Status: Not Free
Obstacles to Access: 18 (0–25)
Limits on Content: 27 (0–35)
Violations of User Rights: 33 (0–40)
Total Score: 78 (0–100)
Although China is home to the largest population of internet users in the world and has witnessed increasing creativity and “pushback” from its netizens, the country’s internet environment remains one of the most controlled in the world. China’s 1.3 billion citizens have only a limited ability to access and circulate information that is vital to their well-being and the country’s future direction. The Chinese authorities maintain a sophisticated and multilayered system of mechanisms for censoring, monitoring, and controlling activities on the internet and mobile telephones. This system has been enhanced in recent years with new attempts to manipulate online discussion, including the recruitment of commentators to guide opinions and more forceful encouragement of self-discipline among private internet companies and web-hosting services. The country also boasts the world’s largest number of individuals imprisoned for their online activities, with at least 49 cyberdissidents behind bars as of mid-2008.1
The internet was first opened for public access in China in 1996, and the number of users has since grown exponentially, from 20 million in 2001 to over 200 million in 2008.2 From the beginning, however, the Chinese government has sought to assert its authority over the new medium. The underlying system of infrastructural control and filtering technology has been more or less complete since 2003,3 while more sophisticated forms of content manipulation have gained prominence only recently. Nevertheless, due to the egalitarian nature and technical flexibility of the internet, the online environment remains more free than traditional media. In recent years, the country’s growing community of bloggers, online commentators, and human rights defenders has played a role in uncovering official corruption, mobilizing citizens for humanitarian efforts, and exposing rights abuses. Some groups have used information and communication technologies (ICTs) to launch more direct critiques of the regime, though the authorities have thus far managed to prevent a viable alternative to the current political system from gaining momentum in cyberspace.
Obstacles to Access
Realizing the potential contributions of the internet and other ICTs to economic modernization and growth, the Chinese leadership has encouraged the expansion of the necessary infrastructure. Obstacles to access remain, however, including an urban-rural divide, restricted access to advanced applications, government control over the backbone of the network, and a freeze on the opening of new cybercafes.
In 2008, China surpassed the United States as home to the largest number of internet users in the world, with the government-linked China Internet Network Information Center (CINIC) announcing a total of 298 million users.4 Given the total size of the country’s population, however, the overall penetration rate is just 22.6 percent, a low figure by global standards. Moreover, rural users account for only 28 percent of the total, according to CNNIC.5 While most users access the internet from home or work, an estimated 40 percent use cybercafes, particularly those with lower incomes.6 Broadband access is widespread. Use of mobile telephones has also spread quickly. According to the ITU there were 633 million mobile-phone users in China by the end of 2008,7 giving the country a penetration rate of nearly 50 percent and the world’s largest population of mobile users.8 Access to the internet via mobile phones has increased in recent years; state-run media reported that 117 million people used this service in 2008, more than double the total from the previous year.9 The increase in both the overall internet population and the number of mobile internet users may be attributed in part to a gradual decrease in the cost of broadband and mobile-phone access.
There is widespread access to internet technology and applications, such as video-sharing websites, social-networking tools, and e-mail services, but extensive restrictions remain, particularly on advanced applications whose providers are based outside the country. The YouTube video-sharing site and overseas blogging platforms like Wordpress and Blogspot cannot be accessed reliably in China; the e-mail services Gmail and Hotmail are frequently jammed. The social-networking site Facebook, which is popular among Chinese college students, was periodically blocked during 2008, especially during the run-up to the Beijing Olympics.10 In cases where international applications are available, as with Google search engines and Skype Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), the foreign corporations in question have agreed to alter their services and implement monitoring and censorship of political content in order to gain access to the market.11 For international applications that remain blocked, Chinese equivalents have emerged and gained immense popularity, though they are more susceptible to government control. In 2007, the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television (SARFT), which oversees audiovisual content on the internet, ordered that all video-sharing websites must be state owned, except for several large examples that had already become influential.12 SARFT subsequently shut down many video-sharing sites and demanded that the three major ones—Tudou.com, 56.com, and Youku.com—be closed for several days in 2008 to conduct a “self-inspection” and ensure that adequate content controls were in place.13 In some instances, the government has shut down access to ICTs or applications surrounding specific events. During the summer and fall of 2007, prior to the 17th Party Congress, the authorities carried out a widespread shutdown of data centers housing servers for websites, online bulletin boards, and comment forums, affecting millions of users.14 Similarly, following unrest in Tibet in March 2008, the government attempted to control the flow of information to and from the region, disrupting mobile-phone service there and blocking YouTube across China.15 Major circumvention websites like anonymizer.com and proxify.com have also been blocked, while more sophisticated tools like Freegate and TOR are closely monitored and frequently attacked by the authorities.
