Is It Advocacy, or Is It SPAM?

PCWorld article states that China dropped further down on the list of top SPAM originating countries, down to #20.

http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/220822/china_cleans_up_spam_problem.html

With now 470 million internet users, China is actually cleaning up the cyberspace of SPAM substantially.  US, however, remains #1 top SPAMMER in the world, contributing about 15% of all SPAM’s in cyberspace.

Sophos, which collects the stats, approximates that 97% of all emails received on business computer systems are SPAM.

But some emails on business systems are considered SPAM, but also “advocacy”.  A few years ago, Intel Corporation lost a major lawsuit in US against a former employee’s “anti-Intel” website, which Intel claimed was spamming the Intel computer systems with mass emails to employees, costing Intel large amount of money to filter out the mass emails.

Which brings an interesting question?  What is the boundary between “Advocacy” and “SPAM”?  If you ask me, not much.

http://www.wallstreetandtech.com/articles/225800269

“Europe overtook Asia for the sheer volume of spam being generated, reported Sophos. Today, 35% of all spam arrives via European PCs, followed by computers in Asia (30.9%), North America (18.9%), South America (11.5%), and Africa (2.5%).”

“Indeed, according to security firm Sophos, which released the study, in the second quarter of 2010, 15.2% of all global spam messages emanated from the United States, an increase from the 13.1% seen in the first quarter of 2010. Rounding out the top five list of global spam-generating countries were India (7.7%), Brazil (5.5%), the United Kingdom (4.6%), and South Korea (4.2%).”

In the era of Facebook and Twitter (and emails) causing revolutions rippling around the world, People and governments are increasingly turning to the internet as a mean to get the message out, or “advocate” their positions.

But whatif, people don’t want to be bombarded by would-be humanitarian do-gooders?  Whatif my business don’t want to have to spend money to fend off junk emails from NGO’s or even disgruntled ex-employees?

“Advocacy” online are similar to “SPAM”, (or sometimes are), because they

(1) Markets somethings, product or service or even just an idea, for profit or without.

(2) From origins unknown or hidden, with assumed named organizations and individuals, whose true identity cannot be ascertained online.

(3) no guarantees of any kind.  You don’t know.

(4) no privacy protection.  If you engaged with the “Advocate” online, how do you know they are not just collecting your personal information for something else?  How do you know they are not government spies keeping tabs on you and your friends?  How do you know that they are not foreign agents trying to dig secrets out of you?  (Even US government employees have policies NOT to engage with unknown people online regarding government business).

*

In this respect, I think China has it right.  Internet Censorship may prove to be the right course, and the Chinese Great Firewall may become something to be proud of.

It is not a war against information freedom, but a war against SPAM and SPAMMERS.

Democracy is not a new idea.  If one wants to learn about them, there are mountains of books in libraries all over China that one can read from.

Continuing to “advocate” the same old messages, is just SPAM, unwanted junk emails and digital messages.

Maybe, that is another reason why Chinese internet economy just grew another 50% in 2010?  The Great Firewall, in FACT, did not stifle internet business (as some in the West predicted).

I would argue that the Great Firewall, with its selective filters, got rid of much SPAM and scams for legitimate businesses, and made things better.

*

And for the hacker interests, SPAMs carry a lot of viruses from hackers.  That means, US (and many other democracies) are responsible for majority of the hackers in cyberspace.

37 thoughts on “Is It Advocacy, or Is It SPAM?

  1. Indeed, computer everywhere get hijacked as tools for hackers; a general problem in every nation.

    Some stats on cost of spam:

    Every year or two, Ferris Research updates its estimates for the total cost of spam. Here are our 2009 estimates:

    Worldwide, spam will cost us all $130 billion; in the U.S. alone, $42 billion. That’s a 30% increase over our 2007 estimates, which themselves were a 100% increase over our 2005 figures.

  2. Yes, repetitive political messages are noisy, and can sometimes lead to the non-critical-thinking public into doing extreme things.

    But that can’t gloss over the fact that GFW is, fundamentally, against information freedom. The operation of GFW is _not_ publicly monitored. Innocent and harmless contents are being aggressively censored, without an explanation.

    If you have lived behind the GFW for some time, you know that I’m talking about. You really can’t live normally without a VPN subscription.

    The *fact* is that GFW is a nuisance that blocks domestic users from learning from the external world (not to mention acquiring critical thinking), that hangs up your download, and that disrupts students from browsing Wikipedia.

    The *fact* is that one of the original designers, Bang-xing Fang (方浜兴), uses 6 VPNs on his home computer.

    The *fact* is that while GFW strenghtens internal, government-initiated political SPAMMING while blocking external ones. And it does a pretty well job.

    * * *

    As for democracy, yes there are “mountains of books in libraries” about it. But since when can you expect the general public read in libraries? Democracy _is_ a new idea for most mainland Chinese people, who has never really experienced democracy in their lives.

