The Internet is limitless in a way. You can do so much without having to go far physically. The World Wide Web serves as the portal to unlimited possibilities and you are free to explore it whether for work or for fun. And that is the case for the majority of the people who are free to use the Internet without any limitations. However, that is not the case if you live in China because of the government’s extreme Internet censorship. You don’t have access to lots of content that other Internet users across the world can view on the web.
This totalitarian approach is the Chinese government’s way of limiting Western influence over its people. The Chinese obey their laws no matter how outrageous they may be. They are also stripped of many rights that are otherwise enjoyed by the majority of the people all over the world. If they have free access to the web, they will realize that life in China is not normal and that their human rights have been violated for a long time now. It may trigger dissent and encourage more people to protest in the streets, something that the Chinese government won’t allow to happen. So, that’s just the way it is. The government will do their best to curb Internet freedom of their people to the best that they can.
Great Firewall of China, or Golden Shield Project
If you look at the rating of Freedomhouse in the previous years, we can see that the last place is regularly taken by China. China started to develop the filtration system in 1998, and in 2003 it was implemented across its territory. The Shield is a system of servers on the Internet channel between providers and international information networks that filter the information.
Based on the description published on the website Techinasia, the current situation in the Chinese segment of the Network is as follows: a strict censorship was imposed, there are lists of ”bad words” (mostly in political terms), input of which is blocked, or the activity of people using them is carefully monitored. Besides, many foreign resources (such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, YouTube, partially Wikipedia) are blocked in China. Local people use Chinese analogues and often do not even know about the existence of the originals. Besides, some of the scientific websites and other portals, in some way or another associated with the development of freedom of speech in the country, are blocked. Of course, bans complicate the lives of many educational institutions and hinder the businesses — any ”cloud-based office packages” are out of the question.
Imagine life in China without all our favorite social media networks like Facebook and Twitter. Even Youtube that has saved your sanity from boredom for years now can’t be accessed in the Red Dragon of Asia. And Google. Google is one of the best things to happen to the web but the Chinese miss out on it big time. Not only does Google serve its purpose as a search engine but it does so much more.
Authorities in the northern Chinese province of Hebei are rolling out a series of measures that will require any businesses or workplaces providing public wi-fi access to install surveillance technology that records user activity online.
A copy of the regulations issued by the police department in Hebei Tangshan city seen by RFA call on local businesses and workplaces to comply with the new requirements, which are described as “online safety protection measures,” or face fines or other sanctions.
Under the rules, companies must “record and retain user registration information … user login and exit time, caller ID, port number, account number, IP address, domain name, and system maintenance log.”
They must also record and retain internet sites visited by users, using “special safety equipment,” holding onto records for more than 60 days.
Shopping, catering, leisure, entertainment, public transportation, hospitals, and other public places are all required to implement the rules, purchasing government-approved equipment at their own expense, the notice said.
“Police will strengthen supervision and control of wireless networks,” it said.
Even the use of wireless networks is monitored by Chinese authorities. China does not take this Internet censorship thing lightly. It means a lot to them to keep the status quo within their nation no matter what kind of commotion is going on in the outside world. In reality, the government isn’t just protecting their people from the dangers of the web but curtailing their freedom of speech and expression among many others. The people should be free to pursue their interests and not be persecuted for it. Regardless of how far technology has come, it is still a long way to go before China relaxes its control over the web or give its citizens the freedom to do as they wish without their actions being monitored by the authorities.