Chinese firewalls cracked

Hacktivism against censorship

As Wired reports, over the weekend Bronc Buster and Zyklon from Legions of the Underworld penetrated five Chinese firewalls and manipulated the filters that are supposed to prevent Chinese Internet users from accessing unwanted sites abroad.

The hacktivists protest against the Chinese authorities’ treatment of Lin Hai, who was imprisoned for allegedly providing 30,000 email addresses of Chinese Internet users to a dissident Internet magazine in the U.S., which sends articles to people in China via email, bypassing censorship. The trial, which was supposed to take place at the end of November, was postponed.

In October, Buster had already defaced the official human rights website where China announced its new commitment. Allegedly, the crackers also discovered a list of blocked websites behind the firewalls of the outdated servers. Among them are not only news media such as BBC, ABC, MSNBC, ZDNET or Wired, but also sites like Parents.com or Family.com. This is obviously going too far for the Chinese government in terms of family policy.

Yu Shuning, the spokesman of the Chinese embassy in Washington, confessed that this was already the second attack from the U.S: "If these criminals have violated US law, we will prosecute and punish them."

Wired further reports that the hacker group Cult of the Dead Cow, which offers a program called Back Orifice on its website, plans to develop an email plug-in that will allow Chinese people to receive blocked pages from the Web via email. However, their hacktivism page is still largely blank.

On Monday, XU Wenli, one of the most prominent dissidents from the Democratic Party, was arrested in Beijing, as well as four other party members in Wuhan. Wenli, who had already spent 12 years in detention, was recently elected head of the party in Beijing. Police officers searched his house and, according to his wife, took a computer, a fax machine, address books and documents. With a formal arrest warrant for "Threat to state security" Wenli can be detained for up to one month.

Although China has recently signed the UN Convention on Civil and Political Rights, which includes the right to form political parties, it appears to be cracking down again on opposition members. In an interview with the Handelsblatt magazine on 30.11. Li Peng said that they will not accept a multiparty system. China is calling for democracy, but China is not following the Western way; it has its own conditions.

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