State-Run News Media Reports Apparent Crackdown on College Internet Bulletin Boards

May 29, 2005

The People's Daily Web site posted a report on March 19 from the Beijing Times entitled "The Shuimu Bulletin Board Becomes Accessible on Campus, While Beijing University and Other Major Schools' BBS Sites Also Make Adjustments." According to the Beijing Times, over the past week the following changes have been observed in several Internet bulletin boards at some of China's primary institutions of higher learning:

  • Beginning March 16, access to the Qinghua University's BBS site will be restricted to IP addresses on campus. A complete translation can be found below of what has been reported to be an open letter that the BBS administrators issued in connection with this new restriction.
  • On March 4 the Beijing University BBS issued a notice stating:

    Because of a recent increase in the number of average peak users of this site, and a notable increase number of visits from public networks, in order to strengthen management capabilities of the system . . . from March 4, 2005 this site will institute system safeguards. These system safeguards will primarily affect the accessibility of this site from some public networks.

    The Beijing Times report cited an "unnamed person responsible for the site" as saying that the school had received a document from the Ministry of Education in late February, and in accordance with that document, beginning on March 5 the school would prohibit anonymous logins from IP addresses outside of the school.

  • Beginning on March 17, Nankai University's BBS "I Love Nankai" had begun implementing restrictions on users from outside the school logging on, and had stopped allowing new users to register. On that day, the BBS issued an open letter saying:

    In accordance with guidance from higher authorities, we are currently implementing the following adjustments with respect to policies for users from outside the school:
    1. From March 18, we are temporarily stopping new users from outside the school from registering.
    2. From March 18, we are restricting the rights of ordinary users from outside the school to post materials, and to retain information and mail. Board moderators from outside the school may post materials, and continue to participate in the administration of forums.

  • On March 17 a notice appeared on the Wuhan University Internet bulletin board "White Cloud Yellow Crane":

    In order to upgrade this site, beginning 5 pm on March 17, 2005, the entire site will become read only. The procedural upgrades will take at least one week, and the exact amount of time will be determined based on the rate it progresses . . . .

  • On March 18 the Nanjing University BBS issued an announcement saying that it would be implementing upgrades until March 22.

China's government not only regulates Web sites and Internet publishing, it also strictly controls who may operate Internet bulletin boards.

This would not be the first time that Chinese authorities have clamped down on expression on college Internet bulletin board. The South China Morning Post reported last September that authorities shut down the popular yitahutu chat room ( run by Beijing University students. According to the SCMP, chat room operators said authorities had warned them about political discussions and that a massive crackdown was launched last month to ban such messages. Three Beijing University professors subsequently wrote an open letter to the China's leaders to protest the site's closure, which was part of a government crackdown on freedom of expression in the runup to the 4th Plenum of the Communist Party's 16th Central Committee.

CECC Staff Translation of "Open Letter to Users of the Entire Shuimu Qinghua Site"

Greetings Users,

Our thought in writing this letter is that the Shuimu Qinghua site will soon likely continue to make some real-time adjustments to its core administration policies in light of changes in the environment, and among these will likely include the implementation of temporary adjustments in the scope of public IPs.

In light of this, the Site Services Committee wishes to use this letter to simultaneously serve as prior notification, and ask users both inside and outside of the school at this time to continue as they have for the past 10 years andsupport the decision of the Site Services Commitee, and cherish Shuimu Qinghua BBS web site.

In the last 10 years, many of our users held a deep emotion for the Shuimu Qinghua BBS after they graduated, and the Shuimu Qinghua site was an important communication channel and information platform for them in their post-graduation work and life.

In the last 10 years, there have also been many non-Qinghua outside users who have reaped the benefits of the learning and information platform that is Shuimu Qinghua. The depth of learning that has accumulated in the pages of Shuimu Qinghua over the last 10 years, together with the outstanding contributions of users outside the school, has enabled the learning pages of Shuimu Qinghua to become held in high renown in educations networks.

The Shuimu Qinghua's past 10 years of history has clearly shown that, in a good group atmosphere of users, with the establishment of outstanding learning and information forums, and under effective and strict web site administration, users from outside the school are not a factor that intereferes with web site administration, and are not source of any type of activity that leads to instability. Quite the contrary, a truly open, strictly administered group of users from outside the school makes significant contributions to liveliness and quality of the Shuimu Qinghua site, as well as show its reputation for learning.

Therefore, the Site Services Committee must state for the record that users from outside the school are an extremely important source of life for the Shuimu Qinghua BBS. No matter what the future brings, the Shuimu Qinghua site will not forget the many users from outside the school.

Any adjustment in restricting the right to visit the site will only be temporary, and we hope the many users from outside the school will help us in our time of trouble, so we may get through these hard times together.

To our users at the school, the temporary closure to IP addresses from outside the school may cause you some inconvenience during your vacations. But the Shuimu Qinghua BBS site also hopes that at this time you will be able to help the many moderators and other administrators, and uphold orderly discussions on the various forums, so that you may get through these hard times together with the Shuimu Qinghua site.



写这封信的意思在于,水木清华站近期很可能会继续根据环境变化,对核心管理政策进行实时的调整,其中包括可能对开放的 IP 范围进行暂时的调整。

因此,站务委员会想通过这封信,在起到一个事前通知的作用的同时,请本站校内外用户在此期间,能够继续跟十年来一样,支持站务委员会的各项决定、爱护我们的 BBS 水木清华站。

十年以来,我们的许多用户在从学校毕业后,一直对 BBS 水木清华站怀着深厚的感情,水木清华站对他们毕业后的工作、生活,是一个非常重要沟通渠道和信息平台。


BBS 水木清华站过去十年的历史表明,在良好的用户群体氛围,优秀的学术、信息类版面建设,和有效、严格的站内管理条件下,校外用户既不会是干扰站内管理的因 素、也不会是导致各类不稳定因素的源泉。相反,一个充分开放、严格管理的校外用户群体,对于水木清华站的活力和质量、进而对于彰显清华大学的学术声誉,都 有着巨大的贡献。

故此,站务委员会必须声明,校外用户是 BBS 水木清华站极其重要的一个活力源泉。无论过去和未来,在任何情况下,BBS 水木清华站都不会忘记广大的校外用户。


对于校内用户,暂时关闭校外 IP 访问,也可能在假期等情况下,给您带来诸多的不便。但 BBS 水木清华站也期望您在此期间,能够协助广大版主和其他管理人员,维护好各个版面的讨论秩序,也和水木清华站一起共度难关。



BBS 水木清华站站务委员会

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