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Creator of China's Great Firewall Pelted With Shoes 220

Posted by samzenpus
from the shoes-and-stones dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "The Guardian reports that Chinese police are seeking a man who said he threw eggs and shoes at the architect of China's 'great firewall', the world's most sophisticated and extensive online censorship system as his claims were cheered by many internet users, in a reflection of growing anger among them about increasingly stringent controls. The office of Fang Binxing, known as the father of the great firewall, denied the attack had happened, but Associated Press said police were sent to the university to investigate a shoe-throwing incident targeting Fang, citing an officer at the Luojiashan public security bureau. The Twitter user who claimed to have pelted him, who posts under the pseudonym @hanunyi, wrote: 'The egg missed the target. The first shoe hit the target. The second shoe was blocked by a man and a woman.' Earlier this year Fang closed a microblog within days of opening it after thousands of Chinese internet users left comments, almost all of them deriding him as 'a running dog for the government' and 'the enemy of netizens'. Meanwhile admirers of the shoe attacker showered the anonymous young man with promises of everything from Nike trainers to replace his lost footwear, to iPads, sex and jobs."
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Creator of China's Great Firewall Pelted With Shoes

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  • by bleble (2183476) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @07:34PM (#36212478)
    At least the Chinese do something about it. Unlike Americans who sit down watching tv and drinking beer and bitching on slashdot (and never doing anything about it) while their government [torrentfreak.com] not only censors [torrentfreak.com] their internet connections [torrentfreak.com], but the whole worlds [torrentfreak.com].

    This is why Americans are so fucking hypocrites. Do whatever you want on your own land, but leave rest of the world alone. We don't want your bullshit around here in Europe, and the rest of the world.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by bleble (2183476)
      Oh yeah, this poker censor [slashdot.org] too, as well as wikileaks and countless of others. And here you guys are saying how bad Chinese are...
    • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @07:58PM (#36212612)
      I think copyright laws are an abomination, but I wouldn't put them in the same category of evil as the censorship going on in China. It's annoying to have the MPAA shutting down websites and suing legitimate video websites, sure, but that's a far cry from blocking political discussions.

      Aside from just a question of taste, I also think you make those of us opposed to the MPAA's actions look like loons by equating the two, to say nothing of the pointless American bashing. Yes, we like beer and TV and complaining on slashdot, and yes, we are a little too apathetic about some things. Still, pointing it out as you have though is counterproductive, unless you're doing some sort of counter-astroturfing for the MPAA. You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar as the saying goes, even if it isn't literally true.

      Either way, after reading your post, my gut impulse was to grab a beer and write the MPAA and tell them I'm okay with them rewriting the law in whatever country "bleble" lives in.
      • by ddewey (774337) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @08:34PM (#36212804) Homepage

        I'm an American who has lived in China for 7 years.

        Most ordinary people in China believe the firewall is only for blocking pornography and dangerous information from terrorists. They don't believe political discussion is being blocked. In fact, there are many blogs and social networking sites in China full of political discussion, which are of course censored, but it is only a few sensitive topics that will be removed, so most users will never notice the censorship.

        From the comments in this thread, it seems like most US internet users (even the savvy users on Slashdot) likewise believe that US web censorship is only for blocking IP infringement, and never for censoring political discussion.

        So it would seem that Chinese and US internet users are equally misinformed and complacent about their own governments' internet censorship.

        • by mosb1000 (710161) <mosb1000@mac.com> on Sunday May 22, 2011 @08:54PM (#36212890)

          The main difference is the way censorship is theoretically justified. In China, the government is allowed to block content based on the message, while in the US, the government is allowed to block content based on the source. Of course, you'd be an idiot to believe such power is not abused, regardless of how it is done.

          I think most slashdotters are aware that such abuses exist, since you see articles about them posted on the main page every so often. I also believe that most Chinese who concern themselves with such matters are also aware of the problem (hence this news article).

          Perhaps one area of confusion is that in the US much censorship is done by psuedo-governmental organizations like the RIAA, or telecoms, or facebook, etc. . . which are not, in name, a part of the government but in reality have deep government ties.

