Many, many times I’ve written about how Chinese bloggers and internet users who are censored, put to prison and made to "disappear" due to the strong censorship this state still wield. Did you know that Chinese bloggers have to get approval from the authorities to blog? Yet again I’ve found disconcerting news about the matter, but this time the censorship is strengthened by Microsoft’s approval, according to this article from BBC News. MSN China was launched in May 2005 and apparently contains a list of banned words to hinder certain political content to reach the rest of the world.
The article tells us how journal entries that mention "human rights" and "Taiwan independence" are restricted, and that "freedom", "democracy" and "demonstration" are being blocked.
The restrictions operate on the free online Spaces area of the MSN China site where many people have created journals or weblogs. Customised blogs are reportedly not affected by the restrictions.
However, China recently introduced stringent regulations that require all blog owners to register their web journal with the state by 30 June. The regulations require the writer of a blog to identify themselves to the authorities.
According to Reporters Without Borders China is using a system called Night Crawler to patrol web journals and make sure that only registered blogs are published. Unregistered blogs will be shut down.
Will this affect the freedom of speach in any way? It is without a doubt a limiting of the capacity to blog your opinion, but as Ian Malcolm in the Jurassic Park movie says; "Life will find a way." I just don’t get it. How do the Chinese authorities think this will hinder people to think and discuss their thoughts? Any limitation is another reason for pushing free. I’ll be following this case very closely.