VPNs, also known as virtual private networks, are one of the main ways people get around the firewall. They work by tricking your device into thinking you're in another area and therefore can get around the ban. Many in China use VPNs and in this list is even the firewall's own creator, Fang Binxing. The government however is not so happy with this new system to get around their laws so they instead have implemented a 14 month campaign in order to clean up and strength the firewall. This new campaign was announced on January 22nd by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology website and it was stated that this would last until Mach 31, 2018. This said, the government has previously long known and accepted the fact that a small percentage of its population circumvents the Firewall using VPNs. It is, after all, essential to some extent so that domestic and foreign businesses are able to access information across borders and therefore able to stay afloat. Jeremy Goldkorn, director of a media and Internet consulting firm called Danwei, believes that “They are willing to tolerate a certain amount of porousness in the Great Firewall, as long as they feel that ultimately, if they need to exert control, they can". The usage of VPNs however has recently largely sky rocketed and therefore the government felt it was necessary to take control of the situation and exercise their power. This however has caused some major backlash. “It’s as if we’re shutting down half our brains,” said Chin-Chin Wu, an artist who spent almost a decade in Paris and who promotes her work online. “I think that the day that information from the outside world becomes completely inaccessible in China, a lot of people will choose to leave.”
Many Chinese citizens have become outraged with the firewall and especially the new tighten grip on VPNs. They are especially irritated with the government trying to revoke some of most widely used VPNs. They feel isolated and not connected to the rest of the globe. One citizen was even quoted saying “I need to stay tuned into the rest of the world... I feel like we’re like frogs being slowly boiled in a pot.” Another said, “If it was legal to protest and throw rotten eggs on the street, I’d definitely be up for that”. People have started to take action on those words however. In 2011, Mr. Fang was giving a talk at Wuhan University in central China when a student threw eggs and shoes at him.
Going back to my original question on the topic: "How has the firewall affected the people in China and the rest of the world?" I have discovered that the firewall has harmed and disrupted not only the Chinese but the rest of the world. This is because firewall doesn't only prevent sources that target their Communist government but instead controls tens of thousands of sites including social media websites like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram that could ultimately lead to someone targeting their Communist government. Social media is not the only field to be targeted however. Google is still blocked in China and so an alternative has arose, Baidu. The issue with Baidu is that their results are heavily censored and filtered. It doesn't allowed citizens to read anything that could in anyway harm their perspective of their government and therefore the results paint a distorted view of reality in same cases. Scientists have also complained that the firewall is majorly impacting them as well. “It’s like we’re living in the Middle Ages,” a Chinese citizen was quoted. Another was filled with outrage as he wrote “It’s completely ridiculous... For a nation that professes to respect science and wants to promote scientific learning, such barriers suggest little respect for the people actually engaged in science.” Astronomy has been yet another field affected. The firewall has complicated the lives of Chinese astronomers by preventing them from getting some of the recent data that they need. This particularly can happen when they are seeking the latest scientific data from abroad, graphic designers shopping for clip art on Shutterstock and students submitting online applications to American universities.