    * * *

    Also I’m not sure what the “growth of Chinese internet economy” actually stands for. But if you’re talking about “shanzhai” (山寨) SNS and the online gaming industry, personally I think they’re pretty “closed” in nature (requiring domestic connectivity only).

  3. J.-c. Chu: I agree completely it’s a nuisance. If it’s there to stop crime or spamming, it isn’t doing a very good job (how would it stop spam in the first place, if you think about it?). However, it often does block stuff arbitrarily and unlike other countries that does this, like Saudi Arabia, there’s no explanation. I personally don’t use a VPN since that would mostly be needed for YouTube, and I can use proxies in the other cases. It certainly slows things down.

    The growth of the internet business itself doesn’t have much to do whether a lot of internet pages are blocked, since most people here use national stuff that’s self-censoring. A large percentage of that is probably services like Taobao and online gaming. Censorship neither adds or removes anything there.

  4. “But since when can you expect the general public read in libraries? Democracy _is_ a new idea for most mainland Chinese people, who has never really experienced democracy in their lives.”

    Since forever, that I expect the general public to read in libraries. “Spoon fed” Democracy is no democracy at all. It’s pure propaganda.

    “Democracy” is actually a very old idea. Twitter and Facebook and SPAM emails don’t provide much “experience” with democracy either.

  5. r v :
    Since forever, that I expect the general public to read in libraries. “Spoon fed” Democracy is no democracy at all. It’s pure propaganda.

    Obviously, however, the vast majority of them don’t go to libraries.

    r v :
    Twitter and Facebook and SPAM emails don’t provide much “experience” with democracy either.

    And spoon-fed propaganda is still propaganda, right? Which one contributes more to the modernization of the thoughts of the Chinese people, Xinwen Lianbo (新聞聯播) or a politically uncensored online messaging website?

    Yes, I agree that spoon-fed “democracy” isn’t the real thing. And yes, maybe most of the politically active mainland Chinese Twitter users are just propagating messages from unknown sources with unknown intentions (presumably destabilizing China). That’s why I quit Twitter, but anyways I think of it as a necessary step in one’s becoming mature.

  6. Almost all US corporations perform firewall filtering for what they consider to be SPAM, including a lot of “advocacy” related material.

    Consider Intel Corporation, it specifically filter out “anti-Intel” type material incoming, and it tracks its employees’ browser activities.

    Now, why shouldn’t China do so, especially filtering out “anti-China” type material?

    Obviously, it might be a nuisance for some, but the filtering should only get better over time, more specific, less nuisance.

    Considering the staggering 97% of business emails are now SPAM, the cost of SPAM is going up, legitimate uses need to be filtered out.

    This is what happens when one’s backyard is piling up with trash. One can’t afford to complain about “I need that trinket over there” any more.

    Every compulsive obsessive hoarder feel the need to have constant access to everything.

    But the everything just clutter up their lives, and they end up sleeping in a closet, while their stuff are piled ceiling high in all the rooms.

    SPAM is the same thing. You may think you need some information for a 5 second chuckle. But pretty soon, you are mass emailing that 5 second chuckle to people you don’t even know, and who probably really don’t care.

    You want to talk about nuisance, that’s the real nuisance!

  7. “Obviously, however, the vast majority of them don’t go to libraries.”

    I don’t know about you, but I don’t treat people like sheep, even if they behave like sheep. If you want to spoon feed people information, then it is not democracy.

    “And spoon-fed propaganda is still propaganda, right? Which one contributes more to the modernization of the thoughts of the Chinese people, Xinwen Lianbo (新聞聯播) or a politically uncensored online messaging website?
    Yes, I agree that spoon-fed “democracy” isn’t the real thing. And yes, maybe most of the politically active mainland Chinese Twitter users are just propagating messages from unknown sources with unknown intentions (presumably destabilizing China). That’s why I quit Twitter, but anyways I think of it as a necessary step in one’s becoming mature.”

    Spoon-fed propaganda doesn’t stop you from going to the library. You stop yourself from going to the library.

    Online propaganda wars are just more SPAM, not contributing to anyone from going to the library and doing some REAL reading/learning, NOR “experiences”.

    I suggest if you are waiting for the internet total freedom experience, it’s JUST virtual reality. It is an addiction, not real knowledge.

  8. “Spoon-fed propaganda doesn’t stop you from going to the library. You stop yourself from going to the library.”

    I don’t stop myself from going to the library. I go there often, despite not for reading political books. Political books in my school library are available in a sub-library that is, according to the policy, open only to history majors. At best I can read there but cannot bring anything out.

    * * *

    “Now, why shouldn’t China do so, especially filtering out “anti-China” type material?”

    Of course China can. But shouldn’t the decision process be open to the public? What is the exact reason for a connection to get reset? Why can’t I search the name of Wen Jiabao (温家宝)? Did he do something against China? Why do I have to browse Wikipedia with broken images everywhere?

