Net Nanny Follies

Internet executives complain about excessive Net censorship

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From China Digital Times:

China’s Top IT Enterprenuers Call For Internet Special Zone

Shenzhen is holding a summit for leaders in IT. From the Shenzhen Post:

China (Shenzhen) IT Leader Summit 2010, jointly hosted by Shenzhen Municipal Government and E-China Alliance will be held at Shenzhen Wuzhou Guest House on March 28 and over 80 leaders of the top corporations in China will participate, according to the press conference held by the host. Member of the Municipal Party Committee and Executive vice Mayor of Shenzhen, Xu Qin and Chairman of E-China Alliance, Wu Ying attended the Conference.

During the summit, four leading Internet entrepreneurs, Ma Huateng, founder and Board Chairman of Tencent; Ding Jian, founder and CEO of AsiaInfo; Wang Weijia, founder and CEO of MTone Wireless Corp; and Wang Zhidong, founder and former CEO of Sina.com.cn publicly expressed their discomfort with the current Internet control and management system. Netease posted an article about their criticisms, which has now been deleted from the site.

There's more about the event on China Digital Times, as well as a translation of an article by Chang Ping for the Financial Times' Chinese website about the same subject (Chinese source here).

Below is a translation of the text of the article originally published on Netease. The original text is archived here.

Four senior Internet executives including Ma Huateng complain
about one-size-fits-all Internet censorship

The recent internet crackdown has resulted in not only hundreds and thousands of small and medium sized sites being closed down, but has also given some Internet heavyweights something to say. In a public conference on the 27th of March, four senior executives - Ma Huateng of QQ, Wang Zhidong of Sina.com.cn, Ding Jian of GSR ventures, and Wang Weijia of MTone Wireless - expressed their dissatisfaction over the "one size fits all" approach to Internet monitoring, and that it should be changed. Wang and Ding suggested that Shenzhen should be turned into an "Special Zone" with regard to internet monitoring.

Wang Weijia said that to an online company, fair and equal competition was most important, and that of the hundreds of thousands of sites closed down, some were probably from big names like Alibaba, QQ or Baidu.

Ma Huateng added in his address that because monitoring is so easy, a one-size-fits-all approach is used, especially since Shenzhen is so far south, far away from the seat of politics Beijing.

Wang Zhidong said that the problem was that while China's four hundred million netizens needed monitoring, that the Internet needed to be revolutionary, and a continually innovating industry.

Ding said in his address that the internet had to encourage innovation, and allow people to make mistakes.

According to Wang Zhidong, the best way to address the difficult problem of monitoring the Internet and its innovation was Shenzhen. He said, "Shenzhen has always had had Special Zone status in its culture and blood. Addressing the impasse between Internet innovation and the current monitoring system would no doubt be extremely difficult, but would Shenzhen, as a Special Zone, not be a good testing ground?"

Ding Jian's suggestions were bolder. He suggested that Shenzhen become a Special Zone where the Internet would be "completely free. [We should] see whether a completely free Internet would be come more chaotic, or if something else would happen, and through this a monitoring system more suitable to China could be found.

There are currently 2 Comments for Internet executives complain about excessive Net censorship.

Comments on Internet executives complain about excessive Net censorship

It's funny how they're talking about a free Internet zone in Shenzhen as some new, cutting-edge idea.

There already are places where this "experiment" of having a free Internet and Chinese culture are placed side by side.
They are Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.
So far as I know, none of them have self-destructed yet.

Many Chinese point to the fact that some parts of the Internet NEED control. I totally agree. So crack down on angry netizen mobs, child pornography, hate speech, incitement of violence, etc. (like Australia is proposing to do).

But don't say "Oh, we have to crack down on pornography. So you better not write about democracy." Beijing is just using the former to justify the latter.

Yeah, but Macau will lose their freedoms soon. It is much more bootlicking to BJ than HK and the erosions of freedoms there is palpable and growing.

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