China group says US uses Facebook to sow unrest

Jul 09, 2010 By ANITA CHANG , Associated Press Writer

(AP) -- A Chinese government-backed think tank has accused the U.S. and other Western governments of using social networking sites like Facebook to spur political unrest and called for stepped-up scrutiny of the wildly popular sites.

As China's online population - the world's largest - surges past the 400 million mark, its Communist government is growing increasingly sensitive to any online threats to its authority. Although Beijing operates an extensive system of monitoring and censorship to block material deemed subversive, the Internet is still the most open and lively forum for discussion in a society where traditional media are controlled by the state.

, for instance, has emerged as a gathering place for dissidents and other politically minded Chinese wanting to voice their complaints and share information. Though the government routinely bans sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, technologically savvy users can easily jump China's "Great Firewall" with proxy servers or other alternatives.

According to a report released this week by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the sites also harbor an external threat. threaten state security because the U.S. and other Western countries are using them to foment instability, said the report, titled "Development of China's New Media."

"We must pay attention to the potential risks and threats to state security as the popularity of social networking sites continues to grow," the report said. "We must immediately step up supervision of social networking sites."

It cited unnamed U.S. officials as saying that social networking is an "invaluable tool" for overthrowing foreign governments. A comment by U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates that new communication technology is a "huge strategic asset" was also given as an example of the U.S. threat.

The report noted how Facebook and other sites were used as tools of "political subversion" in the mass protests following the Iranian elections last year. They also played a role in the violence in China's far-western region of Xinjiang last summer that left some 200 people dead, the report said, noting some online groups overseas had issued calls for independence for the traditionally Muslim area.

A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Beijing declined to comment on the specifics of the report because he had not seen it, but said the U.S. viewed freedom of expression as a "universal human right."

"For us, it's an issue of Internet freedom and we're strongly committed to Internet freedom and oppose all forms of censorship," spokesman Richard Buangan said.

Facebook, based in Palo Alto, California, did not immediately respond to an out-of-hours e-mail seeking comment.

Most of the overwhelmingly young Chinese Internet users go online just to chat, play games, listen to music and shop. Government-approved Chinese substitutes for banned sites are readily available: Kaixinwang and Renren instead of , for example.

But China remains so sensitive to potential threats posed by the Internet that it recently issued a directive banning its troops from having blogs or personal websites, as well as visiting Internet cafes or online dating sites. Military experts said the steps were necessary to avoid compromising security.

Explore further: Yelp adds hotel and winery bookings with new partnerships

4.5 /5 (2 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Chinese Web sites close amid tightening controls

Jul 21, 2009

(AP) -- Two more Web sites dedicated to social networking went offline in China on Tuesday amid tightening controls that have blocked Facebook, Twitter and other popular sites that offered many Chinese a rare taste of free ...

Pentagon reviews social networking on computers

Aug 05, 2009

(AP) -- The Pentagon is reviewing the use of Facebook and other social networking sites on its computers with an eye toward setting rules on how to protect against possible security risks.

Vietnam Internet users fear Facebook blackout

Nov 17, 2009

(AP) -- Vietnam's growing legions of Facebook users fear that the country's communist government might be blocking the popular social networking Web site, which has become difficult to access over the past few weeks.

China to ban violent online games

Jul 28, 2009

(AP) -- China has banned Web sites from advertising or linking to games that glamorize violence, another step in China's censorship campaign aimed at ensuring social stability ahead of the 60th anniversary of communist rule ...

Recommended for you

Facebook goes retro with 'Rooms' chat app

21 hours ago

Facebook on Thursday released an application that lets people create virtual "rooms" to chat about whatever they wish using any name they would like.

Some online shoppers pay more than others, study shows

22 hours ago

Internet users regularly receive all kinds of personalized content, from Google search results to product recommendations on Amazon. This is thanks to the complex algorithms that produce results based on users' profiles and ...

