I used to sit on the 21st floor. Now I am retired

Thursday, March 09, 2006

They don't want democracy, all they want is naked women...


One tame article and one good analysis. Bad news first.

NY Times has commented on the freedom of the internet in China. Although the saga looks Huxleian (The writer suggests that Chinese seem addicted to sex and soma), the examples chosen to highlight the wild scams are:

"¶A look-alike Web site pretending to be part of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China asks visitors to enter their account passwords.

¶A Web site that calls itself Honest Company specializes in deception — selling bugging devices, machines to produce fake credit cards and tools that rig casino slot machines.

¶A pornographic Web site asks people to pay $2 a month to download sex videos and chat with other online customers in the nude.

¶A Web site advertises the sale of gamma hydroxybutyrate, a drug that acts as a relaxant and is thought to reduce inhibitions. Sometimes called a "date rape" drug, it is sold on the Web in China with instructions about how to use it to assault women."

Pretty common and familiar, no? Same as in neo-con US, new-Labour UK or for that matter, our own country. I checked out the New China News Agency site, and didn't find evidence of soft porn photographs of Gong Li and Zhou Xun that the article promised. Whatever I could see is similar to the Tabloid of India, HT, rediff etc. (okay, I take back my previous statement; these pics are porn).

In fact, the entire report seems anecdotal and withough any true insight. What's worse is the you-know-these-Chinese tone - they don't want democracy, but want to look at naked women and make money in scams.

I wish they would have dug deeper. I am sure there are stories waiting to be told of censorship against select websites and people. Currently, it looks pretty tame to me.

So that was tame, however, this is interesting. I am borrowing from the author's themselves:
"The authors conclude (1) that the Chinese government maintains an active interest in preventing users from viewing certain web content, both sexually explicit and non-sexually explicit; (2) that it has managed to configure overlapping nationwide systems to effectively -- if at times irregularly -- block such content from users who do not regularly seek to circumvent such blocking; and (3) that such blocking systems are becoming more refined even as they are likely more labor- and technology-intensive to maintain than cruder predecessors."

I also found out that while Playboy and Penthouse were banned, Hustler wasn't for educational reasons. For similar reasons, MIT, Columbia and Caltech were banned. And yes, Deep Impact (the movie) was subversive and blocked.

A good piece of analysis. Real work. The question I have is, considering the fact that this has been in public domain for long, why does NYT have to be so tame about its reports?


Blogger neha vish said...

Hhmm. I wonder if there is a connection somewhere between censoring explicit material/ pornography and political censorship. Probably both stem from the state assuming some sort of Nanny like behaviour? Moral superiority. Something to think abt.. hhmm..

Thursday, March 09, 2006 6:34:00 AM

Blogger dhoomketu said...

This seems like a case where the relationship is actually inverse, right? Let them have porn, as long as they don't ask for political rights.

Thursday, March 09, 2006 10:46:00 AM


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