Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Children and Twitter

China has given urban citizens a bit more freedom by allowing them to have a second child if they wish to, but the country comes in dead last in a survey of Internet Freedom.

China Ranks Last of 65 Nations in Internet Freedom
The report, “Freedom on the Net 2015,” the latest such annual study by the group, Freedom House, lists the many ways in which China is restricting free access to the Internet, from strengthening its Great Firewall system of website censorship to criminalizing some kinds of Internet speech. China had the worst score of 65 nations…

Xinhua, the state-run news agency, reported Wednesday that, through a new criminal law, Chinese officials will be able to impose a prison sentence of up to seven years on a person convicted of creating and spreading “false information” online. The law is the latest in an array of legal regulations that Chinese officials have used in recent years to silence political dissent and quash the spread of information and rumors.

The new law, which will take effect Sunday, significantly increases the punishment for those judged to be spreading rumors or politically delicate information…

The new law says people who “fabricate false information about hazards, diseases, disasters or crimes and spread it on information networks or other media, or deliberately spread it on information networks or other media while knowing it is false information, seriously disrupting social orders, will be sentenced to a prison term up to three years, placed under detention or face enforcement measures.”…

This summer, China released a draft law on cybersecurity that, if passed, would further formalize broad powers that the government already wields in clamping down on Internet activity. That includes shutting down the wider Internet in large regions, as the government did in 2009 during rioting involving ethnic Uighurs in the capital of the Xinjiang region. For a year, the government allowed access to only a few official websites across all of Xinjiang, which is one-sixth of the territory of China…

China now emphasizes the importance of “cyberspace sovereignty.” The official in charge of the Cyberspace Administration of China, Lu Wei, has stressed that idea in recent meetings with executives of foreign Internet and media companies that want greater access to the Chinese market…

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