27 June 2010

Article: China: Our Internet is Free Enough

On 16 June 2010, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's "Technology Review" published on its website an article titled "China: Our Internet is Free Enough", written by Chief Correspondent David Talbot.

The full text of the article can be read free of charge here:


Excerpts: "China, with the most Internet users of any country in the world, has issued its first government whitepaper declaring an overall Internet strategy – one that advocates Internet growth while implicitly defending censorship policies amid global concern over online repression and China-based cyber espionage. 'I think this whitepaper is a statement that the Chinese Communist Party intends to stay in power, and also intends to expand Internet access, and be on the cutting edge of Internet innovation, and that there isn't any contradiction in any of those things,' says Rebecca MacKinnon, a China Internet expert who is a visiting fellow at Princeton University's Center for Information Technology Policy. [...]

"[T]he Beijing whitepaper makes a bold assertion: 'Chinese citizens fully enjoy freedom of speech on the Internet.' Left unstated is that Chinese Internet companies are under government pressure to self-censor, and do so very effectively on a slate of banned topics, including advocacy of democracy [...]. 'Frankly, I think China is Exhibit A for how authoritarianism will survive the Internet age,' MacKinnon says. 'I think Americans have this assumption that nondemocratic regimes can't survive the Internet, and I think that's naïve. The Chinese Communist Party fully intends to survive in the Internet age and has a strategy for doing so. So far, it's working.'"

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