Asia Pacific Censorship News

 2013: July-Sept

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Update: A Few New Friends...Not!...

China realises that internet censorship censorship can be a burden in business and is set to allow social network websites in a new free trade zone

Link Here 27th September 2013
Full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
Reporters Without Borders takes note of a report in today's South China Morning Post revealing that leading foreign social networks and news websites will be accessible in the Shanghai free trade zone that is to be inaugurated at the end of the month.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a government source told the newspaper that, as an experiment, the authorities were on the point of allowing access to social networks such as Facebook and Twitter and the New York Times website in the Shanghai business district of Pudong, where the free trade zone will be located.

Reporters Without Borders said:

By taking this decision, the Chinese government is acknowledging that Internet censorship is bad for business. We regret that this lifting of censorship will apply to just a limited part of the country and that the reasons behind it are purely economic.

Targeted mainly at foreigners, this measure will probably not benefit the Chinese population. It should be extended to all Chinese Internet users, who are now the victims of discrimination in access to information.

As in the Hong Kong free trade zone, the Chinese authorities want the Shanghai free trade zone to attract foreign telecommunications companies that will offer their Internet connection services to companies based in the zone. The restrictions on Internet access are being lifted with the chief aim of attracting additional foreign investment, and the measure will apply only to an area of some 30 square kilometres centred on Pudong.

Update: Just a rumour. Censorship continues unabated

27th September 2013. See  article from

China's regime doesn't want visitors reading The New York Times after all, even in the free trade zone.

The People's Daily is disputing those initial reports, insisting that internet management measures inside the Shanghai zone will be identical to those elsewhere in China. The state-run media outlet also emphasized that the government plans to clamp down on any pornography, gambling, drugs, and smuggling within the Shanghai free trade zone, according to The Register.



Under Fire...

Sri Lanka convinces Malaysia to ban a private showing of the documentary, No Fire Zone

Link Here 21st September 2013
Lena Hendry, Programme Coordinator of the Malaysian human rights NGO Pusat KOMAS, has been charged under the Film Censorship Act for organising a private screening of the documentary film called No Fire Zone, the Killing Fields of Sri Lanka .

Pressure originally came from the Sri Lankan Embassy in Malaysia. They faxed a letter to the KL & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall Civil Right Committee (KLSCAH) asking them not to screen the documentary.  On July 1, 2013, Lena Hendry had received a call from the Censorship Board of the Ministry of Home Affairs, who asked the organisers to stop the screening because the film had not gone under censorship. She had replied that the screening was private and upon invitation only.

In the evening of July 3, 2013, Pusat KOMAS, together with the KLSCAH, organised a private screening of No Fire Zone directed by British Director Callum Macrae. At about 8.30 pm, about 30 minutes after the start of the screening, about 30 officials of the KDN, immigration officials and the police entered the Chinese Assembly hall and requested to check the film. After the screening, said officials insisted on checking the identity cards of all participants before they left the venue.

On September 19, 2013, the Home Ministry and Attorney General Chamber filed a charge against Lena Hendry under the Film Censorship Act 2002, which says no one should screen any film or related publicity materials that have not been approved by the Censorship Board.  A judge granted her bail of 1,000 ringgit, and set the next date for Hendry to appear in court to October 21, 2013.

The Observatory reiterates its call on the authorities of Malaysia to put an immediate end to the continuing judicial harassment of Ms. Lena Hendry, all Pusat KOMAS members as well as against all human rights defenders in the country, as it is arbitrary and seems to merely aim at sanctioning their legitimate human rights activities.

Update: On trial

22nd October 2013. See  article from

Charges against two KOMAS members were dropped but the charge against Ms Hendry still stands and her trial began this morning in Kuala Lumpur. KOMAS argues that the Film Censorship Act does not apply in this case -- the screening was a private affair with guests required to register in advance -- a format that has been used on numerous occasions in the past, it says. If Ms Hendry is found guilty, however, she is liable to spend up to three years in prison.



The Three legged Race Becomes an Olympic Event...

Japan whinges about a cartoon alluding to the nuclear accident and the Olympics

Link Here 13th September 2013
Japan is to lodge an official complaint about a cartoon in a French newspaper that links the Fukushima nuclear disaster with Tokyo's successful bid to host the 2020 Olympics.

The cartoon, which appeared in the satirical weekly Le Canard Enchaine , shows two sumo wrestlers -- each with an extra arm or leg -- with the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in the background. At the edge of the panel, a TV announcer dressed in a hazardous materials suit says: Marvellous! Thanks to Fukushima, sumo is now an Olympic sport.

The chief cabinet secretary, Yoshihide Suga, said a formal complaint would be lodged with the French embassy in Tokyo, claiming that the cartoon hurt the victims of the triple disaster that struck Japan's north-east coast on 11 March 2011. He said:

It is inappropriate and gives the wrong impression about the issue of contaminated water at Fukushima Daiichi. It is extremely regrettable.



More Censors Please...

China orders the banning of violence and erotic content from children's books

Link Here 13th September 2013
In a bid to censor supposedly obscene and violent content in children's reading , the Chinese government has released a circular calling for stricter supervision over children's publications.

The document, jointly released by five departments including the Ministry of Education and the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, said:

The children ' s publications market has been thriving with many quality works that boost healthy development , but problems also exist , such as shoddy quality , improper content and overly high prices.

The circular urged administrative departments to strictly ban publications that contain murder, violence, obscenity and erotic content. It also told publishing houses to train professional editing teams for children' s titles.



Update: Three Years in Jail for Trending Rumours...

China confirms the rumours that China is a nasty place to live