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Online Censorship Report : Internet in China

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Various devices all over the world are linked together with the Internet Protocol Suite (TCP/IP) which is a worldwide system that interconnects multiple computer networks. The internet is mainly a web of many other networks such as public and private networks, business and academic networks as well as local and global government networks. The links of these networks are broad electronic arrays, wireless connections or optical networking technologies.

Although, the internet date backs to the 1960s where it was commissioned by the United States federal government, it was used extensively in the 1980s by academia but grew rapidly in the mid-1990s. From then on, the internet has extended from the west to other parts of the world. The growth of technology did not slow the growth either. Currently, the entire world depends on the internet to go by its daily activities. From social media to entertainment, to marketing and online shopping, to communication with family friends and even running businesses, the internet has now become a way of life for most individuals.

However, China did not embrace this expansion warmly, and the Chinese do not take this as a lifestyle. In China, internet censorship is extreme because of the laws and regulations laid out by their government. There are more than sixty legislations that have been put in place by the Chinese government and are executed by different branches of state-owned ISPs, companies, and organizations. The laws in China are unimaginably strict and extensive than those in any other state in the world.  This has earned it the nickname “The Great Firewall of China.”

The authorities in China monitor the internet use of the citizens and even blocked a lot of website content. There have been many cases of violators of the internet laws and regulations placed leading to the highest number of imprisoned journalists and cyber-dissidents in the entire world according to the Amnesty International. The individuals could be accused of signing online petitions, communicating with groups across the border, and campaigning for an end to corruption. Therefore, China is the largest prison for netizens (citizens who used the internet).

In 1994, the internet inevitably arrived China as a tool for the “socialist market economy.”With time, it has developed into a social platform, which is readily available. However, in 1998, the communism culture in China became threatened by the China Democracy Party (CDP).  The party was feared as it could have bred a powerful network that would overpower the party elites. Without further threat, CDP was quickly disbanded with several arrests and imprisonment being undertaken. Golden Shield Project was started then and lasted till 2006. The second part of the project took on in 2006 till 2008.

During this time, 2002, 300 citizens hosted an inaugural “Comprehensive Exhibition on Chinese Information System” that lasted for four days whereby high-tech products such as internet security, human face recognition, and video monitoring were purchased.

With all its benefits, the government of China highlighted the negativity the internet could cause to the security of its country and work on resolving the issues. Here are some of the types of information that no individual was allowed to retrieve, replicate, create or even transmit.

i.    Inciting to overthrow any of their leaders;
ii.   Inciting for division in the country;
iii.  Distorting the truth;
iv.  Encouraging to break or resist the constitution;
v.   Encouraging feudal superstition;
vi.  Defaming state organizations;
vii. Any activity that was against the administrative laws or the constitution;
viii.Inspiring hatred or discrimination among nationalities
ix.   Inciting criminal activity and terrorism in the country

The first content restriction was made in September 2000 blocking overseas news websites. Additionally, only licensed print publisher could deliver news online. All websites had to obtain approval to distribute any information. The content providers were responsible for getting legality of the details distributed through their service. The government, on the other hand, had full access to all sensitive data they wanted. In 2005, China purchased more than 200 routers from Cisco Systems which enabled the Chinese government to censor with more advanced technology.

Currently, the Chinese system blocks IP addresses that are routed through using proxy servers and firewalls at the gateways of internet access. DNS poisoning is engaged on the request of certain sites. It would be impractical for the government to be examining the web content systematically but with all the security walls put up, there is barely room to make an offense.

There are more than 18,000 websites that have been blocked from within China’s mainland. These are sites that encourage gambling, violence, pornography and harmful material. The use of “cyber-disappearance” is also commonly used. This targets the removal of content written by activist bloggers.

Even as the technology paths continue to grow and the world grows into an advance internet connection, China continues to make rules that isolate it from the rest of the world. This is causing concern as it may be left behind on technology uses. However, Chinese officials are not worried and continue to amend laws that will restrict the internet advancements available at the moment.

All the same, the authorities passed a law that enables Chinese data from businesses within the data to be shared out with the rest of the world. This law it much easier to do business worldwide. There was a law that supports critical sectors of the country’s economy and government, terming them as secure and controllable. However, this could only mean that the enterprise’s information could be accessible to a third party without their approval.

These laws could be security that protects the country against cyber-attacks and the flow of spiteful harmful messages but, they may also be too restrictive. Especially when it comes to social media and freedom of speech, the Chinese remain mute to it all. On the other hand, civil wars, discrimination, feud behaviors and hatred are at a minimal in the country due to the lack of exposure. However, China may compromise some of its laws to enable the flow of information and interaction with the rest of the world for the better of its citizens.

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