What can you do on the internet in China? Almost everything. Almost.
If the past 20 years are a guide, Sino-Russian cooperation will result in a shared isolation of both countries' citizens from international civil society, international media and the Internet. A recent meeting between the two countries on Internet sovereignty was apparently motivated by a desire to protect against extremism, drug sales and the like. But the essence of it was two major nations getting together to compare notes on how to build walls.
MOSCOW -- Back in 1999, when Russia was a different country and Vladimir Putin was a different leader, he promised to protect Internet freedom in Russia. He didn't fear the power of the Web then. But he does now. And he's looking to China for help.
While there are American-style liberals in China, some intellectuals and others view freedom through a different, and they say Chinese, prism. Some reject U.S.-style democracy without exactly affirming CCP-led autocracy. Everyone wants to be heard, but they don't necessarily want everyone else, especially the rural masses, to be heard.
"If it was easy, the project wouldn't be so interesting."
Will Beijing's War Against Free Expression Destroy China's Economic Dynamism and Political Stability?
Adults who lived through the Cultural Revolution are only too aware of the mercurial horror of past Communist rule. A high school student told me that his father urged him to study in America because of the restrictions on freedom.
If the censors were ever embarrassed, they certainly are no longer. With the support of Xi Jinping, they are emboldened. And we expect to see the authorities take further steps to crack down on any website, mobile app or circumvention tool that allows Chinese citizens to freely access information. Rest in peace, Wikipedia.
Although the Right to be Forgotten ruling, to date, may have affected content that is mostly trivial, the precedent of governmental censorship across borders, once established, can't be easily confined to information that society doesn't much care about.
The EU court decision is an embarrassment. It reads like a bureaucracy interpreting tax regulations, not a high court balancing first principles of free speech and individual privacy.
Even as Chinese dissidents like Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo and artist Ai Weiwei suffer physical imprisonment, hundreds of millions of their fellow Chinese citizens are suffering a form of mental imprisonment thanks to their nation's system of internet censorship.
The man known as the father of China's so-called Great Firewall is defending his invention, which blocks out hundreds of