Internet access was once monopolized by China Telecom, but recent waves of reform have liberalized and decentralized ownership of internet-service providers (ISPs) in the country, making the system less strict than that of traditional media. Users can now opt to access the internet through private ISPs, among which the Great Wall Broadband Network is the most popular broadband provider in major cities. A license from the MIIT is required to establish an ISP or host a website within China, though approval has recently become easier to obtain than in the past.
The government has been willing to liberalize the ISP market in part because of the centralization of the country’s connection to the international internet, which is controlled by six to eight state-run operators that maintain advanced international gateways in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou.16 This arrangement remains the primary infrastructural limitation on open internet access in the country. According to regulations issued by the MIIT, a commercial ISP can function only when it subscribes to the gateway operators. Moreover, the MIIT can revoke the license of any ISP that fails to comply with its regulations and orders. This network design essentially creates a national intranet and gives the authorities the ability to cut off any cross-border information requests that are deemed undesirable.
The authorities have also sought to exercise fairly tight control over cybercafes, which would otherwise enable anonymous communication and networking among citizens. The issuance of licenses for the establishment of cybercafes is managed by the Ministry of Culture (MC) and its local departments. The ministry has stepped up its regulation of cybercafes in recent years. In 2003, it ordered that the facilities must be operated as chain stores,17 and since March 2007 it has indefinitely suspended the issuance of new licenses (there were 113,000 cybercafes in existence at the time).18 Mobile-telephone communication is dominated by three state-owned operators: China Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicom.19 Under the oversight of the MIIT, connection to the internet via mobile phones is also monitored by the international gateway operators.
Limits on Content
The Chinese authorities employ a wide range of mechanisms at every layer of communication to limit free expression online and control the flow of information via ICTs. At the same time, the Chinese blogosphere is active and creative, and a growing number of netizens use ICTs to spread information and opinions. Thus far, the authorities have managed to prevent this from translating into open political opposition to Communist Party rule or a groundswell of public criticism of the government’s key policies.
The Communist Party’s internet control strategy consists of four different techniques: technical filtering, prepublication censorship, postpublication censorship, and proactive manipulation. While the first is primarily aimed at content based outside of China, the latter three apply to content produced and posted within China as well. The purported goal is to limit the spread of pornography, gambling, and other harmful practices, but such content is generally easier to access than information related to political and religious groups, human rights violations, and alternative news sources.20 The most systematically censored topics are those deemed by the Communist Party to be the most threatening to its domestic legitimacy. These include criticism of top leaders, independent evaluations of China’s rights record, violations of minority rights in Tibet and Xinjiang, the Falun Gong spiritual group, the 1989 Beijing massacre, and various dissident initiatives that challenge the regime on a systemic level, such as the Nine Commentaries (a series of editorials analyzing the history of the party and encouraging an end to its rule) and more recently Charter 08 (a prodemocracy manifesto calling for a multiparty system).21 These standing taboos are supplemented regularly by directives and terms targeting specific, unforeseen incidents and other events about which the government wishes to suppress news or opinions, such as the work of individual human rights defenders, allegations of shoddy construction surrounding the Sichuan earthquake, occurrences related to the Olympics, antigovernment riots in various localities, and indeed any references to censorship. Broader politically oriented terms such as “democracy,” “human rights,” and “freedom of speech” are subject to less extensive censorship.22
