There’s just a year to go before the next Olympics are held in China. That’s intended to shine as a beacon for the country. But, according to a new joint report by Reporters Without Borders and Chinese Human Rights Defenders, China has a long way to go in terms of online censorship and surveillance. The report was compiled withthe help of someone working in the IT industry in China, who, for fairly obvious reasons, is kept anonymous.
Released just before the 17th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, the report indicates the vast resources, both human and financial, that China has put behind the limiting of free online expression. The Beijing Internet Information Administrative Bureau has in practice asserted its daily editorial control over the leading news websites based in the nation’s capital, and Chinese news websites and blogs have been brought under the editorial control of the propaganda apparatus at both the national and local levels, the report asserts.
“This system of censorship is unparalleled anywhere in the world and is an insult to the spirit of online freedom,” Reporters Without Borders and Chinese Human Rights Defenders said in a joint statement. “With less than a year to go before the Beijing Olympics, there is an urgent need for the government to stop blocking thousands of websites, censoring online news and imprisoning Internet activists.”
With 160 million Internet users and over 1.3 million users, China is poised to be the biggest single Internet market.