Censorship in China
China is one of the most controlled countries in the world. The Chinese constitution states that the people of China have freedom of speech, of the press, and of demonstration. However, this article in the constitution also states that the Chinese government has the authority to censor anything in the country when freedom of speech or of press could potentially be harmful to the country. So, in China, you are free to speak, but only about what the government says is okay to talk about.
Also, protesting in China is a very dangerous task, as shown in the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989. But, in August 2009, Chinese Internet users were able to “indefinitely postpone” the use of censorship software on all new computers in China, called the “Green Dam Youth Escort. ” This software would block websites that the Chinese government saw as offensive. Internet use in China is very restricted. As of 2010, all Internet users are required to register online with their real names before posting anything in a chat room or on a social networking site.
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Another example of the Internet troubles in China is the “China-Google” story. Google entered the Chinese market in 2006, on the condition that Google would agree to censor all of the search results according to the Chinese government. An example of this censorship is searching “Tiananmen Square Massacre” in China will return no results. It is as if it never happened. But, in summer of 2010, Google’s relationship with China came to a screeching halt when, after being hacked from China-based hackers, Google decided to no longer censor any of the search results.
Currently, Google has withdrawn from China and directs all Chinese web users to the Hong Kong Google site, which is not filtered. To combat this, China created its own Internet search Engine, called Baidu. This search engine does censor results. The censorship in China began when the communist party took control over eighty years ago. They began to adopt the idea of a totalitarian government. In the 1950s the government had control over all information shown to their people. The government used this propaganda to glorify the communist party and show western power and capitalism as evil.
During the 1960s and 1970s, the Cultural Revolution in China relaxed some of the censorship in China but the government still maintained a tight grasp on the information people could find. This issue is very concerning for all of China because the government will not allow any opposition to itself. The government is not moderated and therefore has indefinite power. There is nothing to stand in the way of the government doing whatever they want. There are 420,000,000 Internet users in China. That is more than the entire population of the United States.
Also, recently there have been some rally cries on the Internet in China that are similar to those of the Middle East/Egypt. China is becoming even stricter on the Internet usage policies because they do not want what happened in Egypt to spread to China. The government has also said that if any reporters come to the supposed rally sites they will either be deported or arrested and sent to jail. As of right now, there are no plans or even thoughts of lifting any of the Internet censorship laws in China. If anything, there are plans to add more censorship conditions to the current law set.
But, citizens in China are eager to get over the “Great Firewall of China. ” They want freedom of Internet access. China also sees social networking sites as a major threat. They are so paranoid about any type of social network that they have blocked the entire Facebook site in China. If you type in http://www. facebook. cn/ (the China Facebook website) your computer won’t be able to find the website because it does not exist. These many problems in China greatly affect other countries such as the U. S. Google, a United States company, has left China because of their ridiculous rules on the Internet.
China’s relationship with the U. S. is very important because they hold a large percentage of U. S. debt and the U. S. has a trade deficit with China. Not many other U. S. companies can compete with Chinese companies so it is going to be very hard to change anything about China. The U. S. is also concerned about china because of its neighbors such as Japan and Korea. We want peace in the world and China is an important country to keeping peace. The censorship issue is a big current issue in China and continues to expand. Especially with the unrest in the Middle East, China is more cautious than ever.
This is shown by the jailing of Liu Xiaobo, a Nobel Peace Prize Winner who published democratic and human rights reform proposals on the Internet. The Chinese Government jailed him for “inciting subversion of state power” after a year of holding him in detention. As of now, there is no information as to when Xiaobo will be released if ever. The international community pressured China to allow Xiaobo to attend the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony but he was not released from jail. The United States is currently caught in the middle of making peace with China and fixing the censorship, lack of freedoms, and lack of human rights in China.