          • by scotjam (1876182)
            I would have thought that calling corporations "pseudo-government" was a bit of paranoia showing through what is (whether correct or not) an otherwise relatively rational argument, but with the Wikileaks fiasco (and in particular, the "voluntary" embargoes enforced by Amazon, Paypal/eBay, Visa, Mastercard and others) perhaps it is me being naive rather than you being paranoid...
            • by mosb1000 (710161)

              I'm not claiming that there's an actual conspiracy, so much as I'm saying that this is realistically the state of affairs. Large corporations need to be associated with the government for a number of reasons. First of all, they need to actively work to prevent legislation that would be damaging to their business. Secondly, they need to seek out tax breakes and legislation that makes their business more profitable in order to stay competitive. Finally, they need to stay friendly with law enforcement and

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          To compare US and Chinese internet censorship as being alike is frankly absurd.

          I also live in China.

          I have colleagues who've had blog posts automatically removed because they mentioned the nobel piece prize. A major online technical computer discussion forum getting taken offline, because someone posted how to make a proxy on it. A blanket ban on searches for temperature (same as wen jiabao's name). A singificant number of taiwanese goverment agencies are blocked, including the statistics bureaux, national

        • by EllisDees (268037)

          >From the comments in this thread, it seems like most US internet users (even the savvy users on Slashdot) likewise believe that US web censorship is only for blocking IP infringement, and never for censoring political discussion.

          So what political discussion or topic is it that's being censored in the US?

      • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Sunday May 22, 2011 @08:57PM (#36212906) Homepage Journal

        Aside from just a question of taste, I also think you make those of us opposed to the MPAA's actions look like loons by equating the two

        Fraudulent DMCA notices are being used to suppress unpopular speech, so no, you are a loon if you don't see the parallel.

        • I think there IS a significant difference in scope, efficiency, and actor that still makes the chinese situation worse. It seems like there are far more examples of the great firewall censoring than assholes misusing the DMCA here. There are certainly far more topics censored via great firewall as opposed to DMCA. Second, bleble appeared to be referring only to his ability to download movies, not suppression of free speech.

          Last, however true or false the parallel is, saying they're basically the sam
          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            Last, however true or false the parallel is, saying they're basically the same will make fewer Americans take our side seriously, not more.

            I only give a damn about reaching those people who will and thus can be reached. Those people who are playing the role of all three monkeys at once (hearing, seeing, and speaking no evil) are part of the problem. If you'd like to work on them through other means, though, that's your prerogative. I don't claim to be a part of any group.

          • Indeed. In China, the government does the filtering. In the free world, nobody holds your hand, they only provide you the laws but you have to misuse them yourself!

          • by xnpu (963139)

            In terms of pure censorship you're absolutely right. It's a package deal though. E.g. the US has far superior propaganda system. Corporate funded politicians, Hollywood, the "free press and the glue we call PR agencies are unparalleled in their joint effectiveness. It will be another 100 years before the Chinese reach that level of sophisticated control.

      • One man's copyright is another man's politics. Especially in a world where we produce fewer and fewer "real" goods and rely more and more on virtual ones because we outsource every other kind of production, copyright gets a matter of politics.

      • by arisvega (1414195)

        .. and write the MPAA and tell them I'm okay with them rewriting the law in whatever country "bleble" lives in.

        Oh but they are trying to- they are really doing their best, as they do in the USA. And so does Microsoft and Apple. But they keep missing the fact that Sweden is a sovereign nation, and not an American state, and that it is rather immune to that kind of lobbying mainly because its population is being encouraged to think for themselves from an early age.

    • by Sierran (155611) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @07:59PM (#36212618)

      At least the Chinese do something about it. Unlike Americans who sit down watching tv and drinking beer and bitching on slashdot (and never doing anything about it) while their government [torrentfreak.com] not only censors [torrentfreak.com] their internet connections [torrentfreak.com], but the whole worlds [torrentfreak.com].

      This is why Americans are so fucking hypocrites. Do whatever you want on your own land, but leave rest of the world alone. We don't want your bullshit around here in Europe, and the rest of the world.

      Now don't get me wrong, I don't approve of censoring the internet for any reason. Nor do I approve of the U.S. government's record on IP-related enforcement *or* electronic freedoms. However, I should note that your angry objection is overwhelmingly colored by the fact that all of your links seem to point to a single source - torrentfreak.com - and all seem to involve actions taken during IP related seizures and enforcement. I realize that in your anger, you won't be able to separate me from the IP apologists, but I appeal to your cooler-headed colleagues of the copyleft movement and its ilk. Understand that a clumsy and self-centered attempt at comparison like this - IP enforcement to the Great Firewall - just makes you and your cause (which I mostly agree with) look...um...selfish, self-centered, and not too bright.

