# China Wants Only 'Healthy' News on Web

• News
Rabid
BEIJING - China said Sunday it is imposing new regulations to control content on its news Web sites and will allow the posting of only "healthy and civilized" news.

The move is part of China's ongoing efforts to police the country's 100-million Internet population. Only the United States, with 135 million users, has more.

The new rules take effect immediately and will "standardize the management of news and information" in the country, the official Xinhua News Agency said Sunday.

Sites should only post news on current events and politics, according to the new regulations issued by the Ministry of Information Industry and China's cabinet, the State Council. The subjects that would be acceptable under those categories was not clear.

Only "healthy and civilized news and information that is beneficial to the improvement of the quality of the nation, beneficial to its economic development and conducive to social progress" will be allowed, Xinhua said.

"The sites are prohibited from spreading news and information that goes against state security and public interest," it added.

While the communist government encourages Internet use for education and business, it also blocks material it deems subversive or pornographic. Online dissidents who post items critical of the government, or those expressing opinions in chatrooms, are regularly arrested and charged under vaguely worded state security laws.

Earlier this month, a French media watchdog group said e-mail account information provided by Internet powerhouse Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO - news) helped lead to the conviction and 10-year prison sentence of a Chinese journalist who had written about media restrictions in an e-mail.

As part of the wider effort to curb potential dissent, the government has also closed thousands of cybercafes — the main entry to the Web for many Chinese unable to afford a computer at home.

Authorities in Shanghai have installed surveillance cameras and begun requiring visitors to Internet cafes to register with their official identity cards.

The government also recently threatened to shut down unregistered Web sites and blogs, the online diaries in which users post their thoughts for others to read.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050925/ap_on_hi_te/china_internet%3b_ylt=AtQgJweFHwXBM9SogVHHdZSs0NUE%3b_ylu=X3oDMTA3cjE0b2MwBHNlYwM3Mzg- [Broken]

Last edited by a moderator:

Gold Member
I don't see how anyone else could control 1+ Billion people on such a short piece of land. The democracy won't work in China - not today, not ever. Unless they all die down to 20 million people.

Mentor
Huh? Democracy is not autocratic: control is neither desired nor required.

Gold Member
Any form of government is about control - the body of laws and regulations that prohibit their citizens to a certain degree to overthrow such government. In the republic of the United States we can't overthrow the government. The words "that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government" have no real meaning today. The only meaning it has is when you don't feel like being part of a colony, but once you are a citizen of the destructive government there is pretty much nothing you can do about it

Mentor
Wow. Just wow.

Gold Member
Yes.. yes.. let the anger flow

Smurf
anyone going to post a reply that's actually about... oh, I don't know... China?

Staff Emeritus
They have a great wall!

I did hear that Yahoo was cooperating with Chinese authorities.

Apparently, only the large internet companies will be allowed to provide content on the internet, i.e. absolutely no "free expression", particluarly expression which is critical of the government.

Business is business, and it appears the foreign businesses will happily cooperate with the Chinese government, even if it means discouraging dissent.

Last edited:
Smurf
Astronuc said:
Business is business, and it appears the foreign businesses will happily cooperate with the Chinese government, even if it means discouraging dissent.
saw that coming...

motai
Lets throw a cultural wrench into the works...

Suppose that a Western visitor were to visit a Chinese internet cafe and sent a few emails back to his/her colleagues regarding the nature of the Communist government that he saw there (be it good or bad). Would this Westerner be arrested under the same pretexts as others, even though he/she grew up with the principles of free speech?

I'm thinking it would happen, probably the same principle as if a Western journalist would come to China and publish an article in a Chinese newspaper about negative aspects of Communism... would almost certainly be arrested there.

Staff Emeritus
Smurf said:
saw that coming...
One of the managers in the previous company in which I worked was fond of saying "Business is not a democracy", and that used to be an employee owned company.

