i understand brian's main point: the analogy in which a government deems something harmful (either the substance harmful to the public or the information harmful to the regime) and bans it, while there are enough people who still want this stuff and in spite of the government's continuous efforts and advancement in interception, there are constantly and more advanced means available to obtain it.
however, i would like to steer away from the impression that we (both wikimedia and its contributors) have anything to do with outlaws. accessing and using blocked websites within PRC are not necessarily "breaking the law" there, at least in the case of wikipedia/wikimedia.
PRC officials and official news media have repeatedly asserted that there are no censorship laws at all in PRC. (indeed, such laws would be unconstitutional, although there is no constitutional court in PRC since all courts report to the people's congress, which functions mainly as the legislature.) PRC censors do cite and claim their authority from several regulations and executive rules, for example, the "regulation on protection of security of computer information systems " (中华人民共和国计算机信息系统安全保护条例) passed by the state council in 1994, the "administrative rules for protecting security of international networking of computer information systems" (计算机信息网络国际联网安全保护管理办法) issued by the department of public safety in 1997, and the "administrative rules for internet information services" (互联网信息服务管理办法) passed by the state council in 2000. however, all these regulations and rules are in essence "executive orders" instead of "laws," and i cannot find any law of PRC that grants or authorizes the executive branch for issuing these regulations/rules.
it is true that the standing committee of national people's congress, the legislature, has released a document named "resolution on maintaining internet security" (全国人大常委会关于维护互联网安全的决定) in 2000, but it is merely a resolution (in form of interpreting the criminal law so the constitutionality of this resolution is not easily disputed) instead of an act or law of the people's congress.
i also would keep away from the implication that the legal system/conditions of PRC are comparable to that of the freer countries. firstly, those executive regulations/rules established without debate, approval, or authorization from people's representatives are treated and applied as law -- the "law" lacks both constitutionality and legitimacy. secondly, to this day it remains unclear which governmental agency ordered ISPs to block wikipedia and on what basis the order was, indeed it is not even proven although obvious whether the government is involved in the unconnectivity -- the enforcement lacks forewarning and transparency. thirdly, there is currently no practical way of suing, appealing, or seeking redress in PRC.
in addition, from my understanding of the afore mentioned regulations/rules, even when a "harmful" website is identified and blocked, just viewing or contributing to the "non-harmful" part of information does not seem to be prohibited, and viewing "harmful" information alone (without disseminating "state secrets") does not seem to be a criminal offense (although it is possible to get fines or in serious cases removal of internet access for 6 months).
i hope that i did not sound too offending. if there were mistakes or misinformation, please kindly let me know.
2006/3/14, Brian <[hidden email]>:
> Internet access in China following government censorship is becoming
> like drug access in the US following the start of the War on Drugs. For
> those willing to break the law (ie: everyone), it's becoming easier and
> easier to get access to all the possibilities.
> R.O.C wrote:
> >i checked <a href="http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikinews/Vote/Zh" target="_blank" onclick="return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)"> http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikinews/Vote/Zh and found more
> >than 10 users who are currently living in mainland. i think that
> >wikipedia/wikimedia can be accessed and edited from mainland china as long
> >as the user knows how to use proxies or some special browsers.
> >2006/3/8, Anthere <[hidden email]>:
> >>Erik Moeller wrote:
> >>>Chinese Wikinews has long met the formal requirements of a new Wikinews
> >>>edition to be launched. There has now been another poll:
> >>><a href="http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikinews/Vote/Zh" target="_blank" onclick="return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)">http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikinews/Vote/Zh
> >>>which currently has 36 votes in favor of launching, including many
> >>>Chinese Wikipedians, and only one (!) vote opposed. As per the voting
> >>>rules, given more than 90% support after a week of voting, this means
> >>>that the project can go ahead.
> >>>Are there any objections from the Board to launching the project now? If
> >>>I don't hear anything by the end of the week, I presume we can go ahead
> >>>and set up the site.
> >>Do it.
> >>PS : could mainland chinese vote since they are blocked ?
> >>(note that the answer will not change the statement above...)
> >>foundation-l mailing list
> >>[hidden email]
> >><a href="http://mail.wikipedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l" target="_blank" onclick="return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)">http://mail.wikipedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
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