User comments : 29

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Truth
2.5 / 5 (2) Jul 09, 2010
YouTube banned for being subversive??? Facebook too??? Wow, talk about dysfunctional and paranoid governments. Here in the good ole USA, we are strong enough and intelligent enough to accept so many different views, with videos and conversations, and still laugh at the whole thing. But not the Chinese.....Gotta ban those subversive YouTube vids!!!
frajo
5 / 5 (1) Jul 10, 2010
It's the question who ought to control whom. The economy politics (as in the West) or the other way round?
Economy in the position of controlling politics doesn't show a very attractive historical record. It's suitable only for a subset of society and tends to turn each democracy into an effective oligarchy. Obviously, society as a whole is better off where economy is supervises/regulated by independent entities. Governments in Western type democracies are clearly not independent entities; they are too much entangled with economy.
Economy, otoh, doesn't care about non-economic values. That's why a society led by economy only is instable.
marjon
1 / 5 (1) Jul 10, 2010
YouTube banned for being subversive??? Facebook too??? Wow, talk about dysfunctional and paranoid governments. Here in the good ole USA, we are strong enough and intelligent enough to accept so many different views, with videos and conversations, and still laugh at the whole thing. But not the Chinese.....Gotta ban those subversive YouTube vids!!!

Janet Napolitano, US Secretary of Homeland Security, tried to ban 'controversial' web sites at DHS.

Obviously, society as a whole is better off where economy is supervises/regulated by independent entities.

The best independent entities are called customers.
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (1) Jul 10, 2010
There is 1 and only one universal human right that should be protected at all times. That is the right to have and express a differing opinion. A government can be a great many things however what they cannot be is censoring of their people. In this respect China has it entirely wrong.
frajo
5 / 5 (1) Jul 10, 2010
There is 1 and only one universal human right that should be protected at all times. That is the right to have and express a differing opinion.
You'd not object someone anonymously telling your name, your address, and that you were beating your wife? (After all, it's just a "differing opinion".)
This kind of "freedom" results in opression/defamation of the poor by the rich who can pay lawyers.

You wouldn't have objected the German Nazi propaganda (just a "differing opinion") against the Jews?
I don't think so.

Who was censoring Octavia Nasr by sacking her because of her expressing her "differing opinion" on Twitter?
Who was censoring Wilhelm Reich by burning all his books in 1956?
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (1) Jul 10, 2010
Allow me to answer your questions in turn.
You'd not object someone anonymously telling your name, your address, and that you were beating your wife? (After all, it's just a "differing opinion".)
Is it true? Do I get a chance for rebuttal and display of evidence? If both sides get an equal say then I have no issue with it.
This kind of "freedom" results in opression/defamation of the poor by the rich who can pay lawyers.
Well that isn't exactly an issue if the rule of law is applied equally. Freedom of speech is required on all fronts so that poor ideas and poor actions can be addressed by the public.

The next three can be combined-
You wouldn't have objected the German Nazi propaganda (just a "differing opinion") against the Jews?
I left this instance up because it is the most important. The German Nazi propaganda was the opinion of a few, however we recall it so clearly because there was no permitted contrary opinion. Open evaluation of ideas discards junk.
Skeptic_Heretic
not rated yet Jul 10, 2010
I never say that a YEC shouldn't be allowed to express his opinion, I never stop a wife beater, a white supremacist, a free marketeer or a socialist from expressing their opinions either, although I disagree with just about all of the above.

If they are prevented from speaking then no one can openly evaluate their stances and in turn find them lacking or of merit. It was said best by many before me, the best way to kill a bad idea is to let another preach it. Radical marxists were their own worst enemies, same with nationalists, holocaust deniers, white supremacists, etc. The "free market" of ideas is entirely self regulating. There is great potential to do harm, but only if others are prevented from having equal ability to denouce and disprove utter foolishness.

marjon
1 / 5 (1) Jul 10, 2010
the best way to kill a bad idea is to let another preach it.

Religions must not be 'a bad idea' as millions preach and it is not dying.
SH: Do you support freedom of religion?
marjon
1 / 5 (1) Jul 10, 2010
The Chinese government is not the only organization that wants to limit information about the possibilities and opportunities in the world.
All statist regimes want to control information to control the population. What they don't know can't harm the regime.
Anti-capitalists want to control advertisements so the sheeple won't want to buy the latest and greatest.
Why are statists afraid of the free flow of information?
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (2) Jul 10, 2010
Religions must not be 'a bad idea' as millions preach and it is not dying.
SH: Do you support freedom of religion?
I support freedom of personal belief. You're welcome to have whatever personal belief you chose as long as it adheres to the statement of Hippocrates. "Whenever a person cannot do good, he must be prevented from doing harm."

Why are statists afraid of the free flow of information?

Because information increases a person's ability to pass rational judgement and discover the ignorance of another's opinion or edict.
Another Hippocrates quote is suitable here.
"There are in fact two things, science and opinion. The former begets knowledge, the later ignorance."
marjon
1 / 5 (4) Jul 10, 2010
I support freedom of personal belief.

