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    Associated Press: China set to tighten state-secrets law forcing Internet firms to inform on users

    The Associated Press reports on the latest attempt by China to gather data on Internet users:

    China is poised to strengthen a law requiring telecommunications and Internet companies to inform on customers who discuss state secrets, potentially forcing businesses to collaborate with the country’s vast, dissent-stifling security apparatus.

    The move, reported Tuesday by state media, comes as China continues tightening controls on communications services. […]

    An amendment to the Law on Guarding State Secrets, submitted in draft form to China’s top legislature for review, would make more explicit the requirement that telecommunications operators and Internet service providers assist police and state security departments in investigations of leaks of state secrets, the state-run China Daily newspaper said. […]

    In China, state secrets have been so broadly defined that virtually anything — maps, GPS coordinates, even economic statistics — could fall into the category, and officials sometimes use the classification as a way to avoid disclosing information. […]

    But [the amendment’s] passage would probably not mean a significant change, as communications companies are already often compelled to comply with investigations.

    Beijing-based human rights lawyer Mo Shaoping said the amended law would mean that communications service providers would be unable to protect the privacy of their clients.

    “Such regulation will leave users with no secrets at all, since the service providers have no means to resist the police,” Mo said.

    One Response to “Associated Press: China set to tighten state-secrets law forcing Internet firms to inform on users”

    1. han lou Says:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QrivJflj6fU&feature=player_embedded

      you also have to think about the amount of people in China. China is not as unified in many ways as the US, as divided as the US might seem. You have greater disparity and various cultural mores that get in the way, and hence, although democracy may be a great ideal, you have to realize that with 1.3 billion people, a sort of authoritarian one aprty system is the BEST for China. Not to mention it streamlines and gets things done a lot faster than in a democracy, even though it is not as stable (anything can topple it over).

      Furthermore, all this western fixation on China kind of misses the point: if the rmb were to go up, commodity prices would go up also, lowering the standard of living in the US, not to mention it would not necessarily create more jobs in the US, because commodity prices would be cheaper for the chinese, incresing production costs yet decreasing raw materials. Even if the rmb would to go up significantly, labour would be outsources elsewhere, perhaps malaysia, and the added value of the rmb woudl encourage consumption, which would start competing with the US in terms of commodities. So not only does the US risk not gaining many jobs (outsourcing labor to other areas while assembling in China), but it also risks increasing prices in commodities from added demand in a revitalized domestic consumption in China-hence, a competetive sort of situation would ensue. Not to mention that the Chinese government would see it as an excellent opportunity to buy US stocks in the process in order to hedge bets with such a destabilizing rmb increase.

      You have to see it from the chinese perspective also…china is much more populated and any little fluctuation can have enormous consequences. Hence, market stability is of utmost importance in any decision making process. You cannot exclude the reality that China is still a very small nation in terms of GDP potential and has a fragile leadership. Any aggression from the western world could send it into a nosedive, in effect triggering a series of events leading to an economic collapse. China is really very fragile, not this superman that many in the western media make it out to be. In fact, this very fragility is precisely how an authoritarian government is justified, otherwise IT MIGHT have been democratic. The US is more homogeneous, both in legal language and in rich vs poor (middle class). Not so in China. 1.3 billion people, rapid industrialization, and growing disparities between cultural perspectives and rich and poor, make it perhaps the most fragile ‘superpower’ ever. The chinese people accept that they must sacrifice full fledged democratic elections for stability because in a poor nation that is growing (china is still not an industrialized power if you consider its population) you cannot have ‘growth pains’ because any ‘growth pain’ can translate into complete collapse and social chaos. Hence, in many ways the chinese government is a byproduct of the chinese landscape and reality; overcrowded, overly-competetive economically (ruthless at times with no regards to social norms), and a limited time and resources. It is not to say it is perfect, but in many ways China’s governemnt is more mature than the west. Not only is the culture older and has gone through many periods such as the current United States in the age of warlord states, but it is the byproduct of a reality in a world of ever increasing competition with less resources. Technology is expected, especially nanotech, to remedy many of these long-standing concerns, but it may be an eventual decision that even the west must consider for the survival of global stability (economic stability also).

      Perspective from a chinese, love,

      lou

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