Technical Filtering: Restricting access to foreign websites is a key component of technical filtering, enabled by the channeling of all internet traffic through the gateway operators described above. Among the websites that are systematically blocked are those of political parties in Taiwan or groups supporting greater freedom for religious and ethnic minorities; human rights organizations like Amnesty International, Freedom House, and Human Rights Watch; news outlets like the Hong Kong–based Apple Daily, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Chinese service, and Radio Free Asia; and overseas dissident publications. In 2008, the government’s pledges of unfettered internet access for foreign journalists during the Olympics were not upheld; although a number of previously censored sites were unblocked following an international outcry, sites related to Tibet or the Falun Gong remained blocked as usual throughout the games.23 Similarly, while some foreign sites were unblocked for Chinese users before the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, most of them were inaccessible again by late 2008.24 In addition to blocking entire websites, the sophisticated technology employed by the authorities enables the filtering of particular pages within sites that are otherwise approved, if the pages are found to contain blacklisted keywords in the URL path. Filtering by keyword is also implemented in instant-messaging services, such as Tom-Skype and QQ, and the necessary software is built into the application upon installation.25
Prepublication censorship: Prepublication censorship is enforced using lists of taboo topics, which Chinese government bodies, mainly the Information Office of Beijing (or its equivalent in other cities), periodically issue as circumstances require. These are accompanied by specific instructions on how to treat the proscribed topics, such as not placing certain content in an important position on a homepage, not allowing it to appear in blog entries and comment forums, or not reprinting items from foreign news sources. Such orders are expected to be carried out—either automatically or manually—by state-run online news outlets and private companies running a wide variety of websites; the latter risk losing their business licenses if they fail to comply. Most postings on blogs, comment sections of news items, and bulletin board system (BBS) discussions that are deemed objectionable are deleted at this stage. Tests conducted recently found that entries containing sensitive keywords such as “June 4,” “Falun Gong,” or “Dalai Lama” could not be displayed on Chinese blog hosting services, including the simplified Chinese version of Microsoft’s MSN Space Live service and Skype’s Chinese version, Tom. A more extensive academic study found that while this practice was common, implementation was nonetheless inconsistent across blog hosting companies, and some potentially sensitive discussions did take place, indicating a tendency among private actors to resist government orders.26 In an additional form of prepublication censorship that has been used in some localities, a system of virtual internet policing employs the animated characters “Jing Jing” and “Cha Cha” to warn users of online content infringements.
Postpublication censorship: Postpublication censorship, applied to information that has already been posted, can take a number of forms. Individual blog entries may be deleted, in most instances within 24 to 48 hours of their posting. In other cases, entire blogs may be shut down by service providers, as has occurred with several well-known bloggers in recent years.27 In addition, search engines including the China versions of Google and Yahoo! filter results to exclude those that do not favor the Chinese authorities’ perspective. Since e-mail messages circulated within the country cannot be filtered at the international gateways, service providers have been pressured to carry out their own censorship; many have reportedly complied, including the popular Sohu and QQ.
Proactive manipulation: In addition to preventing certain content from appearing in Chinese cyberspace, and partly in response to the growing prominence of the internet in shaping public perceptions, the Chinese authorities in recent years have introduced measures to proactively sway public opinion online and amplify the party’s version of events over alternative accounts. Since 2005, paid web commentators known as “50 Cent Party” members or “Red Vests” have been recruited by the authorities to post progovernment remarks, lead online discussions along the party line, and report users who have posted offending statements.28 Some estimates place the number of these commentators at over 250,000.29 In other instances, such as the 2008 unrest in Tibet, censorship of unofficial accounts or deletion of critical comments has been combined with the required posting of the Xinhua news agency’s articles, which enables the official version to dominate public discourse.30
A wide variety of government agencies at both the local and national level are involved in online content censorship. While the Propaganda Department of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CPD) plays a key role in outlining topics for censorship, the Information Office of the State Council (IOSC), the MIIT, and the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) are the primary enforcement agencies. The IOSC mainly oversees online news content. The MIIT, the top technical authority, supervises the telecommunication infrastructure (for the internet as well as mobile phones), grants or revokes the licenses of private enterprises, and oversees the various technical censorship systems, including the international gateways and SMS (text message) jamming. The MPS has the power to track, investigate, and arrest users; monitor websites; and punish cybercafe owners.