Then you do not support the First Amendment guaranteeing freedom of religion.
Who will do the preventing and how do you define harm?
Since you are quoting Hippocrates, his oath does not permit a physician from killing babies in the womb.
marjon
1 / 5 (4) Jul 10, 2010
I support freedom of personal belief.

Then you do not support the First Amendment guaranteeing freedom of religion.
Who will do the preventing and how do you define harm?
Since you are quoting Hippocrates, his oath does not permit a physician from killing babies in the womb.
Another Hippocrates quote is suitable here.
"There are in fact two things, science and opinion. The former begets knowledge, the later ignorance."

That is Hippocrates' heuristic.
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (2) Jul 10, 2010
Then you do not support the First Amendment guaranteeing freedom of religion.
The first Amendment doesn't guarentee from of religion. It guarantees freedom from religious theocracy and theocratic exclusion. It states that the US is not and never can be anything other than a secular government.
That is Hippocrates' heuristic.
And a great many more share it.

You seem to not understand Hippocrates. Would you agree that preaching a lie does harm?
Caliban
not rated yet Jul 10, 2010

All statist regimes want to control information to control the population. What they don't know can't harm the regime.


In that regard, they are no different than mangy's "Religion", which will tell you what is right, what is wrong, what to think, and what not to think, who to persecute, and who to kill. Just for starters.

And the difference is? The difference is that mangy is so congenitally, reflexively, willfully ignorant that mangy can't tell the difference.

Anti-capitalists want to control advertisements so the sheeple won't want to buy the latest and greatest.


That's right- people should buy it all, unquestioningly, just because the Lord of Free Markets hath made it so, and commandeth thee to buy! And mangy doth buy! And mangy would compel thee to buy, as well, if mangy could.

Why are statists afraid of the free flow of information?


For the same reasons that religionists fear it - it tends to increase FREEDOM FROM CONTROL.
marjon
not rated yet Jul 10, 2010
And the difference is? The difference is that mangy is so congenitally, reflexively, willfully ignorant that mangy can't tell the difference.

The difference is no religion in the USA can put anyone in jail.
Those that control the state have the power.
marjon
1 / 5 (3) Jul 10, 2010
Then you do not support the First Amendment guaranteeing freedom of religion.
The first Amendment doesn't guarentee from of religion. It guarantees freedom from religious theocracy and theocratic exclusion. It states that the US is not and never can be anything other than a secular government.
That is Hippocrates' heuristic.
And a great many more share it.

You seem to not understand Hippocrates. Would you agree that preaching a lie does harm?

Would you agree doctors should not murder babies?
"I will not give a lethal drug to anyone if I am asked, nor will I advise such a plan; and similarly I will not give a woman a pessary to cause an abortion." http://www.nlm.ni...ath.html

The First Amendment also states the government cannot prohibit the free exercise of religion. Something you seem to want to do.
Caliban
not rated yet Jul 10, 2010

The difference is no religion in the USA can put anyone in jail.
Those that control the state have the power.


One notes that mangy hastens to add that in the USA, no religion can put a person in jail. I guess the framers of the Constitution screwed up, eh?

Just look at all the advantage the State gives away if it isn't a theocracy. But mangy fools no one- it's clear that mangy would like nothing better than for good, god-fearing men to be in Charge, who wouldn't hesitate to enact good, god-fearing laws that imprison people for any number of things they would claim were sins against the Creator. Like teaching the theory of Evolution, for instance.

God forbid that people could have a dissenting opinion, much less think for themselves.

Literally.
marjon
1 / 5 (1) Jul 10, 2010
God forbid that people could have a dissenting opinion, much less think for themselves.

Why did God fearing men create Harvard and Yale and many other universities around the world if not to explore and expand dissenting opinions?
Cali's heuristic is all about control and he cannot interpret the world any other way.
marjon
1 / 5 (1) Jul 10, 2010
"But it's also worth noting that Friedman is hardly alone. He may stretch his argument to the point of parody, but he shares a widespread view that the "experts" have all the answers and the "system" is holding them back.

Such arguments are as old as they are dangerous. And they are arrogant beyond description. People like Friedman automatically assume that their preferred policies are so obviously right, so objectively enlightened, that there's no need to debate them or vote on them."
"Nobel Prize-winning economist Friedrich Hayek demonstrated that healthy economies couldn't be controlled by experts, because the experts will always have a "knowledge problem." They can never know all of the variables and never fully predict how their theories will play out in reality."
http://www.realcl...262.html
Many of my critics believe they fall into the 'expert' category and must force us all to live their way.
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (1) Jul 10, 2010
The First Amendment also states the government cannot prohibit the free exercise of religion. Something you seem to want to do.

