Internet censorship in China

Censorship of Facebook

Through out the years, more than sixty Internet regulations have been made by the government of China. Including Facebook, Google, twitter, Snapchat, Youtube etc. Just at the beginning of 2015, China blocked Gmail and shut Google out of Mainland China. The governmental authorities not only block website content but also monitor the Internet access of individuals. The total control by the government seems unbelievable to a lot of the westerners. China’s great firewall (a massive Internet surveillance and content control system) is doing something seems impossible, scholars are concerning that this system would be a very attractive model for instance for Russia, Egypt or other states.

China is one of a few communist countries in the world, which is controlled by one political party. Internet censorship in china is based on the famous saying from Mr. Deng “If you open the window for fresh air, you have to expect some flies to blow in.” The government of China defends its right to censor the Internet by claiming that the country has the right to govern the Internet according to its own rules inside its borders. The main purpose of the Internet censorship is avoiding potential subversion of Chinese government’s authority. Further more, it is also to prevent political conflicts from happening within the social environment. Seldom, people are allowed to talk about politics on the Internet, but certain websites containing anti-government material would be blocked. Lots of people have seen this as violation of freedom of speech and human rights. However, it does have its advantages and disadvantages.

One reason people criticize most about Internet censorship is freedom of speech. In china, all the tweets, posts, blogs on the social media network is controlled by the government, the minute you post something against the government, the police will be knocking on the door the next minute. It is also the most important reason china banned Facebook or twitter. Social networks do exist in china, they clone twitter as “weibo”, and replace Facebook with “renren”, to satisfy the social network using needs by 500 million Internet users. The only difference is, the database is in Beijing and the government has access to it all the time. It is way safer for them to control than having the database in US. The other major issue about Internet censorship is that government can select what people can hear or see. Too much power can be abused in certain circumstances. However, there are advantages of censored Internet. Protecting children from inappropriate information is one of them. Adult contents can be harmful to be exposed to underage kids. Secondly, it can protect copyrights and prevent illegal activity. Most importantly, it helps to grow the local economy, with every website banned from Chinese government, there is an alternative, with 500 million users in china, the Internet help the economy bloom. Even though censorship can be hard for western society to understand, it does have its advantages.

In my opinion, government shouldn’t control too much and violate people’s freedom. People have their rights to express their thoughts and feelings towards events and other things that influence their lives. However, china is ruled by communist party, which believes in Marxism and aims at building a socialist society do have needs to control the Internet. In a communist society, the individual’s best interests are indistinguishable from the society’s best interest.  To reach that ideology, controlling of speech is necessary. The other reason about the necessity of Internet censorship in china is that people can be manipulated by others who have other purposes and want to incite others. For example, In October 2014, a suicidal terrorist activity happened in china, which caused the death of three people and 39 injuries. It has been proved that they were watching videos by terrorists from Middle East. They purposely use Internet to incite violence actions. Those videos are highly inflammatory, less educated people can be easily influenced. China with a huge population with 1.3 billion people hasn’t really reached the public education program for everyone, there are still large amount of people that are not being educated. If the government let those incite information passing around on the Internet, it can be dangerous to the society. To sum up, I believe in humans’ rights and freedom, however, country like china has its own difficulties to reach that. For some countries, it is actually better for the government to have some controlled over the information people are getting as long as the government does not abuse the power. As matter of fact I do hope one day all Chinese can tweet whatever they want and wherever they want without fear.

Sources:

http://brandongaille.com/the-pros-and-cons-internet-censorship/

http://cs.stanford.edu/people/eroberts/cs201/projects/communism-computing-china/censorship.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NubnqlSNF64

http://edition.cnn.com/2015/03/25/asia/china-internet-censorship-kristie-lu-stout/index.html

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