool overly nationalist sentiments that threaten to get out of control.

I realize I sound like an apologist and that assessment may not be far off. However, I believe that the most penetrating and arresting criticisms of the Chinese government can only come from those who actively seek to understand the daily realities of Chinese civil society.


Last edited by cdybeijing on Sun Apr 24, 2011 2:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

This post by cdybeijing was liked by 4 people: betterlife, emeraldemon, HermanHiddema, rubin427
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 Post subject: Re: Internet censorship.
Post #3 Posted: Sat Apr 23, 2011 11:06 pm 
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Mods, can we move this to off-topic?

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 Post subject: Re: Internet censorship.
Post #4 Posted: Sat Apr 23, 2011 11:26 pm 
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cdybeijing wrote:
Mods, can we move this to off-topic?


Although it invokes a larger issue for context, the question does seem to be about a particular Go server. I'm inclined to leave it in the corresponding forum.

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 Post subject: Re: Internet censorship.
Post #5 Posted: Sat Apr 23, 2011 11:30 pm 
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cdybeijing wrote:
To put it in perspective, there are something like 700-800 billion urban residents in today's China.


Wow, that's impressive! So, when did China lift the one child per couple limit?
:scratch:

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 Post subject: Re: Internet censorship.
Post #6 Posted: Sun Apr 24, 2011 2:13 am 
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imabuddha wrote:
cdybeijing wrote:
To put it in perspective, there are something like 700-800 billion urban residents in today's China.


Wow, that's impressive! So, when did China lift the one child per couple limit?
:scratch:


Just realized my typo, and fixed it in the original post. 700 billion is a lot! :tmbup:

They haven't, but it's never been as iron-fisted as may be believed.

For example, parents from non-Han ethnicities are allowed to have more than one child. Increasingly relevant, in some key areas such as Beijing, if both parents are themselves only children the couple is allowed to have more than one child. The policy is now over 30 years old (I could be wrong on this), so many young couples can accordingly have two children. In addition, some areas have exceptions or experimental policies allowing certain families more than one child.

In any case, enforcement of the policy is a provincial government responsibility, and the vigorousness with which it is carried out varies widely. Generally, it is strictly enforced in urban areas and relaxed in rural areas.

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 Post subject: Re: Internet censorship.
Post #7 Posted: Sun Apr 24, 2011 2:40 am 
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cdybeijing wrote:
They haven't, but it's never been as iron-fisted as may be believed.

I was just kidding about that policy, since your typo would mean that every woman had hundreds of kids. ;-)

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 Post subject: Re: Internet censorship.
Post #8 Posted: Sun Apr 24, 2011 4:56 am 
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PROVOK3 wrote:
Is there a between the lines understanding, especially among Koreans, Japanese and Chinese people to not criticize or talk about the CPC critically that a clueless Westerner like me does not know about? Could there be internet filtering/censorship/monitoring in Tygem?


How do you generalize this Chinese online censorship to include Koreans and Japanese? They are totally independent states.

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 Post subject: Re: Internet censorship.
Post #9 Posted: Sun Apr 24, 2011 7:34 am 
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Simplest rule: Whatever you can discuss in this forum, you can discuss it in any chinese go server/forum.

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 Post subject: Re: Internet censorship.
Post #10 Posted: Sun Apr 24, 2011 8:13 am 
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Psychee wrote:
Simplest rule: Whatever you can discuss in this forum, you can discuss it in any chinese go server/forum.

Haha. So discuss politics, religion, or file-sharing and you get banned? Sounds like freedom to me, comrade. :salute: :salute: :salute:

cdybeijing wrote:
The policy is now over 30 years old (I could be wrong on this), so many young couples can accordingly have two children. In addition, some areas have exceptions or experimental policies allowing certain families more than one child.


Also, isn't the penalty for having a second child equivalent to paying school fees for that child? Not unreasonable.