I later found out that the two principal owners (who became co-presidents, if you can believe that) were doing some inappropriate things with the finances of the company. Unfortunately, I found out when the company was in a nose-dive, and I lost quite a bit of my equity - despite being told by the VP and treasurer that my 'money' was secure.

motai said:
Suppose that a Western visitor were to visit a Chinese internet cafe and sent a few emails back to his/her colleagues regarding the nature of the Communist government that he saw there (be it good or bad). Would this Westerner be arrested under the same pretexts as others, even though he/she grew up with the principles of free speech?
Based on my friends and colleagues who have visited China, someone who is openly critical of the government will likely be detained and escorted from the country.

I guess I have to go to China now.

sid_galt
Astronuc said:
and it appears the foreign businesses will happily cooperate with the Chinese government, even if it means discouraging dissent.

Not surprising. Foreign companies like IBM did the same with Germany when Hitler was in power.

Burnsys
sid_galt said:
Not surprising. Foreign companies like IBM did the same with Germany when Hitler was in power.

I was going to say that! They gave the nazis the perfored cards system to make a database of all the jew.

I wonder if IBM has ben punished for that..

Polly
Rabid said:
BEIJING - China said Sunday it is imposing new regulations to control content on its news Web sites and will allow the posting of only "healthy and civilized" news.

The move is part of China's ongoing efforts to police the country's 100-million Internet population. Only the United States, with 135 million users, has more.

The new rules take effect immediately and will "standardize the management of news and information" in the country, the official Xinhua News Agency said Sunday.

Sites should only post news on current events and politics, according to the new regulations issued by the Ministry of Information Industry and China's cabinet, the State Council. The subjects that would be acceptable under those categories was not clear.

Only "healthy and civilized news and information that is beneficial to the improvement of the quality of the nation, beneficial to its economic development and conducive to social progress" will be allowed, Xinhua said.

"The sites are prohibited from spreading news and information that goes against state security and public interest," it added.

While the communist government encourages Internet use for education and business, it also blocks material it deems subversive or pornographic. Online dissidents who post items critical of the government, or those expressing opinions in chatrooms, are regularly arrested and charged under vaguely worded state security laws.

Earlier this month, a French media watchdog group said e-mail account information provided by Internet powerhouse Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO - news) helped lead to the conviction and 10-year prison sentence of a Chinese journalist who had written about media restrictions in an e-mail.

As part of the wider effort to curb potential dissent, the government has also closed thousands of cybercafes — the main entry to the Web for many Chinese unable to afford a computer at home.

Authorities in Shanghai have installed surveillance cameras and begun requiring visitors to Internet cafes to register with their official identity cards.

The government also recently threatened to shut down unregistered Web sites and blogs, the online diaries in which users post their thoughts for others to read.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050925/ap_on_hi_te/china_internet%3b_ylt=AtQgJweFHwXBM9SogVHHdZSs0NUE%3b_ylu=X3oDMTA3cjE0b2MwBHNlYwM3Mzg- [Broken]

A more balanced view, and certainly one closer to my heart, is found here.

http://www.zonaeuropa.com/20050622_1.htm

Last edited by a moderator:
Polly
Astronuc said:
I did hear that Yahoo was cooperating with Chinese authorities.

Apparently, only the large internet companies will be allowed to provide content on the internet, i.e. absolutely no "free expression", particluarly expression which is critical of the government.

Business is business, and it appears the foreign businesses will happily cooperate with the Chinese government, even if it means discouraging dissent.

http://www.zonaeuropa.com/20050908_2.htm

sid_galt
Polly said:
A more balanced view, and certainly one closer to my heart, is found here.

http://www.zonaeuropa.com/20050622_1.htm

I understand that the article is saying the pornography should be censored by the Chinese government?

Censorship by government no matter in what form is a violation of the rights of the citizens.
Just because some or the majority of the people do not like pornography does not mean that they have a right to deny it to the minority (Personally, I hate porn).

Children are a different case since they are mostly not mature enough to make decisions for themselves. But in no way should this mean that just because web sites cannot prevent children from lying, they should be censored.

deckart
Interesting, some of the same people that say we should get out of Iraq, complain about how the rights of the Chinese are being denied. I say we stay the hell out of their business. Let them run the country the way they see fit.

