Gallery: Blocked on Weibo

(jonrussell / Flickr) Click here to see a gallery of 11 phrases that are banned on Weibo.

Who owns the Internet, and who has the right to control what con­tent is available on it? Is it sovereign territory, or is it free from antiquated earthbound laws? These questions have engaged Internet activists and scholars for over a decade, although to the disappointment of techno­utopians, it turns out that the Internet is very much capable of being regulated, and many governments -- even ones in the free Western world who champion free speech and democracy -- have been perfectly willing to do so. China’s “Great Firewall” and “Golden Shield,” a vast network of technical controls by which it regulates Internet con­tent, is only the most obvious and extensive. In 2000, Bill Clinton compared censoring the Internet to nailing Jell­O to a wall. But ten years later, China appears to have built an effective harness -- self ­censorship by companies and netizens (Internet citizens) -- to go along with the world’s biggest nail gun: tens of thousands of state ­employed Internet censors, total government control of over­seas Internet data connections, and next­-generation monitoring hardware to keep that Jell-O from reaching the floor.

Click here to see a gallery of 11 phrases that are banned on Weibo.