CCP Blocks Internet Sites and Satellite Broadcasts before the Olympic Games, Revealing Its Methods of News Censorship
(Clearwisdom.net) Ten days before the Olympics opening ceremony, the Chinese Community Party (CCP) blocked what it called "sensitive" websites. Its willingness to violate human rights was once again exposed before the world's people. Those in the media who respect freedom of speech focused attention on the CCP's Internet blockade.
The blocked websites include: Amnesty International, Reporters without Borders, BBC Chinese Website, Voice of Germany and other non-governmental organizations and news media, Falun Gong, Tibetan and other spiritual groups, and any website that had discussions of the "Tiananmen Square Massacre". Due to pressure from international media, the CCP lifted the block on several websites, but continued blocking Falun Gong and Tibet related websites.
Internet blockade and media censorship existed before the CCP applied for the Olympic Games
Amnesty International's Asian Program Vice Director Roseann Rife was not surprised by the CCP's action. She stated, "By the CCP blocking some Internet websites at will and interrupting the reception of others, it broke its promise and did not carry out its responsibility of keeping to the international standard of freedom of expression."
The CCP's recent action did not just happen before or during the Olympic Games. On August 1st 2008, during a Canadian Press conference, Falun Gong practitioner He Lizhi described what happened to him eight years ago when he was sentenced to three and a half years in prison because he downloaded five Falun Gong related articles from a forbidden website and sent them to his relatives.
Another witness, also from Canada, is Liu Wenyu who lives in Calgary. He and his wife Yao Yue are both Falun Gong practitioners who graduated from Qinghua University. In 2001, wife Yao Yue was sentenced to twelve years in prison because she downloaded information from Falun Gong websites, printed and sent them out to expose the persecution of Falun Gong.
It is impossible to gather statistics on how many cases like these have happened during the nine years of persecution against Falun Gong. But we know it cost the CCP eight hundred million US dollars, up to six billion Chinese yuan, to build the "Golden Shield" to monitor and censor the Internet. Internet monitoring is administered by the Public Security Bureau and the National Security Bureau. "The Internet Safety Supervisory Bureau" which is a subordinate bureau of the Public Security Bureau is responsible for carrying out this duty. From the central government to local governments, from provinces to cities, all governments have established Internet Safety Bureaus, Departments and Teams. There are over three hundred thousand "Internet police" involved in this system.
Chinese Internet Monitoring System used to persecute Falun Gong Practitioners According to a 2004 Report
The number of people arrested or detained due to exchanging information or expressing an objection to conditions or government policies on the Internet have increased sharply; the number in the year 2003 increased 600% over the previous year. There are at least fifty-four persons in prison due to either sending e-mail, establishing a website or exchanging Falun Gong information." ("Amnesty International" January 28th 2004).
According to the data from the World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG), " from July 1999 to April 2004, at least one hundred and eight Falun Gong practitioners have been sentenced to prison and labor camps due to Internet related cases, while at least three thousand Falun Gong practitioners were persecuted to death in the general persecution."
Indirect Censorship of the News: The CCP bribes satellite companies to stop broadcasting independent stations
The run-up to the Olympic Games has let the entire world truly see the CCP's extreme Internet controls. Besides openly blocking the news from some sites, other events affecting news coverage might look like an ordinary business dispute or just a technical problem, but they affect what news reaches the population.
This recently happened with a European satellite company, Eutelsat, for example. On June 16th , 2008, Eutelsat shut down New Tang Dynasty TV (NTDTV) broadcasts into mainland China over its W5 satellite. Its excuse was "a technical problem." On July 10th , 2008, the NGO Reporters Without Borders' main office in Paris, France released the news that the "technical problem" raised by Eutelsat was not a "technical problem" at all, but a premeditated political move. The CEO of the company, Giuliano Berretta, in order to please the CCP in an attempt to gain business benefits, deliberately turned off NTDTV signals, several weeks before the Olympic Games, a critical time for Chinese citizens to hear uncensored news.
Reporters Without Borders stated, "The NTDTV Station made the CCP uneasy, as through the satellite, millions of Chinese citizens are able to watch NTDTV. When the satellite company turned off the station, it was an attempt to obtain new business from CCP related corporations."
Eighteen days later, an American government agency, the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which manages Voice of America and Radio Free Asia canceled its contract with Eutelsat to broadcast into China. Because the BBG is canceling the contact with Eutelsat, the satellite company will feel free to cancel its contract with NTDTV. This all happened before the Olympic Games.
Members of the media who are interested in reporting on the CCP's control of news circulation, and investigating further the events around the turning off of NTDTV signals over China, should inquire into the methods and motives of the BBG and Eutelsat. They will find out how much effort the CCP has put into blocking free news circulation.
What Falun Gong practitioners have done about the news blockade
The reason the CCP blocks and censors news reports is because these reports expose the crimes committed by the CCP. The CCP dominates its domestic media; Chinese citizens cannot receive real news. Once genuine news is available to the Chinese people, the countless crimes committed by the CCP over the last several decades will be exposed to the people, such as human rights abuses, religious persecution, and corruption.
Through the course of the persecution, Falun Gong practitioners have been providing Internet software which can break through the Chinese Communist Party's Internet blockade. This software can help Chinese citizens in mainland China use the Internet freely to learn the truth. It can help them withdraw from the CCP and its affiliated organizations to create a better future for themselves and their country.