The truth is, some people just like to complain about any powers that be. It's rebelion in the most adolescent sense.

edward
And few complain about the fact that China now produces most of the consumer goods sold in the USA.

deckart
I've just received the first batch of replica hydraulic valves we are now having made in China. This same valve we can get here in the US for $450 ea we now get for less than$50 ea. And they are loving our business.

edward
deckart said:
I've just received the first batch of replica hydraulic valves we are now having made in China. This same valve we can get here in the US for $450 ea we now get for less than$50 ea. And they are loving our business.

But will they survive without porno??

motai said:
Lets throw a cultural wrench into the works...

Suppose that a Western visitor were to visit a Chinese internet cafe and sent a few emails back to his/her colleagues regarding the nature of the Communist government that he saw there (be it good or bad). Would this Westerner be arrested under the same pretexts as others, even though he/she grew up with the principles of free speech?

I'm thinking it would happen, probably the same principle as if a Western journalist would come to China and publish an article in a Chinese newspaper about negative aspects of Communism... would almost certainly be arrested there.
I read a similar article about this a few months ago, I think about June. Then in late July, I actually went to China (Beijing, Xian, and Shanghai), so what do I do, I decide to test it.
On another forum, I posted a message with a bunch of words that might be thought of less then favorably by the Chinese government, and waited to see what would happen. Nothing.
Now given, I was a Western Tourist using an internet connection in a Western Hotel Chain's hotel, and it isn't like I expected commi storm troopers to knock down the door, but still I was somewhat disapointed.
Next to the ethernet cable that "pipes" in the internet connection into the room, there is a sign,
"Please be respectful of the laws and regulations of the government of the Peoples Republic of China".

While in Xian, I walked by a run-down looking internet cafe that caters to the native Chinese people, not western tourists, and I suspect a slightly different responce if the same thing was done in there.

Polly
deckart said:
I say we stay the hell out of their business. Let them run the country the way they see fit.

Aye Aye

I'd also say those who champion "LIBERTY" can start showing their conviction to the rest of the world by respecting our liberty to run our business.

Burnsys
edward said:
But will they survive without porno??

You know.. Porno make them lazy, and don't let them focus on their jobs (Making valves for \$0.5 an hour)

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
deckart said:
Interesting, some of the same people that say we should get out of Iraq, complain about how the rights of the Chinese are being denied. I say we stay the hell out of their business. Let them run the country the way they see fit.

Although I agree with you to some extend that the Chinese do whatever they like in their country, I do think that *peaceful* means of pressure towards a freer society is always good to take. The problem I have with the dictatorial attitude of the chinese gouvernment is more on the long term, when they will be the world's superpower. As long as they keep that attitude only within China, I'd say it is the Chinese's business to decide whether they accept that or not. From the moment they start "exporting" their views, I'd be against it, but it might be too late.

However, I can up to a point understand the attitude of the Chinese gouvernment: China's living an economic boom which will boost them in a few decenies from a develloping country to an economic (and military ?) superpower, and it is probably in the Chinese people's best interest in the long term that they keep it going that way, and not let (for the moment) government critique, ideas of liberty etc...get in their way. The goal is to produce valves at 1/9th the price for the US and the rest of the world, because it will pay off in a few years time when they will be masters of the world. But will WE ruled one day that way too ?

deckart
The way I see it, the world of trade is getting smaller and balancing out. American wages will diminish in order to compete with over-seas wages for work they can do just the same. And, I don't have a problem with that. It's inevitable regardless of who the president is. It is the economic trend. The only way for America to compete economically in the working class sector is to remain "smarter" and more creative. IMO, of course.

Polly
vanesch said:
Although I agree with you to some extend that the Chinese do whatever they like in their country, I do think that *peaceful* means of pressure towards a freer society is always good to take. The problem I have with the dictatorial attitude of the chinese gouvernment is more on the long term, when they will be the world's superpower. As long as they keep that attitude only within China, I'd say it is the Chinese's business to decide whether they accept that or not. From the moment they start "exporting" their views, I'd be against it, but it might be too late.

