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The Photocopier, The Firewall and Google

by Jennifer Robinson

Internet Articles

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Published on this site: August 24th, 2010 - See more articles from this month

China, following on from its censorship of the Internet, has identified photocopiers in Tibet as a potential threat to the state. Fearing what BEIJING may class as demagogic machinations, a new law has been introduced that requires the owners of printing and photocopying shops to obtain a permit. They will be required to catalogue their clients and all material being copied or printed.

The Lhasa Evening News reports that the new rules are being implemented right now. Tibetan protesters claim the new rules are part of a wider aim to quell Tibetan intellectuals after a March 2008 uprising and subsequent casualties.

The Government Authorities in Tibet view printers and photocopiers for shops as potential channels through which Tibetan writers, artists and other intellectuals can spread dissident information.

Chinese Officials claim that their goal is to bring stability, ethnic unity and improved living standards to the region. Internationally, China has been much berated for its censorship policies. This has meant that writers and songwriters have been detained and people arrested for sending what are deemed to be anti-government email.

The Golden Shield Project operates on the Internet and is a censorship program installed by the state of China. Often referred to as the Great Firewall of China, the Golden Shield Project has drawn intense criticism from Internet Activists and Search Engines alike.

Google have had a turbulent time with Chinese censorship claiming that Government Censorship is inconsistent with its corporate ethics. Google shut down its search Web site in China on March 22 because it said it disagreed with the Chinese government Internet censorship policies. However, Google are now set to renew its web services according to latest reports. Google had been redirecting its China users to their Hong Kong site where the censorship is not applied.

Chinese proxy servers regularly appear online in an attempt to get round blocked internet content. Using a proxy IP address to surf the Internet has become a common thing among China's cyber community.

The economy of the People's Republic of China is the 3rd largest http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(nominal) in the world and despite disagreements over censorship many companies see that the benefits of competing in China outweigh the problems with the Golden Shield Project.

With a rumoured cost of over $900 million the Golden Shield Project of China remains one of the most sophisticated firewalls in the world. Blocking IP Addresses of non-government approved websites and controlling DNS. This latest rule in Tibet extends the controlled distribution of information to the low-tech world of photocopiers.

Jennifer Robinson writes for OnlineConnect.co.uk an office equipment and document management system provider that specialises in the sale and rental of photocopier machines. Visit their website http://www.onlineconnect.co.uk/.

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