    Now who’s treating people like sheep?

    * * *

    “Online propaganda wars are just more SPAM, not contributing to anyone from going to the library and doing some REAL reading/learning, NOR “experiences”.”

    I agree. But isn’t it easy to opt-out from these message sources? Much easier than unsubscribing from Xinwen Lianbo and alike I guess?

    * * *

    “I suggest if you are waiting for the internet total freedom experience, it’s JUST virtual reality. It is an addiction, not real knowledge.”

    I’m not waiting for a self-contradictory idea like a “total freedom”. But if I (or my parents) paid for the internet connection then I (or we) should be able to make my (or our) own choice of what SPAM IS and what is NOT.

    The real nuisance is that GFW affects NOT ONLY political contents. It favors one side of the SPAMMING war by suppressing another side.

    Please don’t tell me that I should stand the censorship just because I was born in mainland China. That’s called 站着说话不腰疼 in Chinese.

  9. “Now who’s treating people like sheep?”

    Not your Chinese library, as you have indicated.

    “I agree. But isn’t it easy to opt-out from these message sources? Much easier than unsubscribing from Xinwen Lianbo and alike I guess?”

    I don’t think you get an opt-out option from oversea’s advocacy groups. There is no “no call” option. In fact, most advocacy groups are exempt from “no call” laws.

    “But if I (or my parents) paid for the internet connection then I (or we) should be able to make my (or our) own choice of what SPAM IS and what is NOT.”

    Not really, Chinese internet backbone is owned by the Chinese government. As such, they can crack down on content based messages, just like Porn in US, Scientology in Germany, Nazi propaganda in France. Those are national laws, not based upon personal preferences.

    “The real nuisance is that GFW affects NOT ONLY political contents. It favors one side of the SPAMMING war by suppressing another side.”

    With 97% spam rate, it’s obviously necessary. Doesn’t have to be 100% effective in discerning political vs. non-political contents. It’s just policy. No laws are absolutely fair.

    You are entitled to complain, but SPAM needs to be curbed all over the world.

    And you might enjoy SPAM if you moved to US, but, please, even US will likely crack down soon enough. (US politicians wish they could implement a GFW, and they probably will soon).

  10. “I don’t think you get an opt-out option from oversea’s advocacy groups. There is no “no call” option. In fact, most advocacy groups are exempt from “no call” laws.”

    But we were talking about online advocacy activities, right?. Specifically if you don’t like Twitter you simply quit tweeting.

    * * *

    “Not really, Chinese internet backbone is owned by the Chinese government. As such, they can crack down on content based messages, just like Porn in US, Scientology in Germany, Nazi propaganda in France. Those are national laws, not based upon personal preferences.”

    US does not ban porn completely (except for child porn). Scientology is a well-known cult. Nazi killed millions of people.

    Now which law do I violate by searching for the name of Wen Jiabao? And tell me which law I violate by seeing pictures on Wikipedia (including math equations rendered as images).

    The operation of GFW _is_ based on personal preferences, not mine, not yours, but the owners’ and operators’ of the GFW.

    * * *

    “With 97% spam rate, it’s obviously necessary. Doesn’t have to be 100% effective in discerning political vs. non-political contents. It’s just policy. No laws are absolutely fair.”

    Of course it’s not 100% effective. Nor is GFW in fact aimed against spamming. GFW may happen to reduce spamming across the border, but its ultimate goal is to isolate China with the rest of the world.

    * * *

    “You are entitled to complain, but SPAM needs to be curbed all over the world.”

    If you are willing to move to China to enjoy the magical internet experience, welcome. (Or better yet, why not move to North Korea? It has probably the “purist” and “cleanest” “internet” in the world.)

    * * *

    “And you might enjoy SPAM if you moved to US, but, please, even US will likely crack down soon enough. (US politicians wish they could implement a GFW, and they probably will soon).”

    I quit Twitter because I found political propaganda annoying. But still I think it’s up to the users themselves to decide what is interesting and what is dull. And such preference may well change over time.

    And if you are NOT willing to give up the freedom you take for granted and move to China, then stop talking in a patronizing, privilged position, and defend pathetically for a badly implemented project aimed at promoting government generated political SPAMMING.

  11. “But we were talking about online advocacy activities, right?. Specifically if you don’t like Twitter you simply quit tweeting.”

    Twitter isn’t the only online advocacy means. Emails are far more prevalent. And once you signed on Twitter and FB, others may have your personal information forever. How do you quit then, when people are targetting you wherever you go?

    “US does not ban porn completely (except for child porn). Scientology is a well-known cult. Nazi killed millions of people.
    Now which law do I violate by searching for the name of Wen Jiabao? And tell me which law I violate by seeing pictures on Wikipedia (including math equations rendered as images).
    The operation of GFW _is_ based on personal preferences, not mine, not yours, but the owners’ and operators’ of the GFW.”

    US’s preference is not yours either. It’s national laws. Not your “preference”.