However, I can up to a point understand the attitude of the Chinese gouvernment: China's living an economic boom which will boost them in a few decenies from a develloping country to an economic (and military ?) superpower, and it is probably in the Chinese people's best interest in the long term that they keep it going that way, and not let (for the moment) government critique, ideas of liberty etc...get in their way. The goal is to produce valves at 1/9th the price for the US and the rest of the world, because it will pay off in a few years time when they will be masters of the world. But will WE ruled one day that way too ?

What I am going to say is going to make me quite unpopular, but I have long looked at "Liberty" with leery eyes. It seems to be the single one notion in the West of unquestionable, and often unquestioned, sanctity that is to be, or ought to be pursued universally by all mankind. BUT WHY? WHY liberty? Is there no other virtues equally worthy as a goal for human pursuit? How about FRATERNITY? How about TRUTH? How about RATIONALITY? How about conservation and frugality? How about self-discipline and self-control? How about diligence and hard work? How about the willingness to sacrifice oneself for the common good? How about patience and restraint? Kindly indulge me here, but given what we know about the social development of the champion country of liberty, I wonder if it is not just a license for its people to free fall with natural human propensity and be wantonly self-indulgent and self-complacent.

Turning back to the misgiving about China exporting its value to others in the future, I'd say let's worry about what we are being force fed now, as we speak.

Edit: China exporting its value? My answer to that? In all honesty? It is too smart for that :tongue: .

Last edited:
sid_galt
Polly said:
WHY liberty?

Because Liberty is necessary to live a life. The life of a human being, not the life of a slave.

Polly
sid_galt said:
Because Liberty is necessary to live a life. The life of a human being, not the life of a slave.

sid_galt, I respect your remark and I know where you are coming from. Ask any sufficiently educated Chinese and he will tell you liberty cannot be achieved from without. Looking within oneself is the only way one can be freed from all the conditionality (in buddhism lingo) or conditioning (in psychology lingo) from the outside world and the self.

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Polly said:
BUT WHY? WHY liberty? Is there no other virtues equally worthy as a goal for human pursuit? How about FRATERNITY? How about TRUTH? How about RATIONALITY? How about conservation and frugality? How about self-discipline and self-control? How about diligence and hard work? How about the willingness to sacrifice oneself for the common good? How about patience and restraint?

I (partly) agree with you here, in that liberty shouldn't be a value above all others. In fact, personally, I find happiness and truth more important. But in order to achieve them, you need some form of liberty. For instance, I find the liberty to be able to critique authority quite fundamental, much more so than "liberty of action". So, no, liberty is not - in my eyes - sacrosaint if it goes at the cost of other values ; but it is sometimes part of them.

Townsend
Polly said:
What I am going to say is going to make me quite unpopular, but I have long looked at "Liberty" with leery eyes. It seems to be the single one notion in the West of unquestionable, and often unquestioned, sanctity that is to be, or ought to be pursued universally by all mankind. BUT WHY? WHY liberty? Is there no other virtues equally worthy as a goal for human pursuit? How about FRATERNITY? How about TRUTH? How about RATIONALITY? How about conservation and frugality? How about self-discipline and self-control? How about diligence and hard work? How about the willingness to sacrifice oneself for the common good? How about patience and restraint? Kindly indulge me here, but given what we know about the social development of the champion country of liberty, I wonder if it is not just a license for its people to free fall with natural human propensity and be wantonly self-indulgent and self-complacent.

Because Liberty means you are allowed to pursue the life you choose...nobody has to agree with anyone. Everyone is free to be as screwed up as they want to be or as perfect as they want to be. Why should anyone HAVE to live a life they don't want to live? Happiness is NOT universal! I might be happy in a cardboard box or in a 4000 sqft mansion. If I want to live like a socialist I am also free to do that. They have socialist colonies for people who agree with that life style...

People come in every flavor and it is not fair to make everyone live the same life. The only way to be fair to everyone is to give them all the liberty to choose their own lives. To be happy or to be sad...to live and to die...

Don't assume that what you value is what someone else values. If you accept that some people see the world differently then taking away liberty is equal to enslaving people.

So yeah...I pretty much think your philosophy is about the most inhuman and cruel one there is.

