Posts Tagged ‘China’

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sarft logo Chinese government censors are reading Australian publishers’ books and, in some cases, refusing to allow them to be printed in China if they fail to comply with a long list of restrictions.

Publishing industry figures have confirmed that the censors from the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of the People’s Republic of China are vetting books sent by Australian publishers to Chinese printing presses, even though they are written by Australian authors and intended for Australian readers.

  • Any mention of a list of political dissidents, protests or political figures in China, is entirely prohibited, according to a list circulated to publishers and obtained by The Age and Sydney Morning Herald.
  • The list of prohibitions mentions key political incidents, including the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, the pro-democracy protests in 2011 and the 2014 umbrella revolution in Hong Kong. The Tibetan independence movement, Uighur nationalism and Falun Gong are also taboo subjects.
  • Mention of all major Chinese political figures, including Mao Zedong and the current president, Mr Xi, and all current members of the Politburo Standing Committee is ruled out, as is a long list of 118 dissidents who are not allowed to be mentioned.
  • Most major religions are also on the sensitive list, as well as a long list of Chinese, or former Chinese locations, most relating to current or former border disputes. The printer’s guidance says these things can be published after vetting by censors.
  • Pornography was ruled out entirely, but artistic nudity or sexual acts could be censored in 10 working days.

Printing books, particularly those with colour illustrations, is significantly cheaper in China, so some publishers have little choice but to put them through the government censorship process.

Sandy Grant, of publisher Hardie Grant, said he had scrapped a proposed children’s atlas last year because the censors ruled out a map showing the wrong borders.(probably to do with Chinese claims about Taiwan or Tibet). European alternatives were considered economically unviable.

A printing industry source who works with Chinese presses confirmed that the rules, in theory, had been in place for a long time, but that, all of a sudden they’ve decided to up the ante. They’re checking every book; they’re very, very strict at the moment. I don’t know how they’re reading every book, but they definitely are, the printer said. The change had happened in the past few months.

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Poster Christopher Robin 2018 Marc Forster Christopher Robin is a 2018 USA children’s musical by Marc Forster.
Starring Hayley Atwell, Ewan McGregor and Chris O’Dowd. IMDb The Children’s film Christopher Robin has been banned by Chinese film censors. No reason was given for the denial, but a source pinned the blame on China’s crusade against images of the Winnie the Pooh character, which is widely used as a mocking representation of the Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

Last summer, authorities began blocking pictures of Winnie the Pooh on social media when bloggers drew comparisons between the pudgy bear and Xi, which has put the country’s censors in overdrive. In June, Chinese authorities blocked HBO after Last Week Tonight host John Oliver mocked Xi’s sensitivity over being compared to Winnie the Pooh.

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Google China logoGoogle is planning to launch a censored version of its search engine in China that will blacklist websites and search terms about human rights, democracy, religion, and peaceful protest, The Intercept can reveal.The project, code-named Dragonfly, has been underway since spring of last year, and accelerated following a December 2017 meeting between Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai and a top Chinese government official, according to internal Google documents and people familiar with the plans.

Teams of programmers and engineers at Google have created a custom Android app, different versions of which have been named Maotai and Longfei. The app has already been demonstrated to the Chinese government; the finalized version could be launched in the next six to nine months, pending approval from Chinese officials.

Google’s current search engine is blocked in China.

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pah laA stage drama about Tibet has been pulled by the Royal Court Theatre for fear offending China.Abhishek Majumdar said his play Pah-la was shelved because of fears over an arts programme in Beijing. His play deals with life in contemporary Tibet and draws on personal stories of Tibetans he worked with in India,

The London theatre, once known for its groundbreaking international productions, is facing questions after Abhishek Majumdar revealed a copy of the poster for the play Pah-la , bearing the imprints of the Arts Council and the Royal Court along with text suggesting that it was due to run for a month last autumn.

Majumdar claimed the play was withdrawn because of fears over the possible impact on an arts programme in Beijing, where Chinese writers are working with the publicly funded theatre and British Council.

The play was in development for three years and rehearsals had been fixed, according to Majumdar, who claimed that the British Council had pressurised the theatre to withdraw it because of sensitivities relating to the writing programme.

The Royal Court said it had had to postpone and then withdraw Pah-la for financial reasons last year, after it had been in development for three years, and that it was now committed to producing the play in spring 2019 in the light of recent events. It added:

The Royal Court always seeks to protect and not to silence any voice. […BUT…] In an international context, this can sometimes be more complex across communities. The Royal Court is committed to protecting free speech, sometimes within difficult situations.

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jing wangResidents of Xinjiang, an ethnic minority region of western China, are being forced to install spyware on their mobile phones.On July 10, mobile phone users in the Tianshan District of Urumqi City received a mobile phone notification from the district government instructing them to install a surveillance application called Jingwang (or Web Cleansing). The message said the app was intended to prevent [them] from accessing terrorist information.

