Filtering of domestic weblogs in China

At the OpenNetInitiative
(a joint project of the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab at the Munk
Centre; the Advanced Network Research Group in the Cambridge Security
Program at the University of Cambridge, and the Berkman Center), we
released a new bulletin
regarding the extent to which, and means by which, the Chinese
government filters posts to weblogs via three major domestic weblog
providers.  The filtering occurs by keyword.  From the
bulletin:

“While Blogbus and Blogcn filter 18 of the 987 and 19 of the 987
keywords, Blogdriver filters 350 of the 987 keywords tested. The
filtered keywords generally fall into five categories:

* National minorities’ independence movements: the well known Tibetan
cause is represented as well as Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia. The
inclusion of some Taiwanese politicians’ names also fall into this
category as they are all people who are known to support Taiwan
independence.

* Tiananmen Square incident in 1989: it is referenced both by the full
name, “Tiananmen massacre,” the Chinese custom of referencing important
events by the number of the month and the day (in this case, 6-4), and
also by reference to people involved — a mother of one of the victims
who has been campaigning for human rights. The name of Zhao Ziyang,
former Chinese Communist Party (CCP) general, is also included in this
category.

* Chinese communist leaders: a list of the top leaders, past and
present, are included along with a particularly creative rewriting of
Jiang Zemin by replacing one of the characters of his name by the
character for “thief.”

* Falun Gong: a list of different names for Falun Gong including
various spellings with characters that sound the same, often used to
circumvent filtering.

* Sensitive words: a list of words referring to uprisings or suppression.” 

The full list of keywords is here.  These findings underscore the increasing importance of weblogs as a means of political speech.

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