    “Of course it’s not 100% effective. Nor is GFW in fact aimed against spamming. GFW may happen to reduce spamming across the border, but its ultimate goal is to isolate China with the rest of the world.”

    That’s your speculation. It’s no more valid than anyone else’s.

    “If you are willing to move to China to enjoy the magical internet experience, welcome. (Or better yet, why not move to North Korea? It has probably the “purist” and “cleanest” “internet” in the world.)”

    Actually, the Chinese balance suits me fine. North Koreans don’t even have much internet access, which defeat the purpose of having a GFW.

    “I quit Twitter because I found political propaganda annoying. But still I think it’s up to the users themselves to decide what is interesting and what is dull. And such preference may well change over time.
    And if you are NOT willing to give up the freedom you take for granted and move to China, then stop talking in a patronizing, privilged position, and defend pathetically for a badly implemented project aimed at promoting government generated political SPAMMING.”

    I’m willing to move. Again, I don’t like SPAM. SPAM exists, because users don’t bother to monitor. Nations do pass laws to filter contents. US does, as France, Germany. Not your preferences. So live with it!

  12. “US does not ban porn completely (except for child porn). Scientology is a well-known cult. Nazi killed millions of people.”

    Your preferences may agree with these national laws, but they don’t necessarily even agree with one another. Scientologists may not like German’s firewall.

    But NATIONS still have firewalls according to their laws.

    Well, if you find your firewalls unlivable, then leave (as I’m sure lot of scientologists have done so).

    (See, same logic as yours. You tell me to go to China, I tell you to leave China. It rather depends on which one of us is more unhappy, or more motivated.)

    “promoting government generated political SPAMMING”?

    How does the government SPAM you? I don’t know what you are speculating now.

  13. Actually, Mr. Chu should come to US and deal with the SPAM’s here.

    In fact, Mr. Chu should take a job with some large corporation dealing with the SPAMs they receive, and try to convince them that it really shouldn’t annoy them that much, because their users or employees can just quit (instead of infecting their computer networks with the next internet virus/scam that passed through with an enticing message).

    Please don’t tell me that I should stand for the SPAM, because I live with SPAM AND the firewalls (laws) here in US. That’s ALSO called 站着说话不腰疼 in Chinese.

  14. Well, r v, I will disagree with you a little here. Even the Father of the Great Firewall admits to its limitations. According to a recent global times report:

    Fang concedes his Great Firewall doesn’t do a great job of distinguishing between good and evil information. If a website contains sensitive words, the firewall often simply blocks everything “due to the limitations of the technology,” he says, expecting it would become more sophisticated in the future.

    “The firewall monitors them and blocks them all,” he says. “It’s like when passengers aren’t allowed to take water aboard an airplane because our security gates aren’t good enough to differentiate between water and nitroglycerin.”

    Unfortunately, for some reasons, that article is no longer available on globaltimes.

    I am providing a copy I found cached somewhere on the web below:

    China’s Great Firewall Father Speaks Out

    Source: Global Times
    February 18 2011

    By Fang Yunyu

    The father of the Great Firewall of China (GFW) has signed up to six virtual private networks (VPNs) that he uses to access some of the websites he had originally helped block.

    “I have six VPNs on my home computer,” says Fang Binxing, 50, president of the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications. “But I only try them to test which side wins: the GFW or the VPN.

    “I’m not interested in reading messy information like some of that anti-government stuff.”

    There’s a popular joke circulating the Chinese mainland about Mark Zuckerberg’s surprise visit to Beijing around Christmas last year: The frustrated Facebook president is said to have pleaded with local Chinese entrepreneurs to show him how to beat the Great Firewall.

    “Ever since I landed here in China I can’t log onto my Facebook account!” he tells them.

    The joke might not be real, but the Great Firewall of China is very much alive, blocking the world’s most popular websites including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and WikiLeaks.

    Fang’s handiwork brought down on him an intense barrage of online criticism in December when he opened a microblog on Sina.com.

    Within three hours, nearly 10,000 Web users left messages for the father of the Great Firewall. Few were complimentary.

    Sacrifice for the country

    As a self-described “scholar,” Fang says he was only doing the right thing, and anyway, sticks and stones.

    He confirms he was head designer for key parts of the Great Firewall reportedly launched in 1998 that came online about 2003.

    Fang shut down his microblog account after a few days and has kept mum about the incident until now.

    “I regard the dirty abuse as a sacrifice for my country,” Fang says. “They can’t get what they want so they need to blame someone emotionally: like if you fail to get a US visa and you slag off the US visa official afterwards.”

    This massive accumulation of sarcastic and ugly abuse of Fang all stemmed from his role in creating a technology that filters controversial keywords and blocks access to websites deemed sensitive.

    Fang refuses to reveal how the Great Firewall works. Crossing hands over chest, he says, “It’s confidential.”

    As to the future of his creation, that’s not up to him, Fang says.

