Tighter Control over Computer Information Systems in Guangdong

Guangzhou

A new legislation will give local authorities in Guangdong  Province more power to control the use of computer information systems during the outbreak of an incident.  It will also prevent the leaking of news from endangering national security, public safety and social stability.  The new amendment to the “Provincial Computer Information Systems Security Protection Regulations” will allow local police and officials in charge of national security to shut down the operations of Internet services, backup systems and computer workstations for up to 24 hours.  This new legislation, passed last Thursday, will also put in place a new classification system.  Under this system, all information networks in Guangdong Province will be grouped under five categories to determine the extent to which this new legislation will apply.

A reporter from Radio Free Asian’s Cantonese Service attempted to contact the Guangdong Provincial Public Security Department for further information.  However, a spokes person from the Department declined to give more details about the content of the new regulations or to comment on when the new regulations will come into effect.

The new legislation serves a different function to the Golden Shield Project, or better known as the Great Firewall of China.  The Great Firewall is set up to censor incoming information.  This legislation, however, as described by Wang Qi from 64tianwang.com, is designed to block the dissemination of news, particularly those in relation to social unrest. Blocking news about social unrest is seen as a crucial step in suppressing the fast spreading Rights Defending (weiquan) Movements in that province.

Guangdong Province seems to be a hotbed for Rights Defending Movements in the past two years.  Disputes over land confiscation and work condition had resulted in numerous cases of strikes, demonstrations and road blockages.  Local mass media will sometimes refrain from reporting these incidents due to pressure from the Government.  However, in most cases news and photographs still found their ways to the World Wide Web.  Once on the Web, the information will usually be picked up by overseas broadcasters.

Many commentators, including Wang Qi and human rights activist Hu Jia, have expressed their grave concerns about this practice of shutting down computer networks as a way to stop news from spreading.  The SARS outbreak in 2002 – 2003 had been exacerbated to a pandemic due to the Chinese Government’s attempt to cover up news about the spreading of the illness.  The pandemic resulted in more than 8,000 known cases of infection and over 700 deaths worldwide.

Information for this post is taken from these two sources:

RFA Cantonese Service – 广东通过法例加强控制互联网
RFA Mandarin Service – 讨论:发生重大突发事件时,广东可以掐断互联网联网

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9 Responses to Tighter Control over Computer Information Systems in Guangdong

  1. HKSojourner says:

    An excellent article on the Great Firewall in today’s Guardian by Jonathan Watts:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2008/feb/09/internet.china

  2. Ned Kelly says:

    Thanks for that, Sojourner. I think thx0u9ohjpdhjdkhtthhtbbrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr~!

    (Pause)

    Hello, it is not convenient for Ned to talk, maybe he is not interested in politics. Do you like Chinese food?

    Sincerely yours,
    The Monitor

  3. HKSojourner says:

    Methinks Ned is “tired and emotional”.

  4. C.A. Yeung says:

    HKSojourner,

    Thanks for the link. It’s a great article.

    Just on something slightly off-topic: did you read the news about the British Olympic Committee forcing UK athletes to sign a contract promising not to speak out about China’s appalling human rights record – or face being banned from travelling to Beijing? The report at the Daily Mail has attracted almost 100 comments. Most readers are horrified by the act of the BOC. Here is the link to the Daily Mail article. You may want to check it out. Thanks to Nanheyangrouchuan for the tips:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=513362&in_page_id=1770&in_page_id=1770

  5. HKSojourner says:

    Thanks, Catherine. The Guardian had a piece on the controversy too:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/feb/11/china.olympicgames2008

    Apparently, the furore over the issue has generated some sober reassessment:

    “The British Olympic Association is to review its athletes’ contract for the Beijing Games after criticism of a clause which had prevented competitors from making political statements in China.

    The clause, which appeared to go beyond the requirements of the Olympic charter, will be softened although athletes who engage in overt political demonstrations or statements could still risk being sent home.”

    The dangers of being overly sensitive to the “cultural and social norms”, as the Mail article points out, couldn’t be better illustrated by the England football team giving a Seig Heil salute before a 1938 championship game in the Berlin Olympic Stadium.

  6. Ned Kelly says:

    Hey Sojourner,

    Yes I’m emotional. But “tired”? Surely you jest!

    (Now Ned the homeless wino exits the public library where he wrote this comment, and returns to his steam-grate somewhere in Manhattan during this cold winter while Ned is homeless in Manhattan – a steam-grate to which Ivan referred him, and Ivan pulled some strings with his CIA friends to get Ned a green card visa to America. Now Ned says):

    “Gimme more o’ that MD! MD 20/20! (That’s a brand of fortified wine, cf: http://www.bumwine.com/md2020.html) All I want, is my steam grate, and some o’ that EMMMMM DEEE! When I drink that shit, I see 20/400!”

    Ivan has advised me (as he knows I’m an oenophile) to stop drinking wine and to begin drinking “Uncle Tom’s Whisky”, which is 190 proof. (Credit for this joke – this joke I’m stealing about “Uncle Tom’s Whisky” belongs to the (mostly African-American, but partly White) American TV show, “In Living Color”, circa 1992).

    As I was saying. Ivan tells me I should give up drinking fine Australian wines and get into 190 proof “Uncle Tom’s Whisky”. When I asked him why, he said, “190 proof means 95 percent pure alcohol! That means you can get fucked up for less money!”

    I’m going to experiment with Ivan’s suggestion, maybe a few years from now after I get through this stash of Australian and French and Italian wines. (But no German wines, because as I’m partly Jewish, nothing German will ever taste good to me or my posterity for another 1,000 years.)

    Oh alright, maybe just one shot of Uncle Tom’s whisky….

    …(gulp….ten more gulps….)

    ….AGGH! Mister Bluebird’s on my shoulder! http://youtube.com/watch?v=LcxYwwIL5zQ AGGH! Cartoon demons are on my shoulders! Get ’em off me! IVAN! AGGHH, what the, AGGGGGHHHH!|

  7. HKSojourner says:

    Ned, you are evidently in the fine tradition of the 1960s British politician, George Brown:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tired_and_emotional

  8. Ned Kelly says:

    Sojourner, I’m an Aborigine. What do I know of your White man’s slang?

  9. HKSojourner says:

    Then just make sure after downing a few beveys you can walk a straight line along the Dreamlines.

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