Academic Group Issues Results of Major Study on Chinese Government Internet Censorship

July 15, 2005

The OpenNet Initiative (ONI) released a comprehensive report on April 14 detailing how the Chinese government censors political information on the Internet. ONI is a collaboration of researchers at Harvard University, the University of Cambridge, and the University of Toronto who work on Internet censorship and surveillance issues. According to ONI:

Our testing found efforts to prevent access to a wide range of sensitive materials, from pornography to religious material to political dissent. Unlike the filtering systems in many other countries, China's filtering regime appears to be carried out at various control points and also to be changing over time. China operates the most extensive, technologically sophisticated, and broad-reaching system of Internet filtering in the world. China's intricate technical filtering regime is buttressed by an equally complex series of laws and regulations that control the access to and publication of material online.

A copy of the study is available here [pdf].

Forum 18, a religious freedom NGO based in Norway, also published a study in July 2004 on Chinese government Internet censorship focused against religious Web sites. Like ONI, Forum 18 found that the Chinese government blocks access to large numbers of Web sites, including sites related to Christianity, Islam, the Dalai Lama, and Falun Gong.