    “My design was chosen in the end because my project was the most excellent,” he says with a big, tight smile, then pauses. “The country urgently needed such a system at that time.”

    The year 1998 was a turning point for the development of the Internet in China, says Zhang Zhi’an, associate professor of the journalism school at Fudan University in Shanghai.

    It was when portals Sina.com and Sohu.com first appeared and the number of Chinese mainland Web users hit 1 million. It was also when the government began paying serious attention to the Internet, he says.

    “Building the Great Firewall was a natural reaction to something newborn and unknown,” Zhang says.

    Patient and rational

    The father of the Great Firewall doesn’t avoid defending the momentous Chinese mainland decision to monitor the flow of information on the Internet.

    Such a firewall is a “common phenomenon around the world,” he argues, and nor is China alone in monitoring and controlling the Internet.

    “As far as I know, about 180 countries including South Korea and the US monitor the Internet as well.”

    He avoids all discussion of the relative quantity and qualities of overseas censorship when compared to his own unique creation.

    Some foreign countries – even developed countries – ban access to websites when content violates their laws, such as neo-Nazi information blocked by Germany.

    What irks many Chinese online users is simply being unable to access such apparently harmless fare as Facebook or YouTube.

    Social networking tools are reportedly not just designed to entertain. Asked what would happen next after political upheavals rocked Tunisia and Egypt, Wael Ghonim, one of the individuals responsible for toppling the Mubarak regime replied, “Ask Facebook.”

    Fully aware of the political influence of the Internet, the US has stepped up its efforts to research online penetration tools and exert pressure on foreign governments such as China.

    US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a speech on Tuesday that the US administration would spend $25 million this year helping online users get around such curbs as the Great Firewall of China to achieve “absolute freedom” of Internet information flow.

    Asked to comment on Clinton’s speech earlier this week, Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu Thursday repeated previous statements that online users in China enjoy freedom of speech “in accordance with the law.”

    “China objects to any country’s interference with China’s internal affairs under the banner of Internet freedom.”

    Everlasting war

    Fudan University professor Zhang Zhian notes that during the last decade, China’s Internet freedom has developed a lot in terms of Web user awareness and freedom of speech.

    “The change has been huge,” he says. “China’s Internet is still in the process of development.

    “We’ll listen to foreign countries’ opinions on the development of China’s Internet, but we should have our own timetable.

    “The process takes time and we should be patient and rational.”

    Fang concedes his Great Firewall doesn’t do a great job of distinguishing between good and evil information. If a website contains sensitive words, the firewall often simply blocks everything “due to the limitations of the technology,” he says, expecting it would become more sophisticated in the future.

    “The firewall monitors them and blocks them all,” he says. “It’s like when passengers aren’t allowed to take water aboard an airplane because our security gates aren’t good enough to differentiate between water and nitroglycerin.”

    Before he speaks, the GFW’s father always pauses a few seconds and then when he talks, adopts a measured tone and a considered pace.

    Calls for a more open information flow represent a soft power threat to China from foreign forces, Fang asserts.

    “Some countries hope North Korea will open up its Internet,” he says. “But if it really did so, other countries would get the upper hand.”

    When US President Barack Obama visited Shanghai, he talked about the importance of a more open Internet with Chinese students.

    Some analysts perceive freedom of speech as expanding on the Chinese mainland in recent years via the Internet, while others argue that the Great Firewall is as belligerent as ever.

    With more than 450 million Internet users, China now has the largest national online population in the world.

    It’s an everlasting war between the GFW and VPNs, Fang says.

    “So far, the GFW is lagging behind and still needs improvement,” he says.

    The situation is better described as traffic control, Fang says.

    “Drivers just obey the rules and so citizens should just play with what they have.”

    _____

    About Fang Binxing

    1960 Born in Harbin, capital of Helongjiang Province in northeastern China

    1977 One of 273,000 students out of 5.7 million candidates nationwide to attend university after Deng Xiaoping gives the nod to resumption of university entrance examinations

    1978-1989 Earns bachelor’s, master’s and PhD degrees of computer science at the Harbin Institute of Technology

    1984-1999 Teaches at Harbin Institute of Technology

    1999 Starts work at National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team/ Coordination Center of China as deputy chief engineer

    2000-2007 Appointed chief engineer and director of the center

    2001 Awarded special allowance by the State Council

    2001 Earns “advanced individual” award from Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of Publicity, Organization Department of Central Committee of Communist Party of China, Commission of Politics and Law of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, Ministry of Civil Affairs and Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security

    2005 Selected as academician at Chinese Academy of Engineering

    2006 Wins “excellent worker of science and technology innovation of information industry” award from Ministry of Industry and Information Technology

    2007 Works as information security special advisor to Ministry of Public Security

    2007 Works as distinguished professor at National University of Defense Technology

    December 2007 Appointed dean of Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications

    Whether the article has been “censored” because some officials deems the article to be too sensitive or for other editorial reasons (mistakes in the article?), I don’t know. For here, I don’t make a judgement one way or the other.

