[Air-l] China & the Internet: A Chronicle of Repression

George Lessard media at web.net
Thu Jul 17 05:38:46 PDT 2003

China & the Internet: A Chronicle of Repression


Chronology Excerpts

"... The adoption in 2000 of three drastic laws limiting the 
circulation of the information on the Web has allowed Beijing 
authorities to launch a wave of unprecedented repression against 
cyberdissidents and Internet sites considered "subversive" or 
"critical". Arrests, banned sites, threats against operators, 
censorship of newsgroups and the shutting-down of cybercafés are many 
techniques used in this daily repression. To accomplish this goal, 
about twenty provinces now have special police brigades trained in 
pursuing "subversive" Internet users. Just as the print media and 
electronic media, the Web has become a major issue for the Chinese 
regime who wishes to have full control of information. There are 
currently thirty  cyberdissidents imprisoned in the country, for trying 
to break through this Internet repression and censorship. ....

...28 February 2001 : the Ministry of Law and Order launched a new 
software program known as "Internet police 110", created to block 
access to web sites dealing with religion, sex or violence. ...

...18 June 2001 : the online magazine "Hot Topic" is banned after four 
years of activity. This magazine notably published articles criticising 
the government. It has 235,000 subscribers....

...2 July 2001 : RSF learned that Li Hongmin was arrested in the middle 
of June in Guangzhou (South of China) for having distributed, by 
e-mail, the 2001 Chinese version of "The Tiananmen Papers". The text 
reveals the responsibilities of certain high Chinese officials in the 
Tiananmen Square massacre of June 1989. ...

...4 July 2001 : The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs website 
(www.dfat.gov.au) is once again accessible in China after being blocked 
for eighteen months. The unblocking of the web site follows an appeal 
from the Australian Foreign Minister to China's chargé d'affaires in 
Canberra, Xie Xiaoyan. Inaccessible to Chinese Internet users for more 
than one year, the web site reappeared briefly during a visit of the 
Australian Communication Minister, Richard Alston, last June. The 
Chinese government spokeswoman denies any censorship and claims that 
technical problems caused the site to be blocked. In addition, she said 
"the government never got in the way of solving the problem and even 
offered its assistance". But, according to several observers, the real 
reason the site was blocked is the presence of information on the web 
site, notably about human rights and the risks of conflict in parts of 
China. ...

...1st August 2001 : Since the beginning of July, the pages in Mandarin 
Chinese on the Radio France Internationale (RFI) web site have been 
blocked for Chinese Internet users. These people can no longer listen 
to the programs of the Chinese service available on the site. RFI's 
executive direction plans to ask the Chinese government for some 
explanations. ...

...4 September 2001 : Chinese authorities have blocked the web sites of 
the American TV channel CNN, the newspaper International Herald 
Tribune, the French radio station RFI, the English radio station BBC 
and the American chapter of Amnesty International as well as some links 
to humanitarian organisations (such as Médecins sans frontières), as 
President Jiang Zemin is due to travel to North Korea. These media 
contain information about famine and repression in this country, which 
is an ally of Beijing. ...

...24 September 2001 : the following web sites are currently 
inaccessible from China : hrichina.org (Human Rights Watch in China web 
site), hrw.org (Human Right Watch web site), amnesty.org, 
amnesty.org.uk, amnestyusa.org (Amnesty International web sites), 
freetibet.org (freetibet organisation web site), tibet.com (Tibetan 
government in exile web site), cnn.com (CNN web site), bbc.co.uk (BBC 
web site), washingtonpost.com (Washington Post web site), 
6-4tianwang.com (cyberdissident Huang Qi's web site) and bignews.com 
(Online dissident newsletter VIP Reference's web site). ...

...On 16 October, China unblocked access to several American media 
websites, among them those the New York Times and The Washington Post, 
during the Forum of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, which is being 
held in Shanghai. Access to other websites considered dangerous by the 
Chinese government, such as the BBC or the spiritual movement 
Falungong's websites, remain banned to Chinese web users as to Foreign 
journalists who cover the summit ...

...On 29th October, as soon as Georges W. Bush jetted out of Shangai, 
Chinese authorities again blocked access to several US media's 
websites, among them those of CNN and the Washington Post. ...

...04.25.2002 - The Australian television channel ABC announced on 23 
April that the Chinese authorities had closed access to its web site. 
The management of the national television company have complained to 
Chinese Foreign Ministry and the Public Security Bureau. An Australian 
embassy official stated that the restrictions had been put in place 
following discussions at the highest level. This was immediately denied 
by a government spokesman. The Dalai Lama's visit to Australia in May 
this year could be the reason for these restrictive measures....

...05.17.2002 - On 16 May, journalists based in Beijing and Shanghai 
noticed that web sites of international media, especially Reuters, CNN 
and the Washington Post, were again accessible to Chinese internet 
users. The authorities did not confirm this easing of censorship. 
However, sites for the BBC, Time Magazine and the Voice of America are 
still blocked to the Chinese. According to a western diplomat based in 
Beijing, quoted by the Reuters press agency, "The Chinese authorities 
may have realized that it was very easy to get around their barriers. 
It is certainly easier to let users access these sites then control the 

...01.16.2003 - For the past week, the authorities have blocked access 
to the US-based website blogspot.com, which puts personal diaries 
online and is used by more than a million people worldwide.  Jason 
Shellen, who runs the site from California's Silicon Valley, confirmed 
that there were no technical problems and that it was censorship.  But 
a Chinese Internet user told Reuters news agency that the ban would not 
succeed because people would find ways round it.  The website managers 
say they will seek talks with the Chinese authorities....

... A list of Chinese Internet users detained for having circulated 
information considered "subversive" by the authorities :

04.2002. Li Dawei
13.12.2001. Dong Yanhong
13.12.2001. Liu Wenyu
13.12.2001. Yao Yue
13.12.2001. Meng Jun
13.12.2001. Wang Xin
13.12.2001. Wang Xuefei
13.08.2001. Mu Chuanheng
11.07.2001. Yan Pen
2.06.2001. Wang Zhenyong
10.06.2001. Li Hongmin
14.05.2001. Wang Jinbo
18.05.2001. Hu Dalin
8.05.2001. Zhu Ruixiang
1.05.2001. Liu Haofeng
30.04.2001. Wang Sen
20.04.2001. Lu Xinhua
21.03.2001.  Liu Weifang
13.03.2001. Jin Haike
13.03.2001. Zhang Honghai
13.03.2001. Xu Wei
13.03.2001. Yang Zili
11.10.2000. Zhang Haitao
8.10.2000. Zhang Ji
1.09.2000. Guo Quinghai
18.08.2000. Jiang Shihua
3.06.2000. Huang Qi
2.09.1999. Qi Yanchen
19.06.1999. Wu Yilong
19.06.1999. Zhu Yufu ..."

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