In addition to the IOSC’s oversight, online news is subject to aspects of the same regulatory system that applies to traditional media. Thus the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP) extends its core jurisdiction over printed media to relevant online publications. In other instances, specific bodies have been created to regulate internet content, such as the Internet Review Group, which operates within the CPD to inspect and monitor online material.31 More recently, branches of the Administrative Office of Internet Propaganda (AOIP) under the direct control of provincial or municipal governments have been playing an increasingly active role in regulating the internet.32
Figure 1: State Agencies Involved in Internet Control in China
Censorship decisions are largely nontransparent, though some private companies are known to alert readers that content has been removed for unspecified reasons. No avenue exists for appealing censorship decisions. In 2007, Chinese blogger and lawyer Liu Xiaoyuan attempted to sue Sohu for deleting his postings, arguing that it contravened the user terms of agreement, but the case was dismissed by a Beijing court.33 Realizing the comprehensive nature of surveillance and censorship on the internet and SMS, ordinary users and bloggers engage in extensive self-censorship and often refrain from transmitting sensitive comments online or via mobile phones, particularly when anonymity is not ensured.34
Despite the multiple layers of control, the internet has emerged in recent years as a primary source of news and a forum for discussion for many Chinese, particularly among the younger generation. Indeed, a recent academic study estimated that there were approximately 72 million blogs in China at the end of 2007, along with nearly 17 million “active” bloggers updating their websites a minimum of one time per month.35 Through this and other avenues, Chinese cyberspace has grown into a dynamic environment, replete with online auctions, social networks, homemade music videos, a large virtual gaming population, and spirited discussion of some social and political issues. The latter discussions sometimes include the creative use of asterisks, code words, or homophones to replace potentially sensitive keywords. For example, censorship is referred to as “harmonization,” and the 1989 massacre in Beijing, which involved the use of tanks, is described as “tractors coming into the city.”36 Many well-educated and web-savvy Chinese are able to bypass the government’s control using a variety of technical circumvention tools. These individuals can thus obtain more information from overseas sources than the average citizen, and can act as opinion leaders in online discussions, particularly if they have knowledge of a foreign language.
The relationship between online journalism and traditional media is mutually reinforcing, primarily with respect to a small number of daring, investigative print publications. In several instances during the coverage period, traditional media outlets received tips or discovered sources online, reported on the information in commercial print publications, and thus generated further online discussion. Nevertheless, blogs and other internet platforms remain more likely than traditional media to contain criticism of the government and a broad spectrum of views.
Civil society organizations involved in education, health care, and other social and cultural issues that are deemed acceptable by the authorities often have an online presence. ICTs played a particularly prominent role in the aftermath of the Sichuan earthquake in May 2008, as people on the ground transmitted updates via Twitter and BBS comments, netizens created personalized videos and memorials, blogs became a platform for public sharing of memories, and millions of dollars were donated toward relief efforts via websites.37 In some instances, the internet and SMS have been used to mobilize “real life” protests, as occurred in the southern city of Xiamen in 2007, when bloggers supported large-scale street protests that eventually succeeded in terminating the construction of a chemical factory nearby. In other cases, they have been used to circumvent government cover-ups or expose official malfeasance. SMS was employed to circulate epidemic information during the SARS outbreak in 2003,38 and there were several cases in 2008 of internet users revealing acts of corruption by local officials, leading to their dismissal.39 ICTs have also featured in the organization and venting of acute nationalist sentiment, initially with tacit government approval; prominent examples include the country’s periodic anti-Japanese protests and the retribution against French companies after demonstrators in Paris disrupted the 2008 Olympic torch relay.40
In spite of the booming internet population and the skyrocketing number of websites, fully independent civil society, ethnic, and religious organizations remain underrepresented, though they have been able to use some ICTs to advance their causes. A loose network of lawyers, legal academics, and activists known as the weiquan or “rights defense” movement has used internet, e-mail, VoIP, and mobile-phone technology to circulate and publish open letters, document accounts of abuse, and organize a 2006 national relay hunger strike for human rights. More recently, in December 2008, a broad coalition of 300 such individuals issued a bold manifesto dubbed Charter 08, which called for significant political reforms including multiparty democracy, a free press, and an independent judiciary. Though the government suppressed broad public discussion of the proposal online, the initiative did circulate to a limited audience, garnering an additional 7,000 signatures.41 Similarly, after being driven underground by a violent persecutory campaign, adherents of the Falun Gong spiritual practice have made use of the internet and mobile phones to maintain contact with one another, communicate with overseas practitioners, send documentation of torture abroad, and download censored information for the purposes of producing offline leaflets and DVDs that expose rights violations and call party propaganda into question. Meanwhile, overseas groups such as Radio Free Asia, Human Rights in China, and the Epoch Times have reportedly sent millions of e-mails into the country, supplying users with news summaries on Chinese and international events, instructions on anticensorship technology, and copies of banned publications like the Nine Commentaries.42