      Not to put too fine a point on it, it sounds like you're comparing the effects of the Great Firewall on the citizens/netizens of China to the effects on you, somewhere (as you say) other than America, because...you can't download bittorrents.

      That demeans the struggle that the Chinese are undertaking.

      Suck it up.

      • by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Sunday May 22, 2011 @08:14PM (#36212690) Homepage
        The torrentfreak crowd have often noted that measures designed to crack down on filesharing also have serious ramifications for privacy and free speech. While their goals may be somewhat selfish, they are also looking out for all internet users, even those who don't pirate.
        • Their goals are completely selfish and if you care about free speech you should fight people who try to convolute anti free speech and copyright to further their agent. This is just another version of "OMG PEDOPHILES/TERRORIST, AGREE WITH US OR YOU ARE ONE OF THEM!" except in this case you must agree that torrenting American TV show and movies should be legal or you are an anti free speech fascist.
      • Not Copylefties (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 22, 2011 @08:49PM (#36212868)

        I realize that in your anger, you won't be able to separate me from the IP apologists, but I appeal to your cooler-headed colleagues of the copyleft movement and its ilk.

        The so-called "filesharers" are not members of the copyleft movement, which seek to use copyright laws to push their idea of copyright equality. Pretty much like socialists, hopefully of the democratic stripe. The "filesharers" are more like copy libertarians, who don't want any copyright laws or at least want to restrict the copyright regime to industrial grade infringement. They are like the pro-gun lobby who at most want laws restricting the ownership of battle grade weapons like machine guns or rocket-propelled grenades, or the pro-drugs lobby who want the freedom to get stoned or high on low-grade narcotics and stimulants.

      • by AK Marc (707885)
        Just because the easy and convenient links were about one topic doesn't mean that the US government hasn't undertaken illegal actions against Wikileaks or other sites that the US government believes should be censored for non-IP reasons.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Let's see. I can visit the piratebay, wikileaks, al jazera, and any other government disliked site I like without worry and without issue. Blocking dissident speech is a lot worse than blocking streaming sports and such.

      In other words, your argument is shit.

    • Our (U.S.) government and our industry is hypocritical. We should not be importing so much as a grain of rice from China. I say fuck 'em. Their shoddy crap has cost us far more than we own them in dollars. Shut the doors and let them fester in their corrupt, overpopulated communist stench.

      • by amiga3D (567632)

        You must be kidding. I'm not sure we actually "could" produce a computer now. That's not to mention all the other things we get from China. Let China alone and the problem will take care of itself. Sooner or later the Chinese people will do something about their government. The biggest threat to any government is it's own people and the biggest threat to any people is it's own government.

        • by xnpu (963139)

          Exactly. This is what most Chinese people will tell you. (I live there.) They very well know what they want to are pushing things in the right direction. What they don't appreciate however is foreign interference. They're rather nationalistic in this regard. They'll defend their government before they'll agree with you, even if they really do.

    • by pwizard2 (920421)

      This is why Americans are so fucking hypocrites. Do whatever you want on your own land, but leave rest of the world alone. We don't want your bullshit around here in Europe, and the rest of the world.

      As an American, I have to admit that your argument does have some merit, but please don't mistake the actions of the US politicians for the desires of the citizens. Politicians in this country tend to be wealthy, stuck-up, elitist bastards who pretend to listen to the wishes of the people around election time

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by im_thatoneguy (819432)

      And yet I'm sure you still want to watch our TV programs, movies, listen to our music and install our software.

      Look, I'm all against egregious uses of government against innocent people. But Torrent Freaks is 99.9% designed to facilitate piracy. And unless you have a plan for a business model where you can still get $80m projects developed and executed for you then I'm not going to bemoan on principle someone wanting to profit from their efforts. IP while being free to copy isn't free to produce. There

      • by xnpu (963139)

        Torrentfreak is there to facilitate piracy as much as most mainstream media is their to aid their corporate owners. That may make their stories biased but it doesn't mean there's not a point to them that needs to be taken seriously.

    • by Posting=!Working (197779) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @08:47PM (#36212864)

      You're right, you don't want American bullshit in Europe.