  15. In regards to the GFW, I think it is smart for the Chinese government to use it to enforce China’s laws. For example, if Twitter does not want to comply with Chinese laws and harbors those interested in destabilizing China, then then service ought to be blocked.

    Chu said:

    Democracy _is_ a new idea for most mainland Chinese people, who has never really experienced democracy in their lives.

    That is just too naive a view. We have a lot of discussions about Democracy (see “Understanding Democracy” by Allen and a translation of Zhang Weiwei’s argument about the order of development to achieving it.)

    Both Premiere Wen and President Hu also publicly state China’s interest in pursuing it. China does a lot of experiments too, so it is not like China is sitting idle on this front.

    The priority right now for China is to ensure continued economic development and keep pace with on-going civil, legal, and economic reforms.

    Some might argue that the GFW is blocking way too many ideas from entering China. As I have argued here recently, “The Open CourseWare Consortium: Help Make Education Free,” I think China is actively seeking out knowledge from abroad.

    As Allen said, the GFW may be too blunt according to the inventor.

    In my view, the Western media and so called “human rights,” “democracy,” and “freedom” activist are foremost interested in creating political opposition within China. That’s absolutely not a priority for the Chinese people.

    In the long run, I would argue the least firewalling the better. It’s like germs. If you keep an environment too sterile for too long, some day, a deadly disease could enter and wreck havoc. Expose the environment to the germs and let it develop its own defenses. Well, it’s not exactly an either or proposition. We have WHO and CDC’s to deal with specific germs from spreading.

    So, yeah, the GFW getting much better technologically to truly stamp out the really nasty stuff is key. And China should continuously make her citizens wise up to the malice coming from outside. And the Western Media can be counted on to constantly provide ammunition for sites like anti-cnn.com and en.m4.cn.

    At the ideological level, I think the West’s pretexts of “human rights,” “democracy,” and “freedom” are all dead. Note I am talking about the pretexts. Anti-CNN’s of the world continue to chip away at this pretext.

  16. @raventhorn2000

    In a nutshell, your analogy between governments and corporations is an invalid oversimplification.

    Just because governments all have laws for censorship it doesn’t mean such laws are equally good for the development of the respective countries.

    My views are: 1) China operates GFW secretly and it behaves in an overly aggressive manner, which is different from most other nations; 2) GFW is a nuisance for a mentally developed adult (which I think I am); 3) censorship doesn’t help China get healthier, it only makes people become sheep.

    Also it seems to me that it’s your general viewpoint that since a government is in power, everything it does is naturally rightful. In that case, massacres and holocausts shall become rightful too. I hope I’ve got you wrong.

    * * *

    @wwww1234

    If pork product actually make people angry, I bet you won’t advertise for it.

    Ernst Zündel did more than barely “questioning” the Nazi holocaust, cf. .

    * * *

    @YinYang

    “The priority right now for China is to ensure continued economic development and keep pace with on-going civil, legal, and economic reforms.”

    “Some might argue that the GFW is blocking way too many ideas from entering China. . . . As Allen said, the GFW may be too blunt according to the inventor.”

    “In the long run, I would argue the least firewalling the better.”

    All agreed.

    “In my view, the Western media and so called ‘human rights,’ ‘democracy,’ and ‘freedom’ activist are foremost interested in creating political opposition within China. That’s absolutely not a priority for the Chinese people.”

    Agreed. But one thing you need to consider is why such destabilization endeavors have been so successful.

  17. Allen,

    “Even the Father of the Great Firewall admits to its limitations.”

    I have no doubt that no firewall is ever perfect. All security procedures are hassles.

    Why do I have to take my shoes off at US airports? The shoe bomber, of course, even if it only happened once and did not succeed. So because of that 1 clumsy nut, MILLIONS of air travelers have to take their shoes off at US airports.

    Limitations do not mean that firewall policies should not be tried.

    That is again perhaps the difference between China and the West. China will TRY an imperfect solution, and try to get it better, while the West debates and run away from any thing with even a moderate risk.

    Investments in Africa and Latin America is another example of that difference in mentality.

    *
    Both the investments in Africa and latin America, as well as Internet firewall, have proven the naysayers wrong. High risks can be adjusted. GFW has not slowed down Chinese internet growth.

  18. “According to the Internet Society and other sources, the term spam is derived from the 1970 Spam sketch of the BBC television comedy series “Monty Python’s Flying Circus”.[12][12] The sketch is set in a cafe where nearly every item on the menu includes Spam canned luncheon meat. As the waiter recites the Spam-filled menu, a chorus of Viking patrons drowns out all conversations with a song repeating “Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam… lovely Spam! wonderful Spam!”, hence “Spamming” the dialogue.[13] The excessive amount of Spam mentioned in the sketch is a reference to the preponderance of imported canned meat products in the United Kingdom, particularly corned beef from Argentina, in the years after World War II, as the country struggled to rebuild its agricultural base. Spam captured a large slice of the British market within lower economic classes and became a byword among British children of the 1960s for low-grade fodder due to its commonality, monotonous taste and cheap price.”

