How Much Do the Chinese Know About Tibet?

Individuals working or volunteering with state agencies patrol emails and blog posts. Search engines such as Google and Yahoo have agreed with the government to calibrate their search engines to comply with the country's filtering. Chinese search engines such as Baidu, China's most popular search engine, also comply.

Of China's estimated 210 million internet users, most log online at public computers or Internet cafes, known as "wang ba." These wang ba are required to record individuals' official identification and file their customers' online activities for 60 days.

If a user tries to access inappropriate Web sites, the wang ba is supposed to disconnect the user and file a report with a state agency. If a violator is found, punishment can include fines and, reportedly, imprisonment. Given the huge number of users, however, this practice is not always enforced.

Circumventing Censorship

Savvy Internet users can circumvent Beijing's blockage with proxy servers such as the German proxy Anonymouse to access the unreachable Web sites.

However, as the tension in Tibet has escalated, the proxies have also become unavailable.

Moriarty explained, "It appeared that all of the usual proxies were also shut down, even in the case of people who are very Internet savvy. In the worst of it, I was unable to access my emails."

Some foreign Web sites are finding their way around the blockage. Wired's Threat Level blog has posted videos of the violence in Tibet as a way to circumvent the government blocks.

China Digital Times, based out of Berkeley, Calif., posted a rotating slideshow of events in Tibet as they have unfolded over the past week.

Individuals have attempted to skip the censors by emailing links and text. Few have been successful.

"My friend in Chengdu [Sichuan Province] sent me a link with news and photos from a Tibet-related event there. The link was blocked," Liu explained.

As the situation in Tibet continues, censorship seems to be lifting. On Chinese language sites, the situation is returning to normal.

"Today on Yahoo, it seems that things are back to normal. It can be seen that there has been a change in the policy," said Liu.

As the censors have been lifted, the censorship problem does not go away. With the Olympics quickly approaching, many wonder if controls will continue to tighten, despite the public nature of the Games.

"The timing of this — before the Olympics, on the anniversary of 1959 uprisings in Tibet, and during [Central Communist Party] legislative meetings in Beijing – has probably also influenced the intensity," Liu told ABC News.

"I personally think this is not a simple problem," Liu said.

Wing, who has been living in Beijing for over two years, is troubled by how information is so easily influenced by government censors.

"It's frustrating that no one throughout the world knows what is going on. But it's more frustrating that, since I live in China, I know even less."

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