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Townsend said:
Because Liberty means you are allowed to pursue the life you choose...nobody has to agree with anyone. Everyone is free to be as screwed up as they want to be or as perfect as they want to be. Why should anyone HAVE to live a life they don't want to live? Happiness is NOT universal! I might be happy in a cardboard box or in a 4000 sqft mansion. If I want to live like a socialist I am also free to do that.

Here you are in fact agreeing with me that liberty is not a GOAL but a MEANS (amongst others) and that the true GOAL is happiness, no ?
BTW (I hope I made that clear) I think that a good dose of liberty is necessary in order for people to be happy (it's just part of people's nature ; if we would have been ants, things would be different :-). But I agree with Polly that putting liberty above everything, even if this means severely violating other values, one should have a discussion. Because it is not possible to have EVERYBODY happy. Some will always be disgruntled. So the question is if it is better to have the altruists disgruntled, or the egoist pigs disgruntled :-) Maybe a good mix of values that makes most people happy is the good solution. This mix can even change over the course of time.
For instance, if 90% of the population is starving, I think they care less about liberty than about food. And - this was one of the fundamental mistakes the US made in Iraq - if liberty must go against national pride, things also depend on how these values are perceived.

Imagine that I live under an enlightened dictator, where I have not the slightest bit of actual liberty of action. However, the dictator is SO enlightened that he can GUESS what I really would like to do this day, so every morning, he sends in 20 soldiers with guns, who oblige me to do EXACTLY what I wanted to do. But no way of discussing !
ORDER FROM THE GREAT LEADER: TODAY YOU ARE GOING TO CHAT ON PHYSICS FORUMS ;-)
(and that was exactly what I thought I wanted to do).

Is it so terrible to live in such a dictatorship ?

sid_galt
vanesch said:
But I agree with Polly that putting liberty above everything, even if this means severely violating other values, one should have a discussion.

Liberty is a supreme value necessary for life as a human being. Without it no other values are possible. Tell me how can you have values when you don't have a life?

vanesch said:
So the question is if it is better to have the altruists disgruntled, or the egoist pigs disgruntled :-)

1. You don't decide who is happy or not. Barring natural disasters or circumstances out of one's control(e.g. dictatorship), it is person's choice which decides whether he'll be happy or not.

2. Others may not share your philosophy of altruism as good and egoism as evil.

vanesch said:
Imagine that I live under an enlightened dictator, where I have not the slightest bit of actual liberty of action. However, the dictator is SO enlightened that he can GUESS what I really would like to do this day, so every morning, he sends in 20 soldiers with guns, who oblige me to do EXACTLY what I wanted to do. But no way of discussing !
ORDER FROM THE GREAT LEADER: TODAY YOU ARE GOING TO CHAT ON PHYSICS FORUMS ;-)
(and that was exactly what I thought I wanted to do).

This doesn't make any sense.

vanesch said:
Is it so terrible to live in such a dictatorship ?

Yup. If you think I'm wrong, try living in North Korea or Cuba.

Do you know that in the concentration camps of North Korea, they kill new born babies with the spurs on the soldiers boots? Or that they perform chemical experiments on entire families? Or that the people there live in near starvation conditions?
In China where people are jailed for uttering any thought which is not sanctioned by the Communist Party of China?
In Iran where a women is killed because she supposedly destroyed the family honor because a man raped her?

A dictatorship is based on the principle that a man has no rights. It can never be good.

After hundreds of millions of deaths, 2 millenia filled with blood, two world wars, I can't understand why people still think dictatorships aren't all that bad.

Townsend
vanesch said:
Imagine that I live under an enlightened dictator, where I have not the slightest bit of actual liberty of action. However, the dictator is SO enlightened that he can GUESS what I really would like to do this day, so every morning, he sends in 20 soldiers with guns, who oblige me to do EXACTLY what I wanted to do. But no way of discussing !
ORDER FROM THE GREAT LEADER: TODAY YOU ARE GOING TO CHAT ON PHYSICS FORUMS ;-)
(and that was exactly what I thought I wanted to do).

Is it so terrible to live in such a dictatorship ?

I suppose living under such conditions would be a pretty darn nice thing.

