INTERNET IS A TRAP, SAYS RSF
sentences to those who dare express opinions which diverge from the party line.
This is the conclusion of a Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières, RSF) report released on 12 May which assesses Internet censorship in China. "Online discussion forums have
become dangerous traps for Internet users as a result of a system of surveillance and censorship of cyberdissents put in place by the Chinese police apparatus," the report says.
In one case, 22-year old Internet user Liu Di has been held in a secret location for the past six months by Beijing police after posting comments about the country's Communist leaders on Internet chat forums.
The report details the Communist party's censorship techniques used on Chinese discussion forums and the kind of content that is banned. RSF was able to do this with the help of a journalist with the Chinese service of the BBC World Service who spent a month posing online as a Chinese Internet user.
More than 60 per cent of the messages sent in the course of the investigation appeared on chat forums, says RSF. The initial acceptance rate fell to 55 per cent for messages with controversial content. Of the 55 per cent, more than half were withdrawn by webmasters in charge of monitoring sites. In other words, only 30 per cent of the messages with controversial content were accepted by the sites, notes RSF.
Messages about SARS were very likely to be censored. Similarly, messages directly questioning Communist leaders rarely got through the filters or, if they did, were quickly removed from the
Internet sites, including those run or financed by international companies such as Yahoo!, have become tools of the Chinese police, enabling authorities to arrest dissidents or ordinary Internet
users. At least 35 Internet users are currently detained in China, RSF says.
The full report is available on RSF's website:
To sign petitions in support of jailed Internet users in China, visit: