» China: By Journalist’s Eyes – Freedom of Speech in China, Internet II
China: By Journalist’s Eyes – Freedom of Speech in China, Internet II
Profane language and pornography shouldn’t be on the Internet. We would certainly agree with that if only this wasn’t just a cover for endless clutch of the Chinese Internet censorship. Under the cover of a protection of national cultural heritage, and public interest and prosperity the Chinese government tries to hide its rough cleansing.
The State Council Information Office is the main instrument of censorship and it often justifies its activities by pointing out on its fight against pornography but few times it “slipped” and its speaker was more honest than he was supposed to. He claimed: „China has the right to punish its citizens who use the Internet to threaten the leading role of the Communist party as well as national unity. “
The Council acts exactly as he stated. Despite the fact number of Internet coffee houses has been regulated already for several years you can still find many of them there. Prepare yourself that you will be allowed to visit only chosen-permitted websites and you should also know that the owner of such coffee house paid some good money to the state even for this limited service. If he hadn’t, they would disconnect him from the Internet.
Runners of restaurants in the Czech Republicare afraid of fees imposed due to adolescents wanting alcohol and those who feel responsible want some ID from these greenhorns. The situation is much harder for Chinese who neither can sell alcohol beverages to adolescents nor let them use the Internet. Who doesn’t abide by this ruler and is caught has his/her restaurant closed and has to pay large fee.
Our youth can’t even imagine they wouldn’t be allowed to surf on the Internet in their free time. Teenage Chinese (i.e. Chinese up to 18 years of age) are ordered to do so. During the school year, i.e. from September to July, they can’t connect to the Internet, allegedly, to not waste precious time and be more cultural.
Of course there are many rebels who don’t abide by the law and risk. So there is another possibility of Internet connection – via smartphones. The Chinese love their smartphones. They don’t have to depend on coffee bars or restaurants since they connect via their phones. These types of connections to the Internet were more often then via computer last year.
What does the régime think about that? You want be connected to the Internet? Fine, but we have know everything about you. And, besides, we have there another law – everyone has to identify him/herself before he/she connects, there can’t be any virtual addresses or nicknames. You will write something we don’t like we will find you! Lets go on. The institutions of censorship have the right to delete from the Internet anything they find inappropriate.
So whole websites and webpages dissapear. If somewhere a blank screen with a sentence „According to the law the search results will not be displayed“ pops up, it is absolutely normal.
Internet connection providers have to inform the government about illegal web content and, particularly, „legitimize“ a culprit. The state will deal with him/her later. And, believe me, no one would like to be in a culprit’s place.
Text/photo: Andrea Fantová
The first ever Chinese word that I learned, and it still did not forget, is the "pi-jo". If you seem familiar, you are right - though vastly different languages, for favourite golden-coloured brew has phonetically very similar name as Czech and many other Slavic languages. Drinking beer is a hobby that is definitely common with the Chinese.
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The third day we devoured spell of western China and the knowledge that we have somewhere "behind" Tibet is our "ugly," said attractive. There, under the auspices of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, certainly can´t go, but Tibetan culture we meet at every step.
Our bus finally stops at the end of a long, dirt track, in which about an hour ago has changed as if by magic a modern six-lane highway. My worries we will finish up on the roof, fortunately not materialized, we drove past woods and gouged out before us, football pitch right and green has left. Everything was dominated by ground shabby, battered gray building - school.
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Photo: Amy Challen a Jan Lidmaňský