Chinese Hackers Crack Net Censorship; but Politics Boring to Most

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), February 7, 2008 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Chinese Hackers Crack Net Censorship; but Politics Boring to Most


Byline: Edward Lanfranco, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

BEIJING - Chinese Internet censorship is little more than a joke to Li Shenwen, an unemployed computer game enthusiast who remained glued to his keyboard well past midnight in a dingy "Wangba" or "NetBar" on a recent Saturday night.

Official blocks on controversial or political Web sites pose no obstacle to any experienced user who wants to get past them, said Mr. Li, who picks up spending money by amassing points in computer games and selling them to a broker who in turn sells them online to avid but inept Western gamers.

Reluctant to be distracted from his profitable pursuit, Mr. Li, in his mid-20s, offered a $14 wager that he could get to any three blocked sites in less than five minutes. The bet was made.

Opening a new browser, he promptly brought up outlawed content in Chinese and English from YouTube, Voice of America, Falun Gong and, for added measure, Reporters Without Borders - all within less than three minutes.

"You could have asked anyone here to do this," Mr. Li said with a wave around the room. But he added, they are more interested in using skills to access restricted pornography sites than to read about politics.

"I don't care about the stuff you want to see. What's the point?" he asked.

China now has or will soon have the world's largest Internet population, having drawn roughly equal with the 215 million American users after a 53 percent increase last year, according to the China Internet Network Information Center.

And while Western human rights groups agonize over China's use of technology to censor the Internet, a great many of those Chinese Web users are much like Mr. Li - tech savvy but bored by politics.

Nevertheless, Chinese authorities are relentless in their efforts to weed out access to what they consider inappropriate content - an effort that is becoming even more determined in the run-up to the Beijing Olympic Games, which begin in August.

Officials are acutely aware that presence in China of 20,000 journalists and a predicted 500,000 visitors will offer a prime opportunity for political dissidents to air their grievances to a worldwide audience.

The most recent Internet content to come under the censors' thumb is user-generated and -posted videos of the sort that have become widely popular on the U.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Chinese Hackers Crack Net Censorship; but Politics Boring to Most
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?