Translation: The Internet is Not a “Lawless Land”

We all know the Chinese internet is censored.  Even with some important caveats, it is indeed very, very censored.  This so dominates the Western view of the Chinese internet (especially after the very high profile “Google exit” in 2010) that it is impossible to read articles like below outside the context of censorship.  I am by no means an internet censorship apologist, and firmly believe it unequivocally does serious detriment to the brand of China in the eyes of foreign firms considering investment (not to mention the stark violation of a basic human right) , but part of me wishes Facebook had a similar disclaimer at it’s login page.

This is front page of today’s People’s Daily (人民日报).

The Internet is Not a “Lawless Land”

Original article here

“Fantastic, but noisy…” many people agree this can describe the internet.  As a brand new platform, it brings people social interaction, information services, and the opportunity to exchange ideas, all huge benefits and conveniences.  Yet simultaneously, the internet leads to harassment, scams, malicious attacks, and the dissemination of misinformation and rumors.

With development this fast, with the simplicity of getting online, and with the virtual and anonymous world the internet provides, lots of people go online without thinking.  Yet we should recognize that the internet is not a “lawless land”.  Words and actions on the internet, intentional or unintentional, have real legal consequences.  Damage caused to individuals or society do not just exist in the virtual world.  Those who have been cheated, infringed, or attacked, suffer just as much damage as traditional methods.

An open China needs a civilized internet which operates under the rule of law.  Whether it is the regulatory authorities or internet users, we all need to cherish this platform.  We urge people to use orderly language in a proper manner.  Even though the internet may not be tangible, users should take responsibility for their words and actions and realize they have legal consequences.  Whether on or offline, this is all to build a foundation of public order and morality.

Original Chinese:




Words/phrases of note

嘈杂 (cáo zá)- Noisy, cacophonous
不假思索 (bùjiǎsīsuǒ)- Without thinking, to jump into something with no hesitation
公序良俗 (gōngxùliángsú)- Public order and morality