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China Letter-News and Human Rights

China human rights news with focus on the Uygur of Xinjiang, Tibetans and Tibet, Chinese mining workers, religion, corruption and censorship.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

How Chinese censor online chat

State of the art technology and old fashioned weight of numbers.


Internet Censorship I posted earlier on the jailing of a Chinese man convicted of posting "subversive" articles on the internet. I thought it might be appropriate then to dig out an old Reporters Without Borders report from last year as to a study undertaken to guage the extent and effectiveness of China's Internet censorship policies.

According to the study that tested government official's response to varying degrees of chatline posts ranging from the from benign to ones highly critical of Chinese policy only 30% of controversial messages made it on to the internet for any length of time.

Researchers for the group prepared and posted messages rated on a scale of one to 10 according to how provocative they were from the governments point of view and then analysed whether the posts even made it in the first instance or if they did how long they managed to stay "posted" before being deleted.

China reportedly employs some 30,000 people to censor the internet utilising state of the art technology as well as requiring internet service providers to dedicate resources to censor their subscribers posts. Failure to comply with self censorship usually results in the service provider being taken "off the air" as was seen with some Chinese "blog" providers earlier this year.

Further results of the survey can be found at the linked article and it goes to show that despite the enormous number of internet users in China "Big Brother" is still preetty vigilant.

Link: Additional Information Read Rating:

BBC NEWS | Technology | "Chinese censor online chat" May 19, 2003