Online calls for protests put China on the defensive
IDG News Service - Recent online calls for mass protests have sent the Chinese government on the defensive, and while experts say the online activity probably won't lead to outright revolution, it could force China's leadership to be more responsive to social problems ailing the country.
Starting last month, an anonymous activist group began calling on the Chinese people to stage a "Jasmine Revolution", a reference to the anti-government protests that have erupted in the Middle East.
China had already blocked the site from which the calls to protest came. But the government has taken the extra step of preventing any mention of related terms. Searches for the word "Jasmine" have been blocked on microblog services, while users of social networking sites have been barred from posting any information related to the protest calls.
The Chinese government remains averse to protests or movements of any kind that might threaten the leadership. The Falun Gong spiritual movement, for example, was banned in China when it grew too big, and the government has maintained a watch on Tiananmen Square in Beijing ever since the protests there in 1989, when the Chinese government called in the military to squash a student-led democracy movement.
China's attempts to prevent unrest also extend to the mass communication abilities of the Internet, with any talk of government overthrow online immediately silenced. Chinese authorities even shut down the Internet in the western region of Xinjiang when ethnic rioting erupted there in 2009.
Although the recent protest calls have yet to spark demonstrations in China, the online activity has been powerful enough to force the Chinese government to take action, said David Bandurski, a researcher at the University of Hong Kong's China Media Project. "It's clearly shown the capacity of the Internet," Bandurski said. "It has the capacity to really pressure the leadership."
Since the protest calls were made, China has deployed large police forces across cities in China, harassed foreign journalists and arrested human rights activists.
The moves show that the Chinese government is clearly "cautious" about the Internet, Bandurski said.
The activists originally posted their protest calls on the Chinese political blog boxun.com. After it went offline, they set up a blog at blogspot.com where they wrote: "We learned that Chinese government employs hundreds of thousands of people to make overflow attacks on Boxun, VOA, Twitter and other websites, in order to block information about this movement."
Bandurski described the government's actions as "a kind of full-on assault," adding that: "The Chinese leadership is responding to this in a kind of draconian way with very clever systems of technical controls to stop the threat of people gathering."
This state transportation department uses computer science students from a local university as programming interns, and everyone is happy with the arrangement -- until one intern learns how to bring down the mainframe.
- IT Certification Study Tips
- Register for this Computerworld Insider Study Tip guide and gain access to hundreds of premium content articles, cheat sheets, product reviews and more.
- Changing the Way Government Works: Four Technology Trends that Drive Down Costs and Increase Productivity
- This paper discusses four technology-based approaches to improving processes and increasing
productivity while driving down department and agency costs.
- Why Projects Fail
- CIOs are expected to deliver more projects that transform business, and do so on time, on budget and with limited resources.
- The New Business Case for Video Conferencing: 7 Real-World Benefits Beyond Cost-Savings
- This whitepaper provides insight into the value of video conferencing in today's business environment, and how organizations are using visual collaboration to find...
- Gartner Magic Quadrant for Client Management Tools
- The client management tool market is maturing and evolving to adapt to consumerization, desktop virtualization, and an ongoing need to improve efficiency.
- Audit Ready and Asset Optimized: The Solid Promise of an Intelligent Software Asset Management Solution
- In this paper Frost & Sullivan examines the benefits of enterprise-grade Software Asset Management solutions, and how these solutions serve as the convergence... All Government IT White Papers
- LIVE EVENT: 5/7, The End of Data Protection As We Know It. Introducing a Next Generation Data Protection Architecture. Traditional backup is going away, but where does this leave end-users?
- On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy...
- Mobile Security: Containerizing Enterprise Data In this on-demand webinar, Fixmo's Lee Cocking, VP of corporate strategy, explains why Apple-ization trends like mobility and "bring-your-own-device" (BYOD) are driving the...
- Endpoint Data Management: Protecting the Perimeter of the Internet of Things Not surprisingly, "Internet of Things" (IoT) and Big Data present new challenges AND opportunities for enterprise IT. Teams need to harness, secure and...
- How to Protect Enterprise Data Yet Enable Secure Access for End Users Learn how BYOD, Big Data and the use of rogue applications and devices is putting corporate data at risk, best practices from IT...
- All Government IT Webcasts