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The Chinese government has widened its crackdown on vulgar content found on the Internet

Shortly after confirming it launched a campaign to purge the internet of pornography and other lewd content, the Chinese government has banned at least 41 additional web sites for various reasons.

The online porn crackdown began more than one week ago, started by the State Council's Information Office and Public Security and Culture ministries, along with several other government agencies.  Nineteen Chinese web sites have been blacklisted, with, Baidu and Microsoft MSN also on the list of temporarily banned web sites.

Pornography distribution is illegal in China, but the easy availability of internet has made it difficult for the government to limit access to adult content.

Google was also chastised by the Chinese government for not being proactive enough to block pornographic content in mainland China.  While Google and Baidu offer links to lewd content, MSN was accused of linking to inappropriate images on its film channel and pictures that can be found in other parts of the web site.

The government has already shut down around 100 web sites since the campaign's launch, and it's unknown how many more sites the government is expected to shut down during the oncoming weeks.  

Amnesty International and similar groups have criticized the Chinese government over its strong censorship practices, saying the internet crackdown is taking place ahead of several politically sensitive activities.

Despite the crackdown and censorship of the Internet, Chinese citizens continue to flock to the internet, as the country now has more than 300 million people using the internet.

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RE: So What?
By warrioryoko on 1/15/2009 6:26:35 PM , Rating: 3
First thing I have to point out is that Denithor said that societies' standards need to change to tolerate the behavior based on its occurance. That does not equal the behavior needs to be legalized. What I pull from what he states is that he sees the current legal approach to illegal drug use as too harsh, specifically with penalties that do not fit the severity of the crime.

Next, is while the exact phrasing of what he stated about laws and legal standards might not be crafted precisely enough to use in a legal textbook, he has a valid point. Every society has a different set of values and beliefs that has guided their conception of government, and lawmaking. There is not a single set of laws that will suit the whole of every group of people, for every location in the world, for each set of circumstances, throughout history. And throughout history, across cultures, we see that the set of rights and laws under which we take to be axiomatic as Americans or otherwise are vastly different depending on the time period, location, and value systems of the society in question.

It was not too long ago that slavery was legally accepted in America, and in many more regions in the world than it currently is. And race based discrimination less than that, only a couple generations back. Though we could debate the "moral correctness" of it from varying points of view from the perspective of many different systems of belief, that is not what we're examining here. It was *legally* acceptable. It was the generally accepted by the part of the population the government viewed as important, thus the laws reflected the majority frequency of the behavior.

Murder has always been somewhat negotiable at best across culture and time periods, including our own. In the US, killing others within the constraints of a duel was legal until roughly 1839. In a narrow sense, killing of "enemies" are legal within certain contexts in military warfare. When Pope Urban the 2nd called for the first crusade, he called for the destruction of Muslims from Jerusalem - while he is quoted as having said "destroy that vile race" and not kill, he must certainly have known the deaths of many Muslims would have resulted. And while he may have called for the first crusade in response to Christian pilgrims being killed by raiders while on their way to the holy land, it was a conditional murder warrant irregardless of motivation. Generally, throughout Japan's history before the end of the Sengoku era, there was a strict system of social class in place. The two lowest classes of people comprised of farmers and those who did menial labor almost had no repose were one of their kin killed - it was acceptable for anyone of higher social status and wealth to kill them, with no right to seek compensation or 'justice'. Upon having a new sword forged, Samurai would often walk into the nearest village sword in hand, and kill the nearest peasant to test the keenness of the new blade. The Roman people were held slaves of the prior dominant civilization in Italy, the Estrucans. They overthrew them in approximately 509 BCE, and murdered them in the streets. Not to mention that the Roman Empire generally took a easygoing view of murder, so long as they were murdering non-Romans.

These are all specific illustrations of the view of law in regards to murder across time periods, cultures, and regions of the world. They're meant to illustrate the broader idea that laws change depending on the values, beliefs, and living circumstances of those crafting them at the time. Morality is relative. Ages ago people DID indeed murder each other because they disagreed, and for more petty reasons than that. And it wasn't legal because it was "right" or "wrong" but because the beliefs and behavior of the populace supported it. And more emphasis on belief than behavior, though the latter tends to follow the former. And that's just what Law *is* - a public policy tool used to maintain order and govern behavior according to the prevalent beliefs and needs of a population. And beliefs and needs change over time.

Part of the major issue at hand is that in this case, China is not regulating ethics, but the far more subjective and frequently personal morality. In "western" countries there's a good amount of slack in legislation regulating morality compared to the broader scope of applied ethics. In the US especially, morality is broadly equated with issues of personal choice that are thought not to transgress the personal boundaries of others, and ethics with those orders of personal conduct that *do* trangress others' personal rights. So, freedom of religion, medical care, occupation and lifestyle would be categorized as moral issues with murder and theft being categorized as ethical issues in which the law shall intervene.

People disagree on the borders of morality and ethics in this regard, as is illustrated on the varying laws controlling pornography, age of consent, and more across country and culture. In communist systems of thought, which we see employed in China, there is little or no difference in the view between what's good for the person and what is good for the whole of the state. Each person is viewed to a large extent as a homogeneous element of a larger system. China believes it knows what's good for you and can tell you what to do in areas customarily viewed as private in the west.

Many Chinese do not believe this is appropriate, and emigrate from China to other countries, such as the US. Ethics, morality and law are all human things, are are subjective and changing over time and circumstance. There is a murky line to toe between laws appropriate for the government to make regarding ethics, and laws appropriate governing morality. In any case, this line changes based on the systems of thought and belief used in the process of lawmaking, and according to prevaling views in western countries, *should* change according to the needs/behaviors/beliefs of the people, independent of individual ideas of ethics and morality.

RE: So What?
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 1/15/2009 7:12:24 PM , Rating: 2
You have some very good points and may have not read my other post that followed before you wrote this reply.

I’m not disagreeing with what he is saying – using making pot illegal if society wants it legal or thinks it’s acceptable – if society is fine with it, then I will be fine with it. My main point is the major is not always right. If you let the major lead by the way it was stated above, well you are going down a very dangerous and slipper slope. Another example I would use… Say you surf the web and you see thousand of videos on gang rape. You know several people that have be involved in gang rape (victims and rapist), and say both sides loved it, said it was the best time they ever had. You start hearing more and more people talk about it, like its common practice (becoming like give a friend a kiss when you meet and leave). So, it seems the major of people are doing it. So, should society make it legal and tolerate this behavior because most of the people are doing it? In my book I say no. You need to bring good reason why a law should be change, removed or even made. Example Denithor, stated how tons of money would be saved from lower prison expenses and taxes could be earned off the sale of pot. These are good reasons to consider changing the law…. Not well 55% of the people smoke pot so let’s just make it legal.

Nice how you brought in Pope Urban the 2nd. ? There were several reasons for the crusades, 1) to protect the holy land – yes 2) was to stop the spread of Muslims from coming into Europe and taking over… and there are more I’m sure. However, Pope Urban the 2nd became Pope because his family paid enough money for him to be pope. He was not a very good Christian, if really a Christian at all. These were ugly days for the Christian church – This type of leadership is what led to some many divisions of the church.

"I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen
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