Hu Jintao, the straight-faced communist chief of the People's Republic of China, has stated in a public press conference that he wishes to "strengthen administration and development of our country's Internet culture." In other words, tighter reign on the internet. He continues, saying [China] must "maintain the initiative in opinion on the Internet and raise the level of guidance online," and "we must promote civilized running and use of the Internet and purify the Internet environment". Conveniently, every one of Hu's key words has an intended meaning that is the inverse of its denotation. That is to say, "opinion" and "purify" meaning communist ideology, as evidenced by mountains of research by numerous agencies, "guidance" meaning indoctrination, as evidenced by the 10-year sentence of a journalist deemed offensive, and "civilized", of course meaning totalitarian.
An interesting remnant of this exists very plainly today, even as most companies are trying to cover up the fact. If one conducts a google image search using the english version, google.com
and the chinese version, google.cn, the results are drastically different. The Chinese government is an excellent example of censorship. The PRC, or People's Republic of China, which runs the largest network of information censorship in the world, employs 50,000 people to monitor citizen internet use and content, according to Human Rights and Practices. It is offically referred to as the "Golden Shield", though often mockingly called the "Great Firewall of China".
Although some have been able to circumvent the system with secure connections or anonymous networks, according to ONI, the Chinese system is very dynamic. It includes blocking certain IP addresses by disallowing them to route through Chinese front servers, through which all internet traffic in China passes. Chinese Blog sites and search engines block or edit posts or searches which include certain keywords, but variations of such, for example "fr33dom" instead of "freedom" can sometimes slip through. This is all backed up by a large body of strict government imposed restrictions on all ISPs, content services, and cybercafes.
While supposedly aimed at obscenity and illegal or criminal activity, the system also effectively censors many other sites, which have included such topics as the Falun Gong religious sect, anti-Communist or opposing political views, Tibet independence and the Dalai Lama, Taiwan independence and media or government calling for such, other democratic ideas, and the Tiananmen Square Massacre. Other sites, such as the BBC, are also censored for supposed subversive content.
Moreover, several US companies have been aiding the Chinese Government in its quest for control of information to its citizens. Yahoo has aided the capture and 10-year jailing of Shi Tao, an writer accused of sharing "state secrets", namely the government telling him how to cover the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, and Li Zhi, another writer who openly criticized the government on the internet. Microsoft has self-censored its Chinese blog sites, per the wishes of the Chinese government. Words such as "freedom" and "democracy" triggered messages such as "This item should not contain forbidden speech, such as profanity." and "Taiwan independence" and "demonstration," returned "prohibited language, please remove." Cisco systems has given hardware and the technology necessary to carry out the project, which were subsequently traded to Zimbabwe and other regimes. Liu Zhengrong, supervisor of Internet affairs for the Chinese State Council, has said "Major U.S. companies do this, and it is regarded as normal, so why should China not be entitled to do so?" This is shortsighted. The reason the major US companies do this is because of the pressure put upon them by the Chinese government. However, if these companies were required to disclose, publish, or otherwise reveal to the rest of the world exactly what they censor, the free world would surely call them out on it.
While mainland China has strived to censor any mention of Taiwan Independence within its borders, Taiwan was given a perfect score in freedoms of speech and religon in a study called Freedom of the Press 2006: A Global Survey of Media Independence.
A report published October cited the 2006 Worldwide Press Freedom Index, a service of Reporters Without Borders. Taiwan (the ROC) was ranked number 43, the top position in Asia, and higher even than Japan(51) and the US(53). Taiwan's trend from years past has shown an upward trend, while mainland China (the PRC) has fallen four positions, as shutdowns of news websites and attacks of journalists increased.
"We must promote civilized running and use of the Internet and purify the Internet environment"
–Hu Jintao, chief of the Chinese Communist Party
"The ridiculous reality is that the Chinese government tries to focus world attention on Nanking, while refusing to face up to what happened in Tiananmen Square. Instead, they must censor it to the point that it becomes blatantly obvious that the government of the People's Republic of China (or lack thereof) is more interested in Marxist indoctrination than historical accuracy. Absurd."
China's Hu vows to 'purify' Internet
Internet Filtering in China in 2004-2005: A Country Study
"Taiwan's ranking in Press Freedom Index by Reporters Without Borders jumps ahead of Japan and the United States". http://www.gio.gov.tw/taiwan-website/4-oa/20061024/2006102401.html
The full Worldwide Press Freedom Index, which is published yearly, can be found at http://www.rsf.org/rubrique.php3?id_rubrique=659.
China's Hu vows to "purify" Internet
Empirical Analysis of Internet Filtering in China
Internet Giants Criticised for Aiding Censorship
U.S. firms help China censor freedom, democracy
U.S To Protest Censorship of Internet By Beijing, The Boston Globe