Violations of Users’ Rights
Those who violate party directives on censorship or publish information on taboo topics face a range of possible sanctions, including criminal and financial liability, long terms of imprisonment, and loss of a business license, though enforcement is selective. Article 35 of the constitution guarantees the freedoms of speech, assembly, association, and publication, but such provisions are subordinated to the national interest. In addition, the constitution cannot be invoked in courts as a legal basis for asserting rights. The judiciary is not independent and closely follows party directives, particularly in politically sensitive freedom of expression cases. Although no legislation exists at the national level to clearly regulate online communication and indicate what ICT content is prohibited, a wide variety of regulations have been issued by different government agencies to establish censorship guidelines. A total of 81 ordinances involving 29 government agencies were issued between 1993 and 2007 to articulate various controls on content and communication over the internet.
In addition to internet-specific regulations, vague provisions in the criminal code and state-secrets legislation have been used to imprison citizens for their online activities, including publication of articles criticizing the government or exposing rights abuses, transmission of objectionable e-mail messages, and downloading of censored material from overseas websites. Hu Jia, a well-known human rights activist and winner of the European Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, was sentenced to three and a half years in prison in April 2008 for “inciting subversion of state power” on the basis of several articles he had written and published online.43 Other individuals detained or sentenced on such charges in recent years include writer Du Daobin,44 professor Guo Quan,45 lawyer Gao Zhisheng,46 and most recently, freelance journalist Chen Daojun for his writings expressing support for protesters in Tibetan areas in March 2008.47 In another prominent case, Shi Tao, a former journalist, was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2003 on charges of “leaking state secrets” after a message he sent from his Yahoo! e-mail account was intercepted and turned over to the authorities.48 Huang Qi, an outspoken human rights activist, was detained in July 2008 on similar charges of “illegal possession of state secrets” for posting criticism of Sichuan earthquake relief efforts on his website.49 In November 2008, Liu Jin, a former university librarian, was sentenced to three years in prison in Shanghai on charges of “using a heretical organization to undermine implementation of the law” after she downloaded information about the Falun Gong from the internet and passed it to others, which her lawyer argues is a common occurrence.50 According to Reporters Without Borders (RSF), at least 49 cyberdissidents were in jail in China as of July 2008, the largest number of any country in the world.51 Moreover, prison sentences for online violations tend to be longer in China than elsewhere, often a minimum of three years and as high as ten, while in most other countries punishments range from six months to four years. Though these individuals represent a tiny percentage of the overall user population, the sentencing of prominent individuals within a fairly close-knit activist and blogging community to long prison terms creates a chilling effect and contributes to an atmosphere of fear that extends far beyond the immediately affected group.
While some exist, the options for anonymous online communication are limited, and restrictions have increased in recent years. After significant protests from the internet industry, government attempts to implement real-name registration across all commercial websites have been abandoned for the moment. However, real-name registration has been put into practice among the BBS websites of all the universities.52 For mobile phones, SIM cards can be purchased anonymously without difficulty, though the transmission of text messages has been more tightly controlled in recent years, and they are frequently intercepted by the Public Security Bureau in cooperation with the MIIT.53
Surveillance of internet and mobile-phone communications in China is pervasive and among the most advanced in the world. The country’s international gateways form one layer of the monitoring system. Other measures include requirements that users register with ISPs when purchasing internet access at home or at work, which facilitates tracking by the authorities.54 Customers at cybercafes are required to present identification, and the cybercafes must install software to monitor and filter users’ web browsing. In some cities, cybercafes have been required to install surveillance cameras that transmit images directly to control systems in local branches of the Ministry of Culture. The Ministry of Culture has endeavored to build a national surveillance platform that unites such local systems and is said to be able to filter any objectionable information transmitted from cybercafes.55 If ISPs and websites are found to showcase “reactionary materials” or fail to promptly comply with the authorities’ orders, they are subjected to fines, may have their servers confiscated by internet police,56 and can have their licenses revoked by the MIIT.57 In a more informal mechanism of control, some quasi-governmental associations (for example, the Internet Society of China) have been established to encourage domestic websites to implement self-regulation and comply with party orders.
