To the Netizens of China, 致中国网民, From Pakistan

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To the Netizens of China,

致中国网民,

I am writing this letter to you on behalf of many Pakistani Internet users who are currently fighting their government’s attempt to restrict their access to information. The 20 million Internet users in Pakistan are on the brink of being monitored, filtered and possibly silenced for their views, and we fear that the government of China and Chinese spy-tech companies are aiding this human rights violations. It is distressing that Chinese companies have been named as being involved in aiding authoritarian regimes. Chinese companies like ZTE Corp and Huwaei have been accused of aiding censorship in Libya and Iran. Although it is difficult to track China’s involvement, there are no qualms about China’s censorship model being an ideal for developing countries and authoritative regimes.

我代表很多巴基斯坦网民写这封信,是因为希望你们了解我们正在与政府限制访问互联网信息的举措进行抗争。 巴基斯坦超过2000万网络用户正处于被监控、过滤和噤声的边缘。我们担心中国政府和中国的监控技术公司也帮助了这种侵犯人权的行为,所以希望你们知情和支持。 一些中国公司,例如中兴通讯和华为公司,都有辅助官方的审查计划,在利比亚和伊朗的网络审查中也被揭参与。虽然很难追查他们的具体参与细节,但是毫无疑问中国的审查模式已经被这些发展中国家和独裁政权所效仿。

We reach out to you to appeal for solidarity. We hope that you will stand by us and strengthen our appeal to Chinese surveillance companies and the government of China to not aid the Government in Pakistan in shrinking our space and eventually silencing our voices.

我们希望这封信能够得到你们的支援和共鸣。我们希望你们能够与我们站在一起,加强对中国企业和政府的诉求之声,不要协助巴基斯坦政府压缩我们的言论空间,甚至完全让我们消声。

For the past few years, the government has been using religion and morality as a ploy to restrict and monitor information. This is a dangerous precedent in a country marred by censorship imposed by military dictators and civilian governments. Consider how the people of Balochistan, one of our largest provinces, took to the blogosphere to report illegal abductions and extra-judicial killings by state agencies. In turn,  the authorities responded by blocking access to these sites. In the absence of mainstream media coverage, the Baloch people have no other medium to voice their protest against the human rights violations taking place. As mutilated dead bodies keep turning up on roadsides, their families continue to be silenced. Moreover, the censors are  rampant and irrational. For one, a website selling handmade shoes was blocked and without legal recourse, small businesses had to suffer the most.

在过去一段时间,我们的政府已经运用各种理由,包括宗教和道德借口,限制和监控信息。 在军事独裁者下的平民政府实施网络审查是一个非常糟糕的先例。 例如在最大的俾路支省,在博客空间报道了非法的绑架和国家机构法外处决的暴行后,官方马上用封杀这些博客站点来响应。 在主流媒体缺位的情况下,俾路支省的民众失去了让外界了解他们抗议人权遭受侵犯的媒介。 被杀害的人们尸陈野路,家人却投告无门。 更甚之,审查者缺少常识,粗暴无礼,连卖手工制作的鞋子的网站都加以封杀。 (相信这与中国的某些情况类似)

But how does all this relate to you? For as long as we have known, our history books have taught us that China is our friend, our ally, and is considered an ideal model to follow for development and advancement in technology. While the authorities remain enamored by China’s fast growing economic model, they have also long been eyeing the China’s system of censorship and surveillance. When rights advocates, academics, policy makers and entrepreneurs speak to the government regarding the repercussions of blanket surveillance and censorship, the government authorities point to the China example citing it as an exemplary model. We know that is not entirely true, for we have witnessed  mainland Chinese netizens seeking to bypass Internet filters and protesting against blanket surveillance – a complete space rather than a filtered version provided by the state. Where we hold hands in solidarity is the increasing absurd nature of censorship: from banning the word “shoe” in Pakistan, to filtering the words … “jasmine” “river crab” “18th congress” etc.  in China

但是这些是否与你们有关呢? 在很长时间,我们的历史课本上教导我们中国是我们朋友、盟友,是值得效仿的发展与进步典范。虽然我们的政府醉心于中国这种发展模式,他们也同时对中国的审查和监控系统崇拜有加。 当这里的权利倡导者、学界、政策顾问以及企业家想政府陈述地毯式监控和审查的坏处,政府当局往往搬出中国的发展模式加以辩护。 我们知道这并非全部,因为千千万万的中国大陆网民也在寻找穿越网络过滤的努力中,也在抗议地毯式网络监控带来的压制,希望获得一个完整的言论空间,而不是被政府意愿所左右。 我们有足够理由团结一致,在这里“鞋子“这个词被封杀,正如在中国,”茉莉花“,“河蟹”,”十八大“, 等文字被“和谐”一样。

Over the decades, our social spaces have shrunk, hubs of culture and art have been eradicated and human rights are now competing with ad hoc measures under the guise of counter-terrorism. For now the only space that allows many of us to remain anonymous or debate issues considered controversial is also shrinking.

过往几十年,我们的社会空间在萎缩,文化艺术的通路被挤压到窒息,人权保护被所谓的反恐外衣所钳制。 就连那些网络所带来的匿名讨论空间也在不断消失中。。。。

Your solidarity will help save our voice.

我相信你们的支持会最大程度地帮助我们

Best,
Sana Saleem
Bolo Bhi “Speak Up”
Netizen from Pakistan

致敬
莎娜·萨利姆
巴基斯坦网友

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Sana Saleem is an activist and freelance journalist. Saleem was listed amongst Foreign Policy's Top 100 Global Thinkers in 2012 and BBC listed her amongst the Top 100 Women to Watch in 2014. She is the co-founder of Stories Beyond Borders