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Censorship Politics

Obama Talks Internet Freedom, China Censors 312

Posted by kdawson
from the can't-hear-you dept.
eldavojohn writes "In a town-hall-style Q&A with (hand-picked) Chinese students in Shanghai, President Obama made several statements knocking China's firewall and censorship. Quoting: 'I am a big believer in technology and I'm a big believer in openness when it comes to the flow of information. I think that the more freely information flows, the stronger the society becomes, because then citizens of countries around the world can hold their own governments accountable. They can begin to think for themselves. That generates new ideas. It encourages creativity. And so I've always been a strong supporter of open Internet use. I'm a big supporter of non-censorship. This is part of the tradition of the United States that I discussed before, and I recognize that different countries have different traditions. I can tell you that in the United States, the fact that we have free Internet — or unrestricted Internet access — is a source of strength, and I think should be encouraged.' The Washington Post notes that the event was broadcast only on the local level, and in fact Chinese authorities removed from view what little coverage it had gotten, after about an hour. But at least American news media are gobbling it up."
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Obama Talks Internet Freedom, China Censors

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  • Whitehouse.gov (Score:4, Informative)

    by BearRanger (945122) on Monday November 16, 2009 @11:10PM (#30125662)

    They're streaming this speech, and historically China has not blocked this domain. So, provided there are curious Chinese citizens who are aware of the visit they have a way to hear directly what was said.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Streaming in Chinese? Let us say it was the other way around, and the Chinese president was speaking here, how many "curious American citizens" would even understand what was on the Chinese equivalent of whitehouse.gov?

    • by sam0737 (648914)

      ...which I actually did yesterday. I'm in Shanghai right now.

      But, I guess for someone who can listen and understand live English audio streaming with no caption and such, s/he should be well aware that unrestricted Internet access is essential.

      May I put it in another way...GIVE ME BACK THE DAMN FACEBOOK.

  • ...ah, I just don't have the heart to finish the joke anymore. I'm so glad to have had the opportunity to have been raised in a culture where free speech and personal choice are so highly prized.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 16, 2009 @11:14PM (#30125684)

    So that's why he's opposing and releasing all of the information about the ACTA treaty as well as allowing the pictures of the "POWs" that were enhanced interrogated to be shown. It's great to know that he got rid of all those national security and state secrets defenses in the courts, too.

    • by twostix (1277166) on Tuesday November 17, 2009 @12:22AM (#30126058)

      And putting legislation online at least five days before it's voted on.

      And allowing congressmen enough time to read legislation rather than ramming it down their throats at 2am.

      And ending backroom politics.

      And get rid of the lobbyists - though perhaps I misheard him on that one and he actually said "I promise to hire as many lobbyists and absolute freaks and weirdos into my administration as I possibly can".

      And and and.

      He's done absolutely nothing that he said he would do, and in fact has been even *worse* than Bushco regarding midnight bills, etc. So why is the media not lighting a bonfire under his feet? When I watch your media (MSNBC, CNN, etc) it would appear that they're absolutely infatuated with him. He's a political figure not a monarch or religious icon fer the gods sake.

      (And not much of an "orator" when he's just got to wing it either I notice)

      And before the lefty mods come down on me like a tonne of bricks, I'm no right winger and actually believed he would be different and better. Stupid me ay?

      • by TubeSteak (669689) on Tuesday November 17, 2009 @01:15AM (#30126308) Journal

        He's done absolutely nothing that he said he would do, and in fact has been even *worse* than Bushco regarding midnight bills, etc. So why is the media not lighting a bonfire under his feet?

        Absolutely nothing? Not lighting a bonfire?
        http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/ [politifact.com]

        The Obameter Scorecard
        Promise Kept: 54
        Compromise: 14
        Promise Broken: 7
        Stalled: 17
        In the Works: 149
        Not yet rated: 274

        Feel free to read the about page [politifact.com]
        The Truth-O-Meter [politifact.com] is good fun too.
        Every day it tracks the veracity of statements by public figures & politicians.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Glen Greenwald writes on Civil Rights, does a good job of critiquing Obama's administration, comparing it to Bush.