Though they are not experienced by the average user, extralegal intimidation and harassment, including occasional physical violence, have been increasing in recent years as more individuals record, investigate, and publish online information that is deemed undesirable by the government. In January 2008, construction company executive Wei Wenhua was beaten to death in Hubei province by 50 law enforcement officers after he used his mobile phone to film them in a violent clash with demonstrators protesting waste-dumping in their neighborhood. Several of the officers were reportedly detained and later charged over the incident, which marked the first death of a citizen journalist in China.58 In September 2008, Liu Shaokun, a teacher in Sichuan province, was sentenced to one year of “reeducation through labor” after posting online photos of schools that collapsed in the earthquake; following an international campaign on his behalf, he was released to serve his sentence at home.59 Individuals known for expressing critical views of the government, such as Hu Jia, his wife Zeng Jinyan, and democracy activist and Charter 08 drafter Liu Xiaobo, have been placed under house arrest or 24-hour police surveillance for months at a time—or for the duration of important domestic and international events—even when they are not formally imprisoned. As with other detainees, individuals arrested for internet-related activities are likely to face severe torture once in custody. This treatment is aimed at forcing them to reveal information or renounce their views or beliefs. Other forms of harassment include visits from police and public security agents, and restrictions on travel, both within and outside the country. In November 2008, Zhou Shuguang (also known as Zola), one of China’s best-known bloggers, was prevented from traveling to Hong Kong en route to Germany, where he was set to serve as a judge for an international blogging competition.60 In addition to persecution from the government, individuals have also been known to suffer harassment from internet mobs, particularly those made up of ultranationalists. Wang Qinyuan, a college student at Duke University, was harassed along with her family in China after she expressed opinions in support of the rights of Tibetans. Her personal information was also posted on the internet, a phenomenon that has been dubbed “human flesh search engine.”61
1 “Cyber-dissident accused of illegal possession of state secrets is denied right to see lawyer”, Reporters without Borders, July 21, 2008, http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=27892 Accessed on 3/23/2009
3 http://www.people.com.cn/GB/it/53/142/20030226/931430.html Accessed on 3/23/2009
and http://www.cnnic.cn/uploadfiles/doc/2009/1/13/92209.doc Accessed on 3/23/2009
5 http://www.cnnic.cn/uploadfiles/doc/2009/1/13/92209.doc Accessed on 3/23/2009
6 http://www.cnnic.cn/uploadfiles/doc/2009/1/13/92209.doc (p27) Accessed on 3/23/2009
8 http://www.miit.gov.cn/n11293472/n11295057/n11298508/11912660.html Accessed on 3/23/2009
9 “117m Chinese surf Internet via mobile phones, up 113% “, China Daily, January 13, 2009, www.chinadaily.com.cn/bizchina/2009-01/13/content_7392583.htm Accessed on 3/23/2009
11 “Google founder admits compromise over China”, The Scotsman, June 8, 2006, http://edinburghnews.scotsman.com/google/Google-founder-admits-compromises-over.2782379.jp Accessed on 3/23/2009;
and “China Skype services snags and stores users’ messages”, The Register, October 2, 2008, www.theregister.co.uk/2008/10/02/skype_surveillance_in_china/ Accessed on 3/23/2009
12 http://tech.163.com/08/0205/02/43TG2FVB000915BF.html Accessed on 3/23/2009
13 “’Chinese YouTube’ shutdown amid censor fears”, The Times Online (London), June 20, 2008, http://technology.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/tech_and_web/article4179103.ece Accessed on 3/23/2009 and “China softens rules on video-sharing websites”, Los Angeles Times, February 6, 2008 http://articles.latimes.com/2008/feb/06/world/fg-video6 Accessed on 3/23/2009
