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Asia Unbound

CFR experts give their take on the cutting-edge issues emerging in Asia today.

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Showing posts for "Great Firewall"

Sharone Tobias: Internet and Press Freedom in Taiwan

by Guest Blogger for Adam Segal
A general view shows booths at the 2013 Computex exhibition, the world's second largest computer show, in Taipei World Trade Center on June 3, 2013. (Pichi Chuang/Courtesy Reuters) A general view shows booths at the 2013 Computex exhibition, the world's second largest computer show, in Taipei World Trade Center on June 3, 2013. (Pichi Chuang/Courtesy Reuters)

Sharone Tobias is a Research Associate for Asia Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Earlier this month, Taiwanese Internet advocacy groups succeeded in shutting down an anti-piracy bill similar to the U.S. Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). The bill was an amendment to the Taiwan Intellectual Property Office’s Copyright Act, and would have forced Internet service providers to block a list of domains or IP addresses connected to websites and services that enable illegal file sharing. The plan would have allowed Taiwan’s bureaucracies to create a blacklist for websites and peer-to-peer sharing tools like BitTorrent, rather than blocking individual videos and files as the law currently allows. Read more »

Google, Thailand, and the 2012 Transparency Report

by Joshua Kurlantzick
Under Thailand’s lèse-majesté law, criticism of King Bhumibol Adulyadej (pictured in Bangkok June 9, 2012) and the royal family is prohibited. Under Thailand’s lèse-majesté law, criticism of King Bhumibol Adulyadej (pictured in Bangkok June 9, 2012) and the royal family is prohibited (Damir Sagolj/Courtesy Reuters).

As reported on in Siam Voices this week, Google has released its 2012 Transparency Report, which chronicles requests that Google receives, mostly from governments, to block material online. As Lisa Gardner notes on Siam Voices, “Google bucked international trends in 2011 by blocking access to hundreds of web pages at the behest of the Thai Ministry of Information, Communication, and Technology [MICT].” One part of the report shows that Google has restricted or partly restricted at least 149 YouTube videos that the Thai government claimed was insulting to the monarchy. Unlike in many other countries, where Google supposedly makes its decisions to take down material after a local court issues an order (not that courts are infallible, but at least there is a court order), in Thailand it took down material even without court orders being issued, simply at the request of the authorities. Read more »

Asia Behind the Headlines

by Elizabeth C. Economy
An employee hoses a China Railway High-speed Harmony bullet train at the high-speed train maintenance base in Wuhan, Hubei province on October 19, 2011.

An employee hoses a China Railway High-speed Harmony bullet train at the high-speed train maintenance base in Wuhan, Hubei province on October 19, 2011. (Stringer Shanghai / Courtesy Reuters)

Jared Mondschein looks at the key stories in Asia behind the headlines.

Clamping down in cyberspace: With more than 485 million Internet users and 300 million microbloggers, the Internet in China allows “netizens” to voice their opinions on everything from Wukan to Beijing’s air quality to North Korea. Beijing, however, has never been quite comfortable with such an open marketplace of ideas. Now, in an attempt to “purge online rumors and enhance social credibility,” Guangzhou and Shenzhen have joined Beijing in requiring new users of China’s microblogs to register with their real names. China’s netizens unsurprisingly have not taken well to the clampdown, as one microblogger wrote: “There will only ever be a single voice speaking now.”

Who’s the fairest of them all? There’s no doubt that the center of economic gravity in Asia is China, while the United States holds the security card for the region. But whom do regular citizens across the region prefer? According to a Gallup poll of citizens in Cambodia, Australia, South Korea, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines, for the most part there is a higher approval for U.S. leadership: The median approval rate for U.S. leadership stands at 44 percent while China’s is at 30 percent. Respondents ranked U.S. leadership more highly than Chinese in eight out of the nine countries polled. Read more »

China Isn’t Egypt

by Evan A. Feigenbaum

A man (R) is arrested by police and taken to a police vehicle after calls for a "Jasmine Revolution" protest, organized through the internet, in front of the Peace Cinema in downtown Shanghai February 27, 2011. (Carlos Barria/Courtesy Reuters).

So many articles about whether and how China is “like” the Middle East … But I really wish we wouldn’t compare China and, say, Egypt. They are very different indeed:

Read more »

Simmering Technology Tensions

by Adam Segal

Photo courtesy of flickr/Chrystian Guy

While much of the sturm and drang of the “big” issues in U.S.-China relations–Tibet, North Korea, Iran, and RMB revaluation among others–seems to have dissipated in the intense summer heat wave we have been enjoying here on the East Coast, a number of conflicts over technology continue to bubble along.

Read more »

The Chinese Internet Century

by Adam Segal

My reaction to Secretary of State Clinton’s speech on Internet freedom, “The Chinese Internet Century,” is now up.  While Clinton’s call for an open, global Internet was both stirring and the right thing to do, we have to start planning for a world where China and others shape their own cyberspaces to meet economic, political, and strategic interests. Go read the whole thing at foreignpolicy.com. Read more »

Harmony without Uniformity

by Elizabeth C. Economy

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Internet speech was noteworthy for a number of reasons—but what struck me most was her comment that principles like information freedom aren’t just good policy connected to American values; they are universal. I like the sound of that. Read more »

The Fallout from Google

by Adam Segal

I am going to stay away from the by now well-trod debate about why Google made its decision to stop censoring the web and possibly retreat from the China market (you can read those here, here, here, and here; this and this, however, bring a new twist: Google left because the hacking exposed how it was collecting information on all of its users through an “internal intercept system.”). Instead, I’ll tackle some other questions: Read more »

Google Hacked

by Adam Segal

This is already a remarkable story, and it is sure to have a major impact on U.S.-China relations as it develops.

Google has announced that it was hacked.  While not blaming the Chinese government, Google says it traced the attacks back to China and that they resulted in the loss of Google’s intellectual property and involved 30 other companies. Read more »

The Decade’s Top Ten Game-Changers in U.S.-China Relations

by Elizabeth C. Economy and Adam Segal

It’s the end of the year, and end of a decade, and we here at Asia Unbound are not immune to the easy lure of the “Top Ten” list. OK, it’s not the Top Ten “Accidental Celebrities” or “Cultural Moments” Newsweek has on offer, but below are the ten most important game-changers in U.S.-China relations from the last decade. Read more »