Top Four Reasons Why “Green Dam Youth Escort” Censorship Software Targets Falun Gong
NEW YORK – Despite a common narrative among many journalists that Falun Gong has largely been “crushed” (a narrative championed by the Chinese Communist Party), the degree to which Falun Gong is targeted by Green Dam demonstrates that the group and its adherents’ resistance remain one of the single biggest concerns of the CCP leadership.
According to an analysis of Green Dam’s key word libraries, 2,700 keywords are related to pornography sites, while 6,500 keywords are related to “politically sensitive” topics – a majority of which are Falun Gong (report). If, indeed, Falun Gong is “crushed,” why does it remain one of the largest targets of censorship by the CCP? The following are the top four reasons.
(1) Hiding crimes against Falun Gong adherents, especially in lead up to July 20th Anniversary
Over the past ten years, Falun Gong adherents have been systematically subjected to arbitrary arrest, torture and killings in forced labor camps and “re-education” centers throughout China, abuses that legal experts have qualified as crimes against humanity. These large-scale rights abuses that have been well documented by the Falun Dafa Information Center, the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China, the United Nations, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch. Yet, state-controlled media inside China block all objective coverage of Falun Gong, and access to objective information over the Internet is also blocked by China’s nationwide “Great Firewall.”
Always sensitive to anniversaries, it is likely the rush to have Green Dam installed by July 1st is in part an attempt to stifle Internet activity prior to July 20th – the tenth anniversary of the launch of the campaign to “stamp out Falun Gong.”
(2) Blocking Falun Gong-related publications that expose the history and inner-workings of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)
After several years of appealing directly to the senior CCP leadership to allow adherents to freely practice their beliefs, it became clear that the CCP would not change its policy of persecuting Falun Gong. Furthermore, its propaganda efforts against the practice achieved some success in bending public opinion against Falun Gong both inside China and abroad. Therefore, the only avenue available to Falun Gong activists to peacefully end the persecution was to lay bare the true history and nature of the CCP so people could break free from its propaganda and assess the persecution of Falun Gong in an objective manner and within an historically accurate context.
As a result, Falun Gong practitioners in China not only expose the abuses against them, but also regularly distribute writings analyzing and dissecting the CCP’s history and inner workings. Principle among these writings is the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party, published by the Epoch Times, which has become one of the most widely sought-after publications inside China and has sparked a wave of symbolic denunciations of the CCP. Judging by studies of CCP censorship and blocking technologies (Open Net Initiative report / Green Dam analysis), the Nine Commentaries, are among the publications most feared by the CCP.
(3) Stifling Falun Gong practitioners’ industry-leading Internet freedom software
In recent years, a group of Falun Gong engineers formed the Global Internet Freedom Consortium (website), which developed what has become the single most successful technology in allowing users inside China, Iran and other countries to break through government-installed firewalls and freely access websites on the Internet (New York Times report). A key component of Green Dam’s capabilities is to disable vital programs of this Internet freedom technology, such as Freegate. On Tuesday, the Global Internet Freedom Consortium announced the release of “Green Tsunami,” an “antidote” to Green Dam (press release).
(4) Countering Falun Gong practitioners large-scale grassroots print shops
Falun Gong adherents constitute millions of Internet users inside China. Most of these Internet users download materials to be used by a massive network of 200,000+ underground print shops throughout China At such sites, practitioners print and distribute leaflets, newsletters and other material exposing the abuses against Falun Gong as well as disseminating publications such as the Nine Commentaries.
Chinese government websites indicate that the CCP has made it a priority to stamp out this widespread “underground media” and adherents known to be involved in such activities have been sentenced to prison terms in recent months (news / news). Green Dam as a means of monitoring usage and cutting off access to Internet sites that provide content for these print shops is a potentially vital tool for the CCP to identify, shut down, and limit the influence of such sites.