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CNN Under Attack From China Over Tibetan Coverage

Posted April. 21, 2008 05:42,   


The CNN Web site experienced a “denial of service” attack on Friday. Web users in Korea, Japan and China were unable to access the site temporarily.

CNN confirmed the attack in its statement on the same day. “CNN took preventative measures to filter traffic in response to attempts to disrupt our Web site,” said the statement. It also added that a small percentage of CNN.com users in Asia had trouble accessing the Web site.

The Wall Street Journal reported the next day, “Chinese hackers on Internet bulletin boards have called for attacks on the site in recent days,” and added that it is likely an assault by Chinese hackers.

Chinese hackers canceled the all-out attack that was originally called for, and launched a minor one as a kind of preview, the newspaper analyzed. Scott Henderson, who wrote a book on Chinese hackers, said, “Chinese hackers were calling for everyone to get together to coordinate using large numbers of compromised computers to attack CNN.”

The attack demonstrates the anger of Chinese people against CNN’s coverage of Chinese crackdown on Tibet. Public discontent in China about the channel started in the early days of the Tibetan protests.

When its on-air commentator Jack Cafferty on April 9 commented, “I think they’re basically the same bunch of goons and thugs they’ve been for the last 50 years,” the Chinese viewers went berserk.

The comment even sparked the Foreign Ministry of China to issue a statement criticizing the comment. CNN responded that it had not intended to hurt feelings of the Chinese people, but it failed to pacify the anger in China.

A song titled “Don’t Be Too CNN” has become widely popular on the Internet in China. Chinese population in Los Angeles and Atlanta, the home of the news network, staged a series of protest rallies.

“Other international media outlets have come under criticism in China for their coverage of the unrest in Tibet,” said the Wall Street Journal. “But CNN appears to have become a proxy for what many Chinese see as Western media bias that villainizes China,” added the newspaper.

U.S. National Public Radio reported that some predict the Chinese government may cut off access to CNN, but it won’t be easy for China to make such a move just before the Olympics.