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Post #11 Posted: Sun Apr 24, 2011 8:29 am 
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So if we were to discuss Chinese politics in this forum, then the Chinese Internet Police would ban this forum from being available in China?

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Post #12 Posted: Sun Apr 24, 2011 8:29 am 
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So if we were to discuss Chinese politics in this forum, then the Chinese Internet Police would ban this forum from being available in China?

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 Post subject: Re: Internet censorship.
Post #13 Posted: Sun Apr 24, 2011 9:44 am 
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As governments as well as teen who post naked pictures of themselves online have found out: banning/erasing stuff from the internet is extremely hard.

During the 2008 Tibetan unrest china ban all searches for Dalai Lama so the people started to misspell his name on purpose to get to the targeted site (I think Google even developed a system to help with that

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 Post subject: Re: Internet censorship.
Post #14 Posted: Sun Apr 24, 2011 9:53 am 
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Cdybeijing: very nice post. From what I've read*, the Tibet and Tiananmen questions are very different. In the case of Tibet, most people are nationalistic and more or less accept the idea that Chinese rule is good for the Tibetans. In the case of Tiananmen, average young people simply don't know about it, or at best know that it is a taboo subject.

* I might as well just replace that with "James Fallows".

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 Post subject: Re: Internet censorship.
Post #15 Posted: Sun Apr 24, 2011 2:26 pm 
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cdybeijing wrote:
Your question is both challenging and naive, mainly because of the difficulty for international observers to contextualize the issue... I realize I sound like an apologist and that assessment may not be far off. However, I believe that the most penetrating and arresting criticisms of the Chinese government can only come from those who actively seek to understand the daily realities of Chinese civil society.


That was extremely interesting, clear and well-written, thanks. :clap:

Would a Chinese user feel comfortable/safe talking extremely critically of the methods of the central Communist party of China (not its officials/provincial branches) given that they have to use a national ID to use Tygem?

The English version of Tygem does not appear to have a policy of online behavior similar to this forum that prohibits arguments over certain things. Are there restrictions in the actual rules of the server that prohibit discussing sensitive issues such as politics, religion etc.?

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Post #16 Posted: Sun Apr 24, 2011 3:08 pm 
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One thing that is pretty laffo about Tygem is that despite having a Taiwan server, there is no accompanying flag - I've seen flags for all sorts of small, ill-represented nations but I wonder if we'll ever see a ROC one

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Post #17 Posted: Sun Apr 24, 2011 3:50 pm 
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Helsbecter wrote:
One thing that is pretty laffo about Tygem is that despite having a Taiwan server, there is no accompanying flag - I've seen flags for all sorts of small, ill-represented nations but I wonder if we'll ever see a ROC one

There are some political issues related to the Taiwanese flag. Perhaps tygem wants to avoid them.

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 Post subject: Re: Internet censorship.
Post #18 Posted: Sun Apr 24, 2011 8:17 pm 
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jts wrote:
Psychee wrote:
Simplest rule: Whatever you can discuss in this forum, you can discuss it in any chinese go server/forum.

Haha. So discuss politics, religion, or file-sharing and you get banned? Sounds like freedom to me, comrade. :salute: :salute: :salute:


That's misleading, comrade :D

Lifein19 OK => Chinese go server OK

does not equivalent to

Lifein19 not OK => Chinese go server not OK


Provok3 wants to know the lines. I pointed him a circle, even smaller, that he is familiar and comfortable with and feels easy to deal with.

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Post #19 Posted: Sun Apr 24, 2011 10:06 pm 
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Psychee wrote:
That's misleading, comrade :D


I apologize for insinuating that you were implicating the inverse.

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Post #20 Posted: Wed Apr 27, 2011 2:31 am 
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Li Kao wrote:
There are some political issues related to the Taiwanese flag. Perhaps tygem wants to avoid them.


Well, the OP was asking about issues arising from having so many chinese nationals on the server, and I thought I would point out one clear example of Tygem having to cater to their peculiarities.

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