Being a Good Citizen Online
14 Jul 2004
There was nothing in it that I wouldn’t agree with, but some of the terms would never appear on an American website, and the terms are indicative of the current state of the internet in China.
My slap-dash translation:
In order to uphold online public order and social stability, please conscientiously abide by the following terms:
I. You must not use this website to harm national security or to divulge national secrets. You must not violate national collective social rights or citizens’ legal rights. You must not use this website to create, duplicate, or propagate information that has the following effects:
- Incites resistance to or destruction of the consitution and law or administrative regulations in effect;
- Incites subversion of the state or overturn of the socialist system;
- Incites secession or destruction of national unity;
- Incites ethnic hatred or prejudices, or destroys ethnic unity;
- Concocts or distorts facts, spreads rumors, or disturbs social order;
- Propagates feudal superstition, obscenity, pornography, gambling, violence, murder, terror, or abetment of criminals;
- Blatantly humiliates others, slanders others, or carries out other malicious personal attacks;
- Hurts the nation’s reputation;
- Otherwise violates the consitution, law, and administrative regulations;
- Conducts commerical advertising.
II. Respect others, and be responsible for your own speech and actions.
Anyway, that gives you an idea. I don’t want to give the impression that internet discussions here are bogged down in an oppressive 1984-esque atmosphere because they really don’t seem to be, but clearly people have to be more careful about what they say.
This article also made me think: even though it’s kind of disturbing for a Westerner to see so many limitations on freedom of speech written out in black and white, how different is the USA, really?? Especially considering the events surrounding the current “war on terrorism,” the American government would probably take notice and respond pretty quickly to a lot of that kind of online behavior as well. But they don’t warn you beforehand.
Don’t get me wrong, though. Freedom of speech is good. It’s a good thing I hate writing about politics or I might have more to say on this.
(Also, if anyone wants to take a look at the original and suggest improvements to my clumsy translation, feel free.)
Speaking of “being a good citizen,” Edward Abbey once said, “A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.” Pablo Casals said, “The love of one’s country is a splendid thing. But why should love stop at the border?” Take a look, then, at how Richard of Peking Duck has recently been pronounced beyond splendid by the China Daily.