14 “Attacks on Press 2007: China”, Committee to Protect Journalists, http://www.cpj.org/2008/02/attacks-on-the-press-2007-china.php Accessed on 3/23/3009
15 “China blocks YouTube, Yahoo! over Tibet”, The Times Online (London), March 17, 2008, http://technology.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/tech_and_web/article3568040.ece Accessed on 3/23/3009
16 CNNIC, http://www.cnnic.cn/uploadfiles/doc/2009/1/13/92209.doc Accessed on 3/23/3009
18 “2008 Freedom of the Press report on China”, Freedom House , http://www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=251&country=7372&year=2008 Accessed on 3/23/2009
19 According to the WTO agreements, the share taken by foreign capital in the telecom operators can’t exceed 49%. See, http://www.shjubao.cn/epublish/gb/paper22/1/class002200036/hwz532030.htm Accessed on 3/23/2009
20“Censorship in Chinese Media”, New York Times, September 25, 2008 http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/09/25/censorship-in-chinese-media/ Accessed on 3/23/2009
21 Graph from Open Net Initiative 2005 study of filtering in China, available through “Written evidence submitted by Sarah Cook, Student at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London”, House of Commons, http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200607/cmselect/cmfaff/269/269we08.htm Accessed on 3/23/2009;
and “Breaching Trust”, International Warfare Monitor ONI Asia, October 1, 2008, http://www.nartv.org/mirror/breachingtrust.pdf Accessed on 3/23/2009; and “Charter 08: Why it should be called Wang”,Chinayourren.com, January 11, 2009 http://chinayouren.com/eng/2009/01/charter-08-why-it-should-be-called-wang/ Accessed on 3/23/2009
22 See note 20.
23 “Web curbs for Olympic journalists”, BBC News, July 30, 2008, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7532338.stm Accessed on 3/23/2009 and “Internet censorship plagues journalists at the Olympics”, Cnet.com, July 29, 2008, http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-10002097-93.html Accessed on 3/23/2009
24 “Post-Olympic China Olympic China turns its back on Internet censorship promises”,DailyTech, December 18, 2008, www.dailytech.com/PostOlympics%2BChina%2BTurns%2BIts%2BBack%2Bon%2BInternet%2BCensorship%2BPromises/article13716.htm Accessed on 3/23/2009
25 “A list of censored words in Chinese cyberspace”, China Digital Times, http://chinadigitaltimes.net/2004/08/the-words-you-never-see-in-chinese-cyberspace/ Accessed on 3/23/2009
26 ”China’s censorship 2.0: How companies censor bloggers”, First Monday, February 2, 2009, http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/2378/2089 Accessed on 3/23/2009
28 “Internet society of China wants people to report illegal and inappropriate content”, Passingnotes.com, June 11, 2004, http://www.passingnotes.com/archives/2004/06/14/interfax-internet-society-of-china-wants-people-to-report-illegal-and-inappropriate-content/ Accessed on 3/23/2009 and http://www.ddgx.cn/news/2008/0730/index_tstt/091704.htm Accessed on 3/23/2009 and http://www.hhubbs.com/thread-64753-1-2.html Accessed on 3/23/2009
29 “China’s guerilla war for the web”, Far Eastern Economic Review, July 2008, http://www.feer.com/essays/2008/august/chinas-guerrilla-war-for-the-web Accessed on 3/23/2009
30 “China blacks out Tibet news”, Business Week, March 17, 2008, http://www.businessweek.com/globalbiz/content/mar2008/gb20080317_321446.htm Accessed on 3/23/2009
31 http://blog1.poco.cn/myBlogDetail.htx&id=328024&userid=4304898&pri=&n=0 Accessed on 3/23/2009
33 “China’s Internet controls tightened ahead of sensitive political congress”, Associated Press, October 11, 2007, www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/10/12/business/AS-FEA-TEC-China-Internet-Controls.php Accessed on 3/23/2009
35 “Political Expression in the Chinese Blogosphere: Below the Radar,” Asian Survey, September/October 2008, http://caliber.ucpress.net/doi/abs/10.1525/AS.2008.48.5.752 Accessed on 3/23/2009.
