Sunday, December 20, 2015

Mainland China’s World Internet Conference: An Exercise In Online Hypocrisy?

Though it was touted as Beijing’s promotion of how the World Wide Web should be run, but last week’s Chinese World Internet Conference nothing more than an exercise in online hypocrisy? 

By:  Ringo Bones 

When last week’s Mainland China’s World Internet Conference was reported by the BBC back in December 16, 2015, many around the world see it as the Beijing government’s “world view” on how the global internet community should be run – i.e. the right of each country’s government’s right to impose hard line online censorship. Ever since Xi Jinping became Mainland China’s head-of-state, the country’s internet laws were further tightened by the Beijing government. In Mainland China, spreading supposed “wild rumors” via the internet – especially if it is a pro political opposition themed – carries a mandatory 7 year prison sentence. But despite the Beijing government’s expressing its right for world internet isolationism, was last week’s “Mainland China’s World Internet Conference” nothing more than an exercise in on line hypocrisy. 

Despite Mainland China being currently the world’s largest online population given that an estimated 650 million or more Mainland Chinese citizens are now regular internet users. Unfortunately, the “free world’s” top social networks and entertainment and educational sites – like Facebook, You Tube and Google just to name a few – can’t be accessed on Mainland Chinese soil thanks to the “Great Firewall Of China”, which sees to it that the rest of the free world’s internet traffic won’t be accessed on Mainland China. So effective is their “Firewall” that even relatively harmless content – like the trailer of the movie Garfield: A Tale Of two Kitties” that was released to the World Wide Web some years ago got automatically blocked in Mainland China because the Beijing government approved firewall – in the guise of their “Green Dam Youth Escort” - apparently mistaken the color of Garfield’s fur as the vestments of the Dalai Lama and thus flagging the movie trailer as a “rebellious Free Tibet message”. 

And even though there might be some merit to the Beijing government’s argument that “all countries should be allowed to make its own rules with regards to internet traffic within its sovereign territory”, what’s politically and philosophically hypocritical – from a Western point of view – on Beijing’s internet governance is that they are actively sponsoring unscrupulous hackers that actively attack and commit digital vandalism and other much worse cyber-attacks to political activists – especially exiled Chinese dissidents now residing in more democratic countries – setting up sites that criticize current human rights violations and other social ills on Mainland China. One that has gained notoriety over the years was the Unit 61398 of the Beijing 50 Cent Cyber Army where a few even have United States Federal Bureau Of Investigation arrest warrants issued against them for performing brazen cyber attacks on official US Government websites. And by the way, the Baidu Driverless Car – the Beijing government approved version of the Google Driverless Car – debuted in the Mainland China World Internet Conference. 

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