Well when the free exercise of said religion causes harm it isn't exactly a free exercise. There's a cost when the word of history is re-written by zealots, and a great many things are lost through the grotesque practices of faith. Take for example, orthodox circumcision.
marjon
1 / 5 (1) Jul 11, 2010
Well when the free exercise of said religion causes harm it isn't exactly a free exercise.

How do you define 'harm'?
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (1) Jul 11, 2010
How do you define 'harm'?
How do you define harm outside of religious context?
Caliban
5 / 5 (1) Jul 11, 2010
God forbid that people could have a dissenting opinion, much less think for themselves.

Why did God fearing men create Harvard and Yale and many other universities around the world if not to explore and expand dissenting opinions?
Cali's heuristic is all about control and he cannot interpret the world any other way.


Why, to perpetuate a class of godfearing men to find ways to increase all the mechanisms of Commerce, ie, your god Mammon, and to expand and control his ministry here on Earth. At everyone and everthing's expense.

The price of zealotry, mangy, is loss of independent thought.
getgoa
1 / 5 (4) Jul 11, 2010
I agree with China--- Universal expression is a dangerous ideal. The USA is full of Sodomy and can understand why China would not allow their miliary personnel to post blogs etc. or participate in online dating. China is establishing themselves since the Beijing Olympics as a World leader and that is called independence not America. China will continue business with America? On the History Channel America says Ben Franklin was an Adulterer, with pirvate brothels, etc, They even showed them blaming a villager using extremely advanced spy equipment for Osama Bin Laden because he was tall.
Caliban
not rated yet Jul 11, 2010
I agree with China--- Universal expression is a dangerous ideal. The USA is full of Sodomy and can understand why China would not allow their miliary personnel to post blogs etc. or participate in online dating. China is establishing themselves since the Beijing Olympics as a World leader and that is called independence not America. China will continue business with America? On the History Channel America says Ben Franklin was an Adulterer, with pirvate brothels, etc, They even showed them blaming a villager using extremely advanced spy equipment for Osama Bin Laden because he was tall.


@getgoa

What the hell is this gobbldygook? What are you trying to say? What do you mean?

From the looks of this post, I have to wonder if this is not just some cut'n'paste text processing garbage, or failed attempt at steganography.

In any event, why waste everyone's time, if you can't post coherently?
marjon
not rated yet Jul 11, 2010
The price of zealotry, mangy, is loss of independent thought.

How independent are your thoughts? From your past comments, you seem to fall in lock step with statists who want to control my life and yours at the point of a gun. How independent?
Skeptic_Heretic
not rated yet Jul 12, 2010
How independent are your thoughts? From your past comments, you seem to fall in lock step with statists who want to control my life and yours at the point of a gun. How independent?
You again seem to be unable to answer questions outside of your indoctrinated religious context. I'd say that's also quite independent of you. No one is attempting to control your life at the point of a gun, only at the point of law. This is exactly as your religion is. The only difference is that secular punishment is real while your theological punishment is false.
marjon
1 / 5 (1) Jul 12, 2010
No one is attempting to control your life at the point of a gun, only at the point of law.

What happens when you break the law? Out comes the guns.
If a law says that the government can take all your property, then you must obey the law? Laws forced Jews into gas chambers, all nice and legal.
Law is pure force, unless it is immigration 'law' then it is merely a suggestion.
Skeptic_Heretic
not rated yet Jul 12, 2010
What happens when you break the law? Out comes the guns.
Only if you're further refusing the orders of the law or pose a danger to yourself or others. You seem to have a very tenuous grasp on the subject matter of what constitutes law and what constitutes unlawful force. I've never been given a ticket at gun point. Or had to file my taxes at gun point.
If a law says that the government can take all your property, then you must obey the law?
Or leave the domain of that government, but yes, yes you do have to follow the laws. You live in a republic which by definition is founded on the even and jsut application of law, not will of the majority.
Laws forced Jews into gas chambers, all nice and legal.
Care to name the law that made this legal?
Law is pure force, unless it is immigration 'law' then it is merely a suggestion
Funny how you seem to pick and choose which laws you'll follow based on whether you agree with them or not.