3. Juni 2009

Die moderne Informationsgesellschaft in China - oder die Angst vor der Kraft des Internet

Zum 20. Jahrestag des Massakers auf dem Tiananmem Platz in Peking gibt es unzählige Pressemitteilungen zur Internetzensur in China.

ZEIT ONLINE spricht vom "Web 0.0 in China", die NZZ titelt "China sperrt Twitter zum Tiananmen-Jahrestag" und berichtet wie viele andere Medien von der Sperrung von Twitter und Co. in China.

South China Morning Post (SCMP) ist "Hong Kong's only officially audited English-language newspaper" laut eigenem Impressum und schreibt über sich selbst: "we strive to maintain the highest standards and are proud to rank among the world's best-known quality newspapers".

In der Printausgabe vom 2. Juni 2009 berichtet die SCMP über Internetzensur in einem Artikel und einem Kommentar, aber nicht im Kontext des Tiananmem Jahrestages: "
Officials criticised for failing to censor Web public opinion", der Kommentar dazu: "Let all views be heard, not suppressed in media" (die Artikel sind nur nach einer kostenlosen Registrierung abrufbar).

Dabei bezieht sich der Artikel auf einen Artikel in dem Magazin "Outlook Weekly", dass (
ausschliesslich in Chinesisch) in Xinhua erscheint.

Auch der Artikel "
China To Netizens: Shut Up" beschäftigt sich mit diesem Artikel, ebenso der WSJ Blogeintrag "Local Officials Urged to Get Savvy on Internet PR".

In dem Artikel "
Officials criticised for failing to censor Web public opinion" der SCMP wird - bezugnehmend auf den Outlook Weekly Artikel - eindringlich vor der Macht des Internets zur Organisation von mass incidents oder Smart Mobs, wie wohl Howard Rheingold sagen würde, gewarnt und gleichzeitig wird den lokalen Regierungsbehörden fehlendes Verständnis des Internet in diesem Zusammenhang und die Unfähigkeit zur Überwachung der Netizens vorgeworfen:
"Local governments have come under fire for their failure to understand the power of the internet to stir up protests and have been urged to harness the latest technologies to control public opinion.The Xinhua-run Outlook Weekly magazine published a detailed report yesterday on the internet's role in creating "mass incidents".Quoting internet censors and government and party officials, the magazine warned the internet "has become a major mobilisation tool and communication channel for some mass incidents" and was another obstacle preventing officials dealing effectively with protests. The article urged local officials to develop new political and technical approaches to tackle such incidents.
Internet users have been the driving force behind a string of campaigns. Most recently, the case of a hotel pedicurist in Hubei province who killed a government official who was allegedly trying to rape her sparked outrage online and eventually forced the authorities to gag the media and seal off the county where the incident took place.
"In the past, mass incidents usually took place in one location, so the amount of information was limited and its spread was limited," the article said. "However, with a skyrocketing netizen population, some local cases have expanded in scope due to the interaction in cyberspace."
Experts said the authorities needed to step up training and reduce dependence on traditional propaganda channels.
A former official from Shanghai's Internet News Administration Office, Zhang Xiaoyu, was quoting as saying that "in the current transitional period of society, people are highly sensitive about how public powers participate in the allocation of social interests".
"Misconduct by an official, once disclosed and publicised on the internet, can trigger huge criticism among netizens," he said, and could "radically change the public's opinion on the party and government".
The article criticised officials for "depending solely on internet police and propaganda officials" to quell anger triggered by online discussion.
An internet official in Anhui province complained that there was no good way to control cyberspace. "On the internet the enforcement territory is boundless," the official said. "And in real life, it's a big challenge for the police to respond to online incidents if the participants are all over the place."
As if to underscore the problems outlined in the article, it was swiftly picked up and criticised by netizens, who fear it is the prelude to strict new controls.
"The appearance of such an article in the official media means a new internet crackdown is about to take place," an entry on the popular forum said.
The article could not have been released at a more sensitive time, as blogs and chat rooms have been blocked in a bid avoid trouble during this week's 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown."
Dazu der Kommentar "Let all views be heard, not suppressed in media":

"The mainland is no exception to the information revolution wrought by the internet. What sets it apart though is that the internet increasingly fills a gap created by official curbs on what newspapers, radio and television can publish. Despite a sophisticated online monitoring system, the internet remains difficult to police and netizens have proved bold and resourceful at circulating news and comment.As a result, controversial issues that might have been contained locally have gone national online. The potential this creates for mass dissent in a year of politically sensitive anniversaries understandably troubles the authorities. But it will continue to trouble them as long as they try to prevent legitimate issues of public interest being openly debated and addressed.

As we report today, the hottest topic in chat room discussions yesterday was an article in the official magazine Outlook Weekly that has sparked fears of a fresh online crackdown. It called for more support for internet monitors and propaganda officials in tackling netizens' ability to mobilise protests and criticism about official corruption, legal and administrative injustice, and disputes between the rich and poor. The article accused local officials of lacking understanding of the power of the internet to create "mass incidents".
Publication of the article follows online and media outrage over a murder charge against a pedicurist in Hubei province after she stabbed an official who demanded sex. The uproar forced the release of the woman and the sacking of two colleagues of the official present at the time. The lesson here is that rather than focusing on how to crack down more effectively on netizens and their rights of freedom of information and expression, the authorities should divert resources to devising a more transparent and accountable system for dealing with grievances and injustices.
The internet would soon cease to be a hotbed of dissent and a platform for organised protest if a wide range of views were allowed to be expressed and debated in the media."

Bei meinem Aufenthalt in China vom 29.5. bis 2.6.2009 erfuhr ich selbst, wie die Internetzensur funktioniert: So waren in dieser Zeit - zumindest in meinem Hotel in Wuhan - alle und Blogs nicht erreichbar, incl. diesem Blog.

Bildquelle: (CC Lizenz)

4 Kommentare:

Sven hat gesagt…

Das nenne ich Modernisierung...Der Kraft des Internet ist ja schon sehr groß und ehrlich gesagt habe ich auch manchmal auch Angst davor...

hdzimmermann hat gesagt…

Auch in anderen Ländern Asiens haben die Herrschenden Probleme mit der Meinungsfreiheit im Internet, ein aktuelles Beispiel aus Kasachstan:
Free speech the prize in battle of 'blogistan', ein Artikel in der Financial Times vom 2. Juni 2009

Anonym hat gesagt…


I have a inquiry for the webmaster/admin here at

May I use part of the information from your post right above if I give a backlink back to your website?


hdzimmermann hat gesagt…

@Jules: Sure.