          Obama's Holder, for example, is pushing the argument that the gov declared methods of spying secret, therefore there is no way to sue it or the telephone companies, harder than Bush's attorney general did.

          Obama has NOT ended the wars, has NOT brought the troops home.

          He has NOT opened up the government, increased transparency, despite the rhetoric.

        • when the items in the loss category far exceed those in the win column in areas of importance or magnitude.

          Its like having a city claim crime is down because jaywalker incidents are down 100% while ignoring the fact it was because someone was shooting them.

          This is President Wall Street. Main Street won't matter to him until 2011. For all the anguish and hysteria over Bush and his so called allegiance to big business, at least Bush wasn't just handing money to Wall Street. Obama proved one thing about tric

          • by LanMan04 (790429) on Tuesday November 17, 2009 @08:36AM (#30128100)

            For all the anguish and hysteria over Bush and his so called allegiance to big business, at least Bush wasn't just handing money to Wall Street.

            Ahem.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergency_Economic_Stabilization_Act_of_2008 [wikipedia.org]

            On October 1, 2008, the Senate debated and voted on an amendment to H.R. 1424, which substituted a newly revised version of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 for the language of H.R. 1424. The Senate accepted the amendment and passed the entire amended bill, voting 74-25. Additional unrelated provisions added an estimated $150 billion to the cost of the package and increased the size of the bill to 451 pages. The amended version of H.R. 1424 was sent to the House for consideration, and on October 3, the House voted 263-171 to enact the bill into law. President Bush signed the bill into law within hours of its congressional enactment, creating a $700 billion Troubled Assets Relief Program to purchase failing bank assets.

    • by ArsonSmith (13997)

      ---insert typical, "when my party does it it's ok" defense here---

  • by MosesJones (55544) on Monday November 16, 2009 @11:24PM (#30125720) Homepage

    The main headline : Obama SELLS American Freedom to Chinese

    Bill O'Reilly - Obama is betraying all Americans by giving away the secrets of freedom to the Chinese

    Glenn Beck - Obama is raising a Chinese Army to take over the United States

    • by MindlessAutomata (1282944) on Monday November 16, 2009 @11:37PM (#30125800)

      True, true, but it goes both ways.

      Far Left - "Obama is perpetuating cultural hegemony and displaying his intolerance toward other cultures' ways of life by forcing Western cultural norms down their throats."

      • by twostix (1277166)

        CNN - "Oooh he gives me a tingle up my leg".

        *shudder*

        Apparently that's the standard that Fox is supposed to be aiming for.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by TheMuon (1424531)

          I think you are thinking of Chris Mathews of MSNBC. Unless someone at CNN said the same thing.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by dragonxtc (1344101)
      I'm a republican and even I found that funny
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ArsonSmith (13997)

      Meanwhile some liberal somewhere makes up:

      On Fox News The main headline : Obama SELLS American Freedom to Chinese

      Bill O'Reilly - Obama is betraying all Americans by giving away the secrets of freedom to the Chinese

      Glenn Beck - Obama is raising a Chinese Army to take over the United States

  • by QCompson (675963) on Monday November 16, 2009 @11:26PM (#30125738)
    I'm glad that in the United States, the president agrees that an open and uncensored internet is important to ensure the free exchange of ideas. Sometimes, to ensure true freedom of speech, you have to allow that which you may find objectionable or offensive, because once you start blocking some information, you start to... OMG what's that? Child pornography?!? BLOCK EVERYTHING, ARREST EVERYONE, MONITOR ALL TRAFFIC!
    • by agrif (960591) on Tuesday November 17, 2009 @12:25AM (#30126078) Homepage

      I'm not one to post quotes willy-nilly, but this one is particularly relevant to the free internet:

      The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all. (H. L. Mencken)

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Oblig. Pres. of Madagascar: SHUT DOWN EVERYTHING!!!

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by twostix (1277166)

      I'm getting mighty tired of these quite frankly disgusting comparisons between China and western liberal democracies (mostly the US) on sites like this by western middleclass individuals living lavish lifestyles in soft liberal democracies whenever China comes up.

      It's not clever, it's not rational in fact it's offensive to the people who are suffering under the boot of whatever the hell China is these days (some sort of techo communist/fascist/authoritarian hybrid that we haven't seen before) simply for bei

      • He didn't even mention China. He was just using the thread to make, in my oppinion, a valid point about the USA's view on child pornography.