36 “China’s web censors delete blogs, unplug servers”, Associated Press, October 15, 2007, http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,301488,00.html Accessed on 3/23/2009
37 “Sichuan earthquake special edition” , Slideshare,net, Mary 27, 2008, http://www.slideshare.net/jason.zhanjia/iwom-watch-sichuan-earthquake-special-edition-presentation Accessed on 3/23/2009
38 http://www.51friend.net/bbs/2290965mp1.aspx Accessed on 3/23/2009 Accessed on 3/23/2009 and “Breaking down the great firewall”, BBC News, April 30, 2005, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4496163.stm Accessed on 3/23/2009
40 “Chinese nationalism fuels Tibet crackdown”, New York Times, March 31, 2008, www.nytimes.com/2008/03/31/world/asia/31china.html?pagewanted=print Accessed on 3/23/2009
41 “Chinese Authorities Continue to Suppress Charter 08; Number of Signers Exceeds 7,200 “, Human Rights in China, January 9, 2009, http://www.hrichina.org/public/contents/press?revision_id=109512&item_id=107728 Accessed on 3/23/2009 and “Charter 08 Still Alive in the Chinese Blogosphere” China Digital Times, February 9, 2009,http://chinadigitaltimes.net/2009/02/charter-08-still-alive-in-the-chinese-blogosphere/ Accessed on 3/23/2009
42 Mass Mailing, http://us.dongtaiwang.com/dmirror/http/www.dit-inc.us/mass_mailing Accessed on 3/23/2009
45 “Blogger charged with subversion”, Radio Free Asia, December 22, 2008, www.rfa.org/english/news/china/guoquan-12222008104700.html Accessed on 3/23/2009
46 “Gao Zhisheng, the lawyer "who defies the Communist Party”, AsiaNews, February 17, 2006,www.asianews.it/view.php?l=en&art=5416 Accessed on 3/23/2009
47“China: Dissident writer Chen Daojun sentenced”, English Pen, November 25, 2008, http://www.englishpen.org/writersinprison/bulletins/chinadissidentwriterchendaojunsentenced/ Accessed on 3/23/2009
48 “Another cyberdissident imprisoned because of date provided by Yahoo”, Reporter Without Borders, February 9, 2006,http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=16402 Accessed on 3/23/2009
49 “Free Huang Qi”, International Herald Tribune, February 8, 2009, http://www.iht.com/articles/2009/02/08/opinion/edhuang.php Accessed on 3/23/3009
50 “China imprison Falun Gong follower, lawyer says”, Associated Press, November 14, 2008, http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/11/14/asia/AS-China-Falun-Gong.php Accessed on 3/23/2009
53 “China will monitor, censor sms messages”, Slashdot, Juky 3, 2004, http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=04/07/03/0035224 Accessed on 3/23/2009 and “China cracksdown on sms”, Journalism.co.uk, February 7, 2004, http://www.journalism.co.uk/2/articles/5970.php Accessed on 3/23/2009
54 http://news.1488.com/news/legality/2006/7-17/14-34-1-1.shtml Accessed on 3/23/2009 and http://www.adslsh.com/shenqing.asp Accessed on 3/23/2009
55 http://www.netbarcn.net/Html/PolicyDynamic/01061954388252.html Accessed on 3/23/2009
56 Personal communication
58 “Brutal killing of (citizen journalist) Wei Wenhua underscores the evils of China’s “urban management” system”, China Media Project, http://cmp.hku.hk/2008/01/10/814/ Accessed on 3/23/2009
59 “Mr. Liu Shaokun released to serve his RTL sentence outside of labour camp”, International Federation for Human Rights, October 16, 2008,
http://www.fidh.org/spip.php?article5937 Accessed on 3/23/2009
60 “Blogger Zhou Shuguang a.k.a. "Zola" barred from leaving China: "potential threat to state security"”, RCConversation, November 24, 2008, http://rconversation.blogs.com/rconversation/2008/11/blogger-zhou-sh.html Accessed on 3/23/2009
61 “New freedom, and peril, in online criticism of China”, The Washington Post, April 17, 2008, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/16/AR2008041603579.html Accessed on 3/23/2009