Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

I'm on an Internet Governance Forum (IGF) panel on openness and free flow of information. We've been talking a lot about China and a gentleman from the Chinese delegation to the UN in Geneva was in the audience. He stood up and confirmed that "China does not restrict access to any content." I did not know that. ;-P

UPDATE: Would like add that my position was that we are bashing China too much on this panel and I pointed out that there are good things going on there. I just thought it was silly to completely deny content restrictions in public. I think the Chinese delegate caused China to lose all of the sympathy that had been building up in the room because of the focus on China.

UPDATE 2: It's rather frustrating being on a 3 hour 11 person panel... I'm glad I have my blog. *wave*

UPDATE 3: In the end, I barged in and said what I wanted to say so I'm OK now. Phew.

UPDATE 4: Rik has a better account of this incident. Also, excuse the grammar of the title. My excuse is that I posted during the panel and I was a bit preoccupied. Changing it now would break the permalink...


That's how tough politicians work... Deny, deny everything, especially clear evidence.

If it was frustrating for you up there, just imagine how it was for me sitting in the floor and waiting for a mike that never came. I had to vent here.

But, notwithstanding the fact that you were absolutely great, I really think that these panels suck. I did not fly to Athens to be the cheering crowd in an average TV show on ICTs, did I?

I can imagine it would be quite frustrating. Sorry you had to suffer through that vb.

Good point about China on your post. I posted the delegate's comment here because it was just very funny, but I agree that there was too much China bashing.

Well, it's not your fault at all (both my "suffering" and the focus on China). In any case, this is an experiment, but I think that the significance of this kind of sessions should be reduced - it can't be the main course of the IGF.

Joi, I'll buy you a beer if you are still around. I thought you responded very well.

I posted about my perspective on the whole exchange, including a pic of the Chinese rep, here.

You did well. It was ok to get the Cina debate ealy in the convention, and then hopefully leave it here for other more complex questions. (Thanks for the taxi ride before the panel by the way.)

I also liked - in the afternoon session - when the Chinese speaker was answering my question (which in part refered to spam coming out of China), quote of the transcript:

Glad you survived the session, we audience members at least had the chance to stand up and go for a walk if it got too hard.

Actually, a censorware company in Japan (ALSI) sells censorware which named as "Intersafe" for China, with permission from China Government.
The Chinese version of Intersafe has special categories such as "Falun Gong", and "Againt Communist Party of China", and CERNET (an educational backbone network in China) deployed that. I don't know whether the use of Intersafe in CERNET is mandatory, and also don't known how the log of the policy vilotaion is used.
You can read a news story of Intersafe from

Perhaps you guys ought to shift your attention focus on media liberation and issues of Human Rights to Singapore.

Damn, you were at the IGF as well? So was I but I concentrated mostly on the security and capacity building sessions, left the free speech sections strictly alone more or less.

Though you really SHOULD have come to the session that David Allen did on "intellectuals in the IGF" with Rik, Penghwa Ang, Bill Graham, Jung Uk Seo calling in from Auckland .. and with Declan, Ken Cukier and others in the audience.

That one, and possibly also the rather ludicrous three ring circus that Milton Mueller's "DNS root zone management" workshop very quickly turned into ..