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The Internet, Human Rights, and China: A Resource List

July 18, 2010

The following is a list of Chinese and English-language resources related to technology, the Internet, human rights, and China. These resources include digital and print materials developed by governments, NGOs, and academics.

NGOS/Think Tanks/Academia

Berkman Center for Internet & Society

“The Berkman Center's mission is to explore and understand cyberspace; to study its development, dynamics, norms, and standards; and to assess the need or lack thereof for laws and sanctions. We are a research center, premised on the observation that what we seek to learn is not already recorded. Our method is to build out into cyberspace, record data as we go, self-study, and share. Our mode is entrepreneurial nonprofit.”

  • Herdict
    English, Chinese, Arabic, Farsi, Russian

    “Herdict is a project of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. Herdict is a portmanteau of 'herd' and 'verdict' and seeks to show the verdict of the users (the herd). Herdict Web seeks to gain insight into what users around the world are experiencing in terms of web accessibility; or in other words, determine the herdict.”

Center for Democracy and Technology

“The Center for Democracy and Technology is a non-profit public interest organization working to keep the Internet open, innovative, and free. As a civil liberties group with expertise in law, technology, and policy, CDT works to enhance free expression and privacy in communications technologies by finding practical and innovative solutions to public policy challenges while protecting civil liberties. CDT is dedicated to building consensus among all parties interested in the future of the Internet and other new communications media.”

China Digital Times 
English and Chinese

“[China Digital Times] is a bilingual news website covering China’s social and political transition and its emerging role in the world. We aggregate the most up-to-the-minute news and analysis about China from around the Web, while providing independent reporting, translations from Chinese cyberspace, perspectives from across the geographical, political and social spectrum, and daily recommendations of readings from the Chinese blogosphere.”

China Media Project

“The China Media Project leverages the [University of Hong Kong] Journalism & Media Studies Centre’s experienced staff faculty and its extensive contacts with mainland Chinese media and its unique position at the doorsteps of China to generate systematic, multi-facted research in the field of Chinese journalism.”

Citizen Lab
[See books and reports for recent publications]

“The Citizen Lab is an interdisciplinary laboratory based at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, Canada focusing on advanced research and development at the intersection of digital media, global security, and human rights.”

Global Network Initiative
English, Chinese, French, Spanish, Russian, and Arabic

“In an effort to protect and advance the human rights of freedom of expression and privacy, a diverse coalition of leading information and communications technology (ICT) companies, major human rights organizations, academics and investors launched the [Global Network Initiative] in October 2008. The GNI is founded upon Principles on Freedom of Expression and Privacy and supported by specific implementation commitments and a framework for accountability and learning. Together, this framework provides a systematic approach for companies, NGOs, investors, academics and others to work together in resisting efforts by governments that enlist companies in acts of censorship and surveillance that violate international standards.” 

Global Voices Online   
English, Chinese, and many other languages

“Global Voices is a community of more than 300 bloggers and translators around the world who work together to bring you reports from blogs and citizen media everywhere, with emphasis on voices that are not ordinarily heard in international mainstream media.”

Human Rights in China
English and Chinese

“Human Rights in China (HRIC), founded by Chinese students and scholars in March 1989, is an international, Chinese, nongovernmental organization with a mission to promote international human rights and advance the institutional protection of these rights in the People’s Republic of China.”

Information Warfare Monitor

“The Information Warfare Monitor is an independent research activity tracking the emergence of cyberspace as a strategic domain. Our mission is to build and broaden the evidence base available to scholars, policy makers, and others.”

OpenNet Initiative   
“The OpenNet Initiative is a collaborative partnership of three institutions: the Citizen Lab at the Munk Centre for International Studies, University of Toronto; the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University; and the SecDev Group (Ottawa). Our aim is to investigate, expose and analyze Internet filtering and surveillance practices in a credible and non-partisan fashion. We intend to uncover the potential pitfalls and unintended consequences of these practices, and thus help to inform better public policy and advocacy work in this area.”

SecDev Group

“The SecDev Group is a Canadian company with a global mission to engage with complex problems of insecurity and violence. Our founders are practitioners and scholars with decades of on the ground experience in Latin America, Asia, the Commonwealth of Independent States, Central Asia and the Middle East. We leverage expertise in security and development with a global network of partners. We apply a multi-disciplinary, evidence-based approach combined with cutting-edge analytical tools and techniques. We engage in for-profit consulting and not-for-profit research…We believe in the core values of privacy, security, human rights, rule of law and sound democratic governance and accountability. We are committed to enhancing security and promoting evidence-based solutions to complex policy issues.”


European Parliament

European Parliament. Subcommittee on Human Rights. Hearing on New Information Technologies and Human Rights. June 2, 2010.