    “imported,” “commonality, monotonous taste and cheap price.”

    Sounds like Western news media.

  19. E-mail and other forms of spamming have been used for purposes other than advertisements. Many early Usenet spams were religious or political. Serdar Argic, for instance, spammed Usenet with historical revisionist screeds. A number of evangelists have spammed Usenet and e-mail media with preaching messages. A growing number of criminals are also using spam to perpetrate various sorts of fraud, and in some cases have used it to lure people to locations where they have been kidnapped, held for ransom, and even murdered.

  20. @J c Chu,

    I am not sure if you understand my points, and you misquoted me by combining these two points:

    “Some might argue that the GFW is blocking way too many ideas from entering China. . . . As Allen said, the GFW may be too blunt according to the inventor.”

    1. The first point is even though with the existence of the GFW, Chinese people are in fact absorbing ideas. As my cited article argued, the Chinese people are in fact absorbing much more ideas and knowledge from the West as oppose to the other way around.

    2. The second point about the GFW being blunt is relatively a less problem, because the priority is to stop the malice coming from abroad and from few Chinese like Liu Xiaobo who are paid to subvert the Chinese government.

    Do you still agree with these points?

    You asked:

    But one thing you need to consider is why such destabilization endeavors have been so successful.

    Can you cite examples of “success”? Would you consider Liu Xiabo a “success”? And can you help explain how those interested in subverting the Chinese government are doing this successfully? What makes China a good target?

  21. @YinYang

    “1. The first point is even though with the existence of the GFW, Chinese people are in fact absorbing ideas. As my cited article argued, the Chinese people are in fact absorbing much more ideas and knowledge from the West as oppose to the other way around.”

    Agreed.

    * * *

    “2. The second point about the GFW being blunt is relatively a less problem, because the priority is to stop the malice coming from abroad and from few Chinese like Liu Xiaobo who are paid to subvert the Chinese government.”

    That might be a priority for the government. For an increasing amount of people, however, such bluntness means real obstacle and real pain.

    * * *

    “Can you cite examples of ‘success’? Would you consider Liu Xiabo a ‘success’? And can you help explain how those interested in subverting the Chinese government are doing this successfully? What makes China a good target?”

    For what I know, I would call the Jasmine Revolution a success. I would also consider it a continuing success that many people have developed the habit to spread messages that are seemingly anti-government (even those created for the sole sake of being anti-government).

    Some of China’s problems may be inevitable considering its current stage of development. But I think one reason why people distrust the government is their always-awkward responses after 地方群體性事件’s. And maybe corruption too?

    China has a strong propaganda force which is being ported to the internet which, unfortunately, won’t solve real problems.

  22. For what I know, I would call the Jasmine Revolution a success. I would also consider it a continuing success that many people have developed the habit to spread messages that are seemingly anti-government (even those created for the sole sake of being anti-government).
    Some of China’s problems may be inevitable considering its current stage of development. But I think one reason why people distrust the government is their always-awkward responses after 地方群體性事件’s. And maybe corruption too?
    China has a strong propaganda force which is being ported to the internet which, unfortunately, won’t solve real problems.

    In your view anti-something for the sake of being anti-something itself is a virture and has value?
    What is the utilitarian value of being “anti-something” itself?

  23. “China has a strong propaganda force which is being ported to the internet which, unfortunately, won’t solve real problems.”

    China’s “strong propaganda force”?

    It like dropping grains of salt in an ocean of SPAM.

    Will SPAM inspired Jasmine revolution solve any real problems, such as unemployment, food price rising? So far, no.

    The fact that so many people in the world have revolutions just for the sake of revolution or being anti-government, is an indication of the enormous propaganda already in existence on Internet!!

    That is NOT information freedom. That is yelling fire in a crowded dark theater, exploiting people’s fear of the dark, and causing a stampede!

  24. @J.-c. Chu
    1. “If pork product actually make people angry, I bet you won’t advertise for it.”

    Why so. when a business can make legitimate profit?

    2. “Ernst Zündel did more than barely “questioning” the Nazi holocaust, cf.”

    What is the “more” that negate the validity of my question/anaolgy to you?
    Please dont distract and spell it out and let people judge.

  25. J.-c. Chu :

    As raventhorn2000, wwww1234, and SilentChinese here are essentially saying, channeling energy towards “anti-government” is not the right approach.

    Please have a read here:

    China’s determined and long march towards rule of law

    The right answer is continuing to improve governance and deal with corruption through the ongoing reforms. People unhappy with whatever in Chinese society should join this broader effort.

