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How China keeps protest news off the Internet

A paramilitary policeman participates in a national flag rising ceremony in Beijing, China.

The Chinese government has operated a vast system for Internet censorship for some time. It's a multi-tiered approach that the government is employing presently as protests against authoritarian regimes spread from country to country.

Big Western sites like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter have been blocked for years in China. But that's only part of the story. The government also censors or blocks usages of certain words, most recently "Egypt" or "Jasmine," referring to the Jasmine Revolution.

Brett Solomon from the digital freedom advocacy group Accessnow.org says the government also employs bloggers to pose as regular citizens and steer online conversation and thought toward a pro-government point of view.

Rebecca MacKinnon of the New America Foundation, co-founder of Global Voices Online, tells us there are plenty of ways for Chinese citizens to get around what she calls The Great Firewall of China, although few people bother.

Also in this program, the app Pocket Hipster. It's supposed to analyze and mock your existing music and then offer you suggestions for new artists you might like. But we can't get it to work. Is that part of the plan? Is it too hip to even function?

About the author

John Moe is the host of Marketplace Tech Report, where he provides an insightful overview of the latest tech news.
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Regarding the comment: "The West has a rather hideous history in China.", there may be an element of true in that statement. Please remember Mao Tse Tung, and the Cultural Revolution. Many starved, or died by the hand of the government. Oh, that I wish the powers to be there, are not in pursuit of more power. Please remember Tibet and Taiwan. China's interest in them ought to raise some eyebrows.

The Chinese are doing a lot right. They are fast-tracking their way to a highly educated, motivated population with a vastly better standard of living.

The West has a rather hideous history in China. It is very understandable that China sees their path to the future driven by a lack of internal conflict, and a blocking of outside interference.

The Chinese people are quite activist. There are tens of thousands of demonstrations a year inside China, and the Government is listening, and trying to take a course that will keep China strong and growing.

Western history continually illustrates that the interference they run overseas is very rarely in the best interests of the countries that receive these mostly unwelcome intrusions.

Chinese politicians will make some mistakes long the way, like Tiananmen Square. The martyrs who give their lives to insist that the Government hear the people more clearly should be revered.

But it seems to me that the moves the Chinese Government have made over the past 20 years have resulted in a vastly improved situation for a very large number of people, and they have to work their way towards a situation of more responsive Government.

My support and heart goes out to all those Chinese working for a better China, whether they are protesters or Government. May they have a coming together in a growing prosperity, peace, and happiness.

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