China’s Ongoing War of Censorship and Information Control

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The Internet poses a great threat to Chinese authorities, which thrive in an environment of fear and forced ignorance. China has installed a number of filters to ensure that information entering the country is controlled, effectively limiting the access to the world wide web.  However, as observed by the recent floods in China, where citizens posted pictures of the flood damage and victims taken by mobile phones onto the internet, prior to authorities acknowledging that there was in fact any disaster taking place.

This forced authorities hand and created the renewed awareness that the flow of information is very hard to control.

The newest attack from Chinese authorities, is leveled at controlling what it calls “on line rumours” and the push for real name registration on microblogs.  The spread of “rumours” has been described as a public nuisance which seriously infringes people’s interests, national security and social stability. Internet service providers are expected to “resist on line rumours” by upholding Chinese Laws and complying with government rules for real name registration of micro blog accounts. Under new rules, users must link their mobile phones numbers to their Weibo account, and only those verified will be allowed to post messages.

Chinese authorities have also recently detailed a number of citizens and online editors over retweeted material that was deemed controversial under the new guidelines. They have also arrested 1065 suspects and deleted more than 208 000 “harmful” online messages as part of a crackdown on “internet related crimes” since February 2012 and ordered a leading pro- Maoist website shut down for a month because of essays posted on the site.