    Sounds like our general disagreement is just on this issue of the GFW being too ‘blunt.’ As I have said in the past, if Facebook want to harbor FLG or these various groups interested in violating Chinese law, I see no problems with China blocking such Internet services.

    In that same vein as above, you could always work hard to join the GFW’s development efforts and make it less ‘blunt.’ My bet is that at least on this front, you and the Chinese government are aligned.

  26. @YinYang

    what I am saying is very simple. it goes down to existential level:

    What is the utilitarian value of being “anti-something” in and by itself?

    of course one could argue that not everyone believes in virtues of utilitarianism. therefore what I am arguing for (there is no value being “anti-something” in and by itself) is not universal.

    one could then argue that no belief system is universal (may be laws of physics and thermodynanics, that is about it. ) and that for some one does not believe in utilitarianism thus it would be true to them that “There is value of being “anti-something” in and by itself”.

    then I would argue for the same loop hole to apply to those that do not believe in universaility of values ” human rights and freedom ” (as defined per Western Liberal democratic tradition). surely if one can forgive one that do not believe in Utilitarianism (the foundation of most of modern economics), then one can be forgiven that one does not believe in ” human rights and freedom – as defined per Western Liberal democratic tradition” … some thing that came much later and rests on much more ideological grounds.

  27. raventhorn2000 :That is NOT information freedom. That is yelling fire in a crowded dark theater, exploiting people’s fear of the dark, and causing a stampede!

    I would put this in a slightly different angle.
    it is called expectation generating results. or self-fullfilling prophecy.

    The #1 ostensible responsibilty of journalism /media is to present the facts as truthful as journalist can do it. however media is a magnifying effect, the feedback loop caused by media bent on reporting from a single perspective WILL change a population’s perception on an issue (if it wasn’t true then pentagon wouldn’t allow all these embedded journalists to go into iraq, and there wouldn;t be a pentagon office specifically dealing with the media).
    a population’s perception on a issue, once changed, will basically become the new “fact”.

    politics is all about perception, nothing more, nothing less. that’s why every election cycle people spent BILLIONs to advertise in America. and that’s why the commies is hell-bent on limiting foreign influences in its domestic discourse. Internet-freedom be damned.

    Those who will say, “well, those commies needs to be over thrown”, you guys prob grew up on a diet of spoon fed media perception, and that has been an almost faith like belief. but a balanced analysis of cost and benefit would prob tilt towards not overthrowing the commies and prob evolution not revolution.

  28. …and internet and the social media.

    Far from exterting an liberating influence on the public discourse, some times they actually help to reinforce pre-established perceptions. in another word: help to kill true, independent thinking.

    Internet and social media is just another big magnifier, nothing more, nothing less.

    the wizkids in undersec of state for global affairs office who put out this internet based revolutionizing strategy is playing with fire. and last week’s FP magazine said just as much.

  29. I still haven’t seen an example of how the GFW stops spamming (which means stuff like Viagra email) on this thread.

  30. @WKL, GFW does stop some spamming, maybe not the Viagra types, but the Dalai Lama types… 😉

    (I sure hope we don’t get censored as a result of my crude joke)

  31. @SilentChinese

    “In your view anti-something for the sake of being anti-something itself is a virture and has value?”

    As I have said, for what I know, I would call the Jasmine Revolution a success [of destabilization]. I would also consider it a continuing success [in destabilizing China] that many people have developed the habit to spread messages that are seemingly anti-government (even those created for the sole sake of being anti-government).

    “What is the utilitarian value of being “anti-something” itself?”

    Sorry I don’t think I really understand your question.

    * * *

    @(Wukailong, Allen)

    “I still haven’t seen an example of how the GFW stops spamming (which means stuff like Viagra email) on this thread.”

    “@WKL, GFW does stop some spamming, maybe not the Viagra types, but the Dalai Lama type… ;-)”

    As I have said, GFW does happen to reduce cross-border spamming (including political spamming) which however is merely a side effect.

  32. “As I have said, GFW does happen to reduce cross-border spamming (including political spamming) which however is merely a side effect.”

    That’s like saying copyright piracy on BitTorrent is a side effect.

  33. J.-c. Chu :@SilentChinese
    “In your view anti-something for the sake of being anti-something itself is a virture and has value?”
    As I have said, for what I know, I would call the Jasmine Revolution a success [of destabilization]. I would also consider it a continuing success [in destabilizing China] that many people have developed the habit to spread messages that are seemingly anti-government (even those created for the sole sake of being anti-government).

    oh… more qualifiers after hand. that’s ok with me.
    but,
    If you judge success this way. then that is fine.
    but I would be more cautious.
    if one was to go around the bellies of the chiinese internet there was plenty of anti-government messages before this as well. so can not really tell the difference before and after this “revolution”.

  34. @J.-c. Chu,

    You have actually brought up – to me anyways – several very good points in this thread. I’ll respond with more thought-out posts starting maybe mid March (I don’t have much time these next couple of weeks).

    Make sure you stick around for a while.

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