China has blocked access to YouTube.com after videos of the deadly Tibetan protests appeared on the video Web site. The YouTube censorship exemplifies new internet restrictions the Chinese government implemented on January 30,
2008 aimed at controlling video-posting sites. It states that Web sites which “provide Internet video services should insist on serving the people, serve socialism ... and abide by the moral code of socialism.”
The blockage extends the government’s control over information available to its citizens concerning the unrest in Tibet’s capital city of Lhasa over China’s communist rule of the region. Foreign journalists have been denied access to the protests and the domestic CNN feed is blacked out each time it runs a story about it.
Explanation of Chinese censorship of Tibet broadcasts:
The Chinese government encourages Internet use for businesses and education but tightly monitors and censors information it deems pornographic or rebellious. Foreign news and human rights Web sites are regularly blocked when they carry subversive information.
The law requires all Web sites with video programming or uploading capabilities to obtain a permit from the government, but the only sites allowed to do so are state-run. The new YouTube restriction demonstrates the problem of attempting to censor foreign-based video sites which have yet to register.
State-run video sites 56.com, Youku.com and tudou.com do not have any video of the protests and are operational, but attempts to access YouTube yield a blank page.
According to Nielson/NetRatings, the U.S. has over 212 million internet users, but experts predict that China will soon have the most users. The new censorship law affects not only the information the Chinese receive, but also the way in which businesses like Google’s YouTube operate in the country.
With such tight internet restrictions, what we call the World Wide Web might be, in China, referred to as the not-so World Wide Web.
By Danny Scuderi
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