Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

Chinese Microblogging to Be Censored, No Shit

Posted by w_thames_the_d on September 8, 2010


Excerpt:
Chinese authorities have just announced that microblogging websites – sites offering Twitter-style services – will be told to appoint self-discipline commissioners to be responsible for censorship. In a parallel development, new rules took effect on 1 September. Now anyone wanting to buy a mobile phone that uses prepaid SIM cards will have to produce identity papers while anyone already owning such a phone will have three years to register their ownership.

China’s censors are giving themselves an additional layer of control, Reporters Without Borders said. The Great Firewall of China is getting human reinforcements to boost its effectiveness. But if they are held to strict performance criteria, it seems these commissioners are being assigned an impossible mission, given the volume of information circulating online for which they will be responsible.

The press freedom organisation added: Nonetheless, their very existence will be dangerous because of their nuisance value and because they could encourage microbloggers to censor themselves. Meanwhile, under the pretext of combating spam, a new blow has been dealt to the personal data of China’s mobile phone users.

The microblogging platforms will themselves have to hire the commissioners whose job it will be to monitor and censor anything that could threaten China’s security and social stability. They are supposed to target content linked to illegal activities, pornography and violence, as well as baseless rumours and politically sensitive issues. Although hired by the site, each commissioner will be responsible for its content and will be operationally independent.

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