…you missed some important stuff. (You can still read our translation of what Chinese people think about Google here, though)
A Step Back in Xinjiang
First, our poor friends in Xinjiang (who wouldn’t notice if Google left China since they don’t have access to anything beyond a few heavily censored domestic news portals anyway) may be suffering with more censored internet for longer than we originally thought. Josh at Far West China reports that a new amendment to the 1991 public security law that concerns how the government responds to security threats has been quietly passed there:
Most of the changes in this new amendment are common sense and a bit boring (“clarify the responsibilities of each security department” and “increase government funding”) but one particular detail stuck out to me: a new regulation on the internet (excuse me…what internet?). This is according to an interview with Liu Keqin, an official responsible for the amendment, concerning one of the changes that will take place on February 1st:
“…these Regulations [will] put an emphasis on strengthening our ability to monitor internet activity in order to combat the use of networks or other electronic mediums to carry out illegal, criminal acts…”
This leaves me to wonder just how this “strengthening” is going to be put into practice. Some people I have asked about this speculate that some activities such as QQ or chat forums, will never be reopened. Others tell me they will be heavily, heavily, monitored. One thing is for sure: the internet will never be the same.
Security is also being beefed up outside the realm of the internet in Xinjiang, where funding has been increased by 90%.
China Mobile and the Government Say Your Text Messages Are Too Sexy
If you don’t live in Xinjiang but feel you aren’t getting enough censorship in your life, not to worry. China Mobile and the PSB are here to help by banning you from sending text messages if they catch you sending something naughty to your girlfriend:
Sending just one unlawful text message will result in suspension of the texting service. To get it back, the person would have to submit a written promise to the public security authority not to send unlawful messages again, said the report.
Being paranoid about security threats, that’s one thing. But getting involved in people’s sex lives? That’s quite another.
Two Top Tibetan Leaders Resigning For No Reason
There’s more to the story here, but don’t jump to any conclusions just yet. Neither man has reached retirement age, but resignation sometimes precedes promotion to a higher position in Chinese politics.
A Small, Small Victory for Gay Marriage Supporters
Finally, a little bit of good news for fans of tolerance (well, sort of). China has had, supposedly, its first-ever gay marriage! Of course, this news is tempered by the fact that the marriage isn’t officially recognized and that the two partners’ families have proven extremely bigoted and unsupportive, but still, it’s a step forward.
So, one step forward, two steps back. Is this the direction things are supposed to be headed?