      You apparently want China's bullshit in Europe, since the EU's Law Enforcement Work Party just proposed a version of the great firewall for Europe.

      http://techweek.org/71481alarm-over-proposal-of-eu-great-firewall.html [techweek.org]

      • by Isaac Remuant (1891806) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @09:19PM (#36213028)

        Can we stop fighting and agree that most first world countries are losing their rights at citizen level?

        By the way, third wold countries worry too much about security, poverty, corruption and more to be able to do think much about freedom of speech yay or nay, they mainly move by inertia.

    • there will never exist a government, now or in the future, that won't block access to something. for example, child pornography

      so you gauge governments not by the fact they block (they all do, and always will, and if you don't understand that, stop commenting on a subject matter you don't want to have a realistic grasp on), but by WHAT they block

      so what makes places like china genuinely worse the usa, morally and logically genuinely much worse the usa, is that they block political speech. they reserve the r

  • While I applaud the spirit of the shoe thrower, his target got off far too lightly. Some people really just need to trip and hit their head on a bullet.
    • by hedwards (940851)

      The problem is that there's a huge number of Chinese citizens that don't see anything wrong with the various government crack downs. I'm sure that there are also a huge number that are scared to do anything about it, but in a country as large as China, the loyalists are going to have significant numbers as well. You're not going to overthrow a nation like that by shooting civil servants.

      • I would classify assassinating civil servants(particularly high-level architect/leadership guys) who work on evil projects as similar to punishing criminals: you don't do it because you have any realistic expectation that bagging a suit or jailing some perp is going to overthrow the government or put an end to crime, you do it just because they deserve it.
        • by Cryacin (657549)
          Well said armchair general.
        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          Many that live deserve death. And some die that deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then be not too eager to deal out death in the name of justice, fearing for your own safety. Even the wise cannot see all ends.

          • No, but I can make a few see their end. That's good enough for me.

            Seriously, there are only two reasons why I refrain from solving some problems with ammunition. First, not worth the jail time. Second, it doesn't matter, for every idiot you cap, another idiot will take his place. And if history told me one thing, then that it just doesn't get better.

          • by vegiVamp (518171)

            True enough, but I also fear that such reasoning leads to complacence, which is also not good. Maybe we need the occasional lunatic on both sides to keep things working.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by AK Marc (707885)
        See the US at various times. We've put Japanese in concentration camps (though they don't like to call them that any more after the implications from the German camps). We've shot non-violent protesters on numerous occasions going back over a hundred years. The Chinese, like the US, generally believe in their country. And, as happens in the US, that results in seeing what their government and society is doing through rose colored glasses. The main reason the US is the supreme world power isn't that the
        • by hedwards (940851)

          I wish people would stop unfairly singling the Japanese-Americans out, they weren't the only American citizens to be treated like that. List of concentration and internment camps: Japanese-, German- and Italian-Americans [wikipedia.org]

          To date, neither the German-American community nor the Italian-American community has received so much as an apology. And none as far as I know have been offered any sort of reparations for property illegally seized.

        • by Wyatt Earp (1029)

          A concentration camp is one thing, a prisoner of war camp is technically a concentration camp, and don't single out the Japanese Americans, we put Alaska Natives, Germans and Italians in concentration camps during the Second World War, as did the Canadians.

          The Nazis had Hostage camps (or death camps), Labor camps, POW camps, Camps for rehabilitation and re-education of Poles, Transit and collection camps and Extermination camps.

          I had a German relative in Fort Lincoln North Dakota for a year and eight months

          • by AK Marc (707885)

            Theres a big difference between what the US did and what the Germans did.

            I even indicated as much. No slight on anyone else put into a concentration camp in the US, but the Japanese are the best known, so they were the ones I referred to specifically. I was intending to note a few peaceful strikes in the 1800s and any of a large number of events in the 1960s for further examples, but decided that brevity was better, not that I was singling out any group for extra attention.

            Any location where people are rounded up because of who they are or what they are (as opposed to what th

    • Justified or not, that is useless. There is no individual, or even number of individuals, whose death would help foster Chinese democracy.

    • by c6gunner (950153)

      Ah yes; assassination: the tried and true method for conflict resolution. What could possibly go wrong?

    • by istartedi (132515)

      It's a bit early to tell, but which revolution would you prefer to be a part of: Egypt or Libya?

      You know the 4 boxes: soap, ballot, jury and ammo. Use them in that order. Well, even though China makes it hard to use the Soap Box, they're doing this in the right order. I applaud the bravery of the shoe-thrower. I don't think much of trigger-happy people who are probably sitting comfortably in some country that doesn't have as big a problem.

