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InfoWar in China: subversive Spams
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 00:21:19 +0100 (MET)
q/depesche 98.11.17/1

InfoWar in China: subversive Spams

Ein ganz normaler Fall von Spam könnte man sagen, wäre
der Beihelfer zum Spam nicht ein chinesischer Dissident.
Einer von vielen offenbar, die eine im im Netz verrufene
Methode gegen einen übermächtigen Gegner anweden, den
Leviathan Staat, der alle traditionellen Medien in China
E-Mail Adressen haben hier schon grosse Ähnlichkeiten mit
Munition, für Mailserver ist das Epitheton "Firepower"

post/scrypt: Wenn in Rumänien anno dunnemals das TV
Leitmedium des Sturzes einer Tyrannis war, welches wird
dann in China Leitmedium zu einem gleichem Behufe sein?

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Erick Eckholm
November 16, 1998 BEIJING -- The trial of a 30-year-old
computer executive, soon to begin in Shanghai, heralds a
new electronic battleground for China's political dissidents
and security forces determined to preserve Communist Party

Lin Hai, the defendant, is charged with "inciting subversion of
state power." Prosecutors say that from September 1997
until his arrest in March, Lin gave tens of thousands of
Chinese e-mail addresses to "hostile foreign publications."

In particular, they say, he provided addresses to an
electronic newsletter called VIP Reference, which is
compiled by Chinese democracy advocates in Washington
and sent to hundreds of thousands of computer-users inside
"We're promoting freedom of speech on the Internet," said
Feng Donghai, a software engineer at Columbia University
who moved to the United States three years ago and helped
start VIP Reference last fall. "They are putting Lin Hai on trial
to set an example."

The main VIP Reference, sent out every 10 days, mostly
includes essays and debates on democratic topics. A
subsidiary Daily News edition, sent daily, includes detailed
accounts of dissident initiatives and arrests.

The main newsletter is now sent to more than 250,000
addresses in China, said its publisher, Lian Shengde, who
spoke from Washington. The Daily News edition goes to
about 25,000, and the numbers are steadily climbing as
sympathizers send in lists of Chinese addresses.
"We're posing a new problem for the Communists," said Lian,
a software engineer in his 30s who moved from China after
the 1989 military crackdown on student-led demonstrators in
Beijing's Tiananmen Square. "I don't think there's any way
they can stop us."
A third newsletter, Public Opinion, is edited and distributed
electronically from inside China. It includes commentaries
and reprints of items taken off the Internet and is produced by
a group of young computer company workers who call
themselves "political netters."

Over the last year, these newsletters, plus assorted online
discussion groups, have become important means of
communication among political activists, said Xiao Qiang,
executive director of Human Rights in China in New York.
China uses an electronic "firewall" to block access to Web
sites it deems objectionable, including those of human rights
groups and some considered pornographic. But it cannot
keep up with new sites, and clever users can sidestep the
firewall. E-mail is virtually uncontrollable, although agents can
identify a particular individual and read that person's mail.
Somehow, the authorities zeroed in on Lin. Last week, Lin's
wife, Xu Hong, learned that his trial will begin on Nov. 26 but
will be a closed proceeding so that she cannot attend. The
lawyers she hired will be present but, Ms. Xu said by
telephone, "I'm afraid the lawyers won't have much influence
on the results."

If convicted as charged, Lin may face a prison sentence of
five years or more. He and his wife have a 20-month-old son.

full text

relayed by
David Banisar <banisar@epic.org>

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