The Great Firewall, what’s so ‘great’ after all?

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(Picture’s source)

I have to admit without the constant consumption of social media today, I would feel empty and uneasy without constantly wanting to scroll through my Twitter and Instagram feed every fifteen minutes or checking in on Foursquare about a cool cafe. Social media plays a big role in most of our lives these day and I personally feel unorganised without it. According to a statistic page, 56% of the people in the world uses Facebook and that is more than half of the population that are using Facebook daily. Then we have Google, that does wonders and is the answers to all of our questions or also known as the search engine.

These so-called ‘luxury’ we have through social media are not being benefitted by the people living in China. Why is that so? These worldwide popular social apps and media are  such as Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube are not available because there’s internet censorship in China which apparently “blocked more than 18,000 websites in Mainland China.” (Zittrain & Edelman, 2003). There are a few reasons why China does this and I believe it does bring both positive and negative effects to the country and the nation in China.

The Chinese regime does this with the fear of the resources and information on the internet that might provoke freedom of speech by the citizens and to keep them from knowing what the government does not want them to know so much so that the government blocks any websites that might cause chaos and uncertainty within the nations. (Naughty, J 2015)

Not only website blockages, China also keep surveillance and filters what is being search on the net by the nations such as key-word filtering and forbids encryption, which “automatically control and block the stream of online communication both entering and leaving China.” (Congressional-Executive Commission on China, 2002; Eko, Kumar, & Yao, 2011).

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(Picture’s source)

Words such as ‘freedom’, ‘Tibet’, ‘Taiwan Independence’ or ‘Falun Gong’ and politically sensitive websites that the regimes disapproves are prohibited and if you do try searching, ‘not found’ message or an error existence will occur on your screen. According to the research report by Zittrain & Edelman, the highest proportion of top blocked sites are those that concerns about Tibet, Taiwan China and equality. This to me proves nothing but  the government tries to hide the facts and truth from the citizens to avoid confrontations and war within the country.

But fear not, without the access to the wonderful social apps such as Facebook and Twitter, China came up with their own apps that I find it marvellous in a way that the content and usage of it is guarded. For example, YouTube is replaced with ‘Youku‘, Twitter with ‘Weibo‘, Google with ‘Baidu‘ and recently a messaging app called WeChat or ‘Weixin‘ are apps that most Chinese uses as their frequent social platform.

From this topic, Chinese users are forced to choose only domestically available apps that might not be used outside of China and I’ve learnt that the Chinese regime could be one of the world’s only government that controls the citizen’s knowledge through the worldwide webs and censorship in contents.

References:

Naughton, J 2015, The fascinating truth behind all those ‘great firewall of China’ headlines, The Guardian, viewed 28 March 2015,

Rocci, L 2014, Evolving Issues Surrounding Technoethics and Society in the Digital Age, Information Science Reference (imprint of IGI Global), Hershey, PA.

Zittrain, J & Edelman, B 2003, ‘Internet Filtering in China,’ Social Science Research Paper, Research Paper No.62, pp. 70-75, viewed 28 March 2015, <http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=399920&gt;

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About Vivyan Foo

19 years young. Internet, EDM & Food 🙌
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