        No need for the hostility.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by shadowofwind (1209890)

        Well said. I find the lack of decency expressed by the 'child porn market = free speech' crowd to be staggering. As if the opportunity to sadistically destroy children, or leer from a safe distance while other people do it for you, is a human right.

        • Of course, this guy was involved in relatively legit adult porn, but I feel the sentiment bears repeating:

          Larry Flynt:
          [I]f the first amendment will protect a scumbag like me, then it will protect all of you . . . 'cause I'm the worst.

          Erring *way too far* on the side of caution? Likely.
          However, I think of the statistician's battle between Type I and Type II errors in many many issues relating to legislation.

          • Of course, this guy was involved in relatively legit adult porn, but I feel the sentiment bears repeating:

            Larry Flynt:
            [I]f the first amendment will protect a scumbag like me, then it will protect all of you . . . 'cause I'm the worst.

            Erring *way too far* on the side of caution? Likely.
            However, I think of the statistician's battle between Type I and Type II errors in many many issues relating to legislation.

            You left out the children who are being molested for public viewing. It's not protecting them.

    • by loteck (533317)
      You know between this and the Education speech, Obama must be getting kind of tired of having radical extremist political parties censoring his otherwise basic and principled messages. Good thing that kind of thing doesn't happen over he... wait...
  • What's the point (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DrugCheese (266151) on Monday November 16, 2009 @11:41PM (#30125826)

    of talking to the Chinese if the Chinese people don't hear the message. It's certainly falling on deaf ears on the Chinese authorities.

    And who cares if the American media is gobbling it up, the American people don't care.

  • That's why we can freely talk about Scientology any time we want!

  • I hope they didn't remove the students who witnessed it as well.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 17, 2009 @12:58AM (#30126216)

    Really removed from view? A quick check on the chinese newspapers, here for example todays Shanghai Daily, proves different:

    http://www.shanghaidaily.com/article/?id=419690&type=Opinion
    "Many of the students asked questions in English about Obama's views on Internet censorship, global leadership and Taiwan....

  • Political Stunt (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Grym (725290)

    It seems too convenient that the one moment where Obama was openly critical of Chinese leadership occurred during the only public venue which was not broadcast on live television. Those admonishments of Chinese censorship were intended more for us back home than the repressed Chinese people; a political stunt to appear as if he cared about human rights abuses without paying the associated political price of taking such a stand. If you doubt this, ask yourself this: why didn't he make such statements durin

    • by compro01 (777531)

      His solution after becoming president? A "residual force" of more than 50,000 troops which will remain indefinitely. Well, so much for that...

      IMO, simply packing up and leaving on some arbitrary timetable is irrational and likely to create even more problems in future.

      Also, not really anything new. There are still over 40,000 US military personnel (Mostly Air Force and Marines) in Japan, another 35,000-ish in South Korea (Not unreasonable given the neighbors), and over 100,000 scattered around Europe (Much of those in Germany).

  • hand-picked (Score:3, Interesting)

    by martin-boundary (547041) on Tuesday November 17, 2009 @01:10AM (#30126278)
    What's with the (hand-picked) snark? Of course the students are hand-picked. Obama is a VIP, he's not going to be left standing in front of a random crowd. There's a lot of negotiation behind the scenes just to guarantee an acceptable level of security, and it's obvious that hearing a foreign dignitary speak is a privilege that's going to be distributed in *some* way.

    The Chinese fully realize that probably half or more of Americans will be very upset if something were to happen to Obama, and they're treating the problem appropriately, as would any other host country.

    • by Cimexus (1355033)

      Agreed ... that was snarky language.

      A couple of years ago, President Bush visited Australia. Audiences with him were hand-picked as well. And that's a meeting between two societies that are both English-speaking, Western liberal democracies, who are each others closest military and cultural allies.

      Attendees to any forum with a world leader will be hand-picked, regardless of the country you are talking about.

  • The Chinese get no Hope and Change, instead they either get silence or the opportunity to live on several people due to the Weekly Organ van visit.

"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats." -- Howard Aiken

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