The government of China has developed an impressive system that monitors and regulates electronic communication. There are quite a number of modern technological artilleries which the government uses in surveying electronic communication. One of these weapons is used in filtering messages which are conveyed over the internet. The Chinese mainland government has been involved in controlling the internet, which it supports citing its constitutionality.
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Some of the motives for the internet control in China are to avert the spread of obscenity and the interference with the national guidelines on religion that develop evil sects and feudal credulous beliefs. The censorship also prevents any break out of inter-ethnic violence like the one which happened some time last year in Urumqi. Beijing purports that when the flow of information is controlled, it will be much easier to deal with street riots in the cities.
The bone of contention in this censorship arises on the part of discreetness and lack of transparency. It has been observed that such filtering of information as a parameter for controlling major outbreaks is pretty random and opaque. This is because netizens only notice the outcome of the filtering without prior warning and identification by the blocker. The departments which deal with particular blockades are usually concealed from the public.
The great firewall arose as a scheme in which internet police bar right to use to alien internet services by blocking IP addresses and URLs or by filtering picky keywords. Thousands of websites have been closed or blocked as a result of this censorship. Google is one particular example which has suffered the same agony thereby leading to its withdrawal form the market.
This act of blocking major internet service providers denies people the information they need. It is therefore imperative for Beijing to bring down the Great Firewall of China so that critical information can be shared with much ease.
Positive Effects of the Censorship
The great firewall of China provides an appropriate atmosphere for political and social stability. A lot of political and social turbulence is prevented when critical information which contains provocative qualities is blocked from the public. On the government’s side, this process has positive effects because the government can use censorship for political advocacy.
The Chinese government sends counter-information on her websites as well as on those sites that are sponsored by the regime to control both foreign and domestic attitudes. Exposure to outside ideas and images from diplomatic societies can lead to political changes, if not an outright regime change.
Negative Effects of the Censorship
The censorship in internet runs counter to the social development. Masking negative information on the internet contributes to corruption. The government can do everything without listening to the general public. The Chinese government also abusively uses its authority to suppress any verbal and non verbal public opinion and freedom of speech that may contain revolting qualities.
In many incidents like the schoolhouse blast incident of March 2001, most members of the public were denied crucial information when all chat room comments were deleted by the censors. This is because the government thought that the comments were politically sensitive.
Information warfare can cause animosity especially when the Chinese government uses techniques such as hacking and spreading viruses to disable and discredit particular organizations. This has made many service providers to opt out of the market because they could not put up with censorship demands.
The act of compromise into censorship by Google sparked a lot of controversy in the U.S. American legislatures would rather Google to withdraw from the Chinese market than to compromise with the quality of information they relay (Lattman 2).
The ban of freedom of speech causes outrage of public. Internet use by the public, especially in chat rooms, creates awareness regarding situations like the downed U.S. surveillance aircraft that went down on Hainan Island or school house explosions in Chinas provinces that are both negative and positive regarding the government. Direct involvement in internet forums will lead to some kind of political liberalization of the state.
Financial and Social Costs of the Censorship
The censorship process affects business in such a way that international businesses that cannot agree to the internet demands of china cannot render their services. Thus, it is not a secret that western companies will have to hew to the party line should they desire to do business in China (Elgin & Einhorn 2). Hence by doing the censorship, China is denied the huge investment by international companies.
Every private company that offers internet services in China must first of all sign an agreement that binds its promise not to circulate any material that damages the honor or interests of the state (Yagan 4). Cultural and social exchange of views is also hindered thereby causing China not to easily embrace diverse foreign culture. The Chinese citizens are migrating to social media platforms due to the effects of censorship (Asia Affairs 23).
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Development and promotion of internet use in China is perceived as a tool for economic development. Internet can also be used as a tool to consolidate popular political support for the current regime (Whiting 19). Outflow into this scheme will put together state managed (national) intranets that functions as an alternate for the universal internet and execute e-government services that boost citizen contentment with the ruling government.
Control measures also strengthen state power on an international scale because the process involves in information warfare which fights against hacking into websites and against the spread of computer viruses.
The contribution of socioeconomic resources into this scheme, by the government, as well assists in achieving economic development objectives with the knowledge that financial development and a general raise in the standards of living also attracts public assurance and support for the ruling regime.
The Beijing government must own the media houses in order to succeed further in quenching their appetites for censoring. This creates a kind of monopoly on the control of outflow of information (Murray 49). It is worth noting however, that the Chinese government has not been able to cope with the demand for the supply of information to its citizens. That is why censorship has been rocked by major challenges along the way.
