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Student , Korea Science Academy


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Are citizens "ALWAYS" good?

Just at TEDGlobal 2011, Rebecca MacKlinton mentions citizen-oriented evolution of internet. Also, she mentions several news with censorship by government.

I generally agree that the future of the internet should be citizen-oriented, but I have some questions about the role of government.

That include "Why government censors internet(and other media)?"

There IS a political reason for censorship, but there is a reason for protecting citizens from the public threat, or immorality.

If we assume that citizens are producing contents in the internet, is citizen's right to access contents in the internet ALWAYS guaranteed despite they produce public threat? What is the acceptable area for public good(or threat)?


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    Jul 13 2011: Pal, I just want to offer a sense of what's really happening in china. A lot of content of the internet, I mean a uncountable number, have been censored in the name of "protecting citizens from the public threat, or immorality".
    • Jul 13 2011: Of course human rights in china are extremely suppressed. Actually, China government censors all I/O thru the internet. In this case, bringing people the free access of the internet is the one way to improve human rights. No one doubts about that.

      As other friends mentioned below, government's role is minimized in the nation which citizens have full human rights. However, violences and crimes occured among that citizens. In this case, government can enforce law to protect other citizens. That IS the minimized role of the government.

      Remember: the opposite meaning of this debate thread is NOT "governments are always good"
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        Jul 13 2011: I mean "protecting citizens from the public threat, or immorality" is a good wish ,but may not works well in daily practice. Because the boundary is extremely blured, even sometimes . For instance, homosexuality ,is it moral or immoral? who have the right to define that?
        Moreover it could be used as cover to do dirty things.
        what the goverment ought to do,I think, is to make sure everyone play by law and should not get involved in a micro level.
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          Jul 16 2011: I do agree with Tian, for those of us living behind the Great Firewall, without a VPN, it is impossible to access many websites, Youtube, Facebook and numerous blogs are censored for political reasons. Even blogs that have never spoken about China or pose any threat they block them. You have sometimes problems to access Gmail...

          We have the right of self-possession and although the state should make sure societies are harmonious that should not be done through censoring and limiting people's rights. Morals and values, although to an extent I agree government should advocate for virtue and family oriented policies (not only secluding family to the idea of a man and a women in one household), that should be up to the individual or the community.
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        Jul 17 2011: Today's china is no longer what you read in Tao Te Ching. 95%(even more) of chinese can not read ancient chinese article. moreover most chinese just don't care about any moral code or principle.

        the theory of Tao Te Ching is only one of many theories, And rule by Tao Te Ching is and was always a good wish, a hypothetical theory and most importantly a cover for the reality, which ruled by Han Feizi's theory .

        the average chinese's approach to internet is no different than that in the west.The only difference is the attitude of the goverment, here in china goverment's priority-goal is always keeping everything in control and leaving no place for independence. the goverment sensor lots of content of internet for political reasons far far far far more than any other reasons, say, protecting children.
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        Jul 17 2011: sorry, I think ,I have not made my point clear.
        I fully understand what the passage say. what I want to say is that what the govt is doing may seemingly be in accordance with the theory of the passage.
        In fact, they just try making everyone away from knowing what they are doing----edging out everyone and collecting weath alone.

        for example, "not to showing the people what is likely to excite their desires is seen to be a way to keep their minds from disorder." so that the goverment can indulge themselves in the desire.

        "The sage, in the exercise of his government, empties the minds of the people, weakens their will." so that no one would pose a threat to their dictatorship.

        Passages like this are often used as cover by the govt. because these passages provide plausible legitimacy making people, who are deprived of many things still believe in the govt,

        overall, they just make every citizen becoming slave who only work not complain.

        hope this time I made myself clear. : - )
        • Jul 18 2011: @Tian and Glipona

          Interesting insights into China thank you guys.

          From the West point of view, the Tao seems to come from human insights of the connection of all things. It is special because a lot of the things said in the Tao resonate, at least to me, with the way I feel inside about the nature of human beings. The Bible nor the Koran speaks to me as an equal. I do see them as fairy tales speaking down to me as a servant.

          I don't believe we are naive about the Tao, I still see many truths in the words and I also see that people with power almost always fall under the same spells. In fact I find that there are very little differences in any human being. I am from California, near San Fransisco. It is considered to be one of the most liberal of the states and so has the most freedoms but we know that is more or less an illusion. We are in the same waters on different ships. These conversations on TED are enlightening all of us.
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        Jul 18 2011: Ja,
        I love reading those ancient passages and seeking inspiration from it.
        But I feel so sad that it has been hijacked to cover dirty things.
        • Jul 19 2011: I have to admit China does seem a magical place to me. I recently watched a short documentary called "What the Ancients Knew" on China.

          Written language and printed text? About a thousand years before the West
          Ships and global travel? About 500 years before the West (it appears China came to America long before Vespucci)
          Technology like a seismograph and mechanical clock? Before the West.
          A spherical shaped device used to chart the movements of the stars.(That means they never thought the Earth was flat)
          Western philosophy tends to make things to create their world.
          Eastern philosophy seems to emulate nature to create its world.

          We use it so much, youtube is practically a verb in the states. You can see TED but not youtube? 90% is crap. TED is better anyway.
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      Jul 19 2011: China is a country that is developing into a future democracy; the problem is that it is dealing with a controlling government and enormous disinterest of most citizens due to the system they grew up with. Patience will be paramount.

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