People’s Republic of China

China Internet Network Information Center
English and Chinese

“China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), the state network information center of China, was founded as a non-profit organization on Jun. 3rd 1997. CNNIC takes orders from the Ministry of Information Industry (MII) to conduct daily business, while it was administratively operated by Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). Computer Network Information Center of Chinese Academy of Sciences takes the responsibility of running and administrating CNNIC. CNNIC Steering Committee, a working group composed of well-known experts and commercial representatives in domestic Internet community supervises and evaluates the structure, operation and administration of CNNIC.”

China Society for Human Rights Studies (Chinese)
English and Chinese

“The China Society for Human Rights Studies (CSHRS) is the largest national non-governmental organization in the field of human rights in China…The activities and tasks of the CSHRS are: studying the theories, history, and status of human rights in China and foreign countries; popularizing and publicizing human rights knowledge; engaging in international exchanges and cooperation; and promoting healthy development of human rights causes in China and the world as a whole”

Ministry of Industry and Information Technology

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) is the agency responsible for the regulation and development of China’s communications services, including the Internet, computer software, broadcasting, and the postal service. Established in 2008, it superseded the Ministry of Information Industry. It does not regulate content, which falls under the scope of the General Administration of Press and Publication.

Information Office of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China

Established in 1991, the Information Office of the State Council (SCIO) is the chief media and information office of the Chinese government.

United States of America

U.S.  Department of State

The mission of the U.S. Department of State is to “advance freedom for the benefit of the American people and the international community by helping to build and sustain a more democratic, secure, and prosperous world composed of well-governed states that respond to the needs of their people, reduce widespread poverty, and act responsibly within the international system.”

U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor

“The United States supports those persons who long to live in freedom and under democratic governments that protect universally accepted human rights. The United States uses a wide range of tools to advance a freedom agenda, including bilateral diplomacy, multilateral engagement, foreign assistance, reporting and public outreach, and economic sanctions. The United States is committed to working with democratic partners, international and regional organizations, non-governmental organizations, and engaged citizens to support those seeking freedom.”

U.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on International Relations. The Internet in China: A Tool for Freedom or Suppression?: Joint Hearing before the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Human Rights and International Operations and the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific. 109th Cong., 2nd sess., February 15, 2006, Serial No. 109-157.

  • The Honorable David A. Gross, Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Communications and Information Policy, Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, U.S. Department of State
  • Mr. James R. Keith, Senior Advisor for China and Mongolia, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, U.S. Department of State
  • Mr. Michael Callahan, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Yahoo! Inc.
  • Mr. Jack Krumholtz, Managing Director of Federal Government Affairs and Associate General Counsel, Microsoft Corporation
  • Mr. Elliot Schrage, Vice President for Corporate Communications and Public Affairs, Google, Inc.
  • Mr. Mark Chandler, Vice President and General Counsel, Cisco Systems, Inc.
  • Mr. Harry Wu, Publisher, China Information Center
  • Ms. Libby Liu, President, Radio Free Asia
  • Mr. Xiao Qiang, Director, China Internet Project, University of California-Berkeley
  • Ms. Lucie Morillon, Washington Representative, Reporters Without Borders
  • Ms. Sharon Hom, Executive Director, Human Rights in China

U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China

The Congressional-Executive Commission, composed of Congressionally-appointed elected officials and Presidentially-appointed executive officials, monitors China’s compliance with international human rights, monitors and encourages its development of the rule of law, and researches and maintains documents people affected by rights abuses, including a comprehensive database of political prisoners. It submits and annual report to the President and Congress on China’s rights and rule of law situation and holds regular hearings.

  • U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China. Google and Internet Control in China: A Nexus Between Human Rights and Trade?. March 24, 2010.
    • Alan Davidson, Director of U.S. Public Policy, Americas, Google, Inc.
    • Christine Jones, Executive Vice President, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary, The Go Daddy Group
    • Sharon Hom, Executive Director, Human Rights in China. Edward Black, President and CEO, Computer & Communications Industry Association
    • Ambassador Mark Palmer
    • Rebecca MacKinnon, Visiting Fellow, Center for Information Technology Policy, Princeton University
    • Chinese Internet Bureau of the Information Office of the State Council
  • U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China. 2009 Annual Report. 2009.

U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission

The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission is a Congressionally-appointed Commission that submits annual reports to Congress on Sino-American relations. The reports cover topics including proliferation, economic ties, energy, regional economy and security, bilateral programs, WTO compliance, and freedom of expression.

Books and Reports

Amnesty International. Undermining of Freedom of Expression in China: The Role of Yahoo!, Microsoft, and Google. London: Amnesty International UK, 2006.

China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) [中国互联网络信息中心]. The 25th Statistical Survey Report on Internet Development in China [第25次中国互联网络发展状况统计报告]. Beijing: China Internet Network Information Center, 2010 [北京:中国互联网络信息中心, 2010].