The decision to censor internet information is not mainly to control political influence. Censoring helps in providing greater market entry for the Chinese networking service providers. The financial implications of censorship is thus beneficial to the Chinese market because the sites provide constant advertisement space to particular sites that Chinese people visit on an hourly basis (Steve 2).
The Great Firewall’s Effect is Declining
The effects of the great firewall of china are declining because foreign technological input into the Chinese market is causing major sites which have been blocked to be accessed by the Chinese people (AFP 2). The Amazon’s kindle 3G e-reader, is slowly gaining entrance into China’s mainland market thereby leaping the great firewall of China’s censorship system.
Lots of bloggers from China are now commending the device for the reason that the expertise can, by design, scale the wall. This instance has been enhanced by the compromise of mainland internet patrols that overlooked the gadget.
Beijing has used its internet patrols to attack parts of the Tor network. The Tor network is a project originally designed for the U.S Navy but has been used by many Chinese citizens to conceal their identity and secure their privacy. This service allows them to access banned material including information about Tibet, websites covering issues such as the Tiananmen Square massacre and other sensitive events like the Uigur uprising and the Dalai Lama.
Chinese mainland internet patrols have been engaging in thorough investigations and rigorous intensification which act as major parameters to control the spread of devices which scale up the wall. Such devices include the Amazon’s kindle 3G e-reader. Beijing has also been involved in attacking a section of the Tor network by blocking IP addresses. ISP’s technologies have also been blocked thereby blocking up to 80% of public relays (Williams 6).
Censorship of internet information is declining but with some challenges. Although this censorship has blocked Tor services in some sense, many users can still gain access because it is also possible to hop on to the service via a bridge network. As a counter measure to possible network information blockade, the Tor introduced the bridge relays which can be alternatives for accessing the service.
Thus, more Chinese users have been helped through the voluntary running of more bridge relays courtesy of the Tor project. The censorship is not also 100% effective since a lot of resources are needed and attacks on arbitrary URL addresses may not fully succeed (Clayton, Murdoch & Watson 291).
The great firewall of China is a censorship system run by China’s government to filter any information that is considered sensitive to the government. This system has been involved in major blockade of internet relays thus preventing the public from gaining access to some particular crucial information. There are quite a number of reasons the government gives on the blockade of certain URLs, IP addresses, and certain information which contain particular words that the government would not like to display to the public.
Censorship has been accompanied by both positive and negative effects. Positive effects are mainly beneficial to the government while the public has been left to have a bigger share of the negative effects. Through this censorship, the government can control the public and protect its interest.
Major information of particular events which if conveyed to the public may trigger revolts and uprisings are usually concealed from the public. Investment on information censorship by the government ends up obtaining public confidence and support as a result of the positive effects.
On the other hand the public has less freedom of expression due to these parameters. Less information is shared across the public thereby decreasing the levels of information available for the Chinese. Although major foreign technological inputs have been introduced into the Chinese market, the government has not decreased its appetite in censoring internet information. Thus, counter measures such as complete blockades have been used although these measures have not been as successful as it seems.
AFP. “Amazon’s 3G Kindle a Popular Buy for Bypassing Great Firewall of China.” Postmedia Network Inc, 2009. Web.
Asia Affairs. “Within The Great Firewall of China.” Corporate Public Affairs, Vol. 20: No. 3, 2010.
Clayton, Richard, Murdoch, Steven & Watson, Robert. “Ignoring the great firewall of China.” A journal of Law and Policy for the information society, Vol. 3:2, University of Cambridge, Not Dated.
Elgin, Ben., & Einhorn, Bruce. “The Great Firewall of China.” Bloomberg Business week, 2006. Web.
Lattman, Peter. “In RE: The Great Firewall Of China.” Dow Jones & Company, Inc., 2006. Web.
Murray, Andrew. The Regulation of Cyberspace Control in the Online Environment. New York: Rouledge-Cavendish, 2007.
Steve. “Google and the Great Firewall of China.” Transparent Language, 2010. Web.
Whiting, Michael. The Great Firewall of China: A Critical Analysis, Department of the Air Force, Air University, Air Force Institute of Technology. Ohio: Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, 2008.
Williams, Chris. “China Strengthens Great Firewall Ahead Of Anniversary.” The Register, 2009. Web.
Yagan, Jessica. Working Around The Great Firewall Of China: Recommendations For U.S. Internet Companies, John F. Kenedy School of Government, Harvard University, Student Paper No. 2, July 2006.