Anyhow...I have read about some slaveys that had very lavish opulent lifestyles because their owners were very caring. However, even these slaves wanted their freedom...Even if it meant losing everything they still wanted it.

The point is, if you want to live under the rule of a benevolent dictator you are in fact free to do so. Right here in America a group of people or even the entire nation can choose to live under the rule of one man who has some how been declared the Ruler. Some people in America might not like this so they are free to play by their own rules. If the majority of people listened to this dictator they could for all intents and purposes take over the government by voting in whomever the ruler tells them to vote in.

The thing of it is, is that when the people have liberty anything is possible. With any other system it would seem that all hope rest with a violent take over or a benevolent government. Historically it seems that benevolent governments are the least likely of the two.

Last edited:
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
sid_galt said:
Liberty is a supreme value necessary for life as a human being. Without it no other values are possible. Tell me how can you have values when you don't have a life?

I think that many of our "liberties" are very illusional. We are "free" to make about the one single rational decision that is imposed upon us by extenal circumstances. For instance, I cannot freely decide not to go to work. Well, *in principle* I can of course, but then I'll get troubles with my employer, I'll be out of a job, my family will have a problem etc... So MOST things you do are simply because you HAVE to do them (even though you can *in principle* choose). So in a way I'm used not to be very free in my actions. But that doesn't matter much. What matters more is if the things I am supposed to do make me reasonably happy or not. They mostly do, in fact.

Now don't get me wrong, I do think that some freedom is indeed necessary for a human being to be happy. I think, for instance, that the freedom of expression is extremely important. But it is not the single one absolute value to which everything should be sacrificed.
It is exactly the same as with raising children. You don't let your kids totally free. You let them have some freedom, but when you see that it goes against their obvious interest, you withdraw their freedom (say, to jump from the 8th floor). That doesn't mean that they are unhappy. So I can very well live with not being totally free (which I'm not, in any case) if that brings in happiness in another way.

The reason to be against dictatorships is not that their subjects have no freedom, it is that usually dictatorships are cruel and that it is in the nature of human beings to abuse the power they have. But compare this to the business world. If you have a *good* CEO, with good managers, it is fun working in such a company. Even though you are NOT free, and even though the boss is not choosen democratically.

sid_galt
vanesch said:
I think that many of our "liberties" are very illusional. We are "free" to make about the one single rational decision that is imposed upon us by extenal circumstances.

There is only one liberty. The right to one's own life which is not illusional.

For instance, I cannot freely decide not to go to work. Well, *in principle* I can of course, but then I'll get troubles with my employer, I'll be out of a job, my family will have a problem etc...

you can't eat your cake and have it too. You are free to do anything you want with your own life. You are not "free" to do what you want with others. If you were, then that would not be freedom.

So MOST things you do are simply because you HAVE to do them (even though you can *in principle* choose).
You can choose in principle and in practice. And I don't do anything because I have to do it. I do it only if it makes me happier. For instance, do you come to physicsforums or engage in leisure activities because you have to do it or because you enjoy it?

So in a way I'm used not to be very free in my actions. But that doesn't matter much. What matters more is if the things I am supposed to do make me reasonably happy or not. They mostly do, in fact.

Now if most of the things made you sad and depressed would you do them? You would not. So you have freedom in principle and in practice.

But it is not the single one absolute value to which everything should be sacrificed.

Freedom is a prerequisite to a life. Then without freedom, how can other values even exist?

It is exactly the same as with raising children. You don't let your kids totally free.
Kids are different. They are by nature not mature enough to make decisions for themselves. Adults on the other hand do have the capability to make decisions for themselves.

The reason to be against dictatorships is not that their subjects have no freedom, it is that usually dictatorships are cruel and that it is in the nature of human beings to abuse the power they have. But compare this to the business world.

As I said before, a dictatorship is based on the concept that a man has no rights. It is therefore inherently immoral.

If you have a *good* CEO, with good managers, it is fun working in such a company. Even though you are NOT free, and even though the boss is not choosen democratically.

I hope you are not comparing CEOs and dictators. Because you see, CEOs cannot force you to do anything - they cannot violate your rights without the collaboration of the govt. Dictators can and do.