China fürchtet Smartmobs

Rebecca MacKinnon glaubt die wahren Hintergründe der neuen Internet-Zensurauflagen Pekings durchschaut zu haben:
China's latest efforts to control online news are being sold to the Chinese public by the Chinese media as an effort to protect innocent citizens from swindlers, pornographers, and rumor-mongerers. But everybody in China I've been communicating with over the past 12 hours thinks the real reason has to do with fear of the kind of thing depicted in the picture on the above right: smartmobs. This picture was taken by a blogger during the anti-Japanese protests (which occasionally turned into riots) last spring. The protests sprang up in true smartmob-fashion, mobilized by people on internet bulletin boards, mobile phone text messaging (SMS) and e-mail. In case this interpretation is in any doubt, the expat blogger Danwei points out an interesting factoid: "Today, The Beijing News dutifully reports on new regulations to control the internet, saying that the incitement of demonstrations on websites will now be banned. Juxtaposed with the story, however, is an admiring photograph depicting the thousands of anti-war protestors gathered in Washington on Sunday. We like to think that the irony was conscious." Admiring? Or terrified? Clearly the authorities are connecting the need to prevent political protests and spontaneous activism with the need to tighten controls over online information. ... If you go through the original Chinese text of the regulations released this weekend, you'll find them to be an update of regulations released in 2000 As Sophie of China Digital Times points out, the number of forbidden content-categories has been expanded from 9 to 11, and all of those new categories relate to people's ability to organize online. Reporters without Borders and Roland of the EastSouthWestNorth blog have English translations of those points.


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