China's Anti-Smut Campaign and Political Censorship

There is a patriotic saying in Chinese: you can kill one, thousands of us will be reborn (to fight against you). The new round of internet crack down has begun in China at the beginning of 2009 and bullog.cn, one of the most influential blog hosting platform in China for more than a hundred outspoken bloggers and citizen reporters, was forced to shut down on 9 of Jan. Now, they are rebuilding their blogs in various platforms, scattered but aggregated through various Feed readers and new websites.

On Jan 5, seven different government agencies, including the Ministry of Public Security and the State Council Information Office launch a crackdown on Internet smut. 19 Internet companies, including Google, Baidu, Sina, and others, were listed as “harmful”, “vulgar” and “immoral”. Official report claimed that the government is determined “to launch a nationwide campaign to clean up a vulgar current on the Internet and named and exposed a large number of violating public morality and harming the physical and mental health of youth and young people”. The 19 websites are (via DANWEI)

1. Google’s ‘web page search’ and ‘image search.’ The results show many links to obscene and pornographic websites.

2. Baidu’s forums and spaces contain large numbers of low and vulgar photographs, and some sections have obscene and pornographic content. The ‘webpage search’ within ‘Baidu search’ yields results that contain many links to obscene and pornographic websites.

3. Sina’s photo album and blog columns.

4. Sohu’s photo albums, blog columns, and Internet forums’ images section.

5. Tengxun’s Sousou (search) images, photo album columns, and personal spaces.

6. Netease’s photo album column.

7. Chinaren community’s ‘Tietie Tutu (images).’

8. Zhongsou’s community section.

9. Mop’s images ‘pretty girls’ (漂亮 MM) section.
ALkuaicheimages.png
The front page of ‘Images’ at download site kuaiche.com

10. Open V‘s videos from its ‘shared users channel.’

11. Vodone‘s videos from its sport channel.

12. Tianya community section's ‘photo albums’, and Tianya forums.

13. Youjiu’s ‘pretty girl channel.’

14. Yesky‘s ‘beautiful girls’ and ‘stars’ photos’ in its image database, and the ‘netizens self-portrait’ and ‘beautiful girls’ section in the hot pictures forum.

15. The ‘hot girls pictures’ section in the forums of Hefei Hotline website.

16. Tiexue‘s ‘pretty girls pictures’ section has large amounts of vulgar pictures.

17. 131 game site has a ‘pretty girls channel’ which contains large numbers of low and vulgar photos.

18. Sogua‘s ‘photo channel’ in its information section, and the ‘crazy self-portraits,’ ‘stars’ photos,’ ‘pretty girls,’ in the albums section all contain large numbers of low and vulgar pictures.

19. Kuaiche‘s (快车网) ‘images channel’ contains large amounts of low and vulgar images.

  

As Rebecca Mackinnon from Rconversation pointed out, “historically in China (if you can call the story of China's Internet “history”), the technology used to censor porn has ended up being used more vigorously to censor political content than smut”. The shutting down of bullog.cn has proven that such history is recurring.

According to Beifeng's weekly account of internet happenings, the story behind the crackdown of bullog.cn has nothing to do with anti-smuts campaign:

On 9 of Jan, the prominent BSP in China, bullog cannot be accessed. On 11 of Jan, Luo Yong-hao, the administrator of bullog wrote in his blog that he received an e-mail from ISP, net.cn, that because bullog had hosted a huge amount of harmful current affair commentary, they have to “rectify and reform” according to the notice forwarded by the Beijing Press Office via the Beijing Communication Administration. According to the email, “because the website (meaning bullog.cn) didn't undertake effective rectify and reform measure, it is required that net.cn terminate access to the website”. Upon receiving this email, Luo Yong-hao got other customer calls from other ISPs, saying that they got notice from Communication Administration to shut down bullog.cn's servers. However, Luo said that he would re-open the website.

Bullog.cn had once been harassed by the administration and moved the server overseas temporarily back in 2007. Even though the blog hosting platform had been forced to close a few individual blogs before, it remained an independent platform resisting self-censorship.

Meanwhile, before bullog.cn reopens, Zoula sorted out a list of 127 former bullog bloggers’ second blog scattered around the internet and aggregated them in a new website called bullog mountain fortress. He also put together commentaries on the shut down of bullog. Moreover, a number of prominent bloggers, vowed to keep blogging on current affair, harmful or not. One bull killed, thousands reborn.

6 comments

  • 牛博山寨怎么翻译? bullog mountain village?

    ghetto bullog?

    山寨行为,则指的是个人或团体对知名事物的粗陋模仿与改动而又自成一体。由此得到的事物,亦被冠以山寨二字。这样的事物可能是一种商品、建筑、活动或其它形式,通常表现为小规模性,非权威性,以及伴随非常规性的改动,如引入特殊的材料、方法,或者增加特殊的功能,以此迎合草根的需求。

    @mranti 山寨 means knock-off, but the best translation is “ghetto”, for instance, a ghetto iphone.

  • from: http://twitter.com/mranti/statuses/1045196849
    山寨 means knock-off, but the best translation is “ghetto”, for instance, a g hetto iphone.

  • there are two imagination of 山寨, one is ghetto factory type, which means not very well equipped, shabby, etc. another is 梁山 kind of fortified mountain village / fortress… i think liangshan’s imagination is more heroic. since you are the founder of the website, i respect your choice :)

  • 是的,两种解读都蛮好,就梁山吧,我应该去掉些重复的FEED,也许刚好108个FEED :)

  • […] extension of the ordinance to the internet may violate freedom of speech and expression. Moreover, the anti-smut campaign in China has become a pretext for political censorship, internet users in Hong Kong also worries that ISP level filtering will give an infrastructure for […]

  • […] extension of the ordinance to the internet may violate freedom of speech and expression. Moreover, the anti-smut campaign in China has become a pretext for political censorship, internet users in Hong Kong also worries that ISP level filtering will give an infrastructure for […]

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