Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Control of Online Discussion Seems Tighter in China

Suspended bullog.cn with a notice on its homepage

There are signs that public discussions on the Internet in China have been put under tighter control lately, although the 17th Party Congress is over.

Bullog.cn, a blog site featuring intellectuals’ discussion over political, society and cultural topics, is suspended. Currently on its homepage is nothing but one notice that reads: “Bullog is going through additional procedures, and will reopen very soon. Please don’t worry.”

The website does not articulate what kind of “additional procedures” it is going through, but it’s not hard to imagine that they are likely related to government regulations on blog sites. Essentially, this note is suggesting that Bullog has been ordered by the authorities to stop operation and has to gain permission to reopen, probably after some adjustments to its content.

As already mentioned in the previous entry, Tianya public forum has banned political discussions. But that’s not it. Opening the Tianya site, one can now see two cartoon figures: one female and one male police officer , floating on the page. Clicking on the cartoon leads to the website of the Network Security Alarm System of Haikou police. Tianya forum was registered in Hainan Province, where Haikou is the capital city.

The cartoon officer is an encouragement for site viewers to report to the cyber police any “insecure” web information and conduct. According to the criteria provided by Haikou cyber police, such harmful information and conduct include spreading computer viruses, attacking other computer systems, and publishing information that “harm national security and social stability.”

These incidents might be an indication that the government is still nervous about online political discussions in the wake of the 17th Party Congress and the creation of a new politburo. Popular online public forums and blogs in China are now full of celebrity gossip, personal life drama, love and sex, money making tip as well as lots of nonsense, while criticism of China’s politics and society is scarce.

Sohu blog
Sina blog
Haikou cyber police


Anonymous said...

Welcome to the Hu Jintao era. The Chinese society will only be a harmonious one if everyone toes the party line. Or else.

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