Die Partei und das Volk im Netz

Der Economist bringt einen ausführlichen Bericht rund um die Frage, wie das Internet China verändert. Die Partei hat demnach das Online-Volk noch ganz gut unter Kontrolle, aber kommt inzwischen ganz schön ins Schwitzen:
“DO YOU know how serious a mistake you've made?” Yan Yuanzhang recalls an official asking him not long ago. Mr Yan had been summoned to Beijing's Internet Propaganda Management Office to talk about his websites. They were causing, he was told, the Communist Party to lose face. They were providing material that foreign media could use to attack China. They were illegal and must be closed down within 24 hours. “Farewell, worker comrades,” wrote Mr Yan in notices posted that day on his China-based websites, China Workers Net and Communist Net. Visitors could hear a lugubrious rendition of the communist anthem, the Internationale, through their computer speakers as they read. “Whether there is any hope of starting again, heaven knows.” He says now that he will relaunch one of the two sites on May 1st, this time on a server in Taiwan. It is remarkable that the websites lasted as long as they did. Mr Yan, who is not a party member, launched them on May 1st last year to mark Labour Day. The aim, he says, was to provide platforms for a “leftist” critique of China's embrace of “Dickensian capitalism”. They did not, as he tried to explain to the city government, attack the party itself or its leaders. But they did provide something the party abhors: uncensored news about worker unrest. In September he launched a bulletin board on which visitors could directly post their comments. Messages complained about corruption, the privatisation of state-owned enterprises and the hardships of unemployed workers. ... Blogs make the censors' work all the more difficult. China's fast-growing legions of bloggers know they must avoid taboo keywords, including those programmed into the Chinese version of MSN Spaces. If you enter any of those, the postings will not be shown or your attempt to set up a blog will be denied. But, as China's internet companies engage in fierce competition to draw blog traffic to their portals, few checks seem to be made about who is writing them. A blog can easily and quickly be set up on a Chinese portal, and no one asks for verifiable personal information. Bloggers often display postings that would make party censors shudder. Mr Tan, the student who used to run the Revolutionary Marxism website, has a blog on MSN Spaces that keeps up his campaign for workers' rights despite the demise of his own site and continued harassment by officials. Human intervention is no less fallible than the firewall. In the middle of the huge open-plan newsroom of Sina Corporation in north-western Beijing, a score of censors sit in front of their screens. They are young employees whose job is to examine thousands of blogs and comments posted by internet-users on Sina's news items. It is a round-the-clock task, designed to find anything that could have got through the filters and might still offend the authorities. Direct attacks on the party, its leaders or on the political system rarely get through (or at least, not for long). But that still allows room for far more vigorous debate on a range of social and economic issues than China has enjoyed before under Communist rule. According to Qian Hualin of the government-affiliated China Internet Network Information Centre, Chinese service-providers report that some 70% of their bandwidth is taken up with pirated music and films. That still leaves lots of room for discourse.


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