Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Yahoo! News - China blocks Internet comments on the pope

A while back I posted a comment on the Chinese Government's disallowing network access to non-students in Universities, and before that made mention of our government's ignoring of human rights in trade talks with China so I guess it's pretty open where my thoughts lie on this.

However, I find this just disturbing.

Courtesy AFP/Yahoo News via Smartmobs.

China's web portals have blocked prayers, blessings and other comment on the death of Pope John Paul II from being posted on the Internet, officials said.

An official with Sohu.com confirmed the company had censored the comments, using sophisticated technology to allow only the writer to see his or her own comments.

"Religious issues are special. We are afraid of problems arising," said a Sohu official.

"It's not that they are taken off, it just means whoever issued the statement, only they can see it. Other people cannot see it," the official told AFP.

An official at the Beijing police department's Internet management office denied knowledge of the censorship, but defended China's practice of censoring the Internet.

"Based on the regulations from above, harmful information needs to be dealt with," the official said. But he insisted: "China has religious freedom."

The bit I really find repugnant?

In contrast, during US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's visit to China last month, the websites allowed an uncensored onslaught of racist, sexist, and highly offensive remarks about her to be posted.

I have no love for Ms Rice or the rest of the Bush Admistration, however this draws a very uncomfortable line when it comes to China and the issue of free speech.

Yahoo! News - China blocks Internet comments on the pope

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