Tags: U.S. | Seeking | Help | Unblock | Chinese-Censored | Internet | Sites

U.S. Seeking to Help Unblock Chinese-Censored Internet Sites

Monday, 03 September 2001 12:00 AM

The U.S. government is gearing up to launch a program which can enable the huge Chinese Internet audience to reach blocked websites. The program is now financed by the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB), parent agency of the Voice of America and would go into effect once congress approves full funding, the New York Times reported.

According to the Times, the IBB is involved in negotiations with Safeweb, a California company backed by grants from the CIA's In-Q-Tel. The company has a network of some 100 so-called privacy servers - servers which can disguise the web site being accessed by users. Such servers are highly popular in China, much to the consternation of the government.

According to Chinese government estimates, in July there were over 26 million Internet users, a huge increase since the end of 1999 when there were only 9 million.

"We recognized that we have an obligation to reach out to our audience in ways that are effective, that includes the Internet," Tish King, a spokeswoman for the International Broadcasting Bureau told the Times.

China has continually sought to tighten its grip on information flowing into the mainland via radio from the Voice of America, and through the internet, even to staging police raids. Beijing has waged a campaign to shut down thousands of unlicensed Internet cafes, and the government has publicized the arrests of over a dozen "Internet dissidents" over the last three years.

Among sites that are blocked for the vast majority of users are those of The Washington Post (news/quote), Amnesty International and various sites identifying with the Falun Gong spiritual movement, which the Chinese government has accused of being a cult, the Times says, adding however that users can access other news sites including ABCnews.com, the British Broadcasting Corporation and USA Today.

The Times online edition itself was blocked until China's president Jiang Zemin met with editors of the newspaper and heard their complaints about the blocking of their website.

Chinese Web users have sooetimes been able to bypass the censors - a recent study by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing showed that than 25 percent of Internet users admit they occasionally use Internet proxy computers, which work similarly to Safeweb's, while 10 percent admitted to frequent use.

Safeweb's technology, known as "Triangle Boy" (after a Seinfeld character), can dupe an electronic filter into believing that the material is coming from a harmless computer server instead of a blocked site such as the banned Human Rights Watch.

In retaliation, China has blacklisted the Triangle Boy Servers.

"They are becoming increasingly aggressive," said Stephen Hsu, Safeweb's CEO. "We get these frantic emails from users saying they are totally cut off now."

Safeweb also reveals that Beijing is blocking e- mail sent to users who request Triangle Boy e-mail addresses. In response, Safeweb says it is encouraging users to sign up for free Web-based e- mail accounts at non-Chinese services like Hotmail and Yahoo (news/quote).

Part of the IBB-backed proposal would have the Triangle Boy servers change their Internet addresses on a regular basis - perhaps as frequently as every few hours - to make them more difficult for the Chinese government to find and block, the Times says.

The study by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, one of the most thorough such Internet studies yet done in China showed that 67.5 percent of adult web users think the Internet gives people more chances to criticize government policies. And more than 74 percent said the Internet allows people to "express their political views" and to learn about politics.

To China's Communist leadership, such widespread public opinion is the stuff of which their worst nightmares are made.

Experts say that China is walking a tightrope, wanting to take advantage of the vast commercial potential of the internet while at the same time desperately seeking to keep a tight rein on Internet content it views as dangerous to continued Communist rule.

"We want to force the Chinese government to accept the pro-democracy consequences of the Internet," Safeweb's Dr. Hsu told the Times. "Up until now the Chinese government has been amazingly successful at having their cake and eating it too."

© 2019 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

   
1Like our page
2Share
Pre-2008
The U.S. government is gearing up to launch a program which can enable the huge Chinese Internet audience to reach blocked websites. The program is now financed by the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB), parent agency of the Voice of America and would go into effect...
U.S.,Seeking,Help,Unblock,Chinese-Censored,Internet,Sites
696
2001-00-03
Monday, 03 September 2001 12:00 AM
Newsmax Media, Inc.
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved