(JUST UPDATED) From Sheng Cuihua‘s email:
From March 16, some of the most influential University BBS (Bulletin Board System) in China, including the one of Tsinghua University (smth.org), Peking University (ytht.org) and Nanjing University (lilybbs.org), have been restricted to users with an IP inside the university only. That means public users, who make remarkable contribution to the conversation, are not able to access these BBS any more. Before, these BBS hosted very active public forums and attracted millions of registered visitors inside and outside the university. Protests have been organized around Chinese universities. People are calling it an insult on the freedom of speech, but soon their posts were deleted and their voice stifled by university administration.
This censorship action has affected hundreds of thousands of alumni and other users of those BBS across China and around the world. Protest messages have appeared all over the Chinese blogosphere. According to Chinese bloggers, starting from February 28, many university BBS managers, including bbs.fudan.edu.cn (Â§çÊó¶Êó•ÊúàÂÖâÂçé)„ÄÅbbs.xjtu.edu.cn (Ë•ø‰∫§ÂÖµÈ©¨‰øë)„ÄÅbbs.sjtu.edu.cn(‰∏ä‰∫§È•ÆÊ∞¥ÊÄùÊ∫ê)„ÄÅbbs.nju.edu.cn (ÂçóÂ§ßÂ∞èÁôæÂêà)„ÄÅand bbs.pku.edu.cn (ÂåóÂ§ßÊú™Âêç ) have received orders from the Ministry of Education to only allow users within campus and registered with real names. On March 16, the largest university BBS, smth.org (Ê∞¥Êú®Ê∏ÖÂçéÔºâalso made an announcement restricting off-campus users.
UPDATE on 9:00 am March 20: Reactions and commentaries on the ban are proliferating in the blogosphere. Blog posts, flickr photos, furl and del.icio.us bookmarks on the topic can now be tracked via smth tag on Technorati or Flickr. This is a very effective way to aggregate “sensitive information” through a distributive process in a politically censored cyberspace .
Andrea Leung for this tip.
Also, thanks to
After YTHT was closed last year, SMTH BBS became the largest university BBS in China. SMTH has existed for ten years, and usually has tens of thousands of users online at the same time. It is ranked 1440 globally by Web Search/Ranking Service Alexa. This blog post gives the background of this censorship action. Detailed text of the announcements from different university BBS are here.
The “Global Trip” blog had this post: “2005.3.18 Fete-Day for SMTH BBS. It’s a sad day today that the government forces the biggest Bulletin Board System in China closing itself to the people outside Tsinghua University. This country is closing itself, it’s suiciding.” The blog also includes photos of protests on Tsinghua campus. Danwei blog also reaprted this news at here.