Widening cracks

16 Mar 2009

IPS reports that China is effectively stifling dissent and deterring organized opposition with its 'Great Firewall' censorship program and that the younger generation is not upset as long as it is still getting its YouTube.

Rebecca MacKinnon, assistant professor at the University of Hong Kong, says that although there is relative freedom for youth culture, 'censorship"&brkbar; works well enough that no one has been able to organize a successful political movement through the internet'.

China's 235 million internet users have access to YouTube and can become international cybercelebrities like the 'back dorm boys', but tens of thousands of censors effectively block such websites as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International claiming to protect Chinese users from 'vulgar' content.

Young Chinese (70% of internet users are under 30) seem to approve of censorship in a roundabout way. Ailin Guo, a Chinese student studying at George Washington University in Washington DC said, 'Although I am consciously aware of the fact that democratic accountability is essential and censorship is wrong, I endorse the practice of censorship in China because it is necessary to maintain social stability.'

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