Read an article from Yahoo’s internet section regarding China’s censorship of websites for the duration of the olympic season. China’s internet law includes even foreign journalists, teams and even tourists… they would all find it a little hard to open what once was just accessible sites.
OpenNet Initiatives published a study on China’s internet censorship law based on the 2004-2005 period. While access was restricted to basically blocking topics that are political by nature, sensitive and controversial, it has evolved to include many other topics a little less trivial.
“China’s Internet filtering regime is the most sophisticated effort of its kind in the world. Compared to similar efforts in other states, China’s filtering regime is pervasive, sophisticated, and effective. It comprises multiple levels of legal regulation and technical control. It involves numerous state agencies and thousands of public and private personnel. It censors content transmitted through multiple methods, including Web pages, Web logs, on-line discussion forums, university bulletin board systems, and e-mail messages. Our testing found efforts to prevent access to a wide range of sensitive materials, from pornography to religious material to political dissent. Chinese citizens seeking access to Web sites containing content related to Taiwanese and Tibetan independence, Falun Gong, the Dalai Lama, the Tiananmen Square incident, opposition political parties, or a variety of anti-Communist movements will frequently find themselves blocked. While it is difficult to describe this widespread filtering with precision, our research documents a system that imposes strong controls on its citizens’ ability to view Internet content. ” – from OpenNet
What I am curious of right now is how this will all work with a worldwide media event. Traditional media is one thing, the blogging media is another. Tourist flocking the games will surely be a little frustrated that they may be restricted to visit their own blogs to post their time in China. That is, IF their blogs have phrases or keywords that the Chinese government deem as “controversial”.
I would be interested to find out the impact to the blogging world. I would probably venture a “free the blogs” campaign in the offing? Who knows, it is likely to happen.
You can see more info on China’s internet policy here, here and here.