China’s Censorship Gets a Pre-Olympic Trail

Photo: Chinese flagOver the last few months I’ve written about the scale of China’s Golden Shield, also known as the Great Firewall of China. I’ve also posted a link to a site for testing which sites are blocked from several large cities in China. As the web is increasingly used to organize protests, Chinese censorship in advance of the Olympic Games seems inevitable. This spring’s protests in Tibet, and the censorship which accompanied them, is like a preview for this summer.

The Washington Post covered the recent web censorship inspired by the Tibetan protests. The Atlantic‘s James Follows has written more on how the firewall will be used selectively this summer to prevent Chinese citizens from accessing sites, while appearing to be open to the Western press.

Censorship in China is more effective than in many other nations, because access there is highly centralized. Western companies have helped architect and build this capability, and services such as US search engines have agreed to provide controls to Chinese officials to censor local results on these services.

Human Rights Watch is preparing a China Internet Censorship Code of Conduct for US firms supporting Chinese censorship.

“One of our concerns is the degree to which the major international Internet companies have become complicit in this censorship of the Internet,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of New York-based Human Rights Watch, at a Tokyo news conference.

Hopefully, that policy will be finalized before China’s Internet censorship infrastructure.

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