China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) [中国互联网络信息中心]. The 2009 Survey Report on Internet Development in Rural China [2009年中国农村互联网发展状况调查报告]. Beijing: China Internet Network Information Center, 2009 [北京:中国互联网络信息中心, 2009].

Deibert, Ronald et al. Access Denied: The Practice and Policy of Global Internet Filtering. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2008. (Updates and new country reports are posted regularly at OpenNet Initiative.)

Freedom House. “China.” Freedom on the Net: A Global Assessment of Internet and Digital Media.Washington, DC: Freedom House, 2009.

He, Qinglian. The Fog of Censorship: Media Control in China. New York: Human Rights in China, 2008.

Human Rights Watch. Race to the Bottom: Corporate Complicity in Chinese Internet Censorship. New York: Human Rights Watch, 2006.

Human Rights in China. State Secrets: China’s Legal Labyrinth. New York: Human Rights in China, 2007.

Information Warfare Monitor. Tracking Ghostnet: Investigating a Cyber Espionage Network. Toronto: Information Warfare Monitor, 2009.

Information Warfare Monitor and Shadowserver Foundation. Shadows in the Cloud: Investigating Cyber Espionage 2.0. Toronto: Information Warfare Monitor and Shadowserver Foundation, 2010.

Lum, Thomas. Internet Development and Information Control in the People’s Republic of China. Washington, D.C.: Congressional Research Service (CRS), 2006.

OpenNet Initiative. China. OpenNet Initiative, 2009.

OpenNet Initiative. China’s Green Dam: The Implications of Government Control Encroaching on the Home PC. OpenNet Initiative, 2009.

Reporters without Borders and Chinese Human Rights Defenders. China: Journey to the Heart of Internet Censorship. 2007.

Tai, Ziyue. The Internet in China: Cyberspace and Civil Society New York: Taylor & Francis Group, 2006.

U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China. 2009 Annual Report. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2009.

U.S. Department of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. 2009 Human Rights Report: China (Includes Tibet, Hong Kong, and Macau). Washington: U.S. Department of State, 2009.

Krekel, Bryan et al. Capability of the People’s Republic of China to Conduct Cyber Warfare and Computer Network Exploitation, Prepared for the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission. McLean: Northrop Grumman Corporation, 2009.

United Nations. “Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the Issue of Human Rights and Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises: Business and Human Rights: Further Steps toward the Operationalization of the “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework.” Special Representative, John Ruggie. U.N. Doc. A/HRC/14/27 (2010).

Villeneuve, Nart. Breaching Trust: An Analysis of Surveillance and Security Practices on China’s TOM-Skype Platform. Toronto: Munk Centre for International Studies, University of Toronto; Ottawa: The SecDev Group, 2008.

Villeneuve, Nart. The Filtering Matrix: Integrated Mechanisms of Information Control and the Demarcation of Borders in Cyberspace. 2006.

Villeneuve, Nart. Search Monitor Project: Toward a Measure of Transparency. Toronto: Citizen Lab at the Munk Centre of International Students, 2008.

Villeneuve, Nart and Greg Walton. “0day”: Civil Society and Cyber Security. Malware Lab, 2009.

Villeneuve, Nart and Greg Walton. Targeted Malware Attack on Foreign Correspondent’s based in China. Malware Lab, 2009.

Yang, Guobin. The Power of the Internet in China: Citizen Activism Online. New York: Columbia University Press, 2009.

Zheng, Yongnian. Technological Empowerment: The Internet, State, and Society in China. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2007.

Articles and Journals

Clayton, Richard, Steven Murdoch, and Robert N.M. Watson. “Ignoring the Great Firewall of China.” I/S A Journal of Law and Policy for the Information Society 3, no. 2 (2007), 273-298.  

Deibert, Ronald. “The Geopolitics of Asian Cyberspace.” Far Eastern Economic Review 169, no. 10 (2006), 22-25.

Halderman, J. Alex Scott, Wolchock, Randy Yao. “Analysis of the Green Dam Censorware System.” University of Michigan Technical Report (2009).

Human Rights in China. “Freedom of Expression on Trial in China,” China Rights Forum,2010, no. 1.

Human Rights in China. “Logging On in China’s Internet Cafes.” China Rights Forum, 2005, no. 3.

Human Rights in China. “Technology and Human Rights.” China Rights Forum, 2006, no. 2.

Human Rights in China. “Weiquan Online: An HRIC Backgrounder.” China Rights Forum, 2006, no. 3.

Klein, Naomi. “China’s All-Seeing Eye.” Rolling Stone, May 14, 2008.

Kytle, Beth and John Ruggie. “Corporate Social Responsibility as Risk Management: A Model for Multinationals.” Working Paper No. 10, Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, 2005.

Villeneuve, Nart, “Evasion Tactics: Global Online Censorship Is Growing, But So Are the Means to Challenge It and Protect Privacy.” Index on Censorship 36, no. 4 (2007).

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