  • Amusing... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by __Paul__ (1570) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @07:45PM (#36212534) Homepage

    ...why not do the same to the people who have been restricting all their other freedoms, too?

  • by sackvillian (1476885) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @07:51PM (#36212566)
    Apparently the official, Fang Binxing, and the police chastised the university administration for not preventing the 'attack' despite it being announced beforehand on Twitter.

    The administrator's defense: The university could not access twitter from behind the firewall!

  • We have your best interests at heart, since you are unable to think for or defend yourselves. We love you and are protecting you... from yourself. And those that might would want to do you harm, like yourself.

    It isn't about us, it's about you. Without you, we'd be nothing, and then what would we do? So we just make it impossible as much as we can to have a free, err we mean wrong thought.

  • should have thrown knives...
  • All big governments (no exception) are always tempted to "protect the citizens against the bad influences", one way or another. How we're doing on the home front? Not so good, I guess.

    • When was the last time anyone flew an airplane into an American skyscraper?

      • by hedwards (940851)

        Prior to 9/11 when was the last time anybody tried? And for that matter, what other time has anybody tried that?

      • Those 9/11 attacks are much like the (original, not the computer variant) Trojan Horse: A once-in-history stunt. It worked well for the attacker that first and only time it was tried. It will never work again in history. Never. Because it worked for a single reason: It was unexpected and hit an unprepared foe.

        Why the plane attacks won't fly again, ever? First, no pilot is going to open the cockpit anymore, no matter what you threaten him with. You're gonna kill his 300 passengers? No problem at all. He can

  • by retroworks (652802) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @08:24PM (#36212742) Homepage Journal
    The Guardian and others are in a tough spot, as print journals have less and less income and are trying to cover bigger and bigger stories (like... China). While the event posted here may or may not have happened, a blogger I read regularly, Adam Minter (www.shanghaiscrap.com) has made mincemeat of almost every such story I've read in the western media during the past two years (latest case, that China censored Bob Dylan's concert there - apparently not, but the story was reprinted extensively). I've travelled a lot in China, often with officials, and would say that most Chinese government officials are as far from the source of censorship itch as we are here on /. I don't know if the answer is for the West to stop reporting on "twitter posts" by people who claim to have "thrown shoes" at "firewalls", and I personally know the Chinese government "command and control" is awful and stupid and a painful thing to watch... Still, having read dozens of these stories, I think we need to expose that (a) the Western Press often does not know what it is talking about and (b) is just as often making it up as it goes along.
    • by mdragan (1166333)

      I've travelled a lot in China, often with officials

      Aaa, ok. You should have started with that.

    • That makes sense. Given Tianamen Square, my expectation would be anyone who would do something like the shoe throwing thing in China would end up with their life ruined or ended really fast.

  • Meanwhile admirers of the shoe attacker showered the anonymous young man with promises of everything from Nike trainers to replace his lost footwear, to iPads, sex and jobs."

    So all one has to do to get free sex in China is build a Great Firewall?

  • Seems like most of you are missing a crucial point here. Or, possibly, I'm far too paranoid. FTFA:

    Chinese police are seeking a man who said he threw eggs and shoes at the architect of China's "great firewall", the world's most sophisticated and extensive online censorship system.

    and, FTFS:

    Meanwhile admirers of the shoe attacker showered the anonymous young man with promises of everything from Nike trainers to replace his lost footwear, to iPads, sex and jobs.

    Admirers, eh? I'd say that if I wanted to find someone, I'd find his price and start pursuing him. Just a thought, but I'd probably offer him a job. Maybe he needs one. Or, if that's not enticing enough, how about some sexual service[s] (to be provided by someone other than me, of course). Go down the list until you find his price. Then, when there's no possibility of escape, make him disappear.

  • I mean, in addition to Random Task and Muntadhar al-Zaiydi [abcnews.com], now we have this guy launching shoes and eggs.

  • A bit off topic... but say you needed a good software/networking architect and Fang Binxing came for an interview, would you consider as a good candidate or a bad candidate? On the one hand he's designed the Great Firewall, but on the other hand... he's designed the Great Firewall.
    • For the company I work for currently? I'd hire him on the spot! He's got experience with impossible tasks.

  • ...from the Chinese Segments of the Internet? [wikipedia.org]

    If so, progress has been made. If not, paranoia runs deep.

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