But authorities may be using the app for more than just counter-terrorism. According to an exclusive report from Radio Free Asia, 10 Kazakh women from Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture were arrested for messages sent to a private WeChat group chat soon after they installed the app.

The notification from police said the application would locate and track the sources and distribution paths of terrorists, along with illegal religious activity and harmful information, including videos, images, ebooks and documents.

Jingwang’s website describes the application as follows:

Jingwang is a protection service with an adult and child categorization system introduced by Jiangsu Telecom. The main function is to block pornographic websites, online scams, trojan horses, and phishing sites; to alert users of how much time they spend online; and to enable remote control of one’s home network. The tool is intended to help kids develop a healthy lifestyle by building a safe web filter for the minors.

Of course, any tool with these capabilities could be used in multiple ways. For example, the app’s remote control feature could enable state actors or even hackers to manipulate or steal from a person’s home network.

The move is consistent with other measures of control over digital activities in the region. While stories of digital censorship in China often focus on the experiences of users in major cities in the east and south, the reality is often more bleak for those living in remote, embattled ethnic minority regions such as Xinjiang and Tibet. Seeking to contain unrest and discontent in conflict areas, authorities often impose extreme censorship and surveillance measures and routine Internet shutdowns .

Authorities from Xinjiang are checking to make sure that people are using the official Jingwang application. A mobile notification demanded people install the app within 10 days. If they are caught at a checkpoint and their devices do not have the software, they could be detained for 10 days. This is a setback on the development of technology. They forced people to use devices designed for the elderly. It is a form of confinement by through surveillance technology. We are back to Mao’s China.

Images from mainland China also posted a product description of Jingwang which explained that the tool can negate the password requirement of a Windows operating system and access the computer hard disk with no restrictions. Once installed with Jingwang, computers and mobiles in Xinjiang, would become electronic handcuffs.

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android logoKryptowire, a security firm, recently identified several models of Android mobile devices that have preinstalled permanent software that serves as backdoor collecting sensitive personal data, including text messages, geolocations, contact lists, call logs, and transmits them to a server in Shanghai, China.

Without users’ consent, the code can bypass Android’s permission model. This could allow anyone interested in a mobile user’s data — from government officials to malicious hackers — to execute remote commands with system privileges and even reprogram the devices.

The firmware was developed by Chinese company Shanghai ADUPS Technology Company. ADUPS confirmed the report with a bollox statement claiming that it was somehow to do with identifying junk texts.

Kryptowire’s research reveals that the collected information was protected with multiple layers of encryption and then transmitted over secure web protocols to a server located in Shanghai. The data transmission occurred every 72 hours for text messages and call log information, and every 24 hours for other personally identifiable information.

ADUPS also explained that the “accustomed” firmware was ‘accidentally’ built into 120,000 mobile products of one American phone manufacturer, BLU Products. After BLU raised the issue, ADUPS explained that the software was not designed for American phones and deactivated the program on Blu phones.

The news has been widely reported in foreign media as ADUPS is among the largest FOTA (firmware over the air) providers in the world. The company provides a cloud platform for mobile device management to over 700 million active users in 200 countries, which is equivalent to 70% of the global market share as it works closely with the world largest cheap mobile phone manufacturers ZTE and Huawei, both of which are based in China. In 2015 alone, Huawei sold more than 100 million smartphones.

Chinese netizens have not been surprised by the news. Reports about spyware preinstalled in Chinese mobile brands have circulated for many years among mainland and overseas Chinese speaking-communities. In 2014, Hong Kong Android Magazine reported that Xiaomi’s smartphones designed for overseas markets were automatically connecting to an IP in Beijing and that all documents, SMS and phone logs, and video files downloaded were being transmitted to a Beijing server.

In 2015, Germany-based security company G-Data also found out that at least 26 Android mobile brands had preinstalled spyware in their smartphones. The three biggest Chinese smartphone manufacturers, Xiaomi, Huawei and Lenovo were all listed.

China’s newly passed Cybersecurity Law has provided legal ground for the smartphone’s backdoor operation. The law requires “critical information infrastructure operators” to store users’ “personal information and other important business data” in China.

In response to the news, many Chinese netizens are pointing out the abusive use of personal data and government surveillance has become the norm.

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ghostbusters 2016 China’s film censorship rules ban the depiction of ghosts under the restrictions that movies must not promote cults or superstition. The rule is a euphemism for banning movies depicting, or promoting, religion, but nevertheless it is used to ban anything more widely supernatural.Obviously Hollywood was considering the possibility of a Chinese release of Ghostbusters as it had generated publicity under a new local tile without the word ‘ghost’, Super Power Dare or Die Team. However the China Film Co., the dominant state-owned film body that handles the import and release of all foreign movies in the country, has decided not to release Ghostbusters.

An executive of the group covered for the Chinese censorship, with a propaganda statement claiming:

Most of the Chinese audience didn’t see the first and second movies, so they don’t think there’s much market for it here.

Sony isn’t commenting, but a Hollywood source with knowledge of the situation says the film hasn’t been officially submitted for approval by Chinese film censors.