(Letter) China: Internet censorship tightened
First, it is unlikely now to publish any contribution on state-run or commercial websites in China once “sensitive words” are identified in your writing. Some blog-hosting sites practice self-censorship so strictly that I even couldn’t post a composition by a junior high school student.
Second, the highly controversial true-name registration system has actually been adopted by more websites in China. Recently when I tried to register with Tianya Community website, I was required to provide my mobile phone number, my ID card number or my true name to activate my account. Since in China all mobile phone users have already been demanded to register with true names, Tianya website is in fact imposing the controversial true-name registration system.
Third, some foreign websites, including those of Radio France International, have been blocked again after the Beijing Olympics drew to an end. Meanwhile, although other foreign websites remain approachable in China, some of their touchy contents are actually not accessible.
It seems to me that China has sent out contradictious signals regarding the online public opinion. On the one hand, the national leaders such as Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao stressed repeatedly that they need to hear the voice of the people; on the other hand, the authorities have continuously enhanced the surveillance of the Internet, which will definitely scare away some web users.
(by BI Yantao, China)
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