Rebecca MacKinnon: China’s Internet White Paper: Networked Authoritarianism in Action

From Rebecca MacKinnon’s RConversation blog:

The release of the Chinese government’s first-ever White Paper on the Internet in China provoked some head-scratching here in the Western world. Part Three of the six-part document is titled “Guaranteeing Citizens’ Freedom of Speech on the Internet.” I’ve heard from several journalists and policy analysts (not people based in China, for whom such cognitive dissonance is normal) who at first glance thought they were reading The Onion or some kind of parody site. How, people asked me, can a government that so blatantly censors the Internet claim with a straight face to be protecting and upholding freedom of speech on the Internet? The answer of course is that China